University of Louisiana at Lafayette Announces $500 Million Fundraising Campaign

Oftentimes the spirit of giving accompanies the end of the year, and at UL Lafayette, that spirit is abundant. According to this news release from the university, a $500 million comprehensive fundraising campaign was announced by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, making it the largest single fundraising initiative in the school’s long history.

The initiative, which was formally started on November 5th is titled Together: The Campaign for the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, and according to UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie, the half-billion-dollar goal is not only about focusing on the school and its students, but the surrounding community, state, and world they find themselves in.

In his rousing speech announcing the historic milestone fundraising goal, Dr. Savoie stated that in reaching the $500 million goal, ULL will also “enhance the role the University plays in strengthening our community, deepening our wider understanding, and opening the door to a world-class education for those who come here to pursue their aspirations. This campaign is our moment to look upward and see that the only obstacle we face – the only limit we have – is our own capacity to dream. Together, we can – and will – shape the future.”

Four days following its announcement, the fundraising campaign was over halfway towards meeting its target, according to UL Lafayette vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the UL Foundation, John Blohm. Reportedly, alumni and friends of the university had already provided $303 million in pledges and gifts during its initial phase, which began in 2016.

As of today, the campaign has enabled the University to create many opportunities for faculty and students. This is seen in the four endowed chairs, 34 endowed professorships, and 122 endowed student scholarship funds that have been created thanks to the campaign.

In their donation, ULL alumni and friends have chosen to support various construction projects and renovations of teaching and learning spaces found inside several academic colleges over the years. Included in these projects made possible by the generosity of alumni and friends are the Maraist Financial Services Lab, which is located inside of theB.I. Moody III College of Business Administration, the Northwestern Mutual Sales and Research Lab, and the Grant Gibson Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory in the Ray P. Authement College of Sciences.

Additionally, several labs such as the Franks CAD Student Education Laboratory, Nick Pugh Aerospace Electronics Research Lab, and the Solar Energy Program of Excellence were created in a similar manner, and all three of the aforementioned labs are located inside ULL’s College of Engineering. Not to mention, the fundraising campaign has also helped to renovate the Roy House, which turned it into the new home for the Center for Louisiana Studies and the creation of the Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center.

Included in the $303 million that has already been raised in the campaign are the two single largest gift committees in university history. These are the $20 million from LHC Group that was for the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions and the $15 million from Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center for the renovation of Cajun Field. Both of these pledges were received by ULL in 2021.

According to UL Lafayette’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, Dr. Jaime Hebert, of the approximately 25,000 individuals who have made an effort to give to the campaign to date, 62% were identified as being ULL alumni, 30% friends, and 8% organizations.

Dr. Hebert reelected on the funds raised so far in the campaign by remarking, “this campaign has provided more opportunities for student success, world-class facilities for our student-athletes, a deeper connection to this community and its culture, and a stronger, better prepared and more agile workforce. None of this would have been possible without donors and friends working with the University to empower our students and change their destinies.”

For more education-related information, click here.

Benny Cenac Jr, Houma Businessman, Funds E.D. White Fast Track

Edward Douglass White Catholic High School recently began construction on its new Academic Enhancement Center thanks to Benny Cenac Jr, Houma Businessman and Philanthropist. The production on this new facility, which began in June, is currently set for completion by December 2017. Allowing students and teachers to be able to move in when they return to school in January, 2018.

Although the current program, which serves grades 8 through 12 in a 1500 square foot setting has a successful history of college preparatory curriculum as well as a popular general curriculum, the new 3,000 square foot facility will catapult them to the next level.  The new facility’s plans include lighting, interactive areas and non-structured learning to help those students in the program find a learning approach that best fits each of them. It will have a multi-classroom conference area, testing areas and offices. The school said the new enhancement center will be able to accommodate 170 students, and Robichaux said the school plans to expand enrollment in the program once the facility is completed.

“Mr. Benny Cenac Jr’s donation will provide a solid foundation in order for the program to meet its goal to open this updated and newly renovated facility,” stated President, Tim Robichaux. With this new facility the school will develop non-traditional, mobile classroom components to help meet the needs of E.D. White students with academic differences. The objective is to better assist students with learning differences such as ADHD, Dyslexia, other reading disorders, math disorders and any other learning differences that may hinder a student.  The overall goal is to give students the skills necessary to succeed in their academic studies. As an avid supporter of education at all levels Mr. Benny Cenac Jr knew this donation would be beneficial to the community and the students.

Cenac initially jumped at the chance to assist with the program in August of 2016.  The original donation was to be a total of 150,000.00 given over three yearly installments.  When E.D. White contacted him in the hopes of fast tracking the project, there was no hesitation to also fast track the donation.  “Education is important for everyone, and students who have learning disabilities should have the opportunity to also receive the skills needed for a brighter future no matter their circumstances.  If we can assist in that, then I’m all for it,” said Cenac.

Donations go a long way to help students and the learning process at ED White.  Their website states, “We think it is important to partner with our parents, alumni and friends to provide the best education possible for our students.  Donations are made in the form of cash and matching gifts to be used to purchase needed educational equipment and supplies. These gifts assure that EDW stays on the cutting edge of education today.  This year’s annual fund dollars can be directed by donors to debt reduction, technology, refurnishing the band room, and enhancing athletic dressing facilities.”

There are several different funds you or your business can donate to.  They are detailed below.

Annual Fund

The E. D. White Catholic Advisory Council in partnership with the school administration has recommended that the Annual Fund Drive focus on the Guidance Department relocation.  By donating funds to be used for this purpose, you will help build a bright future for E. D. White Catholic.

Donate to Annual Fund

Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana

In the fall of 2010,Bishop Sam Jacobs wanted to create an avenue that would allow donors of the Diocese of Houma-Thibodaux to give to the many different Catholic entities of the diocese in the best manner possible.  Furthermore, this avenue needed to be an organization that is separate of that diocese.  After over a year in planning and meeting with a group of lay leaders from across the diocese, the decision to form the Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana (CFSL) was agreed upon.  The CFSL was officially recognized as an independent 501 (c) 3 organization with the IRS in March 2012 and in September of the same year the CFSL staff and board began to communicate to parishioners the importance of planned gifts and establishing endowments for their parishes, schools and diocesan entities.

By working closely with parishes, schools, and individual donors like Mr. Benny Cenac Jr, the CFSL makes giving simple and meaningful.  The Foundation can administer a donor’s philanthropic giving, both now and after their death.  We provide a flexible array of services that help donors shape a meaningful charitable legacy.

Catholic Foundation of South Louisiana


The athletic department is in the process of upgrading dressing facilities for student athletes.  Locker rooms have been created for boys / girls basketball and the football locker room has been completely refurbished.  An office for female coaches has been created on the 2ndfloor of the main gymnasium.  Annual fund donations have paid for a large portion of this project, but additional funds are needed to cover the $250,000 price tag.

Donate to Athletics

Music Program

A ceremony was held in November 2013 for the dedication of the E. D. White music hall to St. Theresa of Lisieaux. The ceremony was filled with stories of tradition and love for St. Theresa and the EDW music program.  Annual fund donations to the music program have been designated to assist in the completion of renovations to the St. Theresa Music Hall. New flooring, a new ceiling, new lighting, and upgrades to the a/c system are currently underway.

Donate to Music


Technology is shown to be an essential component of a 21st century education because it helps develop fundamental learning skills by giving students access to large amounts of information which they can transform into useful knowledge. Through donations to the annual fund, E. D. White Catholic implemented a one-to-one iPad program for teachers and students for the 2012-2013 school year. It has been a resounding success and the school thanks all who helped with this project. Additional funding is needed to continue training related to this new technology. In coming years, the iPad will allow for adoption of interactive textbooks as well as media-rich supplemental material.

Donate to Technology

Tuition Assistance

E.D. White Catholic High School is dedicated to keeping tuition affordable for students from all economic backgrounds through need-based tuition assistance. The school does not offer any type of scholarship based on proficiency in academics or any co-curricular area. Annual fund donations to tuition assistance allow the school to assist a greater number of families in need.

Donate to Tuition Assistance

For more information on E.D. White’s Academic Enhancement Program and why Benny Cenac Jr supports it, please visit here.