Recently, Louisiana State University received a $27.5 million gift from long-time partner Shell USA, Inc., and according to this news release from the school, the investment will be utilized to not only establish a new Institute for Energy Innovation but to also begin construction on a new district of LSU’s campus devoted to interdisciplinary scientific discovery.
The $27.5 million gift from the Shell Corporation is reportedly being recognized as the university’s largest gift ever received from a for-profit corporation. Additionally, it’s simultaneously the largest gift ever received by the school in focused support of energy-related initiatives.
In speaking on LSU deserving the gift, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said, “as a legacy energy state on the front lines of climate change, Louisiana is uniquely positioned to forge meaningful solutions for a clean energy future. This partnership between Shell and Louisiana’s flagship university supports the continued vitality of our state’s energy industry as well as Louisiana’s emerging role as a national leader in carbon management. I look forward to the contributions LSU and Shell will continue to make here in Louisiana to global energy innovation.”
Of their total donation gift, Shell will be dedicating $25 million to launch and establish the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation, an institution that will aim to advance affordable, reliable, and environmentally responsible energy for all. The creation of the Institute for Energy Innovation will set the stage to allow for leaders in energy-thought, talent, and industrial impact to have the opportunity to invest in a collaborative pursuit of a shared vision for the future of energy.
Shell’s gift will provide funding for a five-year vision for the LSU Institute for Energy Innovation, which will be rooted in five work streams: talent, research and development, policy and economics, social and environmental justice, and technology transfer and commercialization. Furthermore, about $6.4 million of Shell’s total gift will be directed toward initiatives centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion. These initiatives will be focused on both faculty and student support as well as workforce development within the energy industry.
The remaining $2.5 million will be used to construct the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building, and upon the completion of this new building, LSU will be able to close reportedly more than 50% of the LSU College of Science’s current gap in lab space and educational needs within its five disciplines: Biological Sciences, Chemistry,Geology and Geophysics, Mathematics, and Physics and Astronomy.
Over the past four years, there has been an increase in demand for educational and lab space for LSU’s College of Science. For the past four consecutive years, the college has reported years of enrollment growth while also teaching one-quarter of all student credit hours at LSU and roughly one-third of the total instruction for freshmen and sophomore students. Therefore, this continual growing reliance on LSU’s College of Science will be greatly benefited by the construction of the LSU Our Lady of the Lake Interdisciplinary Science Building.
LSU President William F. Tate IV also commented on the monumental gift, saying: “energy represents a central driver of Louisiana’s economy, and Louisiana buttresses the nation’s energy supply, putting LSU in the unique position to partner with industry to discover innovative methods to fuel our nation. Together with Shell, we invite fellow industry leaders to join us in pioneering the research and development pathways forward to protect and preserve Louisiana’s energy economy, while meeting the nation’s future energy needs.”
Shell’s announcement of their $27.5 million gift is the latest transformative investment in LSU’s Scholarship First Agenda, a dedicated effort to focus on creating solutions considered to be essential to the future of agriculture, biotechnology, the coast, defense, and energy within Louisiana and throughout the nation. With the Scholarship First Agenda, LSU seeks to “ascend to its potential to lead the nation in these five key areas through a combination of private, state and federal support.” Additionally, Shell’s gift is only a part of LSU’s $1.5 billion Fierce for the Future Campaign, which is the largest campaign for higher education in the history of the state of Louisiana.
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