ULL’s Roy House hits Fundraising Goal

The Roy House on ULL’s campus will soon be home to a new Center of Louisiana Studies, all thanks to a global philanthropist helping the “Restore the Roy” campaign reach its fundraising goal, The Advocate reports.

If you’ve traveled in the downtown area of Lafayette, Louisiana, and you’ve passed by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, chances are you’ve seen the famed Roy House, along with signage of the school’s efforts to “Restore the Roy” as well. Located on the corner of University Avenue and Johnston Street, the 120 year-old is now due for its first modern renovation, having been in ULL’s possession since the 1990s.

Enthusiasts for the historic former home of J. Arthur Roy, an early Lafayette business leader and stalwart of the community, had reached and surpassed their goal of raising $800,000 in funds to restore the two-story, 5,000 square foot building. The restoration effort had only raised the much-needed $400,000 in the last few weeks, which included a donation from a foundation based in Washington State.

It’s estimated that the restoration will be completed by 2022, and once complete, “The Roy” will house the Center for Louisiana Studies. The University Center was founded in 1973, and it is dedicated to researching, promoting, publicizing, and overall preserving the culture and storied history of Louisiana.

For any Lafayette visitors traveling to the city from Interstate 10, the Roy House provides a substantial first glimpse at the campus, and director of the center, Joshua C. Caffery believes that the newly renovated building will provide an attractive welcome to such visitors, saying, “The renovation of the Roy House and its lot will transform one of Lafayette’s busiest intersections and contribute to the citywide effort to beautify the University corridor.”

Simply put, that “busiest intersection” isn’t hyperbole; it’s pure fact, as the state Department of Transportation and Development reports that the estimated average daily traffic count for the specific intersection that the Roy House has stood on since 1901, the same year that ULL’s campus first opened to students, is 43,730 vehicles.

The Center for Louisiana Studies is made up of three divisions: The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press, theResearch Division and the Programming and Special Projects Division, including the Archive of Cajun and Creole Folklore, heralded by the campus as being the “largest collection of audiovisual materials related to the traditional cultures of southwestern Louisiana.”

Caffery said that most of the restoration money was raised throughout the year through grants and private donation, conclusion with the $400,000 amount from the Sage Foundation, and its President and Treasurer, E.W. Littlefield Jr, a philanthropist who is long-involved in the music industry as both a musician and supporter of marts and music efforts.

Caffery noted, “The interest we received from out of state is a testament to the fact that Acadiana culture continues to be of significant national and even international interest. Our goal is to launch a major interior restoration by spring, hopefully by mid-April or early May,”

The next steps, according to Caffery, are to assemble a restoration team, including architects and contractors and to secure the appropriate permits and approvals. The Roy is the only building on ULL’s campus that’s on the National Register of Historic Places, so it must meet specific guidelines for its restoration.

Caffery stated, “despite the turmoil of 2020, we’ve received an outpouring of support this year, both from people who love the Roy House and value its architectural and historical significance, as well as from people who support the mission of the Center for Louisiana Studies.

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UL Lafayette President Announces Record R&D Milestone

A remarkable milestone was announced this year by UL Lafayette President Joseph Savoie during his annual State of the University address; the milestone being that the university had broken records with $144 million spent towards expenditures in research and development last year, as reported by KATC.

As reported, 2019 was the third year in a row in which UL Lafayette spent more than $100 million on Research and Development (R&D), according to the conducted Higher Education Research and Development (HERD) Survey. This survey is the National Science Foundation’s annual indexing of United States colleges and university’s research spending.

Each year the University of Louisiana at Lafayette competes against other universities for both federal and state government grants as well as private sector contracts with the university acting as steward or the funds awarded to faculty and staff researchers.

The goal of increasing UL Lafayette R&D expenditures was set back seven years prior in 2013 with the accredited learning institution setting the goal of attaining $100 million in expenditures by 2020, though this might have been an undersight as the school had surpassed that expectation, achieving the goals three years sooner than expected- in 2017.

The record was broken yet again in the following year, 2018 with spending increasing to 124.7 million in the matter of a single year. This remarkable figure increase had placed UL Lafayette among the top 23 percent of the total 647 research universities included in the HERD survey.

Though this most recently announced $144 million figure has not yet been released by the National Science Foundation, the amount is the highest attained by ULL R&D to date, and it signifies an astounding achievement of the goal set in 2013.

President Savoie aptly referred to this achievement as “astonishing” when the milestone was communicated to faculty, staff, and students at the annual beginning of the semester address, which in previous years is delivered to nearly a thousand members of the University’s community in the Angelle Hall auditorium, but this year it was presented virtually as a result on the state of Louisiana’s restrictions on larger indoor gatherings.

As KATC reported from Savoie’s address, he had stated being that UL Lafayette is a public university, “in good times and in trying moments, the work we do should benefit the public. The research being done here does not stay here,” Savoie continued to say, “it is consequential and valuable to our society.”

The annual address serves as a way for the university president to set a tone for the start of the fall semester and new academic year, as classes at the four-year university officially began Thursday, August 17th. During the presentation, Savoie also reaffirmed UL Lafayette’s commitment to building a more diverse community on its campus, meeting the goals established in the Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence, a national framework adopted by multiple higher education learning institutions.

The Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence serves as a framework for enhancing equity, diversity, and inclusion across the school’s course offerings, hiring practices, student services and recruitment, and broader community outreach. Savoie also noted that the university’s increased efforts over the past decade to recruit and retain women and students of color are paying off.

In the 2019-2020 academic school year alone, the University awarded a record 3,610 degrees, and among those recipients receiving awards, there was a historic number of women, Black, Hispanic, and Asian graduates with the Spring 2020 graduation class being the largest and most diverse in the University’s 122-year legacy.

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