University Of Louisiana at Lafayette Praised for Educational Opportunities

In a press release by The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the school is praised for providing “programs that level the playing field for educational opportunities,” according to INSIGHT into Diversity, the largest diversity magazine and website in higher education.

 INSIGHT into Diversity assessed colleges and universities in the United States and Canada for their contributions in advancing diversity and inclusion across their campuses. In the publication’s “Courageous Conversations workshop series” in its May/June issue, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s “Learning is for Everyone,” or LIFE program was featured and praised.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s LIFE program aims to give students with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities and academic foundation, work experience, and social opportunities as they enroll in classes designed specifically for them and audit regularly schedules classes with other University students, who help with assignments.

The publication’s workshop series, Courageous Conversations, focuses on increating diversity and including in the classroom, across campus, and in the community as faculty, staff members, and students father monthly to share experiences, ideas, and resources.

Dr. Taniecea Arceneaux Mallery, the University’s executive director of Strategic Initiatives and chief diversity officer stated, “Recognition for these two programs that are integral to the University’s diversity and inclusion efforts are indicative of a campus-wide commitment to providing equal access for underrepresented groups.”

In 2014,  The University of Louisiana at Lafayette became the state’s first four year institution to offer a postsecondary program for people with intellectual disabilities with the LIFE Program.

Students who are enrolled in the program have curriculums tailored to their interests and career goals. They learn life skills such as how to manage finances, and hold internships in campus offices or departments. They also participate in student organizations, clubs and extracurricular activities.

“The blend of academic, social and career development is designed to help LIFE students develop skills and confidence that will enable them to find meaningful jobs, and live independently,” Mallery said.

INSIGHT into Diversity’s acknowledgement of the Courageous Conversations series was centered on a recent virtual session where a group of panelists addressed a range of topics related to the COVID-19 pandemic such as physical and mental wellness, and challenges faced by minority students who lack access to technology.

“The idea of the webinar was to be intentional and think about certain experiences many of our students are having, because not everyone is experiencing this crisis in the same way or dealing with the same circumstances,” Mallery said.

This isn’t the first time University of Louisiana at Lafayette has earned praise from INSIGHT into Diversity magazine. Last year, the University was among 93 institutions that received the magazine’s Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award. It also was recognized with the HEED award in 2018.

Mallery said the recognition is, in large part, the result of a Strategic Plan for Inclusive Excellence created by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Office for Campus Diversity. It outlines a comprehensive plan for expanding initiatives and professional development resources that advance equity and inclusion.

“We want to continue to develop policies, resources and initiatives that engage all segments of campus and the community in the University’s ongoing mission to increase opportunities for underrepresented students,” Mallery said.

For more education related information, click here.

Remembering Former UL-Lafayette President, Ray Authement

Educator and long-time President of UL-Lafayette, Ray Authement, passed away on April 5, 2020, the school announced.  Serving as the president of University of Louisiana at Lafayette for more than 30 years, from 1973 to 2008, Authement became the longest serving president of a public university in the country.

President of the University of Louisiana System, Jim Henderson, said in a news release, “As the longest-serving public university president in the United States, Dr. Authement laid the foundation for the extraordinary advancement of UL-Lafayette into a national model and a source of pride for Louisiana.”  He continued, “Countless students and multiple generations were blessed by his leadership.”

Dr. Ray Authement was known for leadership, notably making UL the first university in the country to establish a birthing lab where patient simulators could assist their nursing students.  Other noteworthy accomplishments included the establishment of a bilingualism support center, creation of an intensive care lab for nursing students, procuring of an atom smasher and installation of cutting-edge computer systems for research/instruction.

Authement spent his formative years in Boudreaux Canal near Cocodrie in Terrebonne Parish.  He began college in 1947 at Southwestern Louisiana Institute (SLI), which later became UL-Lafayette. He was the first of his family to attend college and graduated in 1950 with a bachelor’s in physics, then attended Louisiana State University, where he achieved his master’s and doctorate in mathematics in 1952 and 1956, respectively.  He went on to teach at Louisiana State University and McNeese State University and returned to SLI as an associate math professor in 1957.

He later became a professor and taught until 1966, when he earned a promotion to academic vice president. From there, the institution had become the University of Southwestern Louisiana. Authement was named vice president in 1970, then the acting president in 1973 when Clyde L. Rougeau took a leave of absence.  When Rougeau retired in 1974, Authement became president.  He was named president emeritus in 2009.

Current UL-Lafayette President, E. Joseph Savoie, said in a news release, “Through dedication, determination and selflessness, (Authement) changed how the university saw itself and how others perceived it as well. He guided our growth from a strong regional university to one recognized nationally and globally for its research and scholarship.”

UL-Lafayette’s Ray P. Authement College of Sciences serves as an homage to the impact the former president had on the institution.

Further well-known and most prominent contributions Authement made were the name change from the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, as well as the construction of the Cajundome.

Julie Johnson, Dr. Ray Authement’s daughter, said that Authement took over at UL — then USL — in 1973, and had a clear vision for its future. “He had a dream for what the university could be, and that dream is why it is what it is today,” she said.

Authement and his wife, Barbara, were the faces of UL. Johnson remembered her mother always wearing red to university events, a tradition a lot of locals still follow.  “She was the social aspect of him,” Johnson said. “Always in red. And she pointed out when other people didn’t. It was the uniform of our home.”

Dr. David Allie, one of the founders of the Critical Limb Ischemia and Limb Salvage Club of Lafayette and friend of Authement stated, “I knew him as a mathematician, as a computer guy. I’m talking 25 years ago, he was doing things and trying to do things that other universities didn’t,” Allie said. “I’m just appreciative of everything that guy did.”

For more education related information, click here.