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University receives 1 million dollar anonymous gift

Special to ULM by Mark Henderson

The University of Louisiana Monroe received an early Christmas present Monday with the gift of $1 million.

The estate gift from an anonymous donor is intended for scholarship endowments to benefit students pursuing a degree in education.

Morgan Patrick Morgan (cq), development officer at the ULM Foundation, announced the gift at a news conference Monday. “The donor is a ULM alumna and a retired schoolteacher from the Monroe area, and she is very kind and funny and she recognizes what ULM means to our community and our state,” Morgan said. “We are absolutely thrilled and grateful for this wonderful estate gift.”

Morgan stressed the importance of such endowments to the university. “Scholarships allow us to recruit and retain the best and the brightest students and remain our biggest need,” she said.

Although the donor wishes to remain anonymous and was not present at the news conference, Morgan read a statement from her.

“Committing this gift to the university where I was educated and demonstrating an investment in an area where I grew up and live in today is a great way for me to give back,” the donor said in the statement.

“My hope and wish is that my legacy will enrich the lives of future generations at ULM, and they, too, will be grateful for the education they receive from our wonderful university and will choose to pay it forward. The best truly is on the bayou,” the statement concluded.

ULM President Dr. Bruno accepts the check on behalf of the university. (Left to Right): Dr. Nick J. Bruno, Dr. Eric Pani, Morgan Patrick Morgan, Dr. Kioh Kim (School of Education, professor, Dr. Leonard Clark (Director of the School of Education), Dr. Jeff Anderson (Interim Associate Dean of the College of Arts, Education & Sciences). Courtesy of Emerald McIntrye/ULM Photo Services

Dr. Eric Pani, vice president of academic affairs at ULM, said he was especially pleased the donor specifically targeted education. “It doesn’t matter whoever you are,” Pani said, whether a doctor, a lawyer or some other profession, a teacher played a significant role in everyone’s life. “How did you learn to read and write” Pani asked. The answer, he said, is teachers.

“This gift will help students who may not be able to pursue a college degree to come to ULM and become teachers,” Pani said.

ULM President Dr. Nick Bruno said the donation was “one of those occasions that happen in all of our lifetimes that have a profound impact.”

“Not only is this a very substantial gift,” Bruno said,” but considering she was not contacted by the university, not asked by the university. It makes you wonder, are we giving enough.”

Bruno said he hoped the donation would motivate others to consider giving to ULM.

Morgan said the gift of $1 million has been counted toward ULM’s first national comprehensive campaign, known as SOAR. The goal of the five-year campaign is to raise $54 million in university endowment funds. With the donation announced Monday, Morgan said the foundation has raised 83 percent of the goal.

Bruno said that amounted to more than $48 million, much more than the $25 million consultants advised ULM to expect to raise.

Published December 11, 2017