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August 16, 2000

Board of Regents present ULM with eminent scholars money

Officials from The University of Louisiana at Monroe accepted matching funds from Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, Commissioner of Higher Education for the Louisiana State Board of Regents, Thursday for ULM's four most recent Endowed Professorships as part of the Eminent Scholar and Endowed Professorships program.

The presentation came at an afternoon press conference in the Conference Center of ULM's University Library.

"ULM is deeply appreciative of these benefactors and the Board of Regents for making today possible. Gifts such as those we celebrate today help us to continue to attract and retain the finest faculty," said ULM President Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr. "We commend our faculty and professional staff for more than doubling the amount of extramural funding generated from 1992 to 1999. In 1992, ULM's total dollar amount for funded proposals was a very respectable $4.8 million. In 1999, the total dollar amount for funded proposals at ULM was over $10.3 million."

ULM now has nine $1 million Endowed Chairs, eight provided by the Regents Support Fund, and 38 Endowed Professorships. The Board of Regents presented ULM with $160,000 for the four new Endowed Professorships.

The new Endowed Professorships include the Entergy Professorship in Instructional Technology in Teacher Education, the Mary Ellen Walker Professorship in Early Childhood Education, the Kitty DeGree Endowed Professorship in Computer Information Systems and the Endowed Professorship in Electrical/Mechanical School of Construction.

Entergy's Professorship in Instructional Technology is designed to help support highly qualified professionals in the area of teacher education who are also skilled in instructional technology applications. ULM's leadership in the use of instructional technology for teachers has been cited by the International Society for Technology in Education as being among the top five percent in the nation.

Former ULM President George T. Walker and his wife Mary Ellen established the Endowed Professorship in Early Childhood Education this past March. The professorship began as a scholarship that the Walkers endowed several years ago and it exemplifies Mrs. Walker's love of children. She served as a second grade teacher prior to her marriage to Dr. Walker who was the ULM President for 17 1/2 years.

In the rapidly changing world of Computer Information Systems, the Kitty DeGree Endowed Professorship will provide funding for professional development to keep pace with the many new developments in the field. It will also allow ULM to continue to meet the needs of the students and community in a discipline that has seen enrollment figures more than double at ULM over the last four years.

In recognition of ULM's outstanding School of Construction, the first one in the natiuon to receive accrediation, the Contractors Educational Trust Fund established the Endowed Professorship in Construction. This Professorship will further enhance the program in the areas of Mechanical and Electrical Specialties.

"Our gratitude includes a realm of acknowledgement of the perceived value by the Board of Regents and extends the circle of opportunity for our outstanding faculty and hundreds, perhaps thousands of students," said Dr. Thomas Rakes, ULM's Interim Provost.

These four professorships are among the 11 new Endowed Chairs and 74 new Endowed Professorships which are being added to public and private colleges and universities statewide. More than $8.76 million will be distributed. At University of Louisiana System schools, 29 new professorships are being created this year, brining the total to 301, or more than 10 times the number that existed in 1991.

"Our students are more likely to excel in their studies when our universities provide excellent instruction and research opportunities," ULS President Bobby Jindal said. "These private gifts provide perpetual funding that significantly leverage and multiply the effectiveness of dedicated state funds to give the universities the edge they need to compete nationally by attracting and keeping the best professors and researchers."

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