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December 29, 2000

ULM enjoys many successes in 2000

In a year when the University of Louisiana at Monroe moved to the top in the state of Louisiana for nationally accredited programs and a former ULM baseball player led the United States to Olympic Gold, 2000 was a year that once again showed ULM's ability to be a leader throughout the region and the country.

ULM's accreditation rate for programs eligible for national accrediation topped 98 percent, making the University first among the state's colleges and universities in accreditation. In figures released in August, ULM was one of only two system schools to top 96.8 percent in accredited programs.

Extramural funding attained by the faculty exceeded $10 million for the first time, representing a 62 percent increase over the previous reporting year. The sources of support have been expanded over previous reporting intervals to include new state, private foundation and corporate partners.

Also being unveiled in the spring was ULM's new $600,000 agriculture flight simulator, one of only two of its kind in the nation. The new flight simulator will be located in the new $8 million Airway Sciences/Computer Science Building which began construction in January and is slated for opening in summer, 2001.

This fall, ULM's Atmospheric Sciences Program finished first in the nation in forecasting at the National Collegiate Weather Forecasting Contests. ULM's Atmospheric Sciences Program is located within the Department of Geosciences in the College of Pure and Applied Sciences and is the only such program in the state and has been selected as a unique area of excellence in the University of Louisiana System.

The University also led the way in north Louisiana by becoming the third system member and the first in north Louisiana to become part of the Teacher Warranty Program. ULM reached an agreement in March with 13 northeast Louisiana school systems guaranteeing the quality of teachers who complete their undergraduate teacher education degree program at ULM.

Former University President Dr. George T. Walker and his wife Mary Ellen established the Mary Ellen Walker Endowed Professorship in Early Childhood Education taking ULM's number of $100,000 Endowed Professorships to 39 and ULM also boasts nine $1 million Endowed Chairs.

Success continued for the ULM Annual Fund which again broke records and topped the previous year's pledges by an impressive 16 percent. The Annual Fund, which is ULM's core development program to advance academic excellence, received $1,226,940 in pledges under the leadership of chairman Tom Nicholson.

ULM's landscape also showed continued improvement thanks in large part to the continued support of local benefactors. The plaza and fountain for the University Library, a $700,000-plus project made possible by a gift from the Scott Foundation honoring the Thomas H. and Mayme P. Scott family, was completed in the late spring.

The University also continued its successes on the baseball field and in water skiing. The Indian baseball team earned another Southland Conference title and advanced to the Regional Finals of the NCAA Tournament before losing to eventual national champion LSU. The ULM water ski team won its 16th national championship and second in a row, easily outdistancing the field at this fall's national competition.

However, ULM's greatest success on the athletic field came on the world stage of the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia, where Ben Sheets, a former Indian pitcher, led the Americans to the Gold Medal. Sheets fired a four-hit complete game shutout to lead Team USA to a 4-0 victory over the powerful Cuban team in the Gold Medal game and instantly became a national success story. Sheets was featured on all the national morning television shows and has appeared in numerous national publications since his Olympic stardom which included a 0.45 earned run average in three Olympic games.

Other successes for ULM included:

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