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February 17, 2005

Four Living ULM Presidents to be Honored at Celebration

The University of Louisiana at Monroe will celebrate its history and future at an event called, "Presidential Perspective: A View from the Top." Three past presidents of the university and the current ULM President will be showcased at the event.

A reception to kick-off the event begins in the lobby of Brown Auditorium at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, February 28. The program begins at 6 p.m.

President Cofer would like to extend an invitation to everyone at ULM, including faculty, staff and students and members of the community. He said, "It is unique and very special to bring together four presidents who span over half a century of leadership at ULM. This is a rare opportunity and I am honored to join them on stage as we reminisce about ULM's past and discuss the contributions each of them have made to this great institution. Their legacy is written. Mine, on the other hand, is unfolding. This is a special celebration and I hope everyone makes a point to attend."

The event will be held in observance of ULM's 75th anniversary, which will be reached in 2006. The ULM Foundation, Hibernia Bank, the Student Government Association and the Campus Activity Board are all sponsors.

Each of the living presidents, Dr. George T. Walker, Dr. Dwight Vines, Lawson Swearingen and Dr. James E. Cofer, Sr., will speak about their experiences and service at the university.

Dr. George T. Walker was president of the then Northeast Louisiana State College from July 1, 1958-December 31, 1975. Walker was born in Jonesboro, Louisiana, in 1913. He earned a bachelor's degree from Northwestern State University in 1935, a master's degree in accounting and business administration from LSU in 1936, and a PhD. in business administration from LSU in 1948. From 1935 to 1940, Walker taught commerce at several universities in Louisiana, including the Northeast Center of LSU in Monroe. From 1945 to 1948, Walker served as assistant to the dean of the Junior Division, Louisiana State University. In 1948, he was named dean of applied arts and sciences at Northwestern State College and was later named dean of administration. Walker assumed the presidency of Northeast Louisiana State College in 1958.

Dr. Dwight D. Vines was president of the then Northeast Louisiana University from January 1, 1976-June 30, 1991. Vines was born in Jackson Parish in 1931. He earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern State University, his M.B.A. from LSU and his Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Colorado. He joined the faculty at Northeast Louisiana University in 1958 as an instructor of management, and advanced through the academic ranks to professor. In addition, he served as dean of the College of Business Administration for nine years before being named president of NLU.

Mr. Lawson L. Swearingen, Jr. was president of the then Northeast Louisiana University from July 1, 1991-December 31, 2001. Swearingen, was born in Ruston, Louisiana, in 1944. He received his bachelor's degree in government from NLU in 1966 and earned his Juris Doctorate from Tulane Law School in 1969. Swearingen practiced law in Monroe for 22 years, which included 11 years of service as a state senator in the Louisiana legislature. In 1991, he was tapped to serve as president of NLU. During his administration the name of the university was changed to The University of Louisiana at Monroe.

Dr. James E. Cofer, Sr., current President of the University of Louisiana at Monroe became president in April 2002. Cofer was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1949. He received his bachelor's degree in business administration and his M.B.A. from Mississippi State University. He earned an Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1998. Prior to assuming his position at ULM, Cofer served as the Vice President of Finance and Administration with the University of Missouri System and the University of Arkansas System. In 1995 as an Eisenhower Exchange Fellow, Cofer worked in conjunction with the Ministry of Education and Culture in Budapest, Hungary. He has also served as the chief fiscal officer for the State of Mississippi and the University System of Georgia. He is the author of numerous scholarly publications.

Commemorating each administration's legacy, oil paintings of each of the past presidents will hang on the seventh floor of the ULM library in the future. Visitors at the event's reception will see the unveiling of the first painting.

A private gala for ULM Associates (those who gave $1000 or more to ULM during 2004) will begin at 7 p.m. in Brown Gym following the presidential event.

For this and other ULM news online visit While there, check out ULM's on-line calendar for all of ULM's upcoming events.

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