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October 29, 2010

ULM Alumni Association bestows highest honor on Robert Earle

Perhaps no one is a bigger fan of ULM alum Robert Earle than his wife and fellow alum, Bobbye Earle, who also happens to be president-elect of the ULM Alumni Association Board of Directors.

But when Earle notified his wife that he would be this year’s recipient of The Golden Arrow Award, the highest honor the ULM Alumni Association bestows each year, Bobbye insisted it couldn’t be true.

“Oh I think he deserved it, most certainly. I was just thinking I would have known about it already,” she explained, with a laugh.
“He has worked so hard for ULM for so many years,” Bobbye said of her husband. “He tries to help everybody. The university has lots of great supporters; he just happens to be one of them.”

The ULM Alumni Association established the award in 1981 to recognize alumni who serve the association and the university with distinction. Robert Earle fits that bill perfectly, according to ULM Associate Director of Alumni Relations Tommy Walpole.

“He and Bobbye have both been very active and very involved with ULM for as long as I can remember,” he said.

“Robert has served on the board multiple times and always acts as host of the Union/Lincoln Parish golf tournaments to help raise money for the university. There are just so many things he has done through the years, it’s hard to name them all,” said Walpole. “He is certainly worthy of the award.”

Robert and Bobbye Earle, who met on the ULM campus, have been married 51 years and have two grown children, Angel Earle Lyles and Chuck Earle. Their granddaughter, Leslie, is about to graduate from ULM’s School of Nursing and another granddaughter, Lynden, is a sophomore business major at ULM. Two other family members who are both also ULM graduates are Robert Earle’s sister and brother-in–law, Jean and Bob Tatum.
In an exciting twist to this year’s homecoming presentation of the Golden Arrow Award, another one of the Earle’s granddaughters, Lauren, 21, who is studying at the Boston Conservatory and is already renowned as an accomplished mezzo soprano opera performer, will sing the National Anthem.
The Earles were instrumental in recently endowing a scholarship at ULM in honor of Howard Hicks for his 50-plus years of service to the Union Parish School System and life-long support of ULM. The scholarship provides college funding for deserving Union Parish students.
Robert Earle, who graduated in 1960 with a bachelor of science in health and physical education, first showed dedication to his alma mater through his stellar performances on the football and track field, lettering in both.

Earle said one of his greatest memories was competing with top-notch athletes, including the Styron twins, Don and Dave, who established world records in track while at ULM. Don Styron’s track record still stands and the NFL drafted some of Earle’s football teammates.
“Being around those kinds of athletes was very inspirational,” said Earle. “There are a lot of teammates I still keep in touch with today, and my sister married one of them, so naturally we’ve kept in touch!”

A member of the ULM L Club and former president on the ULM Athletic Foundation, Earle has also been the recipient of the J.H. "Slim" Scogin Exemplary Service Award, established in 1985 and awarded to an individual who has demonstrated lengthy and exemplary service to ULM Athletics and the ULM Athletic Foundation.

George Luffey, a 2008 recipient of ULM’s George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, coached Earle and his friend Jim Ladadio. Earle was himself a coach for 16 years.

Earle earned his Master’s in Education from Mississippi College and later received a Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law School. He practices law at The Earle Law Firm in Farmerville.

Currently, Earle serves on the FCA Board of Directors, Ruston Region, and is President of the Union Parish ULM Alumni Chapter. Earle and his wife are members of the Farmerville United Methodist Church and are active in numerous other civic organizations. Robert Earle is also a member of the Farmerville Lions Club where he has served as treasurer and president.

A lot has changed across the ULM campus since Robert Earle first met Bobbye, but neither one’s enthusiasm for the university and its mission has diminished.
“The appearance of the campus is completely different. There was nothing across the bayou when we were there, and the pharmacy school was just getting started,” he said. “People can’t imagine the good things that have happened, and continue to happen, at ULM. I’m very excited about how far we’ve come.”

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