The UL Lafayette Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. Established in 1957, the Foundation holds more than $200 million in assets (including endowments of $174 million). During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the Foundation provided $15.2 million in support to the University. The organization currently manages more than 1,800 scholarships and faculty and general support accounts, each of which work to carry out the mission of providing UL Lafayette students with a world-class education.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Foundation was established under University President Joel Fletcher in 1957 to develop a means of generating private funds for the purpose of supplementing programs and salaries not funded by the state. The Foundation also protects donations intended for UL Lafayette from reverting to the state's general fund.
Since its inception, the Foundation has operated under a volunteer Board of Trustees. In the early years, community leaders were invited to join the Foundation for $100 annually. M.L "Tigue" Moore served as the first director and was employed part-time to maintain the Foundation's accounting records.
The first major Foundation project was started by Mr. Maurice Heymann, a UL Lafayette Foundation Trustee and one of the wealthiest entrepreneurs in Lafayette. Heymann donated a tract of land, located at 101 Girard Park Drive, to the Foundation. A special campaign encouraged prospective donors to "buy a brick" from the old Martin Hall, the University's administrative building, which was destroyed by fire in 1964. The money raised, as well as the old bricks, were used in 1968 to build a distinctive, plantation-style structure designed by legendary Louisiana architect, A. Hays Town. The building, later gifted to the Hilliard Art Museum, still stands today.
In 1979, Moore resigned and Executive Director Nancy J. Richard was hired. In 1981, the UL Lafayette Foundation began a five-year capital campaign to raise a $10 million endowment for UL Lafayette. Spearheaded by foundation trustee and prominent Lafayette oilman Alfred Lamson, the campaign was successful, and a new Foundation began to emerge.
In 1987, the University secured two endowed chairs through matching grants from a federally assisted endowed matching fund program. In 1989, the Louisiana Board of Regents began a program to match donations for endowed professorships and chairs. In 2014, graduate-level scholarships were added to the matching program. Currently, chairs and scholarships receive 60 percent in private contributions and are matched by 40 percent by the state. Professorships receive 80 percent privately and are matched 20 percent by the state.
In 1999, Julie Bolton Falgout, Ph.D., was appointed Executive Director and later, President and CEO of the UL Lafayette Foundation. In the nearly two decades she served the Foundation, it grew from $36 million in assets to more than $200 million. Falgout retired from the Foundation in 2018.
The Foundation maintains its proud tradition of conducting fiduciary responsibilities for the advancement of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In recent history, the Foundation completed the $8.5 million financing and construction of the Hilliard Art Museum. The organization also secured more than $2 million in donor contributions to allow for the construction of the Foundation building and several new properties for the future growth of the University.
We continue to serve the University by generating funds as well as recognizing esteemed faculty and our generous donors. Every spring, UL Lafayette Foundation hosts the Eminent Faculty Awards to honor the outstanding men and women serving the student body and the community as a whole. More than 200 faculty members have been recognized. In the fall, we celebrate those that give and dedicate so much to the advancement of the University with our Distinguished Donors ceremony.
Currently, Chief Executive Officer John I. Blohm heads the Foundation. The Foundation has approximately 200 Honor Roll members which support the Foundation as it strives to reach its goal of becoming self-sustaining through the general operating fund endowment. The 26-member Board of Trustees includes the University President as well as prominent local business and community leaders.
The goal of the UL Lafayette Foundation is to be one of the premier organizations working in support of higher education. The Foundation and its staff are proud to be a part of this great University it serves.