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Combining higher education and music through bequest

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Through their planned giving, Dr. Leonard and Debbie Springer are helping students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette achieve their dreams. In June 2019, the Springers established the Springer Endowed Scholarship to benefit music students. According to Dr. Springer, he was inspired to establish the gift when one of his students won the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award. The Presser Award is granted to a student studying music at the end of his or her junior year, and the student is selected by the music faculty based on excellence and merit.

“She was able to accept a music internship in Nashville and do things that she wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise to advance her career,” Dr. Springer said. “I thought that was a great way to award students not only for their talent, but for their dedication and hard work and to have an impact on their lives.”

Dr. Springer earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from Indiana, his master’s in higher education from Vanderbilt and his Ph.D. in higher education from Penn State. He pursued his passion for music as a performer in North America, Europe and Asia during the 1980s and 1990s, and then looked for a way to combine his careers in music and higher education. He was able to achieve that goal when he was hired as an adjunct professor for UL Lafayette’s School of Music and Performing Arts in 2014.

“I love what I’m doing now because I get to use my background in higher ed and music to work closely with students who have similar interests,” Dr. Springer said. “It’s been rewarding to help them toward their goals.”

Mrs. Springer earned her bachelor’s degree in business communication from UL Lafayette in 1980. She credits her time as a student at the University, especially her business letter writing and management and labor relations courses, for helping her stand out among her peers at her first job and to manage her company, Audubon Energy. Audubon Energy has employed seven paid undergraduate interns from the University’s Professional Land and Resource Management Program and sponsors the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration Dining Etiquette Dinner. Mrs. Springer explained that the program teaches college students how to make a good impression if they have a meal during the interview process.

The scholarship planned gift was made through a bequest from the Springers’ estate because the couple feels strongly about creating a legacy that will support the University.

“In the last 10 years, UL Lafayette has had a reduction in state funding by 40%,” Mrs. Springer said. “We, the hometown people, really need to embrace and sustain our University.”