University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette
l'Université des Acadiens
UL Lafayette seal
Motto Fortiter, Feliciter, Fideliter
Motto in English Boldly, Happily, Faithfully
Established 1898
Type Public
Endowment $112,265,103
President E. Joseph Savoie
Academic staff 747
Students 18,796
Undergraduates 17,175
Postgraduates 1,621
Location Lafayette, Louisiana, USA
Campus Urban
1,227 acres (4.97 km2)
Former names Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (1898–1921)
Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning (1921–1960)
University of Southwestern Louisiana (1960–1999)

Vermilion and Evangeline White

Athletics NCAA Division ISBC
Nickname Ragin' Cajuns
Mascot Cayenne
Affiliations University of Louisiana System
UL Lafayette Logo

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a coeducational, public, research university located in Lafayette, in the U.S. state of Louisiana. It has the largest enrollment within the nine-campus University of Louisiana System and has the second largest enrollment in Louisiana.

Founded in 1898 as an industrial school, the institution developed into a four-year university during the twentieth century and became known by its present name in 1999. Concurrently the university evolved into a national research and doctoral university as noted by its Carnegie categorization as a RU/H: research university (high research activity). It offers Louisiana's only Ph.D. in francophone studies and Louisiana's only industrial design degree. The university has achieved several milestones in computer science, engineering and architecture. It is also home to a distinct College of the Arts.


One of the numerous "Century Oaks" planted on the campus in 1900.


  • 1898 – State legislation passed allowing for creation of Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLII).[1]
  • 1899 – Board of Trustees Establish and donation of 25 acres of land by Girard family.
  • 1900 – Construction began and Dr. Edwin Stephens named President.
  • 1901 – SLII opened September 18 with 100 students and eight faculty members.
  • 1903–18 students were the first to graduate from SLII in two separate ceremonies.[2]
  • 1920 – Began a four-year course culminating with a bachelor of arts degree.
  • 1921 – SLII was changed into the Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning (SLI).[3]
  • 1960 – SLI became the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL).
  • 1984 – USL attempted to change its name to the University of Louisiana, which only lasted less than a month until overturned by an act of the state legislature.[4][5][6]
  • 1997 – University's privately held assets reach $75 million.[7]
  • 1999 – USL was renamed the 'University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette).[8][9]

Notable firsts[edit]


The university is a member of the Southeastern Universities Research Association and is categorized as a Carnegie RU/H: Research University (high research activity).[16] UL reported $51 million in external research funding from state, federal, private and self-generated funds for 2008.[17] The university was rated one of the top 100 public research universities in the nation according to a 2010 report by The Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government.[18] In 2012, it became the first Louisiana university designated as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.[19]

Academic profile[edit]

The Burke-Hawthorne Building, named for Walter Burke and Doris Hawthorne, houses the ULL communications department.
Wharton Hall houses Biology and Nursing Departments, as well as television studio labs for the Communications Department at UL.
Broussard Hall, named for former U.S. Senator Robert F. Broussard, houses the physics department at ULL.

UL Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All undergraduate programs at ULL that are eligible for accreditation by professional agencies are accredited.[20] The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Honors Program is an active member of the Louisiana, Southern Regional, and National Honors Councils.[21] The university graduates about 1,100 students each fall and spring.

The university offers 78 undergraduate degree programs, 27 master's degree programs, and 8 Doctor of Philosophy programs, which include applied language and speech sciences, biology, computer engineering, computer science, educational leadership, English, francophone studies and mathematics.


University rankings
Forbes[22] 140
U.S. News & World Report[23] 207–222
Washington Monthly[24] 99

Academic achievements[edit]

University press

UL Press is the largest academic publisher of Louisiana-related works and the second-largest academic publisher overall in the state. The press has been publishing since 1973 and previously imprinted under the Center for Louisiana Studies prior to 2009.[31] The press is the only press for the UL system and publishes works beyond the nine-campuses.

Louisiana History

The journal Louisiana History is published quarterly through ULL by the Louisiana Historical Association. LHA was founded in New Orleans in 1889.

Louisiana Center for Cultural & Eco-Tourism

The center's research division houses the world's largest collection of Cajun and Creole folklore, oral history, and folklife materials and some of the nation's largest microfilm collections of French and Spanish colonial records.[32]


In 2004, ULL students and faculty produced CajunBot, one of 25 autonomous vehicles that competed in the U.S. Department of Defense 2004 & 2005 DARPA Grand Challenges as well as the 2007 DARPA Urban Challenge. CajunBot, which was featured on CNN and on the Discovery Channel science series Robocars, used artificial intelligence and GPS positioning to navigate a designated route while detecting and avoiding obstacles.


A group of ULL engineering students participating in the Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment (CAPE) built a small artificial satellite, known as a CubeSat, that was launched into orbit from the Republic of Kazakhstan in 2007.


In January 2008, The University of Louisiana at Lafayette's School of Architecture Design was selected to participate in the 2009 Solar Decathlon. The entry of the Louisiana at Lafayette Solar Home named Beau Soleil[33] took first place in market viability and was awarded the "People's Choice".

Student life[edit]

Our Lady of Wisdom Roman Catholic Church and Student Building adjacent to the UL's campus

University of Louisiana at Lafayette's students represent fifty-three states and possessions. More than seven hundred come from outside the United States. A majority of international students pursue Masters degrees in petroleum education and computer science.


Student Organizations:

  • Student Government Association
  • The Graduate Council

Academic National Organizations

Vermilion Newspaper
ULL publishes a weekly newspaper, established in 1904, named the Vermilion Newspaper . The newspaper is run by a student staff with faculty oversight and features local stories on music, art, business and campus events. The newspaper also works closely with the local newspaper The Lafayette Daily Advertiser concerning printing of the publication. The newspaper has a running tradition of publishing an April Fool's edition in which humorous and satirical stories are printed. The Vermilion has earned many SPJ journalist awards for published work since its inception.[34]

The Vermilion has changed formats many times in its inception, ranging from a magazine cover and layout, to a traditional newspaper format. It has also run various in-house projects chronicling the night life and cultural events in Lafayette in an attempt to connect students with the local culture.[35][36]

Greek life
University of Louisiana at Lafayette has several social, Greek-letter fraternities and sororities that date back to 1920.[37]


Cajundome is the home of Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns basketball.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayatte's sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (I FBS for football) in the Sun Belt Conference under the name of The University of Lousiana at Lafayette or UL Lafayette. Ragin' Cajuns compete in 16 NCAA sports teams (8 men's, 8 women's teams), including baseball, basketball (men's and women's), cross country (men's and women's), football, softball, women's soccer, women's volleyball, men's golf, tennis (men's and women's), and track and field (men's and women's, indoor and outdoor).

The athletic program formally began in 1904 with a track and field program.[38] In recent years, the softball team has been among the most successful of all Ragin' Cajun teams, having won nine regular season championships, nine conference tournament championships, and earning five appearances in the Women's College World Series. The baseball, men's tennis, men's basketball, and football teams have won conference championships.

Notable people[edit]

UL Lafayette Alumni Center

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is home to many alumni who have held posts as business bellwethers, government and military leaders, Olympic and professional athletes, artists and entertainers. For example, from literature: James Lee Burke, Pulitzer nominee, best known for his Dave Robicheaux series; from entertainment Marc Breaux, choreographer of movies such as Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang; from government: Kathleen Blanco, former Louisiana governor (2004–2008), John Breaux, former US senator (1987–2005), Paul Hardy, former Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana, Jefferson Caffery, former U.S. ambassador to El Salvador, Colombia, Cuba, Brazil, France, and Egypt.

Two military alumni Charles B. DeBellevue and Jefferson J. DeBlanc were recognized as flying aces; DeBlanc also was awarded the Medal of Honor. Captain Steven L. Bennett was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1974. Ace Charles B. DeBellevue and Medal of Honor recipient Steven L. Bennett were members of the ROTC program and both entered active duty with the Air Force after graduating in 1968.

Several distinguished faculty members have taught at the university, such as John Kennedy Toole, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Confederacy of Dunces, and Ernest J. Gaines, nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature and a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, Paul Prudhomme, American celebrity chef, Elemore Morgan, Jr., internationally known landscape painter, and Burton Raffel, poet noted for his translation of Cervantes's Don Quixote.

Several football alumni have played in the National Football League, including Jake Delhomme (retired), Brian Mitchell (retired), Brandon Stokley (retired), the late Minnesota Viking Orlando Thomas, Ike Taylor (Pittsburgh Steelers), Charles Tillman (Chicago Bears) and Richie Cunningham (retired). Several baseball alumni have played in the Major Leagues, including Ron Guidry, retired (New York Yankees), who won the Cy Young Award. Kim Perrot played for the Houston Comets, helping them to win two WNBA championships. Other alumni include Olympic track and field medalist Hollis Conway and world-title trampolinist Leigh Hennessy, who holds the record for winning the most US national championships for women. Two alumni were inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame: Chris Cagle and Weldon Humble.


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Name Changes & Presidents". UL Lafayette Institutional Research. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  4. ^ Hurt, Cecil (September 24, 1984). "Tide foe has an identity crisis". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  5. ^ "For a while in the 1980s, UL Lafayette literally made a name for itself, The University of Louisiana. A subsequent act of the Louisiana Legislature nullified that name change, but Authment persisted."
  6. ^"The university flirted briefly in 1984 with the idea of yet another name change. The Board of Trustees declared the school to be the University of Louisiana, but the Board of Regents soon reversed the move. It would be more than a decade before the name stuck."
  7. ^
  8. ^ University History: General
  9. ^ Proper use of the University's Name by UL Lafayette webpage
  10. ^ 50 Years Later: The Desegregation of SLI. Sept. 1, 2004
  11. ^ ACM Student Chapter Manual: Part 2
  12. ^ Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS)
  13. ^ Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) Louisiana's French History
  14. ^ CAPE-1 Launch in chronology to others
  15. ^ "Newsmaker of the Year". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  16. ^ Carnegie Classification listings
  17. ^ UL Lafayette's Impact in 2008
  18. ^ UL Among Top 100 Public Research Universities in the Nation - March 24, 2010
  19. ^ University of Louisiana and Drexel University Establish National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center - Feb. 8, 2012
  20. ^
  21. ^ UL Lafayette Honors Program
  22. ^ "America's Top Colleges". LLC™. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  23. ^ "Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved September 9, 2014. 
  24. ^ "About the Rankings". Washington Monthly. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  25. ^ 2014 Best 378 Colleges
  26. ^ Washington Monthly College Guide and Rankings 2012
  27. ^ 2014 Edition of The Best 295 Business Schools
  28. ^ U.S. News & World Report
  29. ^
  30. ^ Research funding in NSF top 10 for business share - September 30, 2013
  31. ^ Center for Louisiana Studies
  32. ^ Center for Louisiana Studies
  33. ^ Beau Soleil
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ UL Lafayette :: Greek Affairs
  38. ^ Overall Introduction - Louisiana's Ragin Cajuns Athletic Network

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 30°12′45″N 92°01′09″W / 30.2126°N 92.0193°W / 30.2126; -92.0193