University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette
University of Louisiana at Lafayette seal.svg
Former names
Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (1898–1921)
Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning (1921–1960)
University of Southwestern Louisiana (1960–1999)
Motto Fortiter, Feliciter, Fideliter
Motto in English
Boldly, Happily, Faithfully
Type Public
Established July 14, 1898[1]
Endowment $178.3 million[2]
President E. Joseph Savoie
Academic staff
Students 17,519[3]
Undergraduates 15,998[3]
Postgraduates 1,521[3]
Location Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.
Campus Urban
1,227 acres (4.97 km2)
Colors Vermilion and Evangeline White[4]
Athletics NCAA Division I FBSSun Belt
Nickname Ragin' Cajuns
Affiliations UL System
University of Louisiana at Lafayette logo.svg

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette, ULL, or UL) is a coeducational, public, research university 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. As a nod to the Acadian French heritage of many of its students, the school sometimes uses the alternate name l'Université des Acadiens.

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. UL Lafayette evolved into a national research university as noted by its Carnegie R2 categorization as a "Doctoral University: Higher Research Activity." It offers Louisiana's only Ph.D. in francophone studies, Louisiana's only master's of informatics, 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 live oaks planted on the campus.


  • 1898 – State legislation passed allowing for creation of Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLII).[5]
  • 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.[6]
  • 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).[7]
  • 1960 – SLI became the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL).
  • 1974 — The College of Sciences was officially formed.
  • 1984 – Following approval from the Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities (now UL System), USL officially changed its name to the University of Louisiana, which was overturned less than a month later by an act of the state legislature, although two schools had previously changed their names using the same technique without outside interference.[8][9][10]
  • 1997 – University's privately held assets reach $75 million.[11]
  • 1999 – USL was renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette).[12][13]

Notable firsts[edit]

  • 1954 – Within months of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, SLI admitted 70 African-American students, becoming the first all-white public college in the Deep South to desegregate.[14]
  • 1961 – Established the first university chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) for students. It is named the ACM Alpha Student Chapter[15]
  • 1962 – Offered the first master of science degree in computer science in the U.S.[16]
  • 1994 – Created North America's first francophone studies Ph.D. program.[17]
  • 2007 – The Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment (CAPE) successfully launches the State of Louisiana's first university student built satellite.[18]
  • 2008 – Ray Paul Authement, the university president from 1974 to 2008, became the longest serving president of a public university in the United States.[19]
  • 2012 – Became the first Louisiana university designated as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.[20]
  • 2017 – Louisiana Approved to offer the first master's degree in informatics in the state of Louisiana, beginning Spring 2018.[21]


The university is a member of the Southeastern Universities Research Association and is categorized as a Carnegie Doctoral University: Higher Research Activity.[22] UL Lafayette reported $77.3 million in total research spending in 2015[23].[24] The university receives more research money than all of the other ULS schools combined, and is 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.[25] In 2012, it became the first Louisiana university designated as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.[26] The Center for Visual and Decision Informatics is the only NSF Center in the nation that focuses on data science, big data analytics, and visual analytics.[27]

New Iberia Research Center[edit]

UL Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center in New Iberia conducts basic and applied research on several species of nonhuman primates including macaques, grivets, capuchins and chimpanzees.[28] Founded in 1984, the center now houses over 6,500 monkeys used for breeding and studies.[29][30] The center is also a contract breeding and testing facility, selling animals to other laboratories and conducting experiments under contract with other parties.[31]

In 2008, the Humane Society of the United States conducted an undercover investigation in the center which found monkeys being shot with sedation guns while in their cages, one monkey repeatedly hit by a worker in the teeth with a metal pole and another worker striking an infant monkey among other apparent AWA violations.[32] The footage was broadcast on ABC's Nightline in 2009.[32] In 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture cited the center for six potential violations of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) which the government alleges lead to the death of one monkey, injuries to another and the escape of five from their enclosure.[33] In the past decade, the center has paid $58,633 in fines for successive AWA violations.[33]

In 2016, Project Chimps, a nonprofit organization, announced a partnership with NIRC to relocate 220 of the university's retired research chimpanzees to a sanctuary in northern Georgia.[34]

Academic profile[edit]

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

UL Lafayette is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All undergraduate programs at UL Lafayette that are eligible for accreditation by professional agencies are accredited.[35] The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Honors Program is an active member of the Louisiana, Southern Regional, and National Honors Councils.[36] The university graduates about 1,700 students each fall and spring.

The university offers more than 80 undergraduate degree programs, 26 master's degree programs, and 9 Doctor of Philosophy programs, which include applied language and speech sciences, biology, computer engineering, computer science, educational leadership, English, francophone studies, mathematics, and systems engineering.


University rankings
Forbes[37] 529
U.S. News & World Report[38] Tier 2
Washington Monthly[39] 189

Academic achievements[edit]

University press

University of Louisiana at Lafayette Press is the largest academic publisher of Louisiana-related works and the second-largest academic publisher overall in the state. UL Lafayette Press has been publishing since 1973 and previously imprinted under the Center for Louisiana Studies prior to 2009.[47] 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 UL Lafayette 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.[47]


In 2004, UL Lafayette 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 UL Lafayette 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. A second satellite, the CAPE-2, was launched into space on the Minotaur 1 rocket in November 2013. The CAPE-2 CubeSat weighed about 2 pounds, had deployable solar panels, and could convert speech to text, tweet messages and send emails.[48]


In January 2008, UL Lafayette's School of Architecture and Design was selected to participate in the 2009 Solar Decathlon. The entry of the Louisiana at Lafayette Solar Home named Beau Soleil[49] took first place in market viability and was awarded the "People's Choice".

Marais Press

Marais Press[50] began in the early 1990s. The first project was a book featuring the work of the late Elemore Morgan Jr.,[51][better source needed] a Louisiana artist who taught at the University and received international acclaim for his work as a painter and photographer. More than 200 visiting artists from around the world participate for about a week residency to work on their projects at Marais Press, a teaching and research hub. Artists help train and mentor students, who get hands-on experience making lithographs, woodcuts, silkscreen, and etchings."The artists collaborate with students, who actually mix ink, print paper, the whole deal,” said Brian Kelly,[52] an artist, holds the University's Coca-Cola/BORSF Endowed Professorship and is a UL Lafayette Distinguished Professor in the Department of Visual Arts serves as Head of the Printmaking program and is Coordinator of Marais Press. Marais Press is a separate entity from the UL Press, the publishing arm of UL Lafayette’s Center for Louisiana Studies.

Student life[edit]

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

UL Lafayette's students represent fifty-three states and possessions. More than 700 come from outside the United States. A majority of international students pursue master's degrees in petroleum engineering and computer science. There are over 200 student organizations.[53]


Student organizations
  • Student Government Association
  • The Graduate Council
Academic national organizations
Vermilion Newspaper

UL Lafayette 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 Vermilion has earned many SPJ journalist awards for published work since its inception.[54]

The Vermilion has changed formats many times in its inception, ranging from a magazine cover and layout, to a traditional newspaper format to online. 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.[55][56]

Greek life

University of Louisiana at Lafayette has several social, Greek-letter fraternities and sororities that date back to 1920.[57]


Cajundome is the home of Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns basketball.

The Louisiana Ragin' Cajun teams participate in NCAA Division I (I FBS for football) in the Sun Belt Conference. The 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.[58] 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.

In 2014, the Cajuns became the first in college football bowl history to win the same bowl game in four straight seasons.[59] However, the university vacated all of its 2011 wins, including the New Orleans Bowl, two years later when the NCAA sanctioned the university because an assistant football coach conspired to "obtain fraudulent entrance exam scores" for five recruits from 2011 until 2013.[60] The university dismissed the coach in 2014 and sued the testing company in 2016 for failing to adequately supervise their staff and testing procedures. The NCAA accepted the university's self-imposed penalties including a two-year probation, a small fine, a small reduction in football scholarships, and recruiting restrictions.[61]

Notable people[edit]

UL Lafayette Alumni Center

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is home to many alumni who have held posts as business leaders, government officials, military officers, 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 and Frank Ocean, Grammy award-winning singer, songwriter, and rapper, briefly a student after Katrina drove him out of New Orleans; 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.

Saad Khan from Mumbai, India, is a film director, screenwriter, acting teacher, founder and creative head of Centerstage. He was selected as one of the outstanding alumni of 2015 of the Department of Communication.

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.

Distinguished faculty members have included 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 (retired), Charles Tillman (retired) and Richie Cunningham (retired). Two alumni were inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame: Chris Cagle and Weldon Humble.

Baseball alumni who played in the Major Leagues include Ron Guidry, retired (New York Yankees), who won the 1978 American League Cy Young Award.

Basketball alumni who played in the National Basketball Association include Elfrid Payton.

Kim Perrot played for the Houston Comets, helping them to win two WNBA championships. Other alumni include Olympic track & field medalist Hollis Conway and world-title trampolinist Leigh Hennessy, who holds the record for winning the most US national championships for women.


  1. ^ "The University (history)". 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c "Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Summary". Louisiana Board of Regents. September 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-19. 
  4. ^ "University of Louisiana at Lafayette Brand Guide and Graphic Standards Manual" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on June 10, 2008. Retrieved October 21, 2008. 
  6. ^ "Academics 1902-03". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  7. ^ "Name Changes & Presidents". UL Lafayette Institutional Research. Archived from the original on January 27, 2013. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  8. ^ Hurt, Cecil (September 24, 1984). "Tide foe has an identity crisis". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "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."
  10. ^"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."
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 11, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010. 
  12. ^ University History: General Archived June 10, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ Proper use of the University's Name by UL Lafayette webpage Archived August 31, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  14. ^ "UL Lafayette: Public Relations: News Release: 2004: #259". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "ACM Student Chapter Manual: Part 2". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  16. ^ "CACS Website Redirect". Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  17. ^ "CODOFIL - Council for the Development of French in Louisiana". Retrieved 15 June 2016. 
  18. ^ CAPE-1 Launch in chronology to others Archived January 18, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "Newsmaker of the Year". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  20. ^ "History of Informatics Research Institute". Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  21. ^ "UL Lafayette launches state's first informatics master's degree". Retrieved May 30, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Page not found". Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  23. ^ "Impact". University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 2013-01-31. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
  24. ^ UL Lafayette's Impact in 2008 Archived July 27, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  25. ^ UL Lafayette Among Top 100 Public Research Universities in the Nation - March 24, 2010 Archived July 26, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on February 10, 2012. Retrieved February 14, 2012.  University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Drexel University Establish National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center - Feb. 8, 2012
  27. ^ "CVDI solidifies lead in big data with additional NSF funding". University of Louisiana at Lafayette. 2017-03-29. Retrieved 2017-10-23. 
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  30. ^ "University of Louisiana at Lafayette Annual Report". Animal Care Information System Search Tool. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  31. ^ "Animal Procurement". New Iberia Research Center. University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  32. ^ a b Fletcher, Lisa; Ghadishah, Arash (4 March 2015). "EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Employees Claim 'Horrific' Treatment of Primates at Lab". ABC News. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  33. ^ a b Burgess, Richard (21 April 2015). "USDA files complaint over primate treatment at New Iberia facility". The Advocate. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  34. ^ "Retired Chimps". 
  35. ^ "Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Southern Association of Colleges and Schools". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "University Honors Program". University Honors Program. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
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  38. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  39. ^ "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
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  42. ^ "Business School Rankings". Retrieved 2 February 2016. 
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  44. ^ "2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll". Archived from the original on 30 December 2014. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
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  46. ^ "2016 Green Ribbon Schools". U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved 19 September 2016. 
  47. ^ a b "Center for Louisiana Studies". Center for Louisiana Studies. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  48. ^ Windsor, Amy. "Social Media Strategist - UL Lafayette". UL Lafayette. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  49. ^ "BeauSoleil Home : Welcome Home". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  50. ^
  51. ^ Elemore Morgan Jr
  52. ^
  53. ^ "Alphabetical List of UL Lafayette Student Organizations". Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  54. ^ "Society of Professional Journalists | Mark of Excellence Awards". Retrieved 2016-06-15. 
  55. ^ "The Vermilion". The Vermilion. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  56. ^ "The Vermilion". The Vermilion. Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  57. ^ "UL Lafayette Greek Life". Retrieved 2017-05-30. 
  58. ^ "Overall Introduction - Louisiana's Ragin Cajuns Athletic Network". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  59. ^ "Ragin Cajuns Athletics - Total Effort Helps Cajuns Stuff Nevada In R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl". Ragin' Cajuns Athletics. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  60. ^ NCAA (January 12, 2016). "UNIVERSITY OF LOUISIANA AT LAFAYETTE PUBLIC INFRACTIONS DECISION" (PDF). Retrieved January 13, 2016. 
  61. ^ Doug Lederman (January 13, 2016). "NCAA punishes Louisiana-Lafayette over test fraud, and university sues ACT". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved January 13, 2016. 

External links[edit]

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