University of Louisiana at Lafayette

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University of Louisiana at Lafayette
l'Université des Acadiens
UL Lafayette seal
Former names
Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute
Southwestern Louisiana Institute of Liberal and Technical Learning
University of Southwestern Louisiana
Motto Fortiter, Feliciter, Fideliter
Motto in English
Boldly, Happily, Faithfully
Established 1898
Type Public
Endowment $112,265,103
President E. Joseph Savoie
Academic staff
Students 17,508[1]
Undergraduates 15,870[1]
Postgraduates 1,638[1]
Location Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.
Campus Urban
1,227 acres (4.97 km2)
Colors Vermilion and Evangeline White[2]
Athletics NCAA Division I FBSSun Belt
Nickname Ragin' Cajuns
Mascot Cayenne
Affiliations UL System
UL Lafayette academic logo.png

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette, or UL 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).[3]
  • 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.[4]
  • 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).[5]
  • 1960 – SLI became the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL).
  • 1974 — The College of Sciences was officially formed.
  • 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.[6][7][8]
  • 1997 – University's privately held assets reach $75 million.[9]
  • 1999 – USL was renamed the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (UL Lafayette).[10][11]

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).[18] UL Lafayette reported $51 million in external research funding from state, federal, private and self-generated funds for 2008.[19] 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.[20] In 2012, it became the first Louisiana university designated as an NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center.[21]

New Iberia Research Center[edit]

UL Lafayette's New Iberia Research Center in New Iberia, LA conducts basic and applied research on several species of nonhuman primates including Macaques, Grivets, Capuchins and Chimpanzees.[22] Founded in 1984, the center now houses over 7,000 monkeys used for breeding and studies.[23][24] The center is also a contract breeding and testing facility, selling animals to other laboratories and conducting experiments under contract with other parties.[25] New Iberia is one of only 7 U.S. laboratories housing chimpanzees.[26]

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. Inspectors also found that some monkeys were not kept in sanitary conditions and that the university attempted to conceal its prior animal welfare problems. The center faces up to $60,000 in fines as a result of the alleged violations.[27] In the past decade, the center has paid $58,633 in fines for successive AWA violations.[27]

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.[28] The footage was broadcast on ABC's Nightline in 2009.[28]

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.[29] The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Honors Program is an active member of the Louisiana, Southern Regional, and National Honors Councils.[30] The university graduates about 1,200 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[31] 572
U.S. News & World Report[32] Tier 2
Washington Monthly[33] 172

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 Press has been publishing since 1973 and previously imprinted under the Center for Louisiana Studies prior to 2009.[40] 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.[40]


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.[41]


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[42] 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 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.


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.[43]

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.[44][45]

Greek life

University of Louisiana at Lafayette has several social, Greek-letter fraternities and sororities that date back to 1920.[46]


Cajundome is the home of Louisiana–Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns basketball.

The Louisiana–Lafayette (often referred to as 'Louisiana' or 'Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns') Ragin Cajuns 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.[47] 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 Louisiana–Lafayette football team became the first in college football bowl history to win the same bowl game in four straight seasons.[48]

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 University, 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 (Pittsburgh Steelers), Charles Tillman (Chicago Bears) 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 Cy Young Award.

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. ^ a b c "Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Summary". Louisiana Board of Regents. September 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Academics 1902-03". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Name Changes & Presidents". UL Lafayette Institutional Research. Retrieved September 14, 2012. 
  6. ^ Hurt, Cecil (September 24, 1984). "Tide foe has an identity crisis". Tuscaloosa News. Retrieved 25 June 2012. 
  7. ^ "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."
  8. ^"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."
  9. ^
  10. ^ University History: General
  11. ^ Proper use of the University's Name by UL Lafayette webpage
  12. ^ "UL Lafayette: Public Relations: News Release: 2004: #259". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "ACM Student Chapter Manual: Part 2". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  14. ^ Center for Advanced Computer Studies (CACS)
  15. ^ Council for the Development of French in Louisiana (CODOFIL) Louisiana's French History
  16. ^ CAPE-1 Launch in chronology to others
  17. ^ "Newsmaker of the Year". Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  18. ^ "Page not found". Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  19. ^ UL Lafayette's Impact in 2008
  20. ^ UL Lafayette Among Top 100 Public Research Universities in the Nation - March 24, 2010
  21. ^ University of Louisiana at Lafayette and Drexel University Establish National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center - Feb. 8, 2012
  22. ^ "Availability of Species". New Iberia Research Center. University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  23. ^ "History". New Iberia Research Center. University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "University of Louisiana at Lafayette Annual Report". Animal Care Information System Search Tool. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Animal Procurement". New Iberia Research Center. University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "Where Are Our Amazing Chimpanzees in the United States". ChimpCare. Lincoln Park Zoo. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  27. ^ a b Burgess, Richard (21 April 2015). "USDA files complaint over primate treatment at New Iberia facility". The Advocate. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  28. ^ 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. 
  29. ^ "Southern Association of Colleges and Schools - Southern Association of Colleges and Schools". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  30. ^ "University Honors Program". University Honors Program. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  31. ^ "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. Retrieved August 15, 2015. 
  32. ^ "Best Colleges". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved September 10, 2015. 
  33. ^ "2015 National Universities Rankings". Washington Monthly. n.d. Retrieved September 17, 2015. 
  34. ^ "The Best Colleges". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  35. ^ "2014 National Universities Rankings - Washington Monthly". The Washington Monthly. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  36. ^ "Business School Rankings". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  37. ^ U.S. News & World Report
  38. ^ "2014 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  39. ^ Research funding in NSF top 10 for business share - September 30, 2013
  40. ^ a b "Center for Louisiana Studies". Center for Louisiana Studies. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  41. ^ Windsor, Amy. "Social Media Strategist - UL Lafayette". UL Lafayette. Retrieved 24 March 2015. 
  42. ^ "BeauSoleil Home : Welcome Home". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  43. ^
  44. ^ "The Vermilion". The Vermilion. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  45. ^ "The Vermilion". The Vermilion. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  46. ^ "". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  47. ^ "Overall Introduction - Louisiana's Ragin Cajuns Athletic Network". Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  48. ^ "Ragin Cajuns Athletics - Total Effort Helps Cajuns Stuff Nevada In R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl". Ragin' Cajuns Athletics. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 

External links[edit]

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