Dr. Nunez gave an update on the school, noting it is celebrating 45 years and now has eight buildings, including the new media education/community education building. He noted budget cuts have affected the campus with a now 60/40 ratio of student/government monies coming in. He added that 70 percent of the student population receives some form of financial aid, mostly loans. He said the average student age is 23, with 25 percent of the population 26 or older. He also noted the campus is currently 74.5 female to 25.5 male and that students from 56 of the state’s 64 parishes attend school at LSUE. He then discussed several programs available to students, including the URSI program, which allows one on one student/faculty research time, and the Pathways program for students in need of support and assistance. Nunez also stated LSUE is a member of the OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) in order to contribute to the economic development of the are by bringing people into the community.
In September 2012, Landry had submitted a formal letter to the club detailing the long and important relationship between the LSUE campus and the Ville Platte Rotary Club, which began back in 1983, when Dr. Buller contacted Dr. Couvillion about the possibility of establishing a scholarship for Evangeline Parish students through the Ville Platte Rotary Club. In the letter, she also encourages people who are contemplating joining the Rotary Club to do so. The letter follows.
“In November 1983, Dr. John Couvillion, professor and then director of development at LSU Eunice, received a letter from Dr. William Buller, chairman of the scholarship committee of the Ville Platte Rotary club. The second paragraph noted, ‘Evangeline Parish students currently account for more than 23 percent of the total enrollment at LSU-E, and yet, to date, only one scholarship is offered to our local students, which is generated by Evangeline Parish people. The Rotary Club believes Evangeline Parish, and Ville Platte in particular, could and should do better.’
“Thus began a relationship that continues to this day between the Ville Platte Rotary Club, LSU Eunice campus and the LSUE Foundation; a relationship that has benefitted many Evangeline Parish students. By supporting these promising young students with scholarships when they needed the assistance to start college, the Ville Platte Rotary Club can now proudly celebrate a 20-year history of generosity. The scholarship recipients received more than just monetary benefits, however. They also received a very beneficial life lesson in how philanthropy works. Today, many of them have returned to their home communities or have made a new home for themselves elsewhere. Wherever they live and work, that original example of giving demonstrated by the Ville Platte Rotary Club continues to make a difference. Successful LSU Eunice alumni go on to become working professionals who can now “pay it forward” with their own generous gifts of time, energy and money, wherever they live.
“The LSUE Foundation is honored to maintain its ongoing relationship with the Ville Platte Rotary. In February of each year, the club president contacts our office with an invitation to attend a weekly meeting so we can renew old acquaintances and meet new members. I share the drive up to Evangeline Parish with the LSU Eunice Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. We look forward to a great meal, a chance to share the latest news about our campus, and by tradition, a warm welcome, as well as a hot cup of coffee at the Buller home. The trip has a purpose that extends far beyond even that, however. We know we will receive the club’s annual donation to the Ville Platte Rotary Scholarship, an endowment that grows through their annual fundraiser that makes it one of the most successful scholarship programs in the LSUE Foundation’s history.
“If you are considering becoming a member of this community organization, I share this story to encourage you to move that consideration to the next level and join! You will become a member of one of the most highly-acclaimed international organizations; one whose motto ‘Service Above Self’ is more than just a nice-sounding phrase. More importantly, in Ville Platte, you will find yourself part of a community of friends, neighbors and business leaders who honor that motto’s intent by selflessly making a difference in the lives of Evangeline Parish residents and students.”