ULL unveiles bronze statue of first president

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette unveiled a bronze statue today commemorating the university’s first President Doctor Edwin Lewis Stephens.

The statue stands in front of Girard Hall at over six feet tall honoring the man who served as president of the then Southwestern Louisiana industrial institute from 1900 to 1938. Current university president E. Joseph Savoie says it was doctor Stephens vision that led to the globally recognized university we have today

“He was selected president in 1900, he was 27 years old. Came to this sugar cane field, had a vision of a higher education institution that would last for the ages. To kind of demonstrate that, he planted the oak trees that surround the campus now in January of 1900 and so we thought it would be an appropriate tribute on commencement weekend, our founder’s day celebration, it’s also been 116 years today that the bill to create the university was first introduced to the legislature, so this is a big day for us.””

Also in attendance at the ceremony was former UL Lafayette President Doctor Ray Authement, the longest-serving president for a public university in the country, as well as former Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco.

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