LSUA’s mission is and always has been to provide a broad spectrum of affordable undergraduate degrees in a robust academic environment to meet the needs of the students and the community it serves. Now, as LSUA begins a year-long celebration of its 60th anniversary, the University is proud of those who have walked through its doors, what it has accomplished, and it is most excited about the years that lie ahead.
LSUA was founded as a two-year commuter college in 1959 in order to give the citizens of Central Louisiana an opportunity to pursue higher educational opportunities at home. LSUA registered its first students in 1960 and developed its first degree program in Nursing, followed a few years later by expansion into Liberal Arts, Business Administration and Sciences. These core programs remain the heart and soul of LSUA as the University supplies high-quality nurses to area hospitals, trains the next generation of local business leaders, and has more students pursuing advanced degrees in various medical fields than ever before.
Currently, LSUA is comprised of ten academic departments with numerous high-quality, in-demand degree programs and concentrations such as: Kinesiology, Accounting, Criminal Justice, Nursing, Allied Health, Business Management, Graphic Design, Education, Communication Studies and much more. However, these degrees would not have been possible if LSUA had not been allowed to earn a four-year University designation.
It was not until the turn of the century that LSUA was recognized as a four-year university, thanks in no small part to the concentrated efforts of faculty, staff, and community leaders to impress upon the Louisiana legislature the importance of higher education in Central Louisiana. “For so many years, this was what we referred to as the ‘black hole’ in the middle of the state as far as higher education was concerned,” says Melissa LaBorde, LSUA communications professor. “Students in the rural parishes had to drive substantial distances just to get to a public four-year university. Our moving to a four-year status was a game changer for the students in the region who were non-traditional and place-bound because of jobs and families. The four-year effort brought pride and unity to our community as businesses, individuals, lawmakers, and organizations rallied around LSUA. No one thought we could get the two-thirds vote, but we did with a few to spare.”
In what proved to be a turning point for the University, LSUA continued to grow in ways that many may never have envisioned when the University first opened its doors. The growth from a two-year commuter school to a four-year liberal arts university and the associated development of new programs and athletics has attracted students from all over the world. LSUA continues to experience the same growth, and is now home to over 3,300 students, many from as far away as Brazil and New Zealand. With additional programs being sought, both online and on campus, the University has a goal of reaching 5,000 students by the year 2025. “It is an awesome privilege not only for me, but for our entire faculty and staff to serve LSUA and the region,: says Chancellor Dr. Paul Coreil. “This is a wonderful part of the state and we strive to produce high quality graduates who will be successful in this community, not only in their professional lives, but in their personal ones as well. We strive to create a well-rounded student so that they can give back to their community following their graduation.”
NEW PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT
While continuously dedicated to improving the lives of students from Central Louisiana and the world, LSUA is also committed to improving the outlooks of companies that call the region home. In order to meet the needs of ever-changing workforce demands, LSUA works closely with local companies, organizations, and non-profits in order to address their needs and to ensure our graduates are fully equipped, both now and in the future. With this partnership in mind, LSUA is dedicated to ensuring that the local companies can count on LSUA to provide well-educated graduates who can help guide Central Louisiana into the future and meet workforce demand.
One such program that was born out of a community need is the newly adopted Bachelor of Science in Accounting which allows graduates to seek careers in public or private accounting. Another new degree includes the Bachelor Science in Kinesiology. LSUA is also the only institution in the region to offer Disaster Science and Emergency Management, as well as Long Term Care Administration to meet the needs of an aging population. Additionally, the number of online degree programs being offered continues to grow and now includes Nursing, Psychology, Criminal Justice, and more. With more new programs on the horizon, there are always opportunities to follow a dream and earn a degree whether on campus or online.
EDUCATING THE WHOLE PERSON
As the University continues to grow academically, it is important to make sure that we are not only educating the mind, but developing the whole person. LSUA strives to produce well-rounded individuals and not just the best students academically. The University has recently launched several new initiatives including a series of micro lectures entitled “Total U” where nationally known speakers come to campus to discuss matters such as financial literacy, stress management, mental health, suicide prevention, and much more.
In the past several years, the number of student organizations has seen historic growth, allowing students to develop outside of the classroom. With more than 30 on-campus organizations, LSUA students are active and engaged throughout the campus and the community. Additionally, the current LSUA Student Government President, Ricky Brazzel, was nominated by his SG peers throughout the LSU system to represent all LSU students as a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors. This was a great honor for LSUA and for one of our high-quality students.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN LIVES
LSUA was recently recognized by U.S. News & World Report as being one of the best liberal arts colleges in the country in creating social mobility for students. Higher education has always prided itself on providing students with the tools necessary to benefit themselves and their families; at LSUA, graduates enter employment possessing the ability to be successful in their chosen fields and are hungry to prove themselves and are qualified to do so. The fact that LSUA graduates have a 100 percent job placement rating in Radiation Technology and Medical Lab Technology speaks to the level of preparedness of our students upon graduation. “When one person receives a degree, their entire family tree is positively changed for generations,” says Interim Vice Chancellor of Student Engagement, Dr. Abbey Bain. “Therefore, our mission focuses on access to education–we keep tuition affordable and approach education in a holistic way as we remain dedicated to student success.”
LSUA is dedicated to keeping tuition affordable for all and making it easier for students to obtain a degree without incurring the high costs that typically go along with it. LSUA was once again recognized by U.S. News & World Report this past fall as one of the best universities in the country for students graduating with the lowest amount of debt. To make it even easier to afford a quality education, LSUA now offers several full-ride scholarships for the first time in the University’s history.
The Mulder Scholarship is awarded to deserving students and covers all costs associated with attending the University. The scholarship is funded through a gift given to the LSUA Foundation from Howard and Eloise Mulder, who were strong supporters of both higher education and LSUA. Recently, additional full-ride scholarships have been announced thanks to a philanthropic contribution from the Louisiana Charities Trust to award six student scholarships in Long-Term Care Administration and Clinical Nursing. These scholarships were given by Louisiana Charities in memory of the late Scott O. Brame who was a founding board member of the LSUA Foundation in 1991.
LSUA joined the Red River Athletic Conference within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) in 2014. The Generals have since become a nationwide powerhouse in several sports. Since their inception, LSUA boasts 37 conference and regional championships, 22 national tournament appearances, 10 national top 16 finishes, six national top eight finishes, four national top four finishes, and one national runner-up finish. In the last two years, all seven of LSUA’s varsity programs have either won a conference championship or advanced to the national tournament as an at-large selection.
Winning, however, is more than just what happens on the field or on the court. LSUA student-athletes have earned recognition for the University as a NAIA Five Star Gold institution for integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship, and servant leadership. This ranking is the highest level attainable from the NAIA and represents our student-athletes as winners in more ways than one. With strong leadership within the Department of Athletics, we look for this success to continue, both on the courts and in the classrooms.
A LOOK TO THE FUTURE
LSUA is continually looking to the future, and in doing so, is excited to announce the goal of raising $8 million toward the construction of a new Student Success Center. This new building will be located at the entry to campus and be the gateway to the University for those looking to enroll. It will house important offices such as recruitment and admissions, financial aid, First-Year Experience, and advising, and will help make the transition from high school to college and from college to the workforce much easier. This will be a transformative building that will help set LSUA up for future growth in the coming years.
LSUA will continue to meet the challenges of the next century head-on as it looks to the next 60 years and beyond. The University continues to look for opportunities for students both on campus and online and will expand its programs to meet the needs of the new workforce challenges now and in the future. LSUA is dedicated to the people and businesses of Central Louisiana and making this the best place to live, work, and enjoy their lives.