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ULM Foundation honors donors at annual Evening of Thanks

Published March 30, 2023

Evening of Thanks

CAPTION: (L-R) ULM President Dr. Ronald Berry, Dan Robertson, Freeman Stamper, Dhu Thompson 

MONROE, LA – The University of Louisiana Monroe Foundation recognized donors and lifetime benefactors at the annual Evening of Thanks event on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, in the Terrace Room on the 7th floor of the ULM Library.  

John Jones, president of the ULM Foundation Board of Trustees, welcomed attendees and introduced award winners.

“Tonight, we honor all special alumni and friends who have generously invested in this university, not only this past year, but over numerous decades, with gifts totaling millions of dollars,” said Jones.  

Jones announced Kathleen Calhoun Nettleton as a new member of the George T. Walker Society, a group of donors who have included the university in their wills or have made other planned estate gifts. Calhoun’s family established the Mary and Darrell Calhoun Endowed Chair in Pharmacology in 1998 with $600,000 from the Mary and Darrell Calhoun Foundation which was matched by the Louisiana Board of Regents with $400,000 to establish the $1,000,000 endowment.  Through Kathleen’s estate, an additional $50,000 was added to the endowed chair this year. 

ULM Foundation Executive Director Susan Chappell announced that more than $21.5 million has been raised toward the SOAR Campaign. Established in July 2019 with the goal of raising $100 million by the University’s 100th anniversary in 2031, the SOAR Campaign will fund scholarships, opportunities for faculty, athletics, and renovations. “We thank each individual and company who are optimists and continue to invest in higher education at ULM,” said Chappell.  

ULM President Dr. Ronald Berry recognized Freeman Stamper as the newest Hall of Distinction honoree. The University Hall of Distinction Award is presented to an individual, couple, company or foundation who has honored ULM through an exceptional lifetime of distinction and/or exemplary service to, support for, or promotion of the University. 

Stamper is a member of the Tower Society of the Kitty DeGree Bell Tower Honor Roll along with the George T. Walker Society and received the Warhawk Ambassador Award in 2022. “With his gifts, the university will benefit greatly from his generosity and unselfish support for many years to come,” said Berry. 

Freeman Stamper received his Bachelor of Science in Secretarial Science/Office Administration during the spring 1968 commencement exercises, during which he was also the top honor graduate in the School of Business. That same year, he joined the US Army where he obtained the rank of E5 Specialist and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal. A lifetime Alumni Association member, Stamper is recognized as one of the lead donors in the initial SOAR Capital Campaign. 

Jones then recognized Dan Robertson and Dhu Thompson as the 2023 Warhawk Ambassador Award recipients. The Foundation commissioned local craftsman Bill Carroll to create handmade wooden Warhawk awards for each of the recipients.  

Dan Robertson is a 1989 graduate in Finance and is the President of Robertson Produce.  Robertson is a lifetime Alumni member and has supported and advocated for ULM for more than 31 years. 

In 2021, Robertson established the Flint and Jimmy Robertson Agricultural Greenhouse Complex and Endowmentin honor of his father, Flint, and uncle, Jimmy. “This endowment and complex will continue to honor their legacy as well as Dan’s through the ULM Agriculture Program,” said Jones.  

Dhu Thompson is a 1979 graduate of ULM and a lifetime Alumni member.  He is the founder, past owner, and former chairman of the board for Delta Plastics and Revolution Plastics, a producer of agricultural irrigation tubing, a producer of EPA-compliant garbage bags, and the largest recycler of post-consumer resin plastics in Arkansas. 

Through Thompson’s advocacy and support of entrepreneurship in Arkansas and Louisiana, the Entrepreneurship Pelican Cup was launched at ULM in 2022. The Pelican Cup is a real-world entrepreneur, competitive education opportunity for college students. Pelican Cup competitors gain a greater appreciation of the challenges and opportunities of starting a viable business, whether they are serious about launching a startup, or they want to learn more about entrepreneurship. 

Jones concluded the evening by expressing appreciation for all donors in attendance. “We are grateful, and we appreciate your leadership, commitment, and friendship,” he said.