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ULM receives historic donation from Lumen Technologies, announces Clarke M. Williams Innovation Campus

Published June 27, 2023

ULM Lumen Donation

CAPTION: ULM President Dr. Ron Berry receives a ceremonial key from Lumen VP of Customer Success and Advocacy Stephanie Polk.

MONROE, Tuesday June 27, 2023 Lumen Technologies (NYSE:LUMN) and the University of Louisiana Monroe announced the donation of Lumen’s local campus to the university. In a departure from corporations selling their unused real estate after moving to remote or hybrid work, Lumen is gifting its property to the university in alignment with its ongoing commitment to both higher education and the Monroe community.

“Hybrid work is the future. Lumen is embracing this work model for employee wellness and flexibility,” stated Chris Stansbury, chief financial officer at Lumen. “We continue to be committed to the hundreds of Lumen employees in the Monroe area, and we’re so excited to partner with ULM on investing in the future of this vibrant community.”

The press conference announcing the donation was held in the current Lumen Technologies Center for Excellence, which will become the Clarke M. Williams Innovation Campus when the transaction is finalized on Saturday July 1, 2023. Williams was the founder of Lumen, then CenturyTel, and was a longtime supporter of ULM.

“Lumen’s impact on our region and university has been remarkable since its humble beginnings in northeast Louisiana,” offered Ron Berry, President of ULM. “A special thanks to Lumen CEO Kate Johnson, Lumen’s board of directors, and the many amazing leaders who have made today’s announcement possible. ULM looks forward to leveraging this historic gift to continue Lumen’s legacy while creating life-changing opportunities for our region.”

Lumen is donating two of its campus buildings, totaling over 800,000 square feet. The company will also lease back around 52,000 square feet of office space from the university for in-person events and meetings.

This is the largest single donation ever received by ULM and among the largest received by any public university in the state of Louisiana.

“The magnitude and significance of this gift is almost indescribable,” indicated President Berry. “Lumen is well known for their innovative solutions to some of society’s biggest technological challenges. ULM is honored to use this campus to keep the spirit of innovation and advancement alive for generations to come.”

“I know that my father would be so honored to see his name attached to this Innovation Campus,” said Carolyn Williams Perry, daughter of Clarke M. Williams. “His heart was always with ULM, then Northeast Junior College of Louisiana State University, and so it is very fitting that his legacy will live on in this way.”

Speakers at the press conference included Lumen Vice President of Customer Success and Advocacy Stephanie Polk, ULM President Dr. Ronald Berry, State Senator Stewart Cathey, Jr., City of Monroe Mayor Friday Ellis, City of West Monroe Mayor Staci Albritton Mitchell, Town of Sterlington Mayor Matt Talbert, Ouachita Police Jury President Shane Smiley, and Carolyn Williams Perry, daughter of Clarke M. Williams.  

In addition to today’s speakers, this endeavor is in the backyard of 5th District Congresswoman Julia Letlow, US Senators Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, State Senator Stewart Cathey, Jr., and State Representative Michael Echols. The regional reach is home to Senators Katrina Jackson, Jay Morris, Glen Womack, and Representatives Adrian Fisher, Foy Gadberry, Jack McFarland, Pat Moore, Neil Riser, Francis Thompson, and Chris Turner.

In addition to Lumen, The Clarke M. Williams Innovation Campus will house a Cor Medical clinic. The campus will be a mixed-use commercial facility, with ULM recruiting companies to fill the space.

About Clarke M. Williams

Clarke M. Williams was the founder and chairman of the board of directors for CenturyTel, which eventually became Lumen Technologies.

Mr. Williams was a true visionary, both as a businessman and a citizen. He was also a humble man, determined to build a business based on fairness, honesty, integrity, commitment to excellence, positive attitude, respect, faith and perseverance. A long-time mayor of his hometown of Oak Ridge, Mr. Williams believed in serving others.

In 2002, Mr. Williams passed away at the age of 80.

Mr. Williams built a strong, enduring legacy both in his personal life and as an exceptionally successful business leader. He made countless contributions to his community and to the telecommunications industry.

His values and principles continue to live on through the many people he touched throughout his lifetime.

ULM is proud to honor the legacy of Mr. Williams in the naming of the new Clarke M. Williams Innovation Campus.


About Lumen Technologies:

Lumen connects the world. We are dedicated to furthering human progress through technology by connecting people, data, and applications – quickly, securely, and effortlessly. Everything we do at Lumen takes advantage of our network strength. From metro connectivity to long-haul data transport to our edge cloud, security, and managed service capabilities, we meet our customers’ needs today and as they build for tomorrow. For news and insights visit news.lumen.com, LinkedIn: /lumentechnologies, Twitter: @lumentechco, Facebook: /lumentechnologies, Instagram: @lumentechnologies, and YouTube: /lumentechnologies.