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August 21, 2008

Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center opens to packed crowd and outpouring of community support

The community gathered today to celebrate the new Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Today’s grand opening was the culmination of an initiative that began in 2002, when CenturyTel Corporation made a lead gift of $300,000 to honor the memory of its founder, Clarke M. Williams.

Clarke M. Williams valued the tools that made education more accessible, like the technology found in the new success center, said his daughter, Carolyn Williams Perry. “Daddy emphasized the importance of education and technology. He always said that the world is changing so fast, and technology is changing so fast, and without an education, the world will pass you by. Also, a balance of priorities was always important to my father.”

Micah Pulliam, president of the ULM Student Government Association, spoke on behalf of those on campus today. “I can sum up what this really means to the student body in a few words: when the university and the community come together to build a fine building like this, it shows that they care about the success of the students, and I want to thank President James Cofer, his administration and the community for helping us.”

Glen Post, chairman and CEO of CenturyTel, told the gathered crowd, “We were looking for a way to honor Mr. Williams…He did so much for so many. He was a great supporter of this university. We knew right away that the opportunity to invest in this facility would be one he would appreciate, that really fit who he was as a person. This facility will help the education of many young people for many years to come. Ultimately, it serves to improve people’s lives. I want to thank you all who have been involved in this building, this vision.”

Bruce Hanks of Graham, Bordelon and Co., Inc., and a longstanding supporter of ULM, added his own appreciation. “I’m very excited about this building because of its purpose. In my mind, no other building on this campus gets more directly to the objective of putting students first than this Student Success Center. This building, and its equipment, and the people in it have put us ahead of the curve.

“I believe it is so appropriate for Clarke M. Williams’ name to be on this building. He was such an outstanding individual, a tremendous supporter of this university, and he believed in supporting youth and giving them a helping hand…Tremendously successful in his career, he built his company on fairness, honesty, integrity, commitment to excellence, positive attitude, and perseverance. His values and principles continue to live on in the many people he touched throughout his life. These qualities are also important to this university.”

ULM Director of Retention Barbara Michaelides expressed her extraordinary pride in the Student Success Center. “I want to thank everyone involved in making this dream become a reality. As you can already see, it certainly will be of great benefit to our students…We’re committed to helping our students achieve success, and I know with this amazing new building, the technology and the resources it provides, and the people involved in it, that we certainly will achieve our goal.”

ULM President James Cofer sincerely thanked everyone for their contributions to this invaluable student resource. “We’ve achieved all of this with student and community support; it is possible if you have a plan and a vision. We’re very, very proud of this public-private partnership, and we thank each and every one of you for what you’ve accomplished for us.”

About the success center:

Students can explore different majors, conduct research, and receive tutoring in the new success center. The facility features an expanded and reorganized base for study skill development, supplemental instruction, and student problem solving.

The center will offer group study and counselor rooms, multi-media rooms, and extended-hour computer labs for students who have to divide their time between work and class responsibilities. Students will also benefit from a full-time advising staff available to assist them in planning their course loads and career explorations while also providing academic assistance. The hours will be extended to correspond to times students most need access.

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