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October 18, 2008

ULM Alumni Association awards George T. Walker Lifetime Achievment Award, among other honors

ULM President James Cofer presented his “close associate and thought partner” Bruce Boulware with the Golden Arrow Award at the ULM Alumni Association Awards Brunch today.

The Golden Arrow Award, established by the alumni association in 1981, recognizes alumni who serve the alumni association well; it is the association’s most prestigious honor.

Cofer said, “People often note the improvements we’ve made to this campus during the past 6 years. Just as important are the improvements we’ve made internally: providing more opportunities for students, faculty and staff. I met Bruce and his wife Liz, also an avid supporter of our university, about a year after I arrived. Since that time, Bruce, the Chief Operating Officer of O’Melveny & Myers, LLP, the nation’s 15th largest law firm, has contributed to our university in ways that will benefit our university family for generations to come.”

The Boulwares reside in Napa, California and New Orleans. They often visit ULM to give back with time and expertise, as well as financially. A few of their contributions include: the Bruce and Lizabeth Boulware Professorship in Management; College of Business Internship Support Fund; College of Business Capital Fund; and the Berry Allen and Reita Meeks McKenzie Case Classroom. Bruce and Liz also participate in the annual College of Business Symposium, where they mentor ULM students.

Bruce’s efforts reach beyond the College of Business. Bruce and Liz supported the Clarke M. Williams Student Success Center; University Residence, now named Bon Aire; and ULM’s Annual Giving Fund. Bruce has also hosted team-building workshops for the president, deans and faculty.

Cofer said, “Bruce challenges us; he wants to make sure this institution grows and prospers, and we appreciate that continued push. Bruce’s philanthropic endeavors at this institution ensure that our students are exposed to new opportunities in today’s business world. He was instrumental in starting the internship program at this institution, a program that is now exploding. We are sending kids to London, Dallas, San Francisco, Quebec and all over the world because of Bruce’s support and encouragement. Bruce’s footprint at ULM is significant, and we are truly grateful and proud to call him an alum, a friend, and a leader.”

Bruce thanked his alma matter and spoke about the institution’s future.

He said, “This is an institution that I’m extremely proud of. The education I received here has allowed me to compete with graduates from Harvard and Yale. We have to continue to provide those kinds of opportunities for folks in this region. It is not just about the bricks and mortar, although that aspect is spectacular. It’s also about the people and the dedication. We are going in the right direction, and the best is yet to come. I am so proud of this place.”

George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award

Also at the brunch, the alumni association granted the George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award. Founded three years ago, this award is given to those who distinguish themselves through professional and personal achievement and who serve the university and the alumni association well during the course of several years.

This year’s recipient is George Luffey, who among many other contributions to the university, coached baseball for 11 years, guiding then-NLU to its first ever baseball championship in 1964.

Luffey’s contributions continued long after his successful coaching career at the university. He chaired the ULM Mascot Committee in 2006 and is largely responsible for the success of the university’s new Warhawk mascot, said Don Skelton, ULM Vice President of University Advancement and External Affairs.

“Our community embraces the new mascot, and we owe that success to Mr. Luffey. No one else could have led that effort. His incredible leadership during that challenging time led to the success and school spirit we enjoy today.”

“Loyalty, hard work, service to others, devotion to faculty, diligence, determination, compassion and generosity” all describe Luffey, Skelton said.

In 1974, Luffey served as president of the NLU Booster Club; in 1975 he was an instrumental member of the NLU Stadium Selection Committee; in 1975 he became the first original member appointed to the Louisiana Board of Regents for Higher Education, a tenure that would last 18 years. As a member of the Board of Regents, he significantly contributed to the success of the institution’s programs and facilities.

In 1979, he established four individual $1,000 ULM Student Scholarships in memory of George L. “Chip” Luffey Jr., his son who passed away at the age of 18. In 2007, he established the ULM George L. “Chip” Luffey Jr. Endowed Professorship in Kinesiology. Luffey was elected to the NLU Hall of Fame in 1996 and awarded the ULM Slim Scoggins Award in 2004.

Of his award, Luffey said, “I feel grateful to receive this award. It represents Dr. Walker—the person who gave me my first job. He and Dr. Cofer are my two stars of this university. They educated people in my family, and I don’t know of any place where you can get a better education.”

ULM Service Award:

Each year the ULM Alumni Association recognizes a ULM staff member, who through his or her efforts, significantly contributes to the community and to the stature of the university. This year’s winner of the ULM Service Award is Claudia Evans, who has worked in the Office of University Relations since she began at ULM in November 1974. As an administrative assistant, she proofreads university publications, assists the media, writes press releases, mentors student workers, coordinates university events, and much more.

Claudia said her most rewarding work has been interacting with students.

Dr. Mary Adams, now an English professor at ULM, can attest to that. Mary was a student worker in Claudia’s office from 1990-1992. “Each afternoon, when I reported for work, Claudia greeted me. And each afternoon she seemed happy to see me. She asked me about my day and my classes. I remember feeling that I wasn't going to work; I was going to my second dorm room. Claudia certainly fostered an atmosphere of professionalism, respect, and friendship with her student workers.”

Keith Brown, Executive Director of Alumni and Community Relations, said, “If a co-worker is ill, Claudia is the first to deliver home-cooked food; if there is just a little more work than time in the day, Claudia stays well after 5 p.m.; and if someone—anyone—is struggling with a stressful work day; Claudia is the first to sense it and reach out. This incredibly dedicated employee and loyal Warhawk will retire next month. I know I speak on behalf of anyone who has ever had the pleasure of working with her—she will be greatly missed.”

Evans’ contagious laugh, easygoing nature and historical knowledge of the inner workings at ULM all contribute to a successful work environment, said Vice President for University and External Affairs Don Skelton.

“When I hire a new employee, I send him or her to Claudia, and explain that she is the boss. Her personality, combined with her expertise and efficiency, make her invaluable to this university. I speak for many when I express how much she will be missed.”

Evans expressed her appreciation of the award. “As I look out, I see a lot of people I know. Everyone here has been like my family. I just really love ULM, and I’m going to miss it when I retire.”

Chapter of the Year Award:

The alumni association granted the 2008 ULM Alumni Association Chapter of the Year Award to The Greater Houston Chapter.

Associate Director of Alumni Relations Tommy Walpole said, “The Houston group has been a very supportive group of the ULM Alumni Association, and the entire university, for a very long time. Over the last few years, the group has hosted Johnny’s Pizza parties, after-hours events, and most recently, a brunch at Brennan's for alumni of the Greater Houston area.”

Elizabeth Riser Parker (‘98) accepted the award on behalf of the Houston chapter. She said, “I think it speaks volumes about our university that someone outside of Louisiana wins the award. We’re so pleased and honored to receive this award.”

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