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October 10, 2008

Luffey to receive George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award Oct. 18

When George T. Luffey arrived at Northeast Louisiana University in 1954, President George T. Walker was just beginning his tenure at the institution. Luffey would coach baseball for 11 years, guiding then-NLU to their first ever baseball championship in 1964.

On Saturday, Oct. 18 at 10 a.m. in the University Conference Center, the University of Louisiana at Monroe Alumni Association will award Luffey the George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contributions to ULM during the past half century. For Luffey, life has come full circle.

He says, “This award means a lot to me. Dr. Walker, he birthed that university and is responsible for its growth and development. And I also credit Dr. Cofer for the university’s success during the past six years. Look at what he’s done for the students that come here and enjoy the best residence halls and the best facilities.”

Luffey, the father of three children who attended ULM, is always quick to recognize the strengths in others—one of his greatest personal attributes, says Elee Trichel, a longtime friend.

“He is one of the most outstanding men I’ve ever been around. For several years, he’s been my mentor in life. He’s such a caring person, and he doesn’t want anything in return for it,” Trichel says. “What he’s done for the university and community is outstanding. Whether we’re up or down, he is always there. Win, lose or draw – he’s there and does everything that’s ever been asked of him.”

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, says 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.”

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.

His loyalty to the university is unparalleled, says ULM President James Cofer.

“Mr. Luffey exemplifies what it means to be an advocate of higher education; he recognizes its value and encourages the community to do the same. That kind of unwavering support ensures our university will continue to flourish, and we will forever be indebted to him for setting that kind of example for others.”

Reflecting on his philanthropic contributions during the past 50 years, Luffey says the rationale behind his efforts are really quite simple.

“I am loyal to people I’ve grown up with and who have been good to me. The university is one such entity. They fed my kids when I worked out there as a coach. They gave me a job, and I’m grateful for that. I feel very strongly about this community and this university, which has one of the strongest economic impacts on this town. The budget of this university—which runs $60-$70 million—covers the salaries of faculty and staff, who spend their money in Monroe. People in this area need to support this university. You can get as good of an education here as you can anywhere; this university is second to none.”

To attend Saturday’s ULM Alumni Awards Brunch, contact the Alumni Center at (318) 342-5420.

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