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Women's Symposium

2016 Distinguished Leader Award: Kay Heck Shipp

photo of Kay Heck Shipp


Kay Heck Shipp is no stranger to volunteering or hard work.  Her parents stressed the importance of education to her and her five siblings, and Kay payed her own way to ULM, with the help of scholarships, on-campus, and summer jobs, earning a BA in 1970 and a MA in 1973.

Even as a stay-at-home mother, Kay yearned to rejoin, as she puts it, the “real” work force again, and in 1988 built “The Horse Place," a successful feed and pet supply store which she sold in 1993.

She has been the owner and operator of Shipp Farms since 1985.

She became devoted to ULM's horse program, and after her husband was killed the 1991 IMC explosion, she provided the funds to the university to erect the "Jim Shipp Pavilion" to be used as a riding facility for handicapped children.

Kay discovered that “volunteerism is the most rewarding job anyone could ask for.  I have not accomplished moving mountains, but I sincerely believe that I have made a difference in the lives of some people, and for that I thank God.”

Kay’s volunteering capacity seems limitless, with nearly two dozen board memberships for various non-profits organizations and educational entities – at the elementary, secondary, and higher education levels across northeast Louisiana, and has won numerous volunteer awards for service and distinguished leadership.