Let's change the complete future for Louisiana right now by rebuilding LSU and then taking it to the top.
As many in our Louisiana family faced challenges from tropical weather in recent days one headline sadly drew our attention, because Louisiana loves LSU. The US News once again lowered LSU's national ranking to 179, which makes a total fall of 79 spots under the previous President.
Let's talk some good news. No state has the potential to unite behind a Flagship like Louisiana does. No state has more statewide love for their Flagship. Our new LSU President, in great contrast to the last one, has years of experience in building one of the leading academic and research universities in the world which is currently 14th in that same US News ranking. President Tate has been successful in the past at developing the private and corporate partnerships needed to create a first tier academic and research institution.
We are encouraged by the plainly stated principles and vision new LSU President William Tate has outlined:
SEEK TRUTH, EXHIBIT EMPATHY, DEMONSTRATE CARE
Imagine a university where scholarship is the primary objective. Scholarship reigns. The immediate focus is on positioning LSU to be a place where scholarship grows and flourishes in a fashion consistent with the pressing needs of society.
Think more outstanding research, teaching, and learning. Find more resources to fund student's scholarships. Embrace growing the scholar-athlete mindset. SCHOLARSHIP FIRST!
Without delay, we must tangibly support President Tate and the many talented and dedicated LSU team members and students. Changes are needed to unleash the great potential of LSU in its full Flagship role. We need to give the many exceptional LSU team members that have suffered so long some credit for their efforts. The financial support LSU receives for it's academic and research mission is actually well below it's ranking and is in the mid 200's! That is unacceptable.
To be honest, we don't need to completely reinvent the wheel to send LSU to the top, because so much of the wildly successful Flagship Coalition plan that was responsible for what is now described as The Golden Age at LSU can be drawn upon and repeated. Our Put Louisiana First leadership was a part of that Flagship Coalition. It is a different world, and new strategies are required, but we must certainly learn and draw from all that worked then. A primary responsibility of a Flagship university is to be a generator of competitive research and economic and intellectual development for a state. Just like in athletics, LSU is not in existence to compete and compare with other Louisiana institutions. LSU must win in research, STEM based and other economic development, and intellectual development against other state Flagships.
We are encouraged that President Tate has been recognized nationally as an Inspiring Leader in STEM. Among many opportunities, we believe there are two areas that offer great immediate opportunity for nationwide public and private funding support for LSU faculty, scholarships, and research and development that will lead directly to Louisiana jobs across the state: new energy technology initiatives underway by the world's leading energy companies who already have a stake here in Louisiana , and coastal management and mitigation. Some of the brightest people in these areas were raised and trained in Louisiana, but are now active in academics and business outside of Louisiana. They need to be brought home now.
Can money be raised in this environment? Yes! If we are willing to do the hard work. Here is the proof: In a campaign concluded in the middle of pandemic burdened 2020, Indiana University endowed more than 5,800 undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships -- a 45.4 percent increase over the total created during the university's entire 190-year history before the campaign. The campaign has also raised funds to endow 235 professorial positions -- a 51.5 percent increase over the total from the previous 190 years.
We have sorely lacked a President interested in engaging alumni and others for such support and are encouraged by the warm outreach President Tate has made so far in great contrast. The governor and legislature must make a real financial commitment to LSU in the next session. There must be an immediate increase in funding in the next session to send a powerful message that a new era for LSU is ahead.
President Tate shows great potential to be an ambassador for LSU and restore the connection between LSU and Louisiana and build a stronger one than LSU has ever had. The job of a Flagship university president is much different that what it used to be. LSU must be a leader in today's market at educating traditional and nontraditional students in a way that benefits them long term and benefits Louisiana's future. LSU must be a leader in delivering medical care and research. LSU must be a national leader in real economic development activity and overall Flagship research.
We look forward to engaging in specifics on your behalf to move LSU ahead to a prosperous future for this great institution. LSU belongs to you, the the people of Louisiana. We are here to advocate for you. Together we can bring a new level of support and success at LSU along with continued accountability for all who we entrust LSU's stewardship to.
Richard Lipsey and Terrell Brown
Put Louisiana First Founders