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UL Lafayette a Leader in Research, Academics, Athletics

UL Lafayette is a premiere research institution, home to the NCAA Division 1 Ragin' Cajuns and embodies the cultural spirit of South Louisiana.

By Lindsey Hyde on March 1, 2023

Courtesy of LafayetteTravel.com

Rich in pride, tradition, academics, research and innovation, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a one-of-a-kind university in Lafayette, Louisiana, where students not only obtain a superb education, but also work to improve their community and the world — and have a little fun in the process.

A+ Academics

The educational opportunities provided at UL Lafayette are unmatched. Here, students aren’t just taught, they are inspired to think critically, speak their minds, conduct research, lead their peers and much more.

“After my education at UL Lafayette, I feel more than ready to take on the world. UL Lafayette not only provided me with an outstanding education, but with the best soft skills and leadership skills I need to succeed in life,” says international graduate student Zayira Quiroz, who is originally from Ecuador.

With more than 240 majors, minors and concentrations, 50 graduate programs and 18 online programs, students can tailor their college experience to meet their interests, goals and schedules. Plus, university faculty and staff are always available to help them choose a path.

For example, while a junior in high school, Destiny Broussard — now a college senior and UL Lafayette SGA president — reached out to a UL Lafayette professor who met with her to discuss options.        

“I didn’t know where to start,” Broussard says. “Her having that one-hour conversation showing me the paths of UL Lafayette with the different majors that we have and what my career goals were and matching it to that was just really helpful for me.”

Courtesy of LafayetteTravel.com

Reputable Research

A key aspect of academics at UL Lafayette is research. Rather than being confined to a particular department, research spans every major, and students are involved every step of the way. While biology majors might study bacteria under a microscope, mechanical engineering majors may conduct research to lead to the next major solar energy innovation, and architecture majors might explore ways in which the community can approach the built environment equitably. Plus, research doesn’t stay within the walls of a classroom or lab. It often takes students into their community to investigate issues facing the world.  

Given UL Lafayette’s dedication to research, it’s not surprising that it recently received an R1 designation from the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. This is a notable achievement, as only about 3% of public and private universities in the U.S. have this status.

“The designation represents the university’s longstanding commitment to remaining at the forefront of learning, innovation and scholarship,” says Dr. Joseph Savoie, UL Lafayette president. “Achieving R1 reflects these values and affirms these commitments. As their stewards, it’s our duty to build upon them.”

Community Enhancement

As a pillar of the community, the university is highly involved in improving Lafayette and the surrounding area.

For example, the university strengthens the regional and state workforce by training students in computing, health care, education, engineering and other advanced fields. It also provides customized training for businesses. 

“We can develop custom educational solutions to fill gaps in your employees’ knowledge,” Savoie says.

In addition to employee training, UL Lafayette also helps local businesses find solutions to certain problems they might be facing.  

“With our world-class facilities and faculty, the university is ready to solve problems and find answers. We have a proven record of helping companies, particularly in biopharmaceutical, petrochemical and technology industries,” Savoie says.

Courtesy of LafayetteTravel.com

Team Spirit

Speaking of community, university athletics draws fans from across Lafayette and the Acadiana region. No matter the sporting event — football, basketball, softball — players and fans come brimming with Ragin’ Cajuns spirit.  

“Our students are going to bat for our student-athletes. If we know we have a game, all of them are showing up,” Broussard says.

In addition to spirit, UL Lafayette is overflowing with athletic talent. It competes in NCAA Division 1, the highest level of collegiate athletics, and holds 26 championship titles across all sports.

Also making the university proud are its club sports and leagues, from lacrosse and soccer to tennis and racquetball. Its waterski team has won a record nine national championships, including three consecutive titles.

Diversity & Inclusion

Also celebrated and championed at UL Lafayette is diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging — both in and outside its walls. For example, while UL Lafayette comes together as one, its students, faculty and staff encourage and support one another’s differences.

Not only do more than 630 international students from nearly 90 countries attend UL Lafayette, but through its Louisiana Educate Program, the university works to help students from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds stay in college. In fact, its programs, initiatives and efforts aimed at promoting equity and inclusion have earned UL Lafayette the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award five years in a row.

“UL Lafayette is a place where everyone is welcome, and every voice is heard and valued. In my time here, I’ve seen the university care so much to make everyone feel valued and respected, regardless of race, background or nationality,” Quiroz says. “I’ve been honored to participate in diversity and inclusion meetings where student leaders discuss ways to improve and make UL Lafayette more inclusive and diverse.”

Courtesy of LafayetteTravel.com

Cultural Contributions

Cultures aren’t just treasured at UL Lafayette — they also play a huge role in university dynamics. For example, for years UL Lafayette students and staff have built a university culture centered on serving others as well as expressing a zest for life and, of course,  Ragin’ Cajuns pride.

A few traditions that go hand in hand with university culture is Get on Board Day, where students can learn about UL Lafayette organizations; Lagniappe Day, which includes a crawfish boil, canoeing and live music; The Big Event, where thousands of students and employees volunteer for a day of service; and many more.

In addition to university culture, UL Lafayette’s Center for Louisiana Studies promotes and preserves state culture and history. The center maintains relationships with local, regional and state organizations and houses archives that include one-of-a-kind field recordings of Cajun and Creole musicians.

“UL Lafayette embodies the cultures and spirit that are the heart of South Louisiana. The cultures that make up the communities of Acadiana are diverse and unique, blending various types of food, music and community into a wealth of experiences,” Savoie says. “Here, we embrace each other’s uniqueness, find strength in diversity, share a sense of community, determination, innovation and joie de vivre — an exuberant enjoyment of life.”

This article was sponsored by Lafayette Convention & Visitors Commission, Lafayette Economic Development Authority and One Acadiana

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