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|ULM unveils 'jewel on the bayou'|
The University of Louisiana-Monroe's on-campus residence for the president has been completed following about two years of planning, fund-raising and construction.
Betty Cummins, immediate past president of ULM's Foundation Board of Trustees, said "ULM's jewel on the bayou" was completely funded with private dollars with assistance from the ULM Foundation and community cooperation.
ULM president Dr. James Cofer, along with Cummins, first submitted requests to build the on-campus residence in August 2006.
The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System approved that request the same month, allowing the university to begin the process of building the residence.
The ULM Foundation then began a fund-raising campaign for the project to provide the home at no cost to the university's operating fund.
"It's exactly as we pictured it … it's exactly as we planned it," Cummins said. "I really feel like we accomplished what we set out to do. To think everything was given by other people who believed in us - that's pretty overwhelming."
"This house captures the past, present and future of this great university," she added.
The decision by the ULM Foundation to build an on-campus residence for the university president first arose in 2005. At that time, ULM was the only institution of the University of Louisiana System not to have an on-campus residence.
"Now, ULM's university residence is a beautiful showpiece," Cummins said, praising the work of all involved. "It flows and it will entertain beautifully without being intimidating, which is what we strived for. We want students to feel comfortable, sitting around the dining room table. This home should be welcoming, whether it's the governor who comes in and stays the night, or whether the university is entertaining someone they'd like to recruit. The university now has a magnificent tool to attract new faculty, students and supporters, making us all stronger in the process. This has been a fantastic group effort."
Cummins commended the foundation's campaign steering committee, under the leadership of Tex and Carole Kilpatrick and James and Lynn Moore. She said they were instrumental in raising and providing the needed funds to build the new university residence, which will be donated to ULM.
The 6,893-square-foot Country Acadian-style one and one-half story home will be the center for gatherings for faculty, students, alumni and guests, Cummins said.
The ground floor features Country French décor while the second floor includes three bedroom suites where guests will stay. The upstairs suites include one with a king bed, including a handicapped accessible bathroom, a suite with a queen-sized bed, and another containing twin beds.