LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) - A Louisiana educational leader once recognized as the nation’s longest-serving public university president died Sunday at the age of 91, officials announced.
Ray P. Authement led the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as its president for three decades, according to a statement from the school. He had been ill for the last year and was in hospice care, university spokesman Eric Maron said in an email.
Under Authement’s tenure from the early 1970s until his retirement in 2008, university officials said the school earned global recognition for computer science, engineering and Francophone studies, as well as environmental and biological research. Also during his time, the school expanded efforts to preserve Louisiana culture, established more than a dozen research centers and constructed new facilities, according to the statement.
Jim Henderson, president of the University of Louisiana System, called Authement a “source of pride for Louisiana” in a statement over the weekend.
“Countless students and multiple generations were blessed by his leadership,” Henderson said.
Born in coastal Terrebonne Parish, Authement enrolled as a first-generation college student in 1947 at what would later become the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He went on to earn master’s and doctorate degrees in mathematics before assuming various teaching and administrative roles at the school.
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