Savoie is UL Lafayette’s sixth president in school’s 108-year history

Dr. E. Joseph SavoieFor only the sixth time in its 108-year history, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette will welcome a new president. On Oct. 30, Dr. E. Joseph Savoie will be formally sworn in as president during a 2 p.m. Investiture Ceremony at the Cajundome.

The ceremony is open to the public and is free of charge. Much of the ceremony will mirror that of commencement exercises with lots of pomp and circumstance.

Academics from across the southern region will process in full regalia into the Cajundome for the ceremony which will feature long-standing traditions and new ones.

Investiture ceremonies date back to the Middle Ages. They are designed to honor the new president while also remembering the university’s past, present and future. Wearing of the full academic regalia by the procession gets its roots in 12th century Europe. Gowns are usually black with varying characteristics like long full sleeves with three velvet bars indicating doctoral status. The hood indicates the source of graduate degree.

“ We really wanted to embody the historical importance of this inauguration,” said Traci Aucoin, Inauguration Planning Committee member . “It’s significant that Dr. Savoie is only UL Lafayette’s sixth president and it is important that the Investiture Ceremony reflects this importance.”

Serving as keynote speaker for the ceremony will be Thomas Frey, Executive Director and Senior Futurist of the DaVinci Institute.

His institute is a nonprofit futurist think tank in Colorado that has emerged as a center of visionary thought. His presentations on futurist topics have captivated people ranging from high-level government officials to executives in Fortune 500 companies.

Frey has said that the greatest value in understanding the future “comes from spotting the major cultural, demographic, societal and economic shifts early and translating them into viable business strategies.”

Before launching the DaVinci Institute in 1997, he spent 15 years as as an engineer and designer at IBM. He is editor of the “Impact Lab,” an online emerging technology blog that was recently rated by Popular Science magazine as one of the “top five science blogs in the known universe.” He is also Google’s top-rated futurist speaker.

“ We wanted mark this day with a dynamic speaker who could deliver a message about education and its future,” said Lisa Breaux, Inauguration Planning Committee member. “His message is appropriate as this university begins a new chapter in higher education. It’s a great time to reflect on the past and take a look at what the future can hold for UL Lafayette and all of higher education.”

The public is invited to the Investiture Ceremony. There is no cost for admission.

Prior to the Investiture, the day will begin with an Ecumenical Prayer Service at 9 a.m. in front of Martin Hall. This community event will feature several choirs and readings.

Lafayette High School’s choir will open the service with its rendition of “Let All the Nations Praise the Lord.”

Father Chester Arceneaux, pastor at Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church on campus, will give the Welcome and offer the Opening Prayer. Readings will follow along with a performance by Ascension Episcopal School’s choir. The group will sing “How Good is the Lord” in both French and English and “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High.”

The Acadiana Ecumenical Choir will perform after a second reading and Reverend Lloyd Joiner with Progressive Baptist Church will give Closing Remarks and the Benediction.

UL Lafayette students will offer up readings throughout the service.

A reception will follow on the grounds at Martin Hall. Our Lady of Wisdom Catholic Church is the designated rain site. Parking will be available at the Cajundome with shuttle buses running to and from Martin Hall. Drivers should enter the Cajundome parking lot off of Reinhart Drive and Cajundome Boulevard. A limited number of wheelchair-accessible parking spots will be available at Martin Hall. If the rain site is necessary, a limited number of wheelchair-accessible parking spots will be available at the Student Union.

Following the Investiture Ceremony will be a huge, community-oriented celebration honoring both Savoie and the 2008 Homecoming season at 6 p.m. at the Cajundome Convention Center. The “We Are Louisiana” celebration will be a non-stop Louisiana-style concert featuring some of the state’s best musicians.

Those performers include Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience, Rockin’ Dopsie Jr. & the Zydeco Twisters, Irma Thomas, and The Molly Ringwalds among many more performers.

Cajun food like jambalaya will be served along with other refreshments.

“ This is a perfect opportunity for all UL Lafayette alumni to show their support of Dr. Savoie and his new administration,” said Mary Galyean, president of Louisiana’s Alumni Association. “It is a dawning of a new era for UL Lafayette and the entire Acadiana region. And, it promises to be a lot of fun too.”

Admission to the “We Are Louisiana” celebration is a donation in the amount of your choice to the Student Scholarship Fund.

Prior to these inauguration events, an Inauguration and 2008 Homecoming Concert will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29 at Angelle Hall. The UL Lafayette Wind Ensemble under the direction of William Hochkeppel will perform several pieces including "Fanfare for a New Era," "Procession of the Academics," and "Gifted Leadership" among others. Savoie is expected to narrate Aaron Copeland’s Lincoln Portrait. The Wind Ensemble will also recognize Dr. Ray Authement, former UL Lafayette president, with Mark Camphouse’s Legacy.

Admission is free and the concert is open to the public.


About UL Lafayette
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state and is the largest of the eight institutions that comprise the University of Louisiana System. More than 16,000 students attend this public institution, which awards bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees. Curriculums are diverse with offerings from the humanities to scientific research. It's a national leader in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. UL Lafayette is on the global technology stage with its one-of-a-kind Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, which features several visualization environments and is supported by some of the most sophisticated supercomputers in the world. Its student-athletes - Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns - compete in NCAA Division I, the highest level of collegiate competition. The campus is located in the heart of Acadiana - a rich Cajun and Creole cultural area known for its extraordinary food, music, festivals and quality of life.