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Contact: Christine Payton Aug. 11, 2008
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced today that Vice President for Student Affairs Raymond Blanco will be retiring. Blanco will retire effective January 1, 2009.

Blanco, who oversees both the Student Affairs Division and the university's Physical Plant Department (Campus Maintenance), will step down as Vice President of Student Affairs immediately and will continue his duties in the Physical Plant until his retirement.

Dean of Students Ed Pratt will serve as interim Vice President while the university searches for a permanent replacement for Blanco.

Blanco has served the university during the administrations of four of the six Presidents in the university's history. His legacy will be his creation of a culture that is very student oriented. Blanco has been recognized statewide as an administrator that would go to great lengths to help a student. He’s fondly referred to as “Coach” or “Dean Blanco” by most students who attended the university in the past 46 years.

Blanco first joined the university in December 1962 as Assistant Head Football Coach and Defensive Coordinator. During his six-year coaching tenure, the team had five winning seasons and won two conference championships. In 1969, Blanco was tapped to serve in the Dean of Men’s Office and led Student Affairs through the turbulent times of the Vietnam era. Blanco later became Dean of Students and was soon promoted to Vice President for Student Affairs. He later took on the additional responsibility of overseeing the university’s Physical Plant Department.

“During my 46-year career at the university, I have watched the evolution of student life on campus from integration to student protests of the war, to the current era of instant communication,” said Blanco. “But the one thing that has remained constant is that kids want to be respected and they want to know someone cares about them. We were able to deal with difficult times because we listened, we communicated, and we truly cared about kids.”

“Coach gave me my first opportunity to become a university administrator,” said new University President Dr. Joseph Savoie. “He was one of my first mentors and taught me to be sensitive to students and their needs. I will always treasure his loyalty and friendship. Over his many years of service, he has also mentored dozens of college administrators that are now serving on campuses across the state. Many of the remarkable things he has done at the university have gone unnoticed, but have had a lasting impact on many students, faculty, and staff.”

During the budget cuts of the 80s and 90s, Blanco oversaw the development of an energy management program to reduce electrical and fuel costs for the university. It now generates a savings of over $1 million annually.

“ Vice President Blanco will focus on making improvements to that program in his remaining time at the university. These efficiencies are significant to the university’s operations, given today’s high energy costs,” Savoie said. “This program has allowed us to dedicate more revenues to faculty salaries and is now a model program for other higher education institutions in the state.”

Blanco said: “Sooner or later all things must end and it is now time for me to focus on other things in my life. As I prepare to leave the university, I am truly excited about the new administration and the direction the university will take. I had the opportunity to hire Dr. Savoie some 30 years ago and I have watched his career with great admiration and pride. The university family and the community are excited about the future of the university and under Dr. Savoie’s leadership, they have every right to be.”


The University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the second largest university in the state, with over 16,000 students. It’s a public institution that awards bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees. It includes diverse offerings from the humanities to scientific research and leads the nation in areas like computer science, biology and nursing. 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 cultural area known for its excellent food, music, festivals and quality of life.

Document last revised Monday, August 11, 2008 2:48 PM

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