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Contact: Christine Payton Dec. 12, 2008
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
Commencement Schedule, Fall 2008 Outstanding Graduates
UL Lafayette to hold commencement ceremonies on Dec. 20
Zachary RichardInternationally acclaimed singer-songwriter and poet Zachary Richard will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts during the Graduate School commencement ceremony on Dec. 20. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. in the Cajundome.

Richard was born and raised in Southwest Louisiana. He began his musical career at 8 years of age as a soprano of the Bishop’s Boys Choir at St. John’s Cathedral in Lafayette and scored his first record contract in 1972. He has since recorded 15 albums and is influenced by the musical styles typical of the region – Cajun, Zydeco and New Orleans rhythm and blues.

He grew up in a typical Cajun family, learning to speak from his grandparents. Completely bilingual, Richard composes both in English and French. He is a committed defender of the native French language of Louisiana and is a founding member of Action Cadienne, a volunteer organization dedicated to the promotion of the Cadien language and culture.

In recognition of his contribution to French language culture, Richard was decorated Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et Lettres by the Republic of France in 1997. He is also the recipient of five Félix (French Canadian Grammies) in the category of chanteur francophone le plus illustrié au Québec (the most illustrious French language singer in Quebec).

“ It is fitting that Zachary Richard receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette – the Universitié des Acadiens,” said UL Lafayette President Dr. Joseph Savoie. “He is a defender of Southwest Louisiana’s culture and heritage and he deserves to be honored in this way.”

Richard produced and narrated “Against the Tide,” a one-hour documentary detailing the history of the Cajun people from their origins in France to the present day in collaboration with UL Lafayette professors Dr. Carl Brasseaux and Dr. Barry Ancelet. The film was awarded the Best Historical Documentary by the National Education Television Authority in 2000. The French version of the documentary was awarded the Prix Historia the same year. Richard is also committed to the preservation of the natural environment as well.

Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, he collaborated with French singer-songwriter Francis Crabrel to organize a concert in Paris. This concert raised a considerable contribution to the relief efforts. The pair co-wrote a song, “La promesse cassée” (The Broken Promise) which appears on his most recent album “Lumiere dans le noir.” The artists’ royalties are devoted to aiding New Orleans musicians impacted by the hurricane.

Other scheduled speakers and the complete schedule of ceremonies include:


• 9 a.m. College of General Studies. Annette Lewis, a 2007 UL Lafayette graduate in General Studies will give the keynote address. Lewis was the 2007 Outstanding Graduate for her college and is presently the Human Resources director of Goodwill Industries of Acadiana Inc.

• noon College of Liberal Arts. There will be no keynote address.

• 3 p.m. B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration. Valerie Keller, CEO of Acadiana Outreach Center , will address graduates. She is a recipient of the “Chase Bank 20 Under 40 Leadership Recognition” award, UNITY "Outstanding Leadership" Award, "Women Who Mean Business" Award, "Change Agent Network" Humanitarian of the Year and Leadership Louisiana alumni. She is also active in various civic organizations. A Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Keller continued post-graduate work through executive education at Harvard's School of Business and the Kennedy School of Government.

• 5:30 p.m. Graduate School. Singer-songwriter and poet Zachary Richard will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Fine Arts during this ceremony.

Angelle Hall Auditorium – Main Campus

• 11 a.m. College of the Arts. Lauren Duffy, the college’s Outstanding Graduate, will deliver the keynote address. Duffy, daughter of Lloyd Duffy and Karen Duffy of River Ridge, is a visual arts major with a concentration in ceramics.

Cajundome Convention Center - Exhibit Hall (first floor)

• 9 a.m. College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions. There will be no keynote address.

• noon College of Education. Lanise Granger, the college’s student with the highest GPA, will address students. Granger is the daughter of Larry and LaNell Granger of Lafayette and is an art education major.

• 3 p.m. College of Engineering. Dr. Kam Movassaghi, president of C.H. Fenstermaker & Associates – a regional engineering, surveying and environmental consulting firm in Lafayette, will deliver the keynote address. He is a former secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Transportation and Development and is a former head of UL Lafayette’s Civil Engineering Department. He is a 1963 graduate of civil engineering at UL Lafayette.

Cajundome Convention Center - Festival Ballroom (second floor)

• noon Ray P. Authement College of Sciences. Kevin Suir, the college’s Outstanding Graduate, will give the keynote address. Suir, son of Burton and Linda Suir of Lafayette, is a computer science major.


About UL Lafayette
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.

Document last revised Friday, December 12, 2008 9:39 AM

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