Located in the heart of Louisiana’s Cajun country, UL Lafayette was founded in 1900 with a focus on industrial research. Today, this urban college with a suburban feel maintains its excellent reputation in the fields of life and computer sciences, nursing, and engineering, but has broadened its core to offer a complete liberal arts curriculum.
UL Lafayette was founded a little over a century ago. Dr. Edwin Stephens, only 27 years old, was named president and in 1901, he planted the Twentieth Century Oaks, a grove of live oaks that can still be seen down Johnston Street and University Avenue on UL Lafayette's campus. In 1921,the school, initially known as the Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute (SLII), became more simply the Southwestern Louisiana Institute and started granting bachelors degrees. It then comprised 50 acres, complete with new classrooms and dormitories. In 1956, SLI launched its graduate programs, and four years later became the University of Southern Louisiana (USL) with six colleges and a graduate school.
Thirty-nine years later the USL Bulldogs once again got a name change. Currently called the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the institution has more than 17,000 students and 11 colleges, making it the second-largest university in the state. Ragin' Cajun students hail from over 75 countries.
Today, the most common majors are in the Colleges of Liberal Arts, Nursing, Computer Science, and Engineering. UL’s nursing program is currently number-one in the state and third nationwide, and the computer science program is regarded as one of the strongest in the United States. Both the Nursing and Engineering programs have 100 percent job placement after graduation.
On campus, UL Lafayette has recently added the Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise, or LITE center, where students can witness a virtual surgery inside the human body or just sit back and enjoy 3D visualizations.
UL Lafayette is located in an urban setting, yet you would never know it when walking on campus - its 137 acres are lined by century-old oak trees and a "Walk of Honor" brick path with the names of each UL graduate running along its circumference. But students agree their favorite spot is by Cypress Lake, known as “The Pond,” the site of annual canoe races and home to alligators, turtles, and fish.
Another two-hour break between classes? Unfortunate, but at UL Lafayette, you shouldn’t go bored!
One popular hangout spot on campus is in the Union. Here, you can shop through the UL bookstore or sit outside overlooking the swamp. The Union is also where you can find Sidelines. Students can take advantage of the tables to do homework, or the couches to take a nap. There are also numerous large, flat screen TVs to catch up on your favorite shows in between class. Hungry, thirsty? No worry. Take a couple steps into Mello Joy or grab a bite to eat right next door.
Looking for a mellower place to maybe get some studying done? Take advantage of PJs. Here students can sit and study while enjoying a fresh cup of hot or cold coffee. Are you someone who enjoys fresh air? Sit outside, next to CCs Coffee House. Here, many students sit and have a coffee or smoothie while catching up on Being Social 101. The active bodies on campus who would rather play than study can enjoy a home-style burger at Campus Copies while playing a game of billiards.
Bourgeois Hall is another hangout for active students. Students can use the basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts. There is also a free gym, track, and numerous treadmills to ditch calories between classes. Step outside and enjoy the beautiful Aquatic Center where you can take a dip in the pool before returning to reality.
The swamp on campus is an amazing getaway. When you actually get to the swamp and start looking at the different fish, the turtles, the alligators, and whatever else lurks in there, you really do forget about everything. You can actually buy fish food for 25 cents from these little candy machine-looking things by the swamp.”
With a population of over 100,000, Lafayette, LA has a bustling tourist industry, diverse nightlife, and work opportunities in local corporations that make it a prime location for the adventurous, ambitious UL students.
There a tons of places for students to hang out off-campus. Lafayette has traditional Cajun culture festivities and numerous restaurants. Students also like to head downtown, an area with plenty of clubs, bars, restaurants, and shops. During the day, many of us go to enjoy a nice restaurant-style lunch. At night, the clubs and bars are the places to be!
Another popular hangout for UL Lafayette students is the Bulldog. While it's a bar, it also offers dollar burgers that students crave. CCs Coffee House is a popular place for students to access wireless internet and get to their studying. Girard Park, located on UL’s campus but not technically a part of the school, is another place where you can always find UL students. Many people enjoy playing Frisbee golf here or exercising on the track. There are also basketball courts, tennis courts, and a pool. For the young at heart, Lafayette Lanes has bowling, beer, and pizza for a very cheap price!
UL Lafayette and Ragin' Cajun pride can be seen throughout the surrounding area of the campus. There is a 12,800-seat multipurpose arena called the Cajundome just five minutes off-campus. Next to it is a $13 million convention center. Across the street is Cajun Field, where UL Lafayette's football team plays. By showing your UL Lafayette student ID, students are granted discounts from over 100 businesses participating in the Red Dot program. Cajun Cash - a reloadable 'credit card' - is accepted all over campus as well as various shops around the community. Lafayette and surrounding areas also show support by participating in Wear Red Day. Businesses and schools decorate their campus and sport red to compete for a prize for showing the best pride and excitement for UL Lafayette.
Students at UL Lafayette are still feeling the effects of Hurricane Katrina and rally together with Habitat for Humanity every year in an effort to build homes for families who were victims of the disaster. During this “Extreme Spring Break,” undergrads forgo sipping drinks on the beach and crazy club nights for the cause.
The Extreme Spring Break Leadership team consists of ten SGA students. We have about 100 volunteers from across Louisiana who we are housing at a hall on UL's campus. Each day we transport them to Vermillion Parish (45 minutes from Lafayette), and work until 4:30 p.m. building 12 sheds for the 12 homes being constructed. We are part of a huge project with Habitat for Humanity working to rebuild Louisiana after our devastating hurricanes.
Kathleen Blanco (1964) is a former governor of Louisiana.
Kenneth Francis "Kenny" Bowen, Sr.(1948) was the three-term Democratic mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana from 1972-1980 and again from 1992-1996.
Jake Delhomme (2001) is a football quarterback who played for the New Orleans Saints (1998-2002) and the Carolina Panthers (2003-present).
Lester Joseph "Joey" Durel, Jr. (1975) was the second Republican elected the mayor of Lafayette, Louisiana, in 2003.
Roderick Luke "Rod" Miller (1947) was a Lafayette attorney and a pioneer in the development of the Republican Party in Louisiana.
Rajin’ Cajun pride is evident on every acre of the university, with images of the Cayenne mascot and vermillion-and-white Cajun banners all over the campus. The Division I teams regularly pack the Cajundome and Cajun Field, especially when they play their archrival Louisiana State University. The baseball team has had some notable victories lately, which put the Rajin’ Cajuns on the map again. Equally popular are UL Club sports and intramurals.
Baseball is the most popular team at UL Lafayette. The students love to attend the games and show off their Ragin' Cajun pride. In 2000, the baseball team participated in the College World Series. In 2007, the baseball team won the Sun Belt Conference title. The football games are also a great place to get lost in a sea of red on Saturday nights. The red zone is packed with students cheering and yelling for the guys (and sometimes yelling jokes at the opposing teams, which is always fun!).
Louisiana’s first university-built satellite was successfully launched from UL Lafayette in 2007.
The Bulldog Bar, located super-close to campus, has $1 burgers that can’t be beat.
In 1954, UL Lafayette was the first all-Caucasian university in the South to desegregate, admitting 70 African-American students after the Brown v. Board of Education decision.
-With special reporting by Amber Rourk ’09
At UL Lafayette, about 35 percent of students live in the 20 on-campus housing buildings. If you have a high GPA, ask about the special discount for “distinguished students.”
There are numerous on-campus dorms at UL at Lafayette. The most popular is an apartment-style living complex called Legacy Park. The complex is located on UL’s campus across from the popular Girard Park. This is a very nice complex that houses a diverse group of students. If you live in Legacy Park, Café Fleur des Lis is the place to be! Enjoy Quiznos Sub Shop, Freshens Smoothies and Ice Cream, Ragin’ Cajun Grill, Louisiana Wok, or Pretzel Logic. Whatever your craving is, it can be satisfied here!
UL at Lafayette women also can chose to live in Baker Huger, Bonin, Evangeline, Harris, Randolph, or Denbo Hall. Each one of these halls comes equipped with a study/lounge and laundry rooms. Baker Huger and Randolph Hall are a perfect living place for females who enjoy a quiet study environment. For girls who want a more active environment, Bonin and Denbo Hall are a better choice. Are you both a studier and a partier? No worries, Evangeline and Harris Hall provide a happy medium between the two.
The Conference Center houses diverse groups of men, including first-time freshmen honor students, athletes, upper-class students, and graduate students who enjoy a quiet study environment. This building is located in the middle of campus and is also equipped with a computer lab on the first floor. Stokes Hall A or Stokes Hall B is a better pick for active guys!
If you are at Bourgeois Hall (which is a UL hall but located slightly off campus, check out the newly-opened smoothie bar!