This special session is vitally important to the future of Louisiana. We have the potential to lay the groundwork for an environment of stability for years to come. Voice your support of higher education through your presence at the Capitol and by contacting your legislators. See Dr. Henderson's message to faculty and staff below.
Tomorrow, our legislature will embark on its ninth legislative session in two years. During this two-week Special Session, while the acute crisis will garner most of the headlines, we have an opportunity to do something much greater. Louisiana is poised for an investment in educational attainment that empowers graduates to take their place in the 21st century economy.
Our legislators will debate numerous issues that directly impact our students, our faculty, our work. They must be armed with information. The data is important, but as compelling as the statistics are, they cannot compare with firsthand stories from students, faculty, and other stakeholders in showcasing the breadth of our impact. The most important help you can provide is presence. Specifically, the governor has designated May 23rd as higher education day at the Capitol. We need a strong turnout. I’m personally inviting you to Baton Rouge Wednesday afternoon to engage with legislators to ensure they have the knowledge and will to make the right decisions about sound investments for our future.
Our System is committed to producing the most educated generation in Louisiana’s history; driving growth through public-private partnerships and research; and recruiting, retaining, and developing the world-class faculty who educate our students, empower our employers, and enrich our communities. Those aspirations are the core of the Universities of Louisiana Strategic Framework, the product of collaborative, visionary leadership from your university presidents. This work was achieved in an environment of stability provided by the first stable budget for Louisiana higher education in nearly a decade.
We are only asking our state leaders for two things—continued stability in state funding to our institutions and the fulfillment of the TOPS promise. TOPS is especially time sensitive. This year’s Louisiana high school graduates have worked for four years to achieve the prescribed benchmarks. Many of them are finalizing plans for their futures, weighing lucrative offers from out-of-state institutions while nervously watching the progress at the Capitol. Further, our existing TOPS students have fulfilled their responsibilities in their pact with our state. We must demonstrate to the emerging generation our commitment to their place in Louisiana by fulfilling the TOPS promise.
This spring more than 8,500 graduates crossed the stage at your universities prepared for life and success. You are part of their story and it’s a story worth telling. Thank you for your continued commitment to higher education. With your help, we will ensure Louisiana reaches her full potential.
For your future. For our future.
President and CEO
University of Louisiana System