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Louisiana Board of Regents Commissioner
E. Joseph Savoie presented $400,000 in matching funds to establish
the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority (LPFA) Chair in Nutrition
at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center of Louisiana State University
at a reception held at the Pennington Center on August 19.
The state-funded portion of the endowed chair represents only a portion of more than $7 million in matching grants distributed by the Board of Regents in August. This money helps fund seven new endowed chairs and 77 new endowed professorships, and matches $10.6 million in private donations.
The matching funds are provided through the Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund, (sometimes called 8(g) money), which has allowed the Regents to award $136 million in matching grants since the program was established in 1986. This, in turn, has led to the creation of approximately 203 endowed chairs and 1179 endowed professorships.
"I applaud the campuses hard work in raising these matching gifts from generous individuals and corporations--people who value higher education and understand its role in Louisiana's economic future," said Commissioner Savoie. "I must also acknowledge the steadfast support of Gov. Mike Foster and our legislators in promoting the value of higher education."
Comissioner Savoie said that the Louisiana Educational Quality Support Fund is critical if Louisiana expects to attract new scholars and researchers to the state. Moreover, he noted, the funds help Louisiana institutions stem brain drain, allowing colleges and universities to retain the eminent faculty members, who in turn attract bright new professors and post-doctoral fellows.
The LPFA Chair in Nutrition, created through the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation, allows the Pennington Center to recruit and support a nationally recognized researcher who will bring significant research funding to the Center, said Pennington Center Executive Director Dr. Claude Bouchard.
"We are extremely grateful to the Board of Regents and the LPFA for their support," he said. "Chairs and professorships are critical in our efforts to recruit world-class scientists."
LPFA President and CEO James W. Parks II said, "The LPFA is committed to funding projects that help Louisiana, and the LPFA Chair in Nutrition will bring dollars into our state, recognition to the Pennington Center, and jobs for postdoctoral fellows who serve as research assistants."
"Establishing the LPFA Chair in Nutrition will also help the Pennington Center in implementing 'Vision 2005,' a strategic plan which calls for doubling the size of the Center, creating more than 400 new jobs, and bringing millions of dollars of additional funds to Louisiana by 2005. It's those kind of goals that we are more than happy to support," said Thomas Antoon, chairman of the LPFA Board of Trustees.
This is not the first time that the LPFA and the Pennington Center have joined forces. An early bond issuance from the LPFA provided operating funds that played a key role in opening the Center in 1988. Another recent bond issuance from the LPFA is allowing he Center to construct an 187,000-square-foot basic laboratory building to supplement existing laboratory space.
"We are particularly pleased that the LPFA has once again come to the assistance of the Pennington Center at a crucial junction in our history," said William Silvia, chief operating officer of the Pennington Biomedical Research Foundation.
The Louisiana Public Facilities Authority is a self-supporting public trust and public corporation that issues both taxable and tax-exempt bonds to finance public and private projects throughout the state. In addition to financing industrial and economic development projects, the LPFA provides low-cost funding for hospitals and hospital equipment, universities and other educational facilities, student loans and essential programs for state and local governmental units.
The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.