July 2, 2001
HOUMA BUSINESSMAN CREATES MILLION-DOLLAR ENDOWED CHAIR AT NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY
THIBODAUX – A $600,000 gift from an entrepreneur and philanthropist from Houma will result in the largest gift from an individual graduate in Nicholls State University history, University President Donald J. Ayo said this week.
Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., a 1979 NSU Business Administration alumnus, has donated the first of two $300,000 payments toward establishing the sixth endowed chair at NSU. His $600,000 gift will be matched by $400,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents Quality Support Fund to create the Arlen B. Cenac Jr. Endowed Chair in Accounting Information Systems.
Cenac has been a longtime supporter of the NSU College of Business Administration. He was a driving force in the creation of the Cenac Computer Center in Powell Hall in the 1970s and has served with distinction on the Business Advisory Board since the early 1990s.
As a recognized leader in the marine towing industry for decades, Cenac is the owner, president, and chief executive officer of Cenac Towing, a major provider of inland towing services in the Gulf South. In making the donation, he said, “Nicholls State University has been a tremendous asset to this region of Louisiana. Since before I studied there, I have been impressed with the high quality of educational opportunities available from Nicholls State, right here in the Bayou Region. I am very pleased to contribute to the advancement of that excellence.”
Ayo said, “The entire Nicholls State community owes a debt of gratitude to Benny (Cenac) for this generous gift that will enhance the new area of excellence in Information Systems and the entire College of Business Administration.”
Dr. Ridley Gros, NSU dean of Business Administration, said “Mr. Cenac’s commitment to enhance the quality of higher education here at Nicholls State renews our enthusiasm to improve what we do. His generosity makes it possible for us to better serve the citizens of south Louisiana.”
The University and the NSU Foundation will continue to seek donors for faculty endowments, student scholarships and capital improvements. “Contributions, both large and small, are needed to keep Nicholls competitive in today’s environment of higher education,” Ayo said.
Ayo said the Cenac gift is the sixth donation for an endowed chair at NSU since 1997, the highest number of endowed chairs at any public, master’s-level institution in Louisiana. Nicholls State University was recently lauded for growing its endowment fastest within the eight member institutions of the University of Louisiana System.