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Belle L. & Leonard J. Toups Endowed Chair in English in the College of Arts and Sciences

March 4, 1997

FOUNDATION CREATES MILLION-DOLLAR ENDOWED CHAIR

IN ENGLISH AT NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY

Belle L. & Leonard J. Toups Endowed Chair in English in the College of Arts and Sciences

Belle L. & Leonard J. Toups Endowed Chair in English in the College of Arts and Sciences

THIBODAUX – For the second time this year, Nicholls State University became the benefactor of a million-dollar endowed chair, NSU President Donald J. Ayo announced. The Belle L. and Leonard J. Toups Endowed Chair in English became a reality Friday as the University of Louisiana System Board of Trustees approved state funds to match those of a 1984 donation from Mrs. Toups solicited by President and Mrs. Ayo.

The chair is the result of combining two existing endowed professorships in English and the remaining principal and interest added to matching funds from the Louisiana Board of Regents’ Support Fund, Nicholls State University Foundation President Allen Danos said.

Nicholls Vice President for Institutional Advancement Ray Carney said, “Thanks to the Nicholls Foundation’s excellent management of dedicated funding, the Toups endowment has grown more than 300 percent. That is quite an accomplishment.”

Dick Barker III, chairman of the NSU Foundation’s Membership Committee, said endowments such as the Leonard and Bell Toups Endowed Chair in English provide a perpetual memorial for loved ones. “I can think of no better way to make a lasting tribute than to create an endowment with the Nicholls State University Foundation,” he said.

Dr. David Boudreaux, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and former head of the English Department, said, “True to Mrs. Toups’ wishes, the endowed chair will help the university to attract a proven scholarly educator to the English Department. When she gave the funds, Mrs. Toups expressed her desire to do those things that provide the most good. Our commitment must be to see that her dream is fulfilled.”

Leonard J. Toups began his professional career as an English teacher, then as principal, at St. Charles Senior High School in Lafourche Parish. Later he was a coach, teacher and principal at Thibodaux High School. He served as state representative from 1948 to 1952 and as mayor of Thibodaux from 1954 to 1966. Toups was appointed to the board of directors of the Lafourche Parish Fresh Water District in 1958 and chaired the board from 1969 until his death in March 1982. He also founded and directed Leonard J. Toups Insurance Agency and Toups Realty for over 50 years.

His wife, the former Belle LeBlanc of Abbeville, taught in the Lafourche and Terrebonne parish school systems for 20 years. Before her death in 1984, she was a charter member and past president of the Thibodaux General Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, a member of the Thibodaux Women’s Club for more than 50 years, and was active in the St. Genevieve Ladies Altar Society, the League of the Sacred Heart, and the Third Order of Mount Carmel.

In a 1984 interview in the Nicholls faculty and staff newsletter, Mrs. Toups said, “I hope this endowment inspires others to consider helping Nicholls and its academic programs. The good truly can spread over many people and many generations.”

August 11, 1997

SAVOIE PRESENTS MATCHING FUNDS FOR FIRST ENDOWED CHAIR AT NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY

THIBODAUX – Louisiana’s Commissioner of Higher Education, Dr. E. Joseph Savoie, presented a $400,000 check from the Board of Regents’ Support Fund to Nicholls State University President Donald J. Ayo Monday morning to complete a $1 million endowment to benefit the University’s Lang uages and Literature Department.

The Belle and Leonard Toups Endowed Chair in English will result from the monies. Earlier this year, the Nicholls State University Foundation presented a $600,000 check to Ayo. The Toups funds had been invested by the Foundation for about 15 years to reach a level sufficient to be able to apply for the state’s matching funds.

The Toups chair will be the first endowed chair to be in place at Nicholls State University. Savoie commended Ayo and his late wife, Betsy Cheramie Ayo, for making the original donation possible and seeing the wishes of Mrs. Toups through to become a reality. The Bollinger family of Lockport committed earlier this year to donating another endowed chair in the College of Business Administration. Monday’s presentation was part of the Nicholls State University Faculty Institute, where university leaders welcome new and returning faculty members for the fall semester. Classes begin Monday at NSU.

Leonard J. Toups began his professional career as an English teacher, than as principal, at St. Charles Senior High School in Lafourche Parish. Later he was a coach, teacher and principal at Thibodaux High School. He served as state representative from 1948 to 1952 and as mayor of Thibodaux from 1954 to 1966. Toups was appointed to the board of directors of the Lafourche Parish Fresh Water District in 1958 and chaired the board from 1969 until his death in March 1982. He also founded and directed Leonard J. Toups Insurance Agency and Toups Realty for over 50 years.

His wife, the former Belle LeBlanc of Abbeville, taught in Lafourche and Terrebonne parish school systems for 20 years. Before her death in 1984, she was a charter member and past president of the Thibodaux General Hospital Ladies Auxiliary, a member of the Thibodaux Woman’s Club for more than 50 years, and was active in the St. Genevieve Ladies Altar Society, the League of the Sacred Heart, and the Third Order of Mount Carmel.

In a 1984 interview with the Nicholls faculty and staff newsletter, Mrs. Toups said, “I hope this endowment inspires others to consider helping Nicholls and its academic programs. The good truly can spread over many people and many generations.”

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