Making An Impact
Hugh Caffrey believes a more educated Louisiana is a better Louisiana.
That is why the president of Valentine Chemicals supports programs at Nicholls State University like the Colonels Retention of Winners Network.
“They focused on where the need was greatest, and it was in the Black community,” Caffrey says. “Some of these kids may not have had the same support system I had. But if they get a better education, then they will be better off, their families will be better off and then their kids will be better off. And that is true for the rest of the state. The more people in our society who are educated, the better off we all are.”
Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune inspired Caffrey to get involved during his Investiture speech in 2018.
“I was so impressed by [Dr. Clune] because he’s taking this presentation that should be all about him, and he’s making it about this other program,” he says. “What an acknowledgment of his lack of ego. That really showed me that maybe I should look into this. This is a way I feel like I can help.”
It helped that sitting at his table was Farren Clark, the program’s coordinator.
“He’s telling me about the program, and I am thinking this is fantastic,” Caffrey says. “This mentor program is so great.”
Clark says Caffrey’s support shows the mentors and mentees that the community is invested in their success.
“Mr. Caffrey has been an engaged supporter of this network from the beginning,” Clark says. “Hugh is not only supportive financially, but he also is in touch with the organization. He has taken time to know some of our individuals’ aspirations, talents and perspectives. Through conversations with the young men, Hugh demonstrates genuine care and leadership. He impacts people on a relational level.”
After talking to Clark at Investiture, he caught up with him again and this time, Clark introduced him to several mentors and mentees. Their stories moved Caffrey, he says. In particular, one mentee who had seen his brother killed before he graduated high school.
“There is a lot of inspiration in seeing someone hang in there like that,” Caffrey says. “He graduated high school and took it upon himself to join a program like CROWN. If I can help somebody a little and be part of their success, then I want to help.”
Caffrey understands mentorship is as important as financial support, Clark says.
“Hugh is a friend of CROWN,” Clark says. “We are grateful for his generosity and kindness.”
– Jacob Batte