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The Times-Picayune: Chevron donating millions to LSU

Most of gift will go to faculty endowments
Friday, February 29, 2008
By Bill Barrow

BATON ROUGE — Chevron Corp. has pledged $4.75 million to LSU in what school officials Thursday said is the largest corporate contribution ever for the state’s flagship university.

Most of the gift, $3.9 million, is earmarked for the College of Engineering: $2 million for faculty endowments, $1 million for graduate student fellowships and $900,000 to help support several academic programs.

The remainder is described as a five-year commitment, totaling $850,000, to support scholarships and grants in the College of Engineering, College of Basic Sciences and the E.J. Ourso College of Business.

Chevron, which is based in California, previously had contributed more than $2.4 million to LSU, according to the school.

Chevron’s latest contribution exceeds a $3.5 million single commitment that Shell Oil Products Co. made to LSU in November 2006. Shell contributed about $5 million in the five years before that.

Both contributions are well behind LSU’s record individual contribution, which came in the 1980s when oil magnate C.B. “Doc” Pennington provided $125 million to create the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.

Chevron, the nation’s second largest oil company behind ExxonMobil Corp., garnered $18.8 billion in profits and $221 billion in revenue last year.

The company’s latest commitment represents 6.3 percent of the $750 million goal of Forever LSU, the school’s ongoing capital campaign that has been under a microscope in the wake of Chancellor Sean O’Keefe’s forced resignation in January.

LSU System officials are conducting an assessment of the campaign to determine whether O’Keefe accurately reported its progress.

The system’s combined endowment, dominated by the LSU Foundation, stood at $657 million last year, 113th among system endowments nationally, according to the National Association of College and University Business Officers.

Those numbers put LSU well behind the endowments in some other states that also have benefited from oil money.

The University of Texas system ranked fifth nationally and tops among public schools with $15.6 billion. Texas A&M University funds ranked third among public schools and 10th overall with $6.6 billion.

LSU also trailed two private Texas schools: Texas Christian University, $1.2 billion; and Trinity University, $991 million.

Bill Barrow can be reached at [email protected] or (225) 342-5590.

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