LSU’s Honors College will benefit from the university’s largest unrestricted endowed gift ever — the third-largest gift overall in the university’s history.
LSU announced the $12 million donation from New Orleans real estate developer Roger Houston Ogden, an alumnus and former member of the LSU Board of Supervisors, on Friday.
The Honors College will be renamed the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College in honor of Ogden’s late father and Ogden’s son, an orthopedic surgeon in New Orleans, who share the same name. “It’s to honor them and others like them in the state,” Ogden said Friday.
Ogden, owner of Ogden Development and Investments and co-founder of Stirling Properties, has been a longtime backer of programs at LSU. He previously had an endowed deanship also named for his son, and he served 14 years on the system’s board.
“We have the power not just to be the best honors college in the state, but the best in the country,” Ogden said.
Ogden made the initial gift of 1,100 artworks from his personal collection that created the Ogden Museum of Southern Art in New Orleans.
The LSU Honors College was formed in 1992 and typically admits the top 10 percent of incoming LSU freshmen. Programs focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research. Nearly 2,000 students are enrolled.
LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander said the Ogden endowment will help the university’s top students secure more prestigious scholarships, fellowships and other opportunities.
“He’s always there for us,” Alexander said of Ogden.
Ogden has given flexibility for the funds to be used as the college needs, and its endowment status means it will provide perpetual funding through interest.
The French House, home of the Honors College on campus, is undergoing a separate $5 million renovation with state capital outlay funding.