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Giving Back on Giving Day: Q & A with Anita Byrne and Lauren Whatley

Giving Back on Giving Day: Q & A with Anita Byrne and Lauren Whatley

Left to Right: Roger Ogden, Justin Ourson III, Lauren Whatley, Anita Byrne at the 50th Anniversary Celebration of the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College

Ogden Honors Advisory Council Member Anita Byrne graduated from LSU with dual bachelor’s degrees in history and political science with College Honors. Her wife Lauren Whatley also graduated from LSU. Today, on #LSUGivingDay, they are giving back to help improve and elevate the experiences of current and future Ogden Honors students. 

What inspired you to give to the Honors College?

We are both alumni of LSU and knew giving to the University was part of our long-term plan. I [Anita] am pretty passionate about my experience in the Honors College and that strongly inspired our giving decisions. Primarily, to ensure a high-quality experience is there for current and future students.

What's your favorite memory from your time in the Honors College?

[Anita] One of my favorite memories was the sense of community on the Honors campus where living and learning are easily enjoyable and accessible. The second was achieving Upper Divisions Honors – writing and defending a thesis was a pivotal movement for me to help me find my voice, build confidence, and demonstrate success, even under high pressure circumstances.

What are some highlights you have seen in the College over the past few years?

The Campus Within a Campus concept has really been brought to life with the renovations of the Lavilles and the French House. The increased focused on experiential learning through study abroad and internships offers unique preparation for life – personally and professionally. Neither of us were able to study abroad during undergrad and really see this as an opportunity to engage students as global citizens. Lastly, we have really enjoyed how competitive LSU students are in the national post-graduate scholarship arena, which showcases the high-quality education they are getting here.

What are your hopes for the Honors College in the future?

We hope Honors continues being able to offer a set of vibrant, diverse, and competitive learning opportunities which translate into success, personally and professionally, for students.