Roger H. Ogden Family Announces Largest Unrestricted Endowed Gift in LSU’s History
LSU alumnus Roger Houston Ogden announced today his $12 million investment in the LSU Honors College in honor of his father, the late Roger Hadfield Ogden, and son, Dr. Roger Hadfield “Field” Ogden II, an orthopedic surgeon in New Orleans. The gift is the largest unrestricted endowed gift in LSU’s history, and will be recognized through the naming of the LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College. The LSU Board of Supervisors approved the naming earlier today.
“In considering investing in the future of Louisiana, LSU comes front and center to mind,” Ogden said. “Every state that has made great strides has done so by prioritizing and investing in a flagship university to drive the state forward. When considering the many worthwhile investments we could make in LSU, one that ranks high is the Honors College.”
Ogden, owner of Ogden Development and Investments and co-founder of Stirling Properties, is a recognized civic leader and philanthropist. He has been a resident of New Orleans for more than 45 years and has remained closely connected to LSU as both a volunteer and donor. He is a former chair of the LSU Board of Supervisors, on which he served for 14 years, and led launching the Flagship Agenda that helped LSU rise to the “Top Tier” of U.S. public universities. While a student at LSU, he was president of Student Government and a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity before graduating second in his class from the E. J. Ourso College of Business in 1968. Ogden was named to the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction in 1998.
Though he was born in Denver and grew up in Shreveport and Lafayette, with no familial connections to LSU, Ogden said he “became enthralled with the mystique” of LSU as a child and considers himself to be an “honorary Cajun.” He is deeply committed to attracting high-caliber students to LSU and retaining them in Louisiana, and he views the Honors College as one of the foremost strategies in doing so.
In 2010, Ogden established the LSU Honors College Roger Hadfield Ogden Deanship in honor of his son. A portion of that gift created the Roger Hadfield Ogden Leaders Program, which provides up to five $5,000 scholarships annually to Honors College students to fund the pursuit of self-guided projects, proposed by Honors College students, with significance to the state of Louisiana. The 2014 Ogden Leader is Kurt Ristroph, an Honors College junior and a native of Baton Rouge. The award is funding his VOLUMEN Project, which provides local elementary and middle school students with access to East Baton Rouge Parish Library electronic resources such as e-books, online homework tutoring, and educational games.
In addition to his support of the Honors College, Ogden has given generously to the LSU Museum of Art, including through service on its board, and to the College of Art & Design, E. J. Ourso College of Business and LSU Press.
LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander said, “Thanks to LSU alumnus Roger Ogden for his generous $12 million gift, allowing us to usher in a new age of opportunity and success for LSU's Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College and its high-achieving, high-performing student population. Over the last 10 years, students from this college have received more than 90 national awards, including Goldwater and Truman Scholarships. With this new level of commitment, our students’ competitiveness will know no bounds.”
The LSU Honors College, established in 1992, is a vibrant, diverse and prestigious community located at the heart of LSU. The Honors College typically admits the top 10 percent of incoming LSU freshmen, and provides students with a curriculum of rigorous seminar classes, as well as opportunities for undergraduate research, culminating in the Honors Thesis. Its focus on community service, study abroad, internships and independent research helps today’s high-achieving students become tomorrow’s leaders.
“This gift will be transformational for the students of the Honors College,” said LSU Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College Dean Jonathan Earle. “Roger’s generosity will exponentially increase opportunities for Honors students to study abroad, conduct path-breaking research, present their work at conferences, and explore new internships and career paths.”
Ogden said, “I believe the Honors College at LSU is the single best vehicle to keep our best and brightest in Louisiana, and to attract the best and brightest from other states to consider LSU for their undergraduate education. This year’s entering Honors College freshman class has an average ACT of 31.2, which means these students virtually had their choice of universities. With a program that emphasizes ‘the whole person,’ Honors College students have strong leadership skills, extracurricular involvement, special talent and a track record of community service. The Ogden family believes that an investment in LSU and in the Honors College will reap great dividends for generations of exceptional students and leaders. And they, in turn, will hopefully apply their considerable skills to building the future of this very special and unique state.”
As an endowed gift, Ogden’s investment will provide perpetual funding, helping to ensure the Honors College’s vitality for generations of LSU students, faculty and staff. Ogden has provided the flexibility for the funds to be used as the college determines is most meaningful, such as supporting areas of greatest need and special initiatives that might not otherwise be possible.
“Roger is a longtime friend of mine, LSU and the LSU Foundation, and I have personally been privileged to know him,” said G. Lee Griffin, president and CEO of the LSU Foundation. “Endowed funds are a critical source of stable, perpetual funding. Roger’s foresight in giving in a way that provides for the future is especially meaningful. He is hopeful, as are we, that it will set an example for others considering gifts to the university. We are honored that Roger has chosen LSU to recognize his father and his son in this unique, impactful way.”
Ogden and his son were honored this afternoon at a reception hosted by Alexander and Earle in the Grand Salon of the LSU French House, home to the Honors College. At the announcement celebration, LSU Honors College student and Olmstead Scholar Erin Percevault and Student Government President Clay Tufts unveiled the college’s new logo, celebrating Ogden’s generosity and permanently recognizing his late father and his son at Ogden’s beloved alma mater.
The French House is one of LSU's landmark buildings and is currently undergoing an extensive interior renovation made possible by state capital outlay funding. Renovations will modernize and expand the usable space in the building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The French House was constructed in the 1930s in the style of a French chateau and was dedicated in 1935 by Senator Huey P. Long.
About the LSU Foundation
The LSU Foundation inspires and shepherds philanthropic giving to LSU and builds long-lasting relationships with donors who bring life to current and emerging university priorities. We support LSU in its quest to enhance the student experience, provide working capital to recruit and retain world-class faculty and staff, support life-changing research, and drive economic development. We are dedicated to stewarding each gift to maximize donors’ impact on making LSU one of the best universities in the world. Visit us online at www.lsufoundation.org.
Sara Crow, Director of Communications & Donor Relations, LSU Foundation
Liz Billet, Communications Coordinator, LSU Honors College