For almost ten years, the Shell Corporation has been a friend to the LSU Honors College, and recent events showed just how committed Shell is to supporting excellence and education.
Last spring, the Shell Corporation gifted $1,240,000 to the LSU Honors College. This generous donation will be used to develop a more diverse Honors student base and expand the disciplines that Honors students can participate in through providing a wider array of Honors courses.
Greg Guidry, the Executive Vice President of Shell's Upstream International Europe organizations, joined the Honors College Advisory Council in 2003. He has been the major figure in initiating the relationship between the Shell Corporation and the Honors College, encouraging Shell to support the Honors College in recruiting talented students — especially those studying engineering and science.
“[Guidry’s] son had come through LSU,” said Honors College Dean Nancy Clark, “so Greg had knowledge of the Honors College and really felt that the kind of education students get in the Honors College was a really good fit for Shell. He was very, very interested in attracting more engineering students to come into the Honors College.”
With Shell's help, the percentage of engineering majors in incoming Honors students has more than doubled in the past ten years. And with Guidry’s initiative, Shell has helped support and fund FOCUS (Focusing on College and Unlimited Success) and Honors service projects such as the Coastal Restoration Service Project at Grand Isle State Park and the New Orleans and St. Bernard House build.
“We’re always grateful to Shell for supporting our students whether it be scholarships or support for community service projects,” said Associate Dean of the Honors College, Dr. Granger Babcock. “They financed a number of projects. They completely financed a build we did after Katrina for St. Bernard Parish, and in later service projects, they financed transportation, food, and equipment.”
Portions of the Shell Gift will go towards funding four scholarships annually. Shell Honors Student Leaders will receive a stipend each year for over four years, amounting to a total of $3500. Scholarship awardees will also have opportunities each semester to interact with Shell and participate in on-and off-campus education, research, community service, and recruiting activities.
To encourage the growth of a more diverse student base within the Honors College, the Shell Honors Student Leadership Program will choose recipients from among the disciplines of Business, Coast and Environment, Engineering, and Science. Last winter at the LSU Honors College Awards and Recognition Ceremony, the Honors College named its first four Shell Honors Student Leaders: Dylan Scott Bergeron, Samantha Danielle Faulkner, David James Galin, and Carley Angela Tatman.
David James Galin, an Honors sophomore majoring in chemical engineering, was enthusiastic at the idea of working together with Shell: “That would be phenomenal for me. That would be the ideal thing.”
However, Galin did note that maintaining both his chemical engineering major and the Honors program would be difficult. “The way my schedule works out and with everything else I’m taking, it’s disappointing that I can’t take more Honors courses,” said Galin. “I’ll Honors option the later courses, but if more science courses were offered, it’d really benefit the science students.”
Carley Angela Tatman, an international trade and finance Honors freshman, agreed. “I think [more diverse Honors courses] would be good, because that would help keep more people in the Honors College,” said Tatman. “If you want to graduate in time, it’s hard to keep up with the Honors courses, especially if you’re a science or business major.”
"One of our goals is to expand the disciplines in which Honors students can participate, and so that's why we're really interested in having more professors from the sciences teaching Honors classes," said Dean Clark. "Thirty-five percent of our Honors students come from the sciences and another twenty percent come from engineering, so there's really a great need to have more classes offered in their specializations."
Expanding the disciplines within the Honors College will certainly necessitate that Honors courses branch out past literature and the social studies into business, engineering, and the sciences. In order to lay the groundwork for a broader range of classes, a portion of the Shell Gift will also go towards endowing six professorships per year from Business, Coast and Environment, Engineering, and Science.
"Shell's been a big supporter of excellence and education,” said Dean Clark. “Shell's very, very interested in recruiting our students for upper level management positions.”
Story by Thuy-Mai Nguyen, LSU Honors College
For more information, contact the Honors College at 225-578-8831