Southeastern Louisiana University receives a $10 million bequest, the largest single donation in its history. SLU spokesperson Mike Rivault says Seth Ryan, a Class of 1953 graduate, became an anonymous donor 15 years ago. He says Ryan donated much of his estate to the university when he passed away several weeks ago.
“Because his wife was unable to attend university, he wanted to give opportunities to women, and he spelled out what academic disciplines those scholarships would be for,” Rivault said.
Rivault says those scholarships will be primarily for STEM programs, which includes science, technology, engineering, and math. Southeastern’s student population is over 60% female, but women only account for 15% of STEM majors. He says with this generous donation, SLU should be able to award up to 600 scholarships every year.
“We’ll more than double the number of scholarships we offer from the university, and it will enable us to really affect the lives of a lot of people who might be on the borderline of being able to pay for university or not,” Rivault said.
Rivault says while Ryan wanted to remain anonymous in life, he said the university could note that the posthumous gift came from him. He says in his honor, the university is going to rename the Biology Building on campus after Ryan’s wife.
“The plans are currently to name it the Thelma Ryan Science Building. We hope to do that over the summer, and all of the programs that are housed in that building will receive scholarships,” Rivault said.