Lake Charles Natives Pledge $500,000 to Forever LSU Campaign

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(photo courtesy of LSU Public Affairs)

Lake Charles natives Oliver “Rick” Richard and his wife, Donna, have pledged $500,000 to the Forever LSU campaign from their foundation, the Rick and Donna Guzman Richard Charitable Foundation. The gift supports the A Tradition of Excellence campaign underway at the LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center, and also provides support to the Manship School of Mass Communication.

The gifts were announced today by the LSU Foundation, Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss, Interim LSU Chancellor William Jenkins, and LSU System President John Lombardi.

Half of the Richard gift will provide support for the Clinical Legal Education Program at the Law Center. The other half will help to fund an endowed chair in Diversity, Media & Public Affairs within the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication.

“This is one of the most generous and important gifts in the history of the Law Center,” said Weiss. “When matched by the Board of Regents, Rick and Donna’s gift will provide a $400,000 endowment to support outstanding teaching in our Clinical Legal Education Program. This gift will make a difference to generations of LSU Law students.”

The Richard gift will play a critical role in supporting the Clinical Legal Education Program at the LSU Law Center. The purpose of the program is to expand experiential learning opportunities for students, while also providing a secondary benefit to local, state and federal government and the community. Students will participate in “live-client” clinics; intensive, experiential externships offering encounters with “real-life” problems of legal practice and expand public interest law projects in which students participate.

This type of learning is vital to law students, as research has shown that clinical and experiential courses, in addition to providing practical education, have a strong positive effect on student confidence and morale.

“The basis for lifetime learning I received at the schools of journalism and law provided me the opportunity throughout my career to interact with wonderful people in business, government and the media to effect judicious change,” said Rick Richard of the donation. “The gifts from Donna and me reflect our desire to further the two schools’ initiatives in media diversity and legal clinical education.”

Oliver “Rick” Richard has been the CEO and president of a Fortune 500 company and was the youngest commissioner in the history of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He is a 1977 graduate of the LSU Law Center and a 1974 graduate of the Manship School. Additionally, he earned a master of laws degree in taxation from Georgetown University.

Richard has chaired the LSU Law Center Alumni Board of Trustees since 2005. He also serves on the Manship School’s Board of Visitors.

Richard began his career as a legislative assistant to Sen. J. Bennett Johnston from 1978-81. In 1982, he was confirmed by Pres. Ronald Reagan as a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Following his tenure at FERC, he served as chairman/CEO/ president of four energy companies, including Columbia Energy Group. Currently, he is chairman of CleanFuelUSA, an alternative energy company based in Georgetown, Texas.

The Forever LSU campaign is a university-wide effort to raise more than $750 million in support for LSU’s Baton Rouge campuses by the end of the year 2010. The Law Center’s part of the campaign, A Tradition of Excellence, has a goal of $28 million. For more information on how you can support A Tradition of Excellence, visit www.law.lsu.edu or call 225/578-8645.

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