The Pursuit: ULM wants you to buy in


P is for pursuit. The word represents more than just an event; it represents ULM’s overall mission and vison for the future.  And with the university holding its third annual “The Pursuit” event Tuesday evening, in the new Bayou Pointe student activity center, things seemed to be doing just that.

Attendance was high as alumni and donors packed their plates full of catfish, coleslaw and plenty of other southern delicacies before taking their seats in the grand ballroom. Tables were decorated to commemorate the famous P-40 Warhawk fighter jet as well as show off the schools newly designed “back to the future” logo. With the open bar spewing out drinks and bellies getting full, it was time to get things started.

President Nick Bruno kicked off the night with a brief wrap up of the state of the university. He pointed out some of the accomplishments of respected colleges, organizations and student athletes around campus as well as made a few exciting announcements. Of the few announcements made, one was able to draw a standing ovation- the revealing of the new osteopathic medical school ground breaking plan. Dr. Bruno announced that the project is an estimated 17-month long plan that will break ground sometime within the next couple months, giving it a completion date of December 2019.

After Dr. Bruno’s opening remarks, he invited ULM Golf Director, Tim Baldwin, on stage to cover some of the accomplishments of Warhawk athletics. Baldwin kept things brief, announcing that nine of ULMs 15 athletic teams achieved a perfect single year NCAA academic progress rating score of 1.000 in 2016-2017.

Including men’s basketball, men’s cross country, both men’s and women’s golf, softball, women’s soccer, beach volleyball, women’s tennis and women’s volleyball. In addition, all 15 athletics teams exceeded the required APR score of a .930 to contend for postseason play.

Baldwin also touched on the brand refresh that took place in April as part of the 2018 kickoff with Doug Pederson. The refresh includes the new logo and a new color scheme, returning to the more traditional shades of maroon and gold. The new design can be seen on the newly painted court floor in the Fant-Ewing Coliseum, as well as all around campus. Baldwin wrapped up his announcements by giving an exciting update on current projects. He announced that the new Charlie Martin training room located at Malone stadium, as well as the Brown Stadium renovations, have been scheduled for completion this fall.

After the announcement of this year’s J.H “Slim” Scogin Exemplary Service Award recipient, Pat Mitchell, the real fun began.

This year’s special guest host, Fox Sports personality Tim Brando, took the stage with ULM’s head football coach Matt Viator to get the crowd pumped for the upcoming season. Brando’s enthusiasm and stories of his days as a Northeast Louisiana University Indian really connected well with alumni and seemed to help him relay his main message even better. Brando’s goal of the night was to help support ULM through raising awareness on fundraising and donations for our athletic programs. His slogan “buy in” became the center piece in which he built his argument around, saying it is up to us to buy into what the university is doing going forward.

The night was capped off with an excellent solo keyboard performance and speech from ULM’s very own Alton Clay, Jr. The 2016 All-Conference Indoor Track First-Team recipient talked about his rise through ULM athletics and what the audience could do to support the future of the university.

“It’s all in the name, “The Pursuit.” It’s about moving forward as a university and always pursuing to better ourselves”, said Clay after being asked what the event meant to the ULM athletics and the university as a whole.   

The pursuit brought plenty of awareness towards the status of university and all of its athletic groups, all that’s left is for us to buy in and trust the process.