The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

AT&T donation funds ULM class of 2031


 ULM’s future is looking brighter, thanks to a generous donation made by AT&T.

 The tech company pledged $25K to the ULM Foundation in a ceremony hosted by the Monroe Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 25. AT&T’s donation will support ULM’s goal of eliminating inequity in education. 

The money will go toward the Centennial Scholars Program, created to commemorate ULM’s 100th anniversary. The program provides resources and scholarships for the incoming freshman class of 2031.

Participating fifth graders will receive digital literacy training, such as computer courses and media training, according to AT&T President of Louisiana David J. Aubrey. AT&T will also gift students with state-of-the-art technology and install internet hotspots in underserved areas. 

The United States Census Bureau found in a 2022 survey that 35% of Monroe’s residents live in poverty, and 26% do not have access to the Internet. 17% of households do not possess a computer, tablet or smartphone. 

This digital divide can have long-lasting effects on a child’s ability to continue learning outside the classroom. ULM and AT&T want to ensure that no child gets left behind due to circumstances beyond their control. 

In a press release, ULM President Ron Berry stated that the donation will help the university “reach more students and bridge the digital divide across North Louisiana.” 

 The Centennial Scholars program began as a collaboration between ULM faculty and United Way of Northeast Louisiana in 2021. 

The nonprofit worked with professors to create a children’s novel aptly titled “There’s a Bridge on the Bayou.” The picture book follows President Ron Berry as he discusses the impact education and reading had on his life. 

Faculty members and volunteers delivered the books to Ouachita elementary schools as part of the Take Flight Through Reading Initiative. The purpose of the initiative was to increase literacy rates in Monroe. 

Local elementary students received a $5 hundred dollar scholarship along with a copy of the book. Centennial scholars can redeem the scholarship if they decide to attend ULM. 

 Since founding the program, university officials have continued to sponsor programs and events for the class of 2031. Future scholars participated in ULM’s homecoming parade and attended different athletic events. 

The Centennial Scholars program embraces ULM’s philosophy of changing lives one day at a time.

 If you want to donate to the Centennial Scholars program or sponsor a student, visit for more information. 

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