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Obituary: Dr. Ray P. Authement – UL President, 1973-2008 – April 5, 2020

Dr. Ray P. Authement
Dr.  Ray P. Authement Obituary
Lafayette – Former president of the University of Louisiana Lafayette, Dr. Ray P. Authement passed away on April 5, 2020 after an extended illness. Dr. Authement was at his home in Lafayette with his beloved wife Barbara at his side.

Born on Nov. 19, 1928 in Boudreaux Canal in South Louisiana, Dr. Authement came from humble beginnings and was raised to place a high value on education, family and faith.

Dr. Authement was a devoted family man, a faithful member of the Our Lady of Wisdom parish, and a passionate advocate for the advancement of higher education in the state.

Dr. Authement’s early love for academics led him to leave home and hitch-hike to Lafayette to attend UL Lafayette, then known as SLI, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics with a Minor in Mathematics. He went on to earn his Masters and Doctoral degrees in Mathematics from LSU.

Prior to serving as a university administrator, Dr. Authement had a gift for teaching mathematics and spent time as an instructor at LSU, an associate professor at McNeese State University and a visiting professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He joined the UL Lafayette faculty as a professor in mathematics in 1957 and dedicated the rest of his career to the university.

Dr. Authement took his first administrative role in 1966 when he was named Academic Vice President of UL Lafayette and was promoted to Vice President 4 years later. In 1973, Dr. Authement was a unanimous choice to become the fifth President in the university’s history.

Between 1974 and 2008, Dr. Authement steered Louisiana’s second largest university deliberately and confidently, advancing it from a solid regional University to one worthy of national and international attention.

Dr. Authement retired from the university in 2008 as the longest serving President of any public university in the nation. For 34 years he served UL Lafayette with fierce dedication as the public face of the university. He was a passionate visionary, an aggressive fundraiser, an academic steward and the Ragin’ Cajun’s biggest sports fan. Above all, he will be remembered as a humble servant, a committed husband and a loving father and grandfather who dedicated his life to leaving UL Lafayette, Acadiana and higher education in Louisiana – in a better place.

Dr. Authement is preceded in death by his parents Elios and Elphia Authement, his oldest sister Nell Page (Charlie) of Houma, and his daughter Kathy Elizabeth Prouet. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Barbara Braud Authement, their daughter Julie Authement Johnson (Chris), their five grandchildren, Jacob and Benjamin Johnson, Philip Prouet (Emily), Lauren Newbill (Wes) and Michelle Prouet, as well as their great-grandchildren Graham and Parker Prouet. He is also survived by his brothers Don Authement (Suzanne), Ronnie Authement (Jane) and his sisters Norma Dill (Gerald, deceased) of Crowley, and Rosalie Tipton (John.)

To honor the memory of Dr. Ray Authement, during a time when our community is unable to gather in prayer and celebration of his life, there will be a Drive-by Memorial on Friday April 10, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the UL Campus. The community is invited to drive through Martin Hall Circle to the very front of the building in recognition of the historic contributions that Dr. Authement made to the university, community, region and state. Guests will be asked to remain in their vehicles. For those who are interested in leaving behind a small expression of sympathy for the Authement family, there will be a basket in which they can drop off a note, card, or other remembrance.

The family would like to express sincere appreciation to the staff of Bridgeway Hospice as well as his amazing team of caregivers Phyllis Celestine, Travis Celestine, Willie LeBlanc, Suzanne Manuel and Angela Augustine.

In remembrance of Dr. Authement you may visit the tribute page for Dr. Ray Authement at www.delhomefuneralhome.com where information on contributions made in Dr. Authement’s name can be made in lieu of flowers.

Delhomme Funeral Home, 1011 Bertrand Drive, Lafayette, LA is in charge of arrangements.

Published in the The Advertiser from Apr. 6 to Apr. 7, 2020

Athletic Network Footnote by Dr. Ed Dugas.

Click here for Dr. Authement speaking at the 2004 Athletic Network Annual Meeting.

John and I were honored when an earlier appointment with Dr. Authement had to be postponed and we were given an appointment in the morning of his last official day as president. We used a computer in his outer office, as the one in his had been disconnected. With John at the keyboard, he and I discussed many postings available on the Athletic Network and John would bring them up.

It was his usual and customary practice in the early years of the Athletic Network to have an update report presented live to the University Council. He pointed out the fact that UL was the only university to have such a website.

In September, 2006, www.athleticnetwork.net filled for RaginCajuns.com while it was being updated. When our paths crossed over the next few months, he would smile and remark about his back-up plan to keep athletic information flowing during the make-over of RaginCajuns.com
On April 10, 2007, RaginCajuns.com was activated again, as the remake was completed.
Please click here for that story.

For years he always attended the Athletic Network annual meetings. He approved the Athletic Network idea on May 2, 2002 and John began populating the website that day. The AN website was activated at a press conference at Cajun Field on August 28, 2002. Click here for that photo gallery.

Dr. Authement not only approved the Athletic Network concept, he provided encouragement and support over the years. His was the first name placed on our data base to receive the newsletter and he was pleased with the information and photos posted. Periodically, he emailed positive comments about historical athletic news.

Click here for the Genesis of the Athletic Network.

Click here for Dr. Authement’s Athletic Network Profile.