ULM Alumni

ABIE GARRISON (center) is a recent recipient of the University of Louisiana at Monroe Franklin Parish Alumni scholarship. Since 1984, the group has provided scholarships to 35 Franklin Parish students who are attending ULM. Garrison is a ULM sophomore majoring in Elementary Education. Pictured with her are: (from left) Joann Williams and Glen Williams - chapter president. (Sun photo by Joe Curtis)

University of Louisiana at Monroe freshman and student transfers from Franklin Parish total 160 for the upcoming school year.

The announcement was made at the Franklin Parish ULM Alumni annual meeting Aug. 1.

Additionally, key achievements garnered by ULM were highlighted by school officials attending the event held at Brown’s Landing in Winnsboro.

Topping the list was weather warnings ULM’s doppler weather radar recently reported during the Ruston tornadoes. Due to the early warnings from the reports, residents in the path of the severe storms were given additional time to prepare.

“ULM is the only undergraduate institution in the United States with a Doppler weather radar,” said Dr. John Pratte, Dean of College of Arts, Education and Sciences. “This draws talent to ULM from the entire region.”

In addition to being an education and research tool for the Department of Atmospheric Science, the radar fills a low-level coverage gap over northeast Louisiana and southeast Arkansas. The radar data is also made available to the National Weather Service.

On another front, ULM’s Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) will open in December and bring an estimated $75 million to the local economy. Groundbreaking for the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine building was held Sept. 18, 2018. The 100,000 square foot building boasts four stories complete with two - two-story classrooms with seating of 200, a 4,100 square foot anatomy lab, 20 small group study rooms, and an 8,000 square foot simulation and standardized patient center.

“This is a game changer for us and our area,” Pratte said.

A Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine is a licensed physician with a four-year degree, just as a medical doctor. DO’s have an additional 200 hours of training dedicated to the musculoskeletal system and osteopathic manipulation with an emphasis on whole body/whole person wellness.

Osteopathic doctors, just as MDs, can practice any specialty. Osteopaths in northeast Louisiana include pediatrics, oncologists, family practice, orthopedics and others. DOs can write prescriptions and hospitalize patients.

Additionally, ULM will be adding a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree to its medical programs.

In a related topic, ULM’s six health clinics saw an estimated 27,000 patients last year for little to no cost. Along with the clinics, a mobile teeth cleaning unit traveled to two elementary schools in the Monroe area.

Something new to ULM is the unmanned aerial systems (UAS) program, more commonly known as drones. In 2013, ULM’s Aviation Program  introduced Louisiana’s first concentration in UAS technology. It has expanded to include a Precision Agriculture and Research Center (PAC) which is dedicated to producing research in agriculture. The research ultimately seeks to discover ways in which various sensor technologies can be used to determine crop health.

Recently, ULM opened the Thomas J. Nicholson Virtual Reality Lab. The lab features 28 student stations equipped with VR headsets and headphones with an instructor’s station established at the library. It also features two networked projection screens.

“This is the state’s first virtual reality lab and will pair nicely with our medical school,” Pratte said.

Officials from the school touted ULM’s online programs during the meeting. Currently, it offers 35 degree programs and has been ranked among the best on-line programs by several national organizations.

“We’ve always said the best has been and always will be on the bayou,” said Melissa Kiper, director of Alumni Affairs. “Your memories have shaped and formed our university.”

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