E. J. Ourso
A native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, E. J. Ourso left an indelible mark on the state as an entrepreneur and on LSU as a benefactor.
In 1996, Ourso and his wife, Marjory, made a gracious donation to the then-College of Business and Administration. For their generosity, the college was subsequently renamed the E. J. Ourso College of Business.
Although he passed away in 2005, Ourso’s life is still very much celebrated at the college. He is remembered as an educational contributor who hired interns from LSU and, after retiring, often invited LSU Flores MBA students to his home on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans to talk about his experiences. Additionally, Ourso regularly served as a guest lecturer. Much of what he shared over the years with students has been preserved in his autobiography titled Dreaming the Impossible Dream.
Ourso began his collegiate career at LSU in 1940, with the intention of earning a degree in journalism. His education was interrupted, however, by his service in World War II. Shortly after his return home, Ourso’s father died, forcing him to take over the family funeral home business and prohibiting him from returning to college. Through his own self-determination, he continued learning by endeavoring to meet the goal of reading a book a day, many of which had as their subjects the plights of successful companies.
For his contributions to the community, Ourso received the St. Louis Medallion from the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, was named a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope John Paul II and, in 1996, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from LSU. Additionally, Ourso is an inductee of the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction.
The Baton Rouge Business Report named E. J. Ourso to the 2019 Hall of Fame. E.J. Ourso loved building his company—the successful entrepreneur made 56 acquisitions over 48 years—but the business associates who knew him best say he also experienced great joy from sharing his success with others. Business Report and Junior Achievement honored Ourso posthumously at the 2019 Business Awards and Hall of Fame gala March 20. His story is posted online and a video of his life is available on Youtube.