Gift to Support Working Students in LSU College of Engineering is University’s Largest Ever Immediate-impact Donation for Scholarships
BATON ROUGE – A $6 million gift to benefit the LSU College of Engineering will expand the college’s highly successful Brookshire Scholars program. The gift will extend the impact of the S & B Engineers and Constructors Scholarship well beyond the more than 1,300 students who have been named Brookshire Scholars since the scholarship was established in 2010.
In celebration of the extraordinary career of the late William Alfred “Bill” Brookshire, Ph.D., and his legacy of supporting engineering students, the S & B Engineers and Constructors Scholarship provides life-changing financial relief to junior and senior LSU Engineering students who maintain a combined coursework and employment workload of at least 30 hours and a grade point average of at least 2.5. To date, the students who have been awarded this scholarship have achieved a 95 percent graduation rate, exceeding the university’s overall graduation rates.
LSU alumna and former Brookshire Scholar April Gaydos, a mechanical design engineer for Intralox in New Orleans, reflected, “The Brookshire family single handedly eliminated financial stress from my college experience. Their generosity allowed me to graduate from college debt free. Working three jobs while going to school was far from easy. This award removed a huge burden, allowing me to work fewer hours during the semester. Also, as a direct result of this, I was able to focus more on my involvement within the college. I am still being impacted by the Brookshire family. The internship I was able to pursue led to my full-time job. The leadership positions I held allowed me to grow and be challenged in a way that has set me up for success in my career. This scholarship is more than just financial support. This scholarship is filled with untapped opportunity that would otherwise not have been explored.”
Scholarships are LSU’s top fundraising priority and a crucial resource for keeping pace with LSU’s continued record-breaking success in recruiting, retaining and graduating students. LSU announced last month that for the third-straight year, the university broke the record for its largest and most diverse freshman class ever and achieved an all-time high in overall enrollment. The new gift to the S & B Engineers and Constructors Scholarship builds upon the scholarship’s longtime proven success in closing the access gap for students with financial need and providing critical retention dollars to ensure students can stay in school and graduate while balancing the demands of work and college. Long-term, the return on this investment will be realized over the span of recipients’ careers through their lifetime earnings and contributions as engineers who can transform ideas into reality to solve society’s problems and improve the quality of life.
“Our father’s vision and legacy are honored each and every year by the exemplary hard work and perseverance of the Brookshire Scholars,” the Brookshire family shared, adding, “These students, the College of Engineering and LSU as a whole continue to meet the challenges of our time head on and thrive in the process.”
Brookshire, who passed away in spring 2017, was a stalwart believer in the power of higher education to transform lives and was deeply committed to paying forward the fellowship support that enabled him to earn a college education. In the early 1950s, as a 16-year-old living in Lufkin, Texas, Brookshire set out to continue his education after becoming the first in his family to earn a high school diploma. His father was able to provide him with war bonds to cover one semester at a community college. Brookshire worked full-time during the day, balancing multiple jobs, and took night classes. He soon transferred to University of Houston, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering in 1957. He then enrolled at LSU, where he earned a master’s degree in 1959 and a Ph.D. in 1961, both in chemical engineering. Brookshire treasured his time at LSU and, though he would ultimately return to his home state of Texas, he remained deeply connected to the university and had a lifelong appreciation for Louisiana’s unique culture.
As a young process engineering supervisor for Exxon Corporation in Houston, Brookshire invested his life savings and a loan to create S & B Engineers and Constructors with business partner James Slaughter Sr. Their two-man operation is now one of the leading U.S.-based contractors, with more than 7,500 employees globally.
In reflecting upon his personal giving years ago, Brookshire shared with LSU, “I think the whole thrust of my giving at the University of Houston, LSU, my high school and the community college was to support students working their way through school. I want to help people who are helping themselves.”
The $6 million gift to the S & B Engineers and Constructors Scholarship is one of LSU’s largest scholarship gifts ever and is the largest scholarship gift LSU has ever received for immediate use. Over the last 15 years, investments in LSU students made possible through Dr. Brookshire’s generosity have included transformative gifts to create scholarships and graduate assistantships, provide emergency support to students impacted by unforeseen crises and bring the College of Engineering’s nation-leading Patrick F. Taylor Hall facilities to life. He has also made leadership gifts to the LSU William A. Brookshire Military & Veterans Student Center, which is dedicated to helping veterans, service members, dependents and survivors succeed in higher education, and to establish the LSU William A. Brookshire Military Museum, currently under construction as part of renovations to LSU’s Memorial Tower.
College of Engineering Dean Judy Wornat said, “We have seen the tremendous impact that the [S & B Engineers and Constructors] Scholarship has had on the lives of so many of our students. It literally makes all the difference in their being able to successfully complete their engineering, computer science or construction management educations—and then go out in the world and use those educations for the betterment of society and the economy. The new commitment makes this dream a reality for even more classes of our students. What a wonderful thing to do!”
Gifts to fund scholarships at LSU secure the future of Louisiana, strengthen the communities around the world where LSU graduates live and improve quality of life for generations of families. Watch “S & B Engineers and Constructors Scholarship” for an inside look at the impact this scholarship is making at LSU.
The historic commitment to the S & B Engineers and Constructors Scholarship is part of LSU’s $1.5 billion Fierce for the Future Campaign, the largest campaign for higher education in the history of Louisiana. Fierce for the Future unites LSU’s campuses statewide in pursuit of a common goal: to generate solutions for the people in Louisiana that hold the promise of making profoundly positive impacts around the world. To learn more, please visit http://fierceforthefuturecampaign.org.
Contact Ernie Ballard
LSU Media Relations
LSU College of Engineering