Press - October 20, 2005
BOB KERREY TO HEADLINE LOUISIANA HIGHER ED FORUM
Former presidential candidate and 9-11 Commission member Bob Kerrey will be the keynote speaker next week at a statewide forum to examine how Louisiana's education community can help move Louisiana forward in the wake of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
The forum will be held Thursday, October 27th, at 1:30 p.m., in the Louisiana Purchase Room, located on the first floor of the Claiborne Building, 1201 North Third Street, in Baton Rouge.
"This is an education forum, but it's ultimately about a lot more than education; it's about how colleges and universities can help Louisiana rebuild and renew," said Commissioner of Higher Education Joseph Savoie.
Kerrey, who served as both U.S. senator and governor of Nebraska, is now president of The New School university in New York City. The New School is comprised of eight divisions that serve about 23,000 students (undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education). He also served on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission) which examined the terrorist attacks and aftermath of September 11, 2001.
Kerrey will join some 200 Louisiana educational leaders and stakeholders to explore the future of education at all levels and to discuss education's critical role in the state's overall long-term recovery effort.
"Based on Mr. Kerrey's unique blend of experiences, we expect an insightful discussion as we examine how Louisiana's schools, colleges and universities can play a leading role in rebuilding and revitalizing Louisiana," Savoie said.
The event is being hosted by the Louisiana Board of Regents, University of Louisiana System, Louisiana State University System, Southern University System, Louisiana Community and Technical College System, Louisiana Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, Board of Elementary and Secondary Education, Louisiana Department of Education, and the Virtue Foundation, a charitable organization that supports education initiatives worldwide.
Since the day after Hurricane Katrina's landfall, the Louisiana Board of Regents, the state's coordinating board for higher education, has hosted regular meetings of the Louisiana Higher Education Response Team (LaHERT), composed of system presidents, university presidents/chancellors, campus representatives, and invited guests to address the many issues facing higher education as a result of the two hurricanes. More than 80,000 Louisiana public and private college students and 10,000 faculty and staff were displaced by the two storms.
Next Thursday's forum will expand the scope of participants to include education board members, campus presidents/chancellors, campus vice presidents/chancellors, legislators, faculty, school superintendents, and student leaders.
The "town hall" style forum will explore how schools, colleges and universities can continue to move Louisiana forward in such key areas as economic development and business growth; workforce training; health care; teacher preparation and student achievement; research, innovation and technology; and pre K-16 education coordination.
"The impact of the storms on postsecondary education in Louisiana has been both broad and deep," Savoie said. "It's estimated that Louisiana lost 30% of its tax base, putting a tremendous strain on our state and citizens. Our goal is to use the collective assets of the education community to help Louisiana emerge as a better place to live and work."
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