A Homecoming Alum returns as chief academic officer

Dr. Jaimie L. Hebert didn’t need a map to navigate campus when he became UL Lafayette’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs in July.

He knew the terrain well. The Abbeville, La., native earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from the University.

“It was a wonderful school when I attended, but what this University has become over the past several decades is just astounding – literally a nationally ranked institution of higher education,” Hebert said.

“There has been so much progress. It’s amazing what has happened since I left. But there are many things that haven’t changed, and it’s all the good stuff.”

Hebert returns to his alma mater after serving as president of Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.

As UL Lafayette’s chief academic officer, he’ll collaborate with administrators, college deans and faculty to determine and implement the University’s academic priorities.

Hebert said the responsibility is eased by “the enormous amount of intellectual capital that exists on this acreage. In brains per square foot, we outdo everyone.

“We have extraordinary faculty. We have well-prepared, wonderful students who have great work ethics. We have a community that goes to bat for us and welcomes our students into it. Those are all the things that every provost wants. I walk in with those.”

Hebert pointed to a drink coaster on his conference table. A fleur-de-lis, part of the University’s academic and athletic logos, is embossed on it.

“When people see that symbol, I don’t want them to think just about food and wonderful music and a great community. I want them to think about one of the most extraordinary undergraduate and graduate experiences in the country. That’s what we need to be associating with that symbol.

“That’s my challenge to myself. We shouldn’t be only a good option for students. We want to be a destination.”

Hebert became Georgia Southern’s president in 2016. In that role, he led its consolidation with Armstrong State University in Savannah, Ga.

Hebert previously was provost and vice president of Academic Affairs at Sam Houston State University. He also served as dean of the Huntsville, Texas, university’s College of Arts and Sciences, and as chair of its Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

Hebert taught at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., as an assistant professor of mathematical science.

He earned three degrees in statistics from UL Lafayette: a bachelor’s in 1986, a master’s in 1988 and a Ph.D. in 1990.

Hebert said the foundation he received at UL Lafayette prepared him for his 28-year career.

“This place made me ready to launch the fortunate career that I have had. Being able to come back and to work to help a place progress that’s so close to my heart is just, oh, I don’t even know how to describe it. No one deserves to have it this good.”

Hebert replaces Dr. David Danahar, UL Lafayette’s interim provost since 2016.

This article first appeared in the Fall 2018 issue of La Louisiane, The Magazine of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Main photo by University of Louisiana at Lafayette/Rachel Keyes


University of Louisiana at Lafayette/Rachel Keyes

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