Shipbuilding magnate Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger has pledged $3 million to the University of New Orleans School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, the only such program in the region and one of the few in the nation. In recognition of the gift, the University has renamed the school the Boysie Bollinger School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering.
“On behalf of our students, faculty, alumni and the entire university community, I am incredibly grateful to Boysie for his commitment to UNO,” said UNO President John Nicklow. “This gift will have tremendous impact on current and future students by providing greater access to a world-class education and state-of-the-art equipment. This kind of generosity can and will change the lives of students.”
Bollinger is chairman and chief executive officer of Bollinger Enterprises, LLC. He is the former chairman and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards, Inc., a family-owned marine construction and ship repair company that was established in 1946 and now has 11 shipyards throughout Louisiana. Bollinger Shipyards is the largest vessel repair company in the Gulf of Mexico region.
“Over my career, Bollinger Shipyards has had a lot of graduates from both the College of Engineering and the School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. And I would put them up against anybody else in the country,” Bollinger said. “So UNO always had a very special place in my heart and it’s something I’ve been close to for a long time. I am very proud of what this school has accomplished and I thought it was a good time to give back.”
Bollinger’s gift will create endowed scholarship support for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Engineering with preference given to those majoring in naval architecture and marine engineering. It will also fund equipment upgrades in areas such as the Ship Design Computer lab and the 128-foot-long marine towing tank, which allows for testing models of ships and offshore structures in a variety of water conditions.
UNO’s School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering was established in 1980 in response to demand from the local shipbuilding and offshore industry. The school offers a Bachelor of Science in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, a Master of Science in Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering and Applied Science. The school’s graduates are in high demand from employers including ship and yacht builders, offshore companies, engineering and design consultancies, and software developers.