Henson and Carolyn Moore: Department of Political Science

Former U.S. Congressman Henson Moore will return to his academic roots at LSU with a recently-announced $250,000 gift to the Political Science department. Congressman Moore, a 1961 graduate who also earned a master's degree and a law degree from LSU, is also serving as Chairman of the Forever LSU Campaign, meaning, in addition to his donation to support budding political scientists, he will also be giving generously of his time, experience and energy in making the campaign a huge success.

Moore believes his involvement with the Forever LSU campaign is an extension of his 18 years of public service to the State of Louisiana, and he's looking forward to being in a leadership position again in his home state. "For me, this is a continuation of a commitment I've had for a long time," he says. "I'm anxious to get involved and get back into it. I think it's going to be almost a fulltime job. I expect to be working on this four or five days a week, so I'm looking forward to that."

Moore says he worked very closely in planning the gift to the Political Science department with his wife, Carolyn, who is also an LSU graduate (1963) and a former Tiger cheerleader. Their three children are all LSU alumni as well, and Moore suggests, in a manner of speaking, they are also involved in the donation.

"My wife felt very strongly about it and felt we ought to do this," says Moore, "She said, 'Why don't we just leave the children something less?' So we figured how much we would give LSU and the children would just get that much less."

"They don't know this yet, by the way," he jokes.

The Moores decided their best giving option was to use a charitable annuity trust, arranged through Gwen Fairchild in the LSU Foundation's Office of Planned Giving.

"We looked at it closely, and I talked it over with our CPA and our attorney, and talked it over with our stockbroker and it all made sense," says Moore. "It ended up being a rather painless way of giving money to LSU...and this technique is something that I'm going to frequently call to the attention of other potential donors."

Once the vehicle for giving had been established, all that remained was deciding which department on campus to support. For Moore, the decision was clear, based on his experience with the political science faculty as a student. Moore credits former LSU political science professor Jim Bullner with being a guiding influence while studying for his master's degree.

"He (Bullner) probably taught me more in getting my master's degree than anyone did in my entire college career," Moore says. "At that time I was married with three small children and trying to practice law, and going to school at night or early in the morning. That was not the normal career path that people would take. So to get a master's degree it took a little encouragement from him.

"It was a wonderful academic experience, both on the graduate and undergraduate level. While I went to law school there, and owe a great part of my career to going to law school, in some ways I remain drawn to political science," Moore says.

The Moores haven't decided yet exactly how they would like LSU to use their donation to political science, but they are keeping in mind the department's needs with regard to fulfilling LSU's national Flagship Agenda.

Of course, the engine driving the Flagship Agenda forward is the Forever LSU campaign, which Congressman Moore leads. Moore has already established an office on the LSU campus, and he plans on working daily for the future of LSU. "I get more excited by the day," he says. "This is critical to LSU's future. The more I work with it and the more I spend time on it, the more convinced I become that the most important thing any of us can do for the future of Louisiana is see this campaign be successful...that having a flagship university will do more to change economic quality of life and the future of Louisiana than any politician or governor could do. We have to have a flagship university, sort of a bedrock, and around that we'll continue to grow better economic opportunities and quality of life opportunities."

Moore stresses that the future of LSU and the entire state will rely on private citizens taking the initiative to make campaigns like Forever LSU successful.

"This isn't going to be funded or built by politicians," Moore explains, "I don't mean that in a derogatory sense. I think the state of Louisiana has so many challenges financially that we can't look to the state to pay for all of this, and that's the way most of us who have gone to LSU have always thought...that it's an obligation of the State of Louisiana to build a great university, and I would argue that it's true...but it may be beyond the State of Louisiana's ability to do it on its own, and we need to turn to our alumni."

"It's going to be my job to try to relate this to the media and to Louisianians and to graduates wherever we can. My wife and I made a contribution, and we're not wealthy. And if we can do it, you can do it...and it's going to be thousands of us doing it like that...that's going to make this happen."

If leading a university fundraising campaign seems like a busy way to spend a retirement, Henson Moore would be the first one to agree with you. But, he says, he wouldn't have it any other way. "If I wanted to do something...the last thing I would ever do for my state that would be important...this is clearly it," he says.