An Awesome Legacy
It wasn't until Phil Adra, a New Orleans native and an LSU alumnus ('05, '06), moved to Atlanta that he realized that not everyone is a Tiger fan.
"I always took it for granted that everybody knows about LSU and assumed everybody knows it's a great school. But really, most people didn't know much about it," Adra shared. "I want LSU to reach more people. I'd love for LSU to be known nationally as a top academic institution and attract more out-of-state talent."
Adra's own experience as a student fuels his passion to spread the word about LSU. While earning his bachelor's degree in finance, Adra graduated from the LSU Center for Internal Auditing program. Through the program, he interned with Ernst & Young after his junior year.
"I was working with people who had gone to Ivy League schools, people from all over the country. When I left that internship, I realized I was getting just as good of an education as anyone else. It gave me a lot of confidence that what I was learning in school was preparing me for my career," he remembered.
Adra went on to receive his master's in accounting and started work as a consultant with Ernst & Young. He's now a financial advisor with Northwestern Mutual. Looking back, Adra said his professional growth is rooted in the education he received at LSU.
"I thought to myself, 'How can I make a tremendous impact at age 33? Given my age and my financial capacity right now, how can I make the biggest possible gift to LSU?'" Adra said.
He decided to get creative and purchased a life insurance policy with LSU as the owner and the beneficiary. His employer pays half of the $6,000 annual premium through its matching gift program. Based on Adra's life expectancy, the Adra Family Endowment is expected to ultimately grow beyond $1.3 million.
"It is an honor for me, as dean of the E. J. Ourso College of Business, to see one of our young alumni give back to the college in such a generous way. I've often said that our graduates are unique and truly something special, and I think Phil Adra's gift proves that," shared Dean Richard White.
"At LSU I had the time of my life, I learned how to be independent, I made lifelong friends, and I got a world-class education. My entire life was shaped by LSU. There's no other cause that I could be more grateful toward," Adra said.
The endowment creates multiple scholarships for high school students from the greater New Orleans and greater Atlanta areas. Adra hopes that the Atlanta scholarships will attract more out-of-state students to LSU.
"I want LSU's national footprint to expand," Adra said. "I think that it would be an awesome legacy for my gift to bring more people—who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity to attend, consider or even know about the school had this endowment not been created—to LSU."
Adra still keeps in touch with his friends from LSU and goes to at least two football games every year. In the meantime, he's always on the lookout for purple and gold.
"I still get so excited when I pass a car with an LSU decal or when I see someone wearing an LSU shirt. All you have to say is, 'Geaux, Tigers!' and that person knows that you are part of the family," Adra said. "There's something about the bond that LSU alumni share that transcends any differences that people have. It's a bond that can't be broken."
To learn more about ways you can make a lasting impact on LSU, contact Julie Bolton Falgout, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 225-578-5846.