Bollinger Pledges $3 Million To NOLA Naval Architecture School
The University of New Orleans (UNO) has announced that longtime Louisiana shipbuilder Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger has pledged $3 million to the university’s School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering. In return, the school, moving forward, will bear Bollinger’s name.
“On behalf of our students, faculty, alumni and the entire university community, I am incredibly grateful to Boysie for his commitment to UNO,” UNO President John Nicklow said in announcing the pledge. “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 the former chairman and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards Inc., a network of shipyards scattered all across south Louisiana. His father, Donald G. Bollinger, founded the company, which was originally named Bollinger Machine Shop & Shipyard Inc., in 1946. He led the company until 1985. After that, Boysie Bollinger led the company until 2014, when Ben Bordelon, his nephew, became president, CEO and part owner, along with the family that owns Edison Chouest Offshore.
Bollinger now leads Bollinger Enterprises as chairman and CEO. He also serves on the board of trustees of the National WWII Museum and has given extensively to the museum over the years. The museum’s music venue, BB’s Stage Door Canteen, bears his name, as does the Bollinger Canopy of Peace, a sail-shaped, 150-foot-tall awning that stretches over much of the museum campus.
Bollinger pointed back to his time leading his family’s shipyard when explaining his motivation for giving to support UNO’s naval architecture and marine engineering program.
“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,” Bollinger said. “And I would put them up against anybody else in the country. 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.”
According to UNO, Bollinger’s gift will establish endowed scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Engineering, “with preference given to those majoring in naval architecture and marine engineering.” The gift will also help the school upgrade its ship design computer lab and its 128-foot-long marine towing tank, which helps model ships and offshore structures.
The Boysie Bollinger School of Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at UNO was formed in 1980. 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. Graduates go on to work with ship and yacht builders, offshore oil and gas companies, engineering and design consultants and software developers.