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Alumni Center forms into multipurpose landmark

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Home is where your heart is. For Ragin’ Cajun alumni, the Alumni Center serves as a place that they can call home whenever they visit campus. With its stunning gates and welcoming entrance, the Alumni Center has housed countless memories and events since the Association relocated its offices there in the 1990s.

Before it was the Alumni Center, this majestic building used to be the home of a local family. Maurice Heymann, a Lafayette businessman, hired A. Hays Town to build this house for his family in 1936. Town, who at the time was a young architect, had only designed commercial structures before. He had never designed a home for a customer. Even though this was a new space for Town, home design had always fascinated him since he was a child. So, he decided to take the opportunity and accepted the job from Heymann.

Heymann had requested that the home be designed in the French provincial style. He wanted the house to reflect the region of France where his wife, Germaine Rosenthal Heymann, was born. Town made sure to fill the house with balconies, breezeways, and copious amounts of windows to allow light to pour into the home. He even designed a portion of the formal living room to showcase Mrs. Heymann’s grand piano. Town went on to design 1,000 homes in Louisiana and the South throughout his career. However, in an interview in 1994, Town was quoted as saying that the Heymann house was probably the best structure he had ever designed.

The Alumni Center has been the home of the Alumni Association and University Advancement division since its purchase from Herbert Heymann in 1991. A capital campaign was immediately launched to raise funds. Renovations to the home and surrounding grounds began in 1994, turning the landmark into one of the major focal points of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s campus.

A boardroom was built behind the Alumni House in 1996 and renovated in 2018. The addition is used as the on-campus press conference site, meeting space for various campus clubs and organizations, and off-campus organizations and businesses. In 1998, the wing housing the Alumni Association staff was dedicated in U.S. Senator John Breaux’s name. Through renovations and upkeep that the historic home demands, the Association makes every effort to maintain the original esthetic of the Heymann house throughout the modern-day Alumni Center.

In order to allow as many people as possible to experience the beauty of this building, the Alumni Center is open for more than just office space. Any person can reserve different parts of the Alumni Center for several purposes. The building offers great places for weddings, meetings, organizational gatherings, and parties. Not to mention, the gorgeous courtyard makes the perfect place for a wedding reception or private event. For those looking to capture a special memory, the Alumni Center serves as a stunning place for a scheduled photoshoot.

There are many ways that the Alumni Center can be utilized in our community. Even though it was built in 1936, its beauty is timeless.

For more information on how to reserve the Alumni Center, click here.


Photo: Bridal portrait by Haylie Noel Photography