Services will be held Tuesday morning for University of Louisiana at Monroe President Emeritus Dr. Dwight "Del" Vines.
The University of Louisiana Monroe has lost a beloved President Emeritus and Northeast Louisiana has lost one of its most ardent supporters with the death of Dwight D. Vines, Ph.D.
Vines served as president from 1976-1991. He joined the university, then Northeast Louisiana State University, in 1958 as an instructor of management and became a full professor. Vines served as dean of the College of Business from 1964 until he was named president.
ULM President Nick J. Bruno, Jr., Ph.D., said Vines was a progressive leader and his dedication to the university continued after he became a businessman and economic development officer for the city of Monroe.
“I am very saddened to learn of Dr. Vines' passing. He has remained committed to the university he helped to build,” Bruno said.
“On a personal note, Dr. Vines has been incredibly supportive of my presidency. He has always been complimentary of our efforts and provided historical perspectives when requested that only an individual with his extensive experience with ULM could provide,” Bruno said. “Linda and I extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Jean and add our prayers to those of his friends and family in mourning his passing.”
Jim Henderson, D.M., President of the University of Louisiana System, spoke of Vines as a leader and a beloved uncle.
“From a professional perspective, all of us in higher education can learn from the example of Dwight Vines. He was peerless in managing the business of a university. His tireless advocacy of ULM and higher education was courageous and inspiring,” Henderson said. “Personally, Uncle Delbert could always be counted on for wisdom, laughter, and intellectual conversation. I will be eternally grateful for his loving mentorship.”
Vines was born in Jackson Parish in 1941. He served in the U.S. Air Force from 1951-54. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern State University, his M.B.A. from Louisiana State University, and his Ph.D. in business administration from the University of Colorado.
As president, Vines accomplished a number of notable building projects. To name a few, he introduced the Grove, completed construction on Malone Stadium, Oxford Natatorium, School of Construction building, baseball and softball fields, and the Chemistry and Natural Sciences building. Vines also established: School of Nursing building, Heard Tennis Stadium, Activity Center, band building, bank, bookstore, University Police building and Spyker Theater.
Under his leadership, 40 new degree programs were added, including Agri-Aviation, Airway Science, Community Health, Marriage and Family Counseling, Mild/Moderate Special Education, Music Theatre, School Psychology, Specialist in School Psychology, Technical Communications and Toxicology.
Among the many new departments established were Communicative Disorders, Computer Science, School of Communication, Educational Leadership and Counseling and Pharmacy Practice Laboratory. The Institute of Gerontology formed during Vines’ presidency and the campus became home to National Public Radio – 90.3 KEDM and the Small Business Incubation Center.
Vines also created the University Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation that today raises millions of dollars to advance the university.
People who remember Vines as an administrator also remember him as an avid tennis player. He started the men’s and women’s tennis teams on campus. During the years Vines was president, the university won the National 1-AA Football Championship in 1987, 10 national water ski championships and NCAA championships in six track events.
“The progress made to higher education during Dr. Vines’ presidency is truly remarkable,” said Bruno. “He laid the foundation for ULM to be the national university it is today. He is remembered as a man of honor, integrity and extraordinary vision.”