After University and LSU Paul M. Hebert Law Center alumnus John P. Laborde pledged to donate $2 million — the largest donation in the Law Center’s history — it was announced the new energy law program would be named the LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center, said Law Center Chancellor Jack Weiss.

Weiss said $1.2 million of Laborde’s donation will be used to create “a new double distinguished chair in energy law.” The remaining $800,000 will create a “challenge fund,” which will match future “significant donations to the law school to encourage those gifts.”

On his 89th birthday, Laborde said that his time at the University was broken up by World War II.

“LSU is a very significant part of my life because it occupied a portion of my life at which I was having to make some very serious choices,” he said.

Laborde entered the University in 1940, but was drafted into the Army in late 1942.

“I was in ROTC at LSU along with all of my classmates, and we were drafted into the service in late 1942, but we were permitted to stay in college for another few months,” he said.

He was called into active duty in 1943 and didn’t return until 1946, when he finished his undergraduate and began his first year of law school.

Laborde said he is happy that his donation will help kickstart the energy law program.

“Chancellor Weiss has wisely determined there’s enough out there in the field to justify a special degree in that segment of the law; particularly here in Louisiana, it’s very, very appropriate,” Laborde said. “This has been oil country for probably a hundred years or longer.”

Laborde said he hopes his donation will be an inspiration to his family and other families.

“It gives me personal pride and pleasure for it to hopefully be serving a purpose for the state of Louisiana, LSU and the [students],” he said. “I hope that it will be an inspiration to not only my own family, but the young people from many, many other families across the country who will honor this as something worthwhile in their lives.”

Weiss said Laborde embodies the Law Center with him being “a major leader in the energy sector,” his “impeccable reputation for integrity and straightforward dealing,” and him being a “major figure” on campus and in Louisiana.

“I think it’s important that this gift is just a major additional step for providing funding for the Energy Law Center to make it one of the pre-eminent centers in the country,” Weiss said.