MONROE, La. (KTVE/KARD) — On Saturday, August 27, 2023, former employee of the University of Louisiana Monroe and renowned Louisiana legislator Dr. Charles R. McDonald passed away at age 84.

In January 2023, ULM recognized McDonald in a standing-room-only crowd with the naming of the “Dr. Charles R. McDonald Office of Financial Aid.” McDonald is regarded as the “Father of TOPS,” which on average provides more than 58,000 students annually with financial aid, with the state legislature allocating approximately $300 million each year to support the program.  

During his time at ULM, McDonald served as the Director of Counseling, Placement, and Testing and the Director of Financial Aid and Scholarships where he worked tirelessly to ensure students had the resources they needed to succeed at the university.  

McDonald had served for 30 years in the field of education by 1991. He then began a 17-year tenure in the Louisiana House of Representatives where he served under four governors.

McDonald was instrumental in securing funding for many facility upgrades and improvements for ULM over the years, including renovations to Malone Stadium. According to officials, McDonald also led the efforts to purchase the building that currently houses the ULM College of Pharmacy and worked closely with Governor Kathleen Blanco to obtain the funds to renovate the building, helping it become a state-of-the-art facility.

Dr. McDonald had a true servant’s heart, always working to help others. He was one of ULM’s strongest advocates and supporters, and a good friend to me and the university. Our deepest condolences and sympathy to his family and the many friends, former students, and colleagues whose lives were positively impacted by the gracious and generous life he lived.

Dr. Ron Berry, President of the University of Louisiana Monroe