The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has named the founding director of the Kathleen Babineaux Blanco Public Policy Center.

The University announced the creation of the Public Policy Center last year, and now Dr. Stephen R. Barnes will head up the institute.

While Dr. Barnes is currently serving as the head of the LSU Economics and Policy Research Group, he will begin his new job in August.

The facility is being paid for by mostly donations, and its work will honor former Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco's career in public service as a state house member, public service commissioner and then as governor.

About the center, Barnes had this to say,

The center "is poised to become a leading source of research on the most pressing challenges facing Louisiana. It will work with researchers throughout the University, the state and beyond to inform and evaluate public policies that affect the lives of every person who calls Louisiana home. The results of these collaborations can make our state a model for change across a number of social challenges. Governor Blanco's efforts to establish a public policy center at UL Lafayette reflect her belief that an informed public is essential to our state's strength, today and in the future"

The University System Board of Supervisors will need to give approval for Barnes' appointment.