A native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, E. J. Ourso left an indelible mark on the state as an entrepreneur and on LSU as a benefactor.
In 1996, Ourso and his wife, Marjory, made a gracious donation to the then-College of Business and Administration. For their generosity, the college was subsequently renamed the E. J. Ourso College of Business.
Although he passed away in 2005, Ourso’s life is still very much celebrated at the college. He is remembered as an educational contributor who hired interns from LSU and, after retiring, often invited LSU Flores MBA students to his home on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans to talk about his experiences. Additionally, Ourso regularly served as a guest lecturer. Much of what he shared over the years with students has been preserved in his autobiography titled Dreaming the Impossible Dream.
Ourso began his collegiate career at LSU in 1940, with the intention of earning a degree in journalism. His education was interrupted, however, by his service in World War II. Shortly after his return home, Ourso’s father died, forcing him to take over the family funeral home business and prohibiting him from returning to college. Through his own self-determination, he continued learning by endeavoring to meet the goal of reading a book a day, many of which had as their subjects the plights of successful companies.
For his contributions to the community, Ourso received the St. Louis Medallion from the Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, was named a Knight of St. Gregory by Pope John Paul II and, in 1996, received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from LSU. Additionally, Ourso is an inductee of the LSU Alumni Hall of Distinction.