In 2003, the university adopted the National Flagship Agenda, which recognized LSU's unique role, scope and mission as the leading academic institution in the state and articulated goals to achieve regional and national recognition in a number of areas, including research and undergraduate and graduate instruction. This document inspired a commitment to excellence among the faculty and staff and generated recognition within the state of LSU's importance as the Flagship campus. As a result of significant state investment in the University and good stewardship of those resources, LSU achieved top-tier status within six years of adopting the plan. Other notable accomplishments over this period included the hiring of 113 additional faculty members; reaching historic highs in ACT scores and high school GPAs among incoming undergraduates; and increasing doctoral enrollment by 15 percent, doctoral graduates by 30 percent, and graduate financial support by 37 percent, while boosting external research funding by 18 percent. By winning the recognition of a designated Flagship appropriation, LSU was able to launch a dynamic strategy to hire top researchers for multidisciplinary research clusters. Under the 2003 plan, the university did not reach every goal. But it entered the highest echelon of American universities by making impressive progress on many fronts.
LSU now rededicates itself to excellence and accountability to pursue a path grounded in decades of tradition and guided by the foundation of the initial Flagship Agenda. This extension, Flagship 2020, focuses on the goals of learning, discovery, diversity, and engagement. Among institutions of higher education, LSU is uniquely situated to provide a rich educational experience. Our success as the Flagship campus has been attained not only by harnessing the intellectual capital of our faculty and students, but also by exploiting the geographic and cultural capital found only in Louisiana. The campus core, known for its beauty and architecture, creates an environment that energizes learning and discovery. Our extraordinary location in the Mississippi Delta facilitates innovative research that addresses issues directly affecting coastal communities everywhere. The legendary joie de vivre of Louisiana culture, embodied so passionately by our students and alumni, draws national interest in and support for a vibrant university.