LSUS Foundation honors LaPREP founder Dr. Carlos Spaht ahead of his retirement

SHREVEPORT – The LSUS Foundation has created a new endowed scholarship to honor LaPREP founder Dr. Carlos Spaht, who will retire from LSU Shreveport in June.

The Dr. Carlos Spaht Endowed Scholarship in STEM will be available to LSU Shreveport undergraduates majoring in math, science, engineering or technology. The first award will be made in the 2022-23 academic year.

Dr. Spaht has spent his entire 50-year teaching career at LSU Shreveport. He joined the faculty in 1972 and has taught math and logic. In 1992, he founded LaPREP to encourage minority and female middle-school students to graduate from high school, earn a college degree and pursue math and science careers.

A seven-week summer program, LaPREP introduces youngsters to college-level math and science concepts. Students participate in hands-on activities, take field trips, and meet professionals in fields ranging from robotics to medicine. Related programs focus on math and science for older elementary students and video game design for high school students.

In the past three decades, LaPREP and its related programs have served thousands of youngsters. Dr. Spaht and his colleagues have tracked program participants to measure success, and to date every LaPREP alum who entered high school graduated. Spaht says all of the original 560 LaPREP participants enrolled in college, and 80 percent of them majored in math or science.

“We always encourage the students and build them up,” Dr. Spaht says. “The academics are tough, but they can do it. I teach basically the same logic concepts to LaPREP students as I do to my college students here at LSUS.”

In 2007 Dr. Spaht was named U.S. Professor of the Year for his work with the program.

“LaPREP has been the crown jewel of our annual summer camp offerings, and the positive impact of the program on individuals, families, and our community is immeasurable. Because of this, no one associated with LSUS has achieved a greater impact than Carlos Spaht in supporting and serving K-12 students of this region,” said LSUS Chancellor Larry Clark.

Dr. Spaht grew up in Baton Rouge and earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from LSU. He entered the Army and rose to the rank of Captain, serving as Operations Research Analyst in support of the Chief of Staff of the Army at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., from 1970 to 1972.

As he prepared to leave the Army, he was weighing his career options – and turned down a chance at wealth for the teaching job at LSUS.

“I had a couple of friends who wanted me to stay in Washington. We were like the three musketeers. One was starting a business,” Dr. Spaht recalls. “My friends ended up making millions of dollars in just a few years. I came to LSUS for an interview, and I fell in love with LSUS. Honestly, I would have been unhappy working at that company. I think I was called to be a teacher.”

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