Nonprofit Honors Boysie Bollinger for Outstanding Achievements
Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger, Chairman and CEO of Bollinger Enterprises, LLC and retired Chairman and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards, has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Bollinger joins 12 other exceptional business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2023 honors. For 76 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon esteemed individuals who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to education and charitable efforts in their communities.
Mr. Bollinger was born in Lockport, Louisiana into a poverty-stricken family. Shortly before his birth, his father founded Bollinger Shipyards with no college degree and almost no capital. At 12-years-old, Mr. Bollinger began working at the shipyard making $1.25 an hour. Inspired by the strong work ethic of his father, Mr. Bollinger earned a degree in business administration from the University of Louisiana in Lafayette. Following graduation, he returned to the family business and utilized the education he received to expand upon the foundation his father built for the shipyard.
Mr. Bollinger rose through the ranks at Bollinger Shipyards, eventually becoming chairman and CEO in 1985. He worked tirelessly to expand the business before selling the company in 2014. Today, Bollinger Shipyards is the largest vessel repair company in the Gulf of Mexico region with 12 divisions in Louisiana and two in Mississippi.
“Mr. Bollinger understands the power of hard work from his years working on the family shipyard and seeing his father’s efforts to build the business from the ground up,” said Terrence J. Giroux, executive director, Horatio Alger Association. “He used his education to take what his father started and developed it into something even greater. He is a wonderful example of what you can do when you pursue your dreams through higher education and we are honored to present him with this Award.”
Mr. Bollinger is not only business-minded, but a dedicated philanthropist, as well. He devotes much of his time to giving back to professional and civic organizations including the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation, the Nicholls State University Foundation, and the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, among others. As secretary to the Bollinger Family Foundation, he has made significant donations to education, the Audubon Zoo and the National Coast Guard Museum. In 2015, he and his wife, Joy, provided The National World War II Museum with the largest private donation in its history. As a result of his impact on his home state, Mr. Bollinger is the recipient of numerous awards such as Entrepreneur of the Year, the Woodrow Wilson Award, and the Junior Achievement Laureate Award, as well as being named a Louisiana Legend by Louisiana Public Broadcasting.
“I’m proud to be recognized for my professional accomplishments, but even more honored to become a Horatio Alger Member for my dedication to giving back to my community and beyond,” said Mr. Bollinger. “I’m passionate about giving back to the next generation of great leaders and I look forward to sharing my story with students to demonstrate to them the doors that can be opened through higher education.”
Since 1984, the Association has awarded annual need-based scholarships to high school students who have displayed dedication to pursuing higher education despite significant obstacles throughout their lives. The Association also aims to educate young people about the endless opportunities available by the free-enterprise system through commitment, honesty, and diligence. The scholarships are made possible through the Association thanks to the generosity of its Members, who will have collectively provided more than $245 million to 35,000 students by 2023.
“Each year, it is our utmost honor to present outstanding leaders who have displayed extraordinary perseverance in overcoming challenges with the Horatio Alger Award,” said James F. Dicke II, chairman, Horatio Alger Association and 2015 Horatio Alger Award recipient. “Each of these incredible leaders has also shared their success with others, giving generously to important causes and communities in need. The 2023 awardees exemplify the Association’s mission and are proof that the American Dream is within reach for all who seek it.”
Mr. Bollinger and the Member Class of 2023 will be formally inducted into the Association during the Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. from March 30 through April 1, 2023. The three-day event is an annual ceremony to honor both the achievements of Members and National Scholars, who will have multiple opportunities to meet, interact and exchange stories of perseverance.