The Louisiana State University Paul M. Herbert Law Center has launched an energy law initiative with the assistance of a deep-pocketed alumnus.

John Laborde, former head of offshore service vessel company Tidewater Marine Inc., donated $2 million to the law school — its largest gift to date. The money will fund an endowed chair and support the new LSU John P. Laborde Energy Law Center.

“Given my lifetime career in the energy service industry, and recognizing how my law degree served me well in navigating the complexities of running a public company in the international arena, I am pleased to give back to the school that has given me so much,” Laborde said. “My gift will establish the energy law center and, hopefully, serve as the catalyst for future growth and perfection in the energy law field.”

LSU’s becomes the only energy law center in Louisiana, and administrators hoped the facility would help prepare the next generation of lawyers and energy business leaders. The center will be a hub for energy law courses, offer continuing legal education and serve as a repository of energy research.

Robert Sloan, former general counsel of New Orleans-based Entergy Corp., will lead the center.

“Starting with the broad and deep range of new courses and programs focused on energy law, we will be striving to build on the tremendous academic strengths found across LSU,” Sloan said. “Our program will have ties to engineering, geology and other sciences; to coastal studies; to business and finance — all with the goal of providing graduate students with enhanced training opportunities with a practical, cross-cultural approach. At the same time, we aim to make the center a recognized focal point of academic knowledge, experience and overall excellence in the energy field.”