Ministers – The people of this church


Patti Snyder, Senior Pastor 

Patti Snyder has been the senior pastor at University Presbyterian since spring of 2002. Her years here  have been rich with adventure, joy, and the beginning of many shared ministries including our tradition  of Taize style worship services, our Katrina shelter and the subsequent opening of the dorm for visiting  work teams, our involvement with Together Baton Rouge, and the recent redevelopment of our campus  in order to make it better express the hospitality and welcome of this congregation. Coming here from  Rochester, NY, Patti has also served congregations in Memphis, Tennessee and Atlanta, Georgia and  spent some time as a college chaplain. She is happily married to Jim Hanifen and unabashedly proud of her two daughters (Anna and Jane), and her son-in-law (Anna’s husband, (Kevin). She is an avid cook and gardener and would love to find new ways to return to her love of singing and theatre. All  suggestions welcome!



Betsy IrvineTemporary Part-time Pastor Associate

Betsy Irvine is a minister member of the Presbytery of South Louisiana serving as a “Member-at-large,” (a somewhat peculiar title for one who preaches and moderates the sessions of small churches with no permanent pastor). For close to 20 years, Betsy's day job has been as Director of an Americorps program. After eight weeks of “retirement” from community work, she was overjoyed to be asked to assist Patti and other UPC leaders during this time of leadership transition. As Temporary Part-time Pastor Associate, Betsy's job is to assist with the pastoral leadership of UPC. She will provide staff support to several committees (notably, Christian Education and Youth Fellowship, University Outreach, and Fellowship), occasional preaching, and assist with pastoral calls as needed. 


Caralyn Durham, Administrative Secretary 

Caralyn was born in Rochester, NY and raised in Baton Rouge, LA. She is a graduate of Baton Rouge High School and LSU where she earned a BFA in Graphic Design. After a successful career as a designer and by divine intervention, she joined the staff of UPC in 2001 as Administrative Secretary. She is an avid  LSU football fan, enjoys traveling, and in her spare time paints and draws.



Donna Thrasher, Financial Secretary 

Donna is originally from Alexandria, LA and graduated from LSU with a B.S. in Accounting. Donna  prepares the financial statements for UPC, the Day School, and the Capital Campaign II. She does all of  the bookkeeping, helps work on the budget and maintains contribution records for church members,  among other things. Donna and her husband Jeffrey have 2 daughters who basically grew up in her  office at UPC. Outside of her immediate family, she has one brother who lives in Alexandria whom she  visits often. Donna enjoys working at UPC because of all the nice people that she gets to work with on different committees. She considers UPC her second church as they have prayed for her and many of  her relatives down through the years, for which she is very grateful. Donna is an an avid LSU football fan,  as well as a Saints fan. She tries to make an annual trip to the beach in Florida and also enjoy camping  and touring plantations in the various states in the South.



Stuart Dameron, Choir Director

Stuart Dameron, his wife Lisa, and two girls, Lillian and Brielle, come to Baton Rouge from the Denver area where Stuart served as adjunct faculty in the School of Music at Colorado State University, also his alma mater.  Stuart is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree in Choral Conducting at LSU.  Stuart is both privileged and honored to join the UPC family and serve in the Music Ministry.



Anne Maverick, Organist 

Anne started as a substitute on several occasions and was attracted by the warmth of the congregation, the welcome theology, and the wonderful camaraderie of the choir. She has enjoyed getting back in  touch with her musical self, and finds it a joy to play for people who sing! In case you can’t tell by the  way she talks, she is from the midwest, born in Milwaukee and raised there and St. Louis. She earned a  bachelor’s degree in music and master’s in English and library science. She has worked as an organ  builder, music teacher, English teacher, technical writer, librarian, and of course, church musician.  She met her husband Andy in the Bach Society chorus in St. Louis. They were blessed with two beautiful  children late in life. James and Emily are graduate students at the moment, in music and neuroscience,  respectively. Anne and Andy take pleasure in hiking and camping in the Colorado mountains, playing  bridge, traveling, and each other’s company. Soon Anne will be retiring from her day job as a high  school librarian and looks forward to reading, visiting family and friends, and discovering her next new  adventure.



Terry Iyasere, Day School Director

Terry G. Iyasere, was born in Newport News, VA. She is the third of seven children. Her family moved to  Louisiana in her early elementary years. She received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Interior Design  with a minor in Child Development from Southern University A&M College, post education credits from  the Louisiana State University and Master of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of  Phoenix. Terry has many years of experience working with children, including raising four of her own.  She has twenty years of varied classroom experience working with preschool and elementary school age  children and nine years of administration experience and leadership. In February of 2006, she joined the  University Presbyterian Church Staff as the Day School Director. Her goal along with the staff is to always  provide a safe, loving, happy and prepared environment in which each child can develop to their fullest  potential. She is married to Sonny O. Iyasere and is the mother to four wonderful children. She is active  in her church and a variety of civic and cultural organizations and clubs. Outside of professional  interests, Terry likes to read, travel, dance, and spend time with family.



Robert Gourgues, Custodian

Robert was born and raised in Plaquemine, Louisiana. He grew up across the street for St. John Catholic Church where he served as an altar boy for many years. He is the youngest of seven siblings of which two are deceased. Robert is a diehard LSU football fan and has been working as a ticket taker for several years now, and was recently promoted to gate captain. Robert has worn many hats during this journey called life such as Boy Scout Master Troop 38, member of Dow Advisory Panel, Finance manager, restaurant manager and many others. His greatest blessings are his children, his grandchildren, and UPC. Robert has a son, Robb, and two daughters, Morgan and Jenna. He has two granddaughters, Kaci & Kaylie. Robert and his wife enjoy travelling, and although they don’t travel as often as they would like, they look forward to many travels in the future.