Named a Top Military-Friendly School 10 Years Running

For the tenth consecutive year, Southeastern has been named a Military Friendly® School for 2022-2023.

Southeastern continues to strive to be one of the best military and veteran-friendly institutions in the state of Louisiana and in the nation. Viqtory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs, states the listing honors the top colleges, universities, and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace the nation’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students and to ensure their success on campus. This year Southeastern was awarded Gold Status, which is the highest award currently in the state of Louisiana. No other university or college achieved a designation this high by the publication this year.

“We are proud of our consistent listing, as it illustrates Southeastern’s continued commitment to serve active military, veterans, and their families. It also places us among some of the top universities in the nation,” said President John L. Crain. “Most importantly, we know the designation means we are doing our best to serve those who have made many sacrifices in service to our nation.”

Southeastern enrolls 591 veterans, dependents, and military service members. The university maintains a Veterans Upward Bound program; provides academic and other counseling services; offers scholarships specifically for military students and veterans; and maintains a wide range of online and distance learning programs that provide students with flexibility in scheduling.

Southeastern’s ROTC program, which is a sub-unit of the Southern University Army ROTC program, returned to Hammond in 2016 after more than a 20-year hiatus. Fifty-five students now participate in the program.

Southeastern also serves as a resource center for thousands of Louisiana veterans in an effort to help active-duty military service men and women successfully transition to college through a new program called LaVetCorps.

Additionally, Southeastern now has an Office of Military and Veteran Success. The new office includes two college employees, a LaVetCorps employee, and 10 veteran ambassadors and student workers. The office offers help with academic advising related to VA education benefits, processing VA education benefits, counseling on VA education benefits, programs, events, and priority registration.

“Southeastern has made a concerted effort in the past several years to focus on military service members, veterans, and their families,” said Director of Military and Veteran Success Matt Watkins, a U.S. Air Force Veteran. “Southeastern has created innovative programming, services, events, and resources for our veterans, dependents, and military population. All of our staff members feel there is no greater calling than serving those who have served us.”

A recent addition to campus is the Southeastern Student Veterans and Military Interest Association, a group open to veterans, reservists, spouses, dependents, and ROTC participants attending both Southeastern and Northshore Technical Community College. The association was founded to help the school administration better understand and meet the needs of veterans; offer advice from experienced to incoming veterans; help civilians better understand the military experience; and provide opportunities for veterans to meet one another and connect.

Institutions competed for inclusion on the Military Friendly Schools list based on such categories as military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and career and job counseling services. The firm Ernst and Young independently tested the data provided by schools.

The 2022 list of Military Friendly Schools shows the commitment of those institutions in providing a supportive environment for military students, the company said in announcing the list.

Viqtory Media is a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business founded in 2001. In addition to G.I. Jobs, the company also publishes the magazine “Military Spouse.”

National OSH&E Scholarship Award Winner

A Southeastern recent graduate in occupational safety, health and environment has been awarded a national scholarship from the Board of Certified Safety Professionals.

Joseph Schopp of Greenwell Springs received the $5,000 award based upon his cumulative grade point average, a submitted essay on why he entered the program, and his commitment to obtaining professional certification upon his graduation.

“The BCSP scholarship was the icing on the cake of my educational experience at Southeastern,” he said. “I am truly blessed to have received this scholarship, and it will play a vital role in paying off the excellent education I received through the safety program at Southeastern. The scholarship has given me a confidence boost, and I am very thankful for each of the BCSP members for extending a generous hand and believing in my future as a safety professional.”

The Southeastern OSH&E program was recently ranked among the top 10 best values in OSH&E programs in the country by the website The ranking is based on quality of academics; value, which includes tuition affordability and financial aid; and the calculated average return on investment data, a guide to the success of students graduating from the program.

The OSH&E program is nationally accredited by the Applied and Natural Science Accreditation Commission of ABET, Inc. The program grew from a two-year associate’s degree program to a four-year bachelor of science program following considerable input from managers at area industries who reported a significant need for safety, health and environmental professionals. The program prepares students for a variety of positions, including roles of environmental safety and health specialists and safety supervisors.

Adapting to Change with Addy Award-Winning Publication

Southeastern Office of University Marketing and Communication’s Assistant Director of Creative Michael Trahan recently won Silver in the American Advertising Federation (AAF), Baton Rouge’s American Advertising Awards. It then went on to achieve Silver in AAF’s District 7 (“South” states) competition, earning an entry to compete in this year’s national awards. These wins demonstrate not only excellence in design and marketing, but also the ability to excel in adapting to and overcoming unprecedented challenges.

Columbia Theatre has produced a traditional brochure, designed by University Marketing and Communications, to promote each season since 2002. When COVID-19 caused multiple cancellations to the ’20/’21 season, the current brochures became obsolete shortly after printing. A new way was needed to print this popular piece while incorporating the ability to adjust information during these uncertain times.

As a solution, the ’21/’22 brochure was reimagined into a series of “show cards” which are housed in a box/sleeve. Each card features custom poster art on the front and performance information on the back. These cards not only function as a series of collectible art, but each one can be used as a separate flyer or handout. Most importantly, each card is easily replaceable if a show is canceled or changed in the future.

The piece has additionally won gold in the Collegiate Advertising awards and silver in the Communicator Awards, for a total of four awards and counting.

Lion’s Code CyberCamp

Southeastern’s College of Science and Technology, through the Department of Computer Science, is sponsoring the “Lion’s Code CyberCamp” this summer. Scheduled from July 18-21 in the new Innovation Hub at Sims Memorial Library from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, the free camp is designed for students in grades 8 – 12. Campers have the option to attend in person or online; however, class size is limited for in-person campers.

Although the program is free, registration is required no later than 4 p.m., July 1, and early registration is encouraged due to limited space. Registration is available at

Instructor of Computer Science and Camp Coordinator Bonnie Achee said the camp is a fun-filled, action-packed program that does not require prior coding or extensive experience with computers. It also satisfies all requirements for the Girl Scout Cadette Cyber Security patch and a large part of activities required for Senior and Ambassador Cyber Security patches.

Achee said the camp introduces students to cognitive analysis skills vital in computer science through CyberSociety analysis and investigation of cyber scenarios developed by

“These scenarios drop the students into the role of Department of HomeLion Security teams using critical thinking skills to solve the crime,” Achee explained. “Teams will be briefed by the Director of HomeLion Security at the beginning of the experience as to the details of the incident. With HomeLion security agents leading each team, they will use cognitive analysis skills to piece together the details of the incident and report their findings back to the director at the conclusion of the mission.”

“All student campers will come away with greater personal knowledge and confidence, as well as take their computer skills to the next level,” Achee said. “This is a rare opportunity for students to work directly with Southeastern’s cutting-edge computer science faculty and industrial technology professional staff.”

Achee said campers will participate in a virtual Capture the Flag competition exploring data encryption algorithms, logic puzzles, cyber careers, and Southeastern’s offerings. Each participant will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the camp.

Bonus activities include learning about the wide range of career opportunities in information technology and educational options to help students plan for the future. Southeastern is pleased to provide this free summer activity as a community service, Achee said.

For more information, email

Offering New Healthcare Leadership Opportunities with Doctoral Nursing Program

Southeastern’s School of Nursing is now offering a bachelor of science in nursing-doctor of nursing practice nurse executive leadership track. Approved in December 2021, the first cohort of students will be accepted to begin in summer 2022.

“This program uniquely provides nurse executive leaders with an advanced nursing doctoral degree to complement their expertise in related areas of business, public health, and health administration,” said Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth. “The DNP brings together skills that leverage excellence in health care networks in our region.”

School of Nursing Department Head Ken Tillman said the Nurse Executive Leadership concentration prepares expert leaders to bring evidence-based knowledge into the practice arena, improve health care outcomes, and strengthen the executive nurse leadership role in guiding complex care delivery. For nurses with baccalaureate degrees who wish to pursue graduate-level nurse executive leadership education leading to the DNP degree, the NEL concentration allows nurse leaders with non-nursing master’s degrees, like an MBA or MPH degree, to attain the DNP degree.

“This program provides an opportunity for nurses who are interested in executive leadership, but not advanced practice, to pursue graduate studies at the doctoral level,” he said.

Courses for the new program track will be taught in the fall, spring and summer semesters, accelerating the time to completion of the DNP degree, explained Nursing Associate Professor and Graduate Coordinator Lindsay Domiano. All courses reflect the American Association of Colleges and Nursing, Essentials of Master’s Education in Nursing, and AACN Essentials of Doctoral Education in Nursing for Advanced Nursing Practice and related competencies. All didactic components of MSN and DNP courses will be taught online.

For more information about the program, contact Domiano at 985.549.5045 or

rock n roar

Banking Finance Team Ranks Among Top in the U.S. While Giving Back to the Community

Southeastern finance students recently served our regional banking community while engaging in challenging, motivating, and relevant academic experiences. Under the guidance of Dr. Danielle Lewis, student Community Banking Project team members, Lonica Wallace, Greyson Labasse, and Sage Mulkey, competed in a semester-long, nation-wide case study competition hosted by the Conference of State Bank Supervisors (CSBS) and the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank. The team partnered with Liberty Bank & Trust, the largest African American-owned minority bank in the U.S., to examine how Liberty responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and addressed its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

The students provided the bank with quantitative data demonstrating the substantial economic impact of its loan program supporting underserved communities. External judges from the Federal Reserve System, CSBS, FDIC, OCC, and bankers’ associations judged Southeastern’s Team in multiple rounds, ultimately ranking them third in the country out of 56 teams.

For the project, students worked directly with bank representatives to write a case study. The process included meeting with bank representatives to understand their unique challenges and perspectives, conducting interviews with external bank stakeholders, analyzing bank financials using statistical tools and software, writing the case study, and presenting to bank representatives and stakeholders as well as to the CSBS judges, including representatives of the Federal Reserve and FDIC. Southeastern’s Community Banking Project seamlessly ties together the finance degree program’s academic goals with the College of Business’s mission to positively impact the community.

In addition to providing an outstanding learning experience for students, the Community Banking Project helps to support banks in the region (who do not have the same resources as national banks) by providing them with research, analysis, and inspiration. Participating in the CSBS case study competition serves as a conduit for community banks to help tell their individual stories.

Working with Liberty Bank & Trust, the Southeastern team learned about what inclusion and diversity truly means. Not only did the team have the opportunity to tell an inspirational story about their African American owned partner bank’s struggles and achievements, but by helping the bank quantify their performance and the economic impact on their communities, they found that Liberty Bank’s commitment to lending to underserved communities has a large economic impact on the entire community, not just African Americans.

Having ranked nationally in the top five for five out of six years, Southeastern students have met an impressive number of highly successful people in the industry, including Jerome Powell, the current Federal Reserve Chair; James Bullard, St. Louis Federal Reserve President; Charles Evans, the Chicago Federal Reserve President; countless bank executives and regulators; and Steve Scalise, U.S. House of Representatives. In prior years, Southeastern’s students worked with local banks to address other topics, including small business lending (2016), succession planning (2017), financial technologies (2018), regulatory relief law (2019), and the Bank Secrecy Act (2020).


Competing in First Southland Title Game

Southeastern women’s basketball team achieved an historic postseason run, making their first-ever Southland title game appearance at the Southland Conference Tournament championship on March 13 at the Merrell Center in Katy, TX. Their excellence continued throughout the final game, with a close 56-52 loss in overtime to Incarnate Word.

The Lady Lions ended the season with a 16-11 overall record and a 10-4 conference record.

While five players will be graduating after this season, head coach Ayla Guzzardo believes the team is well prepared for the next season to potentially be an even bigger success. “We’ve gotten the taste of the big stage and the feeling from this last game is going to make our returners hungrier this offseason,” Guzzardo commented. “We’ve built this program by recruiting not only good players, but good people, and we’re going to continue to add quality to our roster.”

The Stories Behind the Bricks

Southeastern’s Friendship Bricks solidify cherished memories and create lasting legacies in the heart of Southeastern’s campus.


Friendship Circle is the heart of campus, and its pulse is embedded in the memories of Southeastern’s students, alumni, and community friends. Nestled between the area’s legendary Friendship Oak and new Lion statue sits Southeastern’s Friendship Brick Plaza.

Graduation recognitions, memorials, marriage proposals, and more line the pavement of the plaza. Under foot, the messages are both clever and sincere. Some engravings are cryptic, while others are obvious.




No matter the message, each brick shares one commonality: pride.

ring medal and gownFor ZYRIA GUILLORY, her brick symbolizes her proud journey of “firsts.” The Lafayette native earned a degree in business management and the title of first-generation graduate in spring of 2020. She was part of the first class to graduate during the COVID-19 pandemic, a group that will be remembered for their resiliency and perseverance. During her time at Southeastern, Zyria was also a member of the first Lionette Dance Team to win a national championship. “My brick inscription reminds me of all of the memories and important milestones I experienced at Southeastern. I’ll forever be a Lion, and I can’t wait to visit my brick in Friendship Circle whenever I’m back on campus!“


Because of its proximity to Strawberry Stadium, Friendship Circle is a major part of the game-day experience, and the bricks have become a fan favorite at football tailgates. It’s not uncommon to see Lion fans hunched over the concrete, searching for their brick, reading engravings of those they may know or studying a message that belongs to someone they’ve never met. One of the most memorable tailgate searches belongs to MEGAN AND HAYES WALKER, who got engaged at Friendship Brick Plaza in 2015.

The pair met in Dr. Laver’s military history class in spring of 2013. Hayes sat behind Megan, and his Theta Chi fraternity brother formally introduced them a few weeks into the semester. “Because we met and dated at Southeastern, I felt it appropriate to incorporate the University into the proposal,” Hayes said.


While in college, some of Megan and Hayes’ favorite memories were centered around Homecoming. Hayes saw the event as an opportunity to pop the question and left a special note for his bride-to-be to find at the 2015 tailgate.


When asked about the proposal experience, Megan describes it as being unreal. “Hayes had me unknowingly invite our friends and family to tailgate with us for the homecoming game. Of course, they were all in on it. Seeing the brick surrounded by friends, family, fraternity brothers, and sorority sisters was just so surreal. It was something I never knew I wanted.”

Today, these Southeastern sweethearts have a little Lion at home and another on the way! They love knowing that their children can go see the brick whenever they visit campus.

Megan's family picture

For many families, bricks are a special way to honor their loved ones in a permanent way.



For the PICOU FAMILY, the Friendship Bricks they hold dear symbolize the family legacy they have created here at Southeastern. Alumni Lamar and Stacy gifted a brick to their daughter, Renee, as a reminder of her time and the success she experienced while at the University.


“I thought it was the best thing ever for them to donate a brick with MY name on it,” said the former Miss Southeastern, Alpha Omicron Pi alumna, and member of the Thirteen Club. “It meant the world for my parents to gift it to me. It’s extra special for me because I’m a second-generation Lion!”

Renee senior portraitRenee grew up with Lion pride. Her mother is a former Southeastern Livingston Parish Alumni Chapter president and her father is a former Lions Basketball player, Thirteen Club member, and Roy E. Hyde Sociology Award honoree. In 2018, Stacy purchased a brick as a gift for her college sweetheart, cementing Lamar’s name and his accomplishments in Friendship Brick Plaza.


“Stacy surprised me with the brick one Christmas. What a unique gift!” recalls Lamar. “It was very touching to see my name on the campus where I played ball, studied, and then graduated. A kind of marker to show I was part of a great university. The Christmas present of that brick was super and totally unexpected! One I will never forget.”

Friendship Bricks are, indeed, an unforgettable gift, one that calls our Lion family back home to remember their time on campus.

DICKIE WHITSON has considered Southeastern home since 1968. Fraternity events, football games, Friendship Oak, Homecoming festivities, and the lifetime friendships formed while at Southeastern are all wonderful memories the former Alumni Board president cherishes from his collegiate days.


“Southeastern has provided me a quality education and an enormous amount of enjoyment as both an undergrad and alum,” said the ’71 graduate who currently serves on the LAA board as well as countless Southeastern committees. “Now in my retirement, the University affords me the opportunity to benefit our student-athletes, fans, and alumni through volunteer service, all of which helps fill a huge void in my life since the passing of my beloved spouse, Sylvia, in 2011.”

His brick inscription recalls the treasured memories of being a newlywed living in an on-campus married student’s apartment with his wife in 1971.

Photo_2021-08-08_223217OUR FIRST HOME

“While I was completing my final semester, Sylvia would commute five days per week by car, bus, or train to New Orleans, where she was employed at Chevron Oil,” said Whitson remembering fondly. “On weekends we enjoyed quality time together and with friends. After one semester there, we vowed to return one day to live in the Hammond area. That brick serves as a constant reminder to me of the humble beginning to my adult life, where together with Sylvia, Southeastern, and God was formed a solid foundation for a lifetime of success and happiness.”

The love, determination, and success denoted within these bricks showcase Southeastern’s strong foundation of caring and excellence. Lion pride resonates through the engravings, celebrating the milestones, memories, and people that make our University great.

Cement your legacy on campus by purchasing a Friendship Brick at

By Olivia Graziano


Remembering Members of the Southeastern Community

The Alumni Association will host its annual Golden Silence ceremony to honor deceased Southeastern alumni, students, faculty, and staff or their family members Wednesday, April 27. The event is free and open to the public.

The annual event will be held at 6 p.m. in the Pottle Performance Circle on Ned McGehee Drive in Friendship Circle.

“We invite the campus and the public to let us know if someone from the Southeastern family, such as students, faculty and staff or graduates, has passed away during the past year so that they can be honored at Golden Silence,” said Executive Director of Alumni Relations Michelle Biggs.

Attendees are asked to RSVP so that event organizers can arrange for enough seating and candles. A list of honorees is available and RSVPs can be made at

For more information or to add a name to the list of honorees, contact the Alumni Association at 985.549.2150 or

Grooving into a Grammy

Southeastern alum and New Orleans jazz musician Craig Klein is making his mark on the city’s brass band tradition and earning recognition for it, including by taking home the music industry’s top honor.

Craig Klein embodies the spirit of New Orleans music—a unique mash-up of skill, soul, creativity, and endurance that draws from diverse influences. A class of ’84 marketing major who also played at Southeastern throughout his college career, he has combined the knowledge obtained from this degree with his talent and passion for jazz to achieve a highly successful and storied career as a professional musician. His most recent album with his band New Orleans Nightcrawlers helped solidify his place in the national spotlight, earning a Grammy.

A born musician, Craig grew up in New Orleans and embraced the area’s thriving arts scene from the time he was a small child. His uncle Gerry Dallmann, whom Craig always looked up to, was a professional trombonist. By third grade, Craig had begun following in his footsteps—taking up the trombone himself. Throughout his teenage years, he immersed himself in a world of improvisation, rhythm and swing, instruments, harmony, and form, often within the walls of Preservation Hall.

With the goal of being a professional musician but also enticed by the career opportunities of marketing, Craig began Southeastern in 1980. He was personally recruited by then Director of Bands Ron Nethercutt. Along with the personal faculty connection, Craig chose the University for its excellent music program and performance opportunities combined with an ability to achieve a solid foundation in marketing. The school’s convenient proximity to New Orleans’ rich music scene further enhanced the draw.

“[My time at Southeastern] kept me reading music. It really was a pivotal part of helping me to stay in music and keep my flow going because it provided me with the opportunity to continue playing,” Craig said.

Craig Klein

Along with playing in several bands on and off campus while a student, Craig served as a member of Delta Tau Delta and as a KSLU DJ, helping implement a jazz program for the station. “When I started at KSLU there was no jazz program, so I went to the director and asked to start a jazz hour—or three hours. Because such a program didn’t yet exist, I started with Southern rock—which I knew nothing about—while we worked on creating the jazz program. Man, I love KSLU. You can bet every time I am driving down I-55 that I am tuning in!” Craig said.

In his free time, Craig often visited New Orleans, where he began discovering and falling in love with the brass band scene. His uncle Jerry, who had initially sparked his passion for music, convinced him to join his brass band The Paradise Tumblers. Enjoying his time with this band and ready for an additional avenue for creating and performing, Craig started The Storyville Stompers. This traditional brass band remains together to this day, performing over 6,000 times and secondlining in the streets of New Orleans for 40 years and counting.

New Orleans

By the time Craig earned his Southeastern degree in 1984, he had already begun making a name for himself. He performed regularly with his bands, while also using his marketing skills to sell real estate. Then in 1990 he was hired as trombonist for Harry Connick Jr. He soon embarked on an international tour, playing alongside the legendary musician for several years.

While Craig enjoyed performing with Harry and felt honored at the opportunity, the bug to channel his creative energy into projects of his own began chasing him. After leaving Harry’s band, Craig returned home to New Orleans and began implementing these new projects: Bonerama, The New Orleans Jazz Vipers, and a little side project called New Orleans Nightcrawlers.

Fellow current members of the Nightcrawlers are Matt Perrine, Kevin Clark, Barney Floyd, Jason Mingledorff, Brent Rose, Cayetano Hingle, Kerry Hunter, and Miles Lyons—the latter of whom also attended Southeastern before earning his own renown as a professional musician.

Official Nightcrawlers hi res band shot copy

“The Nightcrawlers started as a side project because all nine people in this band are first-call players; it was almost impossible to book gigs for the Nightcrawlers because of our schedules. One person may be on tour here and another on tour there. So sometimes we would only play twice a year at French Quarter Fest and Jazz Fest, and that would be it all year long. When the pandemic suddenly hit, it cleared up space in everybody’s schedule. Then we received the [Grammy] nomination, and it blew it up,” explained Craig.

Because of the acclaim received, the once side project has now become each member of the band’s main focus.

Craig and the Nightcrawlers’ response to the pandemic and cancellations—and desire to still bring new music to people—is part of what helped them earn the nomination.

rs=w_400,cg_true“We recorded this record in 2019 in three different sessions,” he said. “The idea was to put this record out for French Quarter Fest and roll with it. We liked it and knew it was a good one. When French Quarter Fest was canceled, everyone else was holding their records so they could use them for tour. But we decided to go ahead and put ours out so people could hear it.”

After hearing the record, titled Atmosphere, a local record producer and Recording Academy member submitted the Nightcrawlers for consideration for Best Regional Roots album for the 2020 Grammys. Craig commented how, after remaining dedicated to his calling for decades, he will never forget the moment he learned his passion project was nominated for the biggest honor in the American music industry.

“I’m in the grocery store shopping, buying some food. The next thing I know I’m getting messages saying we are nominated! My phone was blowing up, and I was so excited in the store that I wanted to tell someone in person, so I walked up to one of the guys stocking shelves and tapped him on the shoulder. I said ‘Hey man, can I share something with you?’ And from there, it just started unfolding,” Craig said.

The marketing savvy he obtained during his time at Southeastern and put into practice throughout his career to promote himself and his bands was utilized to help secure the win.

“There are only 10,000 people who can vote, and of the 80 categories, there are a limited number they can actually vote in. But they can choose where they want to vote,” Craig explained of the process. “For the category we were in, Best Regional Roots Album, we felt the need to really get the word out. We hired a publicist and began working the phones.”

On the night of the Grammys, the Nightcrawlers hosted a joint watch party with Cameron Dupuy and the Cajun Troubadours, a fellow New Orleans band nominated in the same category. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they were unable to attend the ceremony in Los Angeles, but still made the most of it at home in New Orleans—where it all began. Sitting on stage with their families behind them, the Nightcrawlers received word they had won Best Regional Roots Album for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards.


With natural talent, well-refined skills, and an unbreakable passion for creating and performing music, Craig may one day have another Grammy to add to his shelf. The Nightcrawlers have been hard at work on a new album, which is expected to drop before the end of the year.

But despite the national acclaim, Craig remains humble, crediting Southeastern for helping him get to where he
is today.

“Without Southeastern, we may not have had this opportunity,” he said. “Big thanks to Southeastern and the
experience it gave me; it allowed me to play and learn and become a better musician.”

By Allen Cutrer and Sheri Gibson