Seeking Artifacts for the Centennial Women’s Suffrage Project

A group of Southeastern Louisiana University professors and volunteers is planning events and exhibits in celebration of the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment in Louisiana. The amendment granted American women the right to vote, a right known as women’s suffrage, and was ratified on August 18, 1920, ending almost a century of protest.

The Centennial Women’s Suffrage Project is seeking artifacts from women who participated in the women’s suffrage movement in Louisiana. The group is interested in items such as letters, photos, old newspaper clippings, suffrage sashes, copies of speeches, pins or anything a female relative may have left in commemoration of participation in the movement, said Southeastern’s Sims Memorial Library Head of Access Services Angela Dunnington.

“The artifacts will be placed in a temporary display at Sims Library on Southeastern’s campus and may become part of an exhibit that will travel to museums and libraries around the state beginning in 2020. All items will be preserved and returned, if the donor so desires,” Dunnington explained. “An object label will specify the history of the artifact and its donor.”

To donate or loan an artifact, contact Dunnington at or Assistant Professor of History Samantha Cavell at

Night Out: Northlake Community Band at Pottle Auditorium

Southeastern Louisiana University will present the Northlake Community Band in concert Tuesday, May 14, at 7:30 p.m., in Pottle Auditorium on Southeastern’s campus. Titled “Marching in the Academic Procession,” the concert is free and open to the public.

Conducted by Jerry Voorhees, the concert will feature works by J. P. Sousa, A. Alvarez, J. Brahms, Andrew Lloyd Webber, G. F. Handel and others.

The Northlake Community Band consists of musicians from high school students through retired professionals and always welcomes new members.

For more information, contact the Community Music School at or at 985.549.5502.

Blackened Brew and The Cakery Voted Tasters’ Choice at Chefs Evening

Attendees at Southeastern Louisiana University’s 35th annual Chefs Evening, held March 31, chose Blackened Brew and The Cakery by popular vote for the event’s Tasters’ Choice Awards. Patrons sampled cuisine from nearly two dozen restaurants and caterers before casting their votes.

The Cakery, based out of Tickfaw, won in the Best Dessert category for its four signature cakes. Downtown Hammond gastropub Blackened Brew came in first in the Best Entrée category for its seared sesame tuna on a fried wonton with a wasabi crème fraiche and teriyaki honey drizzle.

Chefs Evening is organized by the Southeastern Foundation and serves as the organization’s main fundraising event with all proceeds directly supporting student scholarships and academic programs. In addition to offering tastings of food and drink from around the region, Chefs Evening features a silent auction, a live auction, and raffles. The 2019 Chefs Evening had an attendance of over 525 and raised more than $130,000 for the University and its students.


Chef's evening
Above image: Representatives from Blackened Brew, located in Downtown Hammond, prepare to serve patrons at the 35th annual Chefs Evening. Header image: Selections from The Cakery at the 35th annual Chefs Evening.

Ben Nevers to Receive Honorary Doctorate at Spring Commencement

Former Louisiana House and Senate member Ben Nevers will be honored with a Southeastern Louisiana University Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree as part of the university’s commencement ceremonies at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 18, at the University Center.

That morning the university will confer more than 1,000 degrees on students who are graduating with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.

“As a stalwart proponent of education throughout more than two decades of public service, Ben Nevers truly deserves this recognition, which is one of the highest honors the university can bestow,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “Education at all levels in Louisiana has benefitted from his unwavering dedication.”

Nevers was a Democratic member of the Louisiana Legislature, serving in both the House of Representatives and Senate, from 1999 until 2016, at which time he accepted Governor John Bel Edwards’ invitation to serve as chief of staff. One of Nevers’ primary roles while serving as chief of staff was coordinating the state’s response to record levels of flooding in 2016. During his time at the Capitol, Nevers cultivated a reputation as a legislator respected by members of both parties.

A US Army veteran, he was previously a member of the Bogalusa School Board. He also served as the president and CEO of Nevers Electrical and Contracting, a company he founded in 1980.

Nevers, who represented Louisiana’s District 12, was first elected to the Senate in 2003 after having served five years in the House of Representatives. A former member of the Northshore Legislative Delegation, his district covered areas in St. Tammany, Washington and Tangipahoa parishes, including Southeastern.

Education was a cornerstone issue of his Legislative tenure. As head of the Senate Education Committee and chairman of the Postsecondary Education Review Commission, Nevers championed the importance of education in Louisiana.

He served as a member of various statewide educational committees, including the Louisiana Tuition Trust Authority, the Louisiana High School Redesign Commission, and the Blue Ribbon Commission for Educational Excellence.

Over the years, Nevers has served with several non-profit organizations that reflect his interests in agriculture, economic development, education, health care and infrastructure. He is a former president of the United Way, served on the executive board for the Istrouma Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the St. Tammany Right to Life Association, the Louisiana Farm Bureau, the Louisiana and Washington Parish Cattleman’s associations and Washington Parish Forestry Landowners Association.

Nevers is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2015 Mondale-Brooke Award for Fair Housing Leadership and Civic Participation and the 2016 Russell B. Long Legislative Service Award. In addition, he is a 2017 American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations Hall of Fame Inductee. He has also been recognized with the President’s Award from the Louisiana School Psychological Association, the Louisiana School Board Association’s Legislator of the Year Award, and several awards from Louisiana Family Forum.

KSLU Student Newscaster Wins Multiple AP Awards

A Southeastern Louisiana University student has been recognized by the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press. KSLU newscaster and on-air host Connor Ferrill of Mandeville won first place in the Radio Newscast category at the Louisiana-Mississippi Associated Press Broadcasters and Media Editors college contest.

Ferrill also brought home second place in the Radio Reporter category and received Best of Show at the recent awards banquet in Jackson, Miss. A senior communication major, Ferrill has worked at KSLU for two years.

“We’re proud of Connor and what he’s accomplished,” said KSLU General Manager Todd Delaney. “We strive to create an atmosphere of professionalism and provide real-world experience to train tomorrow’s broadcast leaders today. Connor is a top-notch journalist who has all of the traits of a seasoned professional. I’m certain he’ll be highly successful in all of his future ventures and make Southeastern proud of his future accomplishments.”

As Southeastern’s public access radio channel, KSLU 90.9FM offers a wide variety of programming, including music and live broadcasts of sporting events, the award-winning and syndicated “Rock School” radio show, and the community talk show “Point of View.” Named the No. 1 college radio station in the region by the Southeast Journalism Conference, KSLU provides Southeastern students interested in broadcasting with an intensive learning environment.

For more information visit

Increasing STEM Awareness with New Mobile Lab

Area students now have the opportunity to feed their minds with hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities through a new “vehicle.” The Tangi STEM Coalition, of which Southeastern Louisiana University is a member, developed the “Brain Food Truck,” or mobile STEM lab, to increase accessibility to STEM activities for youth in underserved communities.

Areas to be served by the new mobile STEM lab include Livingston, St. Helena, Tangipahoa, Washington, and St. Tammany parishes, said Southeastern Assistant Director of Math Science Upward Bound high school program and project co-chair Wendy Conarro. The purpose of the truck, she said, is to present enriching STEM activities by providing content for summer camps, after school and Saturday programs.

“Thanks to the dedication of many volunteers and donors, the Brain Food Truck was introduced to the public at the 2019 Ponchatoula Strawberry Festival, where Hammond High Torbotics Team members took a break from preparing for World Competitions in Houston to serve up STEM activities to families,” she said. “On the menu were Strawberry DNA extraction, building and testing magnetometers and Keva Plank contraptions, commanding a Dashbot, and creating paper circuit art.”

To help supply the Brain Food Truck, Southeastern Instructor of Industrial Technology Ed Rode led a work group of student volunteers during Southeastern’s The Big Event to assemble shelving to store supplies for over 40 STEM activities.

“We would not be this far along without the expertise of partners such as Mr. Rode who took the lead in assembling the intricately designed shelving provided to our project by the Nebraska Children’s Foundation, which has 20 such trailers rolling through their rural communities.”

The Brain Food Truck was funded by United Way of Southeast Louisiana, Intralox/Laitram, and Ponchatoula Kiwanis in honor of late engineer, Lee West. The project was also made possible by dozens of volunteers and hundreds of volunteer hours over the past nine months, Conarro said.

“Events such as the Strawberry Festival and the upcoming Hammond Community STEM Cafe will give us time to test the system while also providing enriching activities at a few local events,” said Troy Williams, project co-chair. “Ultimately, the Brain Food Truck will bring tested, standards-based, student-centered activities to communities who lack such opportunities.”

Conarro said the Brain Food Truck is being piloted this summer, after which they plan to secure funding for a fleet of mobile STEM labs to serve the Northshore region.

For more information or to make a reservation for the Brain Food Truck, visit Priority will be given to communities currently without summer STEM enrichment opportunities, Conarro said.

Nursing School of the Year for Advanced Practice

The Southeastern Louisiana University Doctor of Nursing Practice Program has been recognized by the Louisiana Nurses Foundation as the Nursing School of the Year in Advanced Practice. The award recognizes a school of nursing offering formal education for registered nurses seeking a graduate degree for advanced clinical practice roles, as well as nursing administration, nursing education and research.

This is the second time Southeastern has been recognized with a Nightingale Award for an advance practice program, with the master’s program being recognized as program of the year in 2013. Also, Southeastern’s undergraduate nursing program has been recognized with the Nightingale Award three times.

The competition is evaluated by a panel of out-of-state judges who review the nominations submitted by nursing programs throughout the state. The Nightingale Awards are the foundation’s highest recognition for quality, service, commitment and excellence among Louisiana registered nurses.

Ann Carruth, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said nursing programs are evaluated for the award by a wide range of criteria, including accreditation status, innovations in education and teaching, nursing examination passage rate, and comments solicited from graduates, faculty and area employers.

Above image, from left: Instructor of Nursing Lana Auzenne, Associate Professor of Nursing Donna Coffey, School of Nursing Department Head Ken Tillman, Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth, Associate Professor of Nursing Eileen Creel, retired Professor of Nursing Lorinda Sealey, Assistant Professor of Nursing Del Mars, and Southeastern nursing alumna Heidi Roshto

Southeastern’s program is an academic partnership between Southeastern and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette that offers Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. The partnership allows Southeastern and UL Lafayette the opportunity to provide stand-alone, but mutually supportive DNP programs to leverage teaching and learning resources, Carruth explained. Building on the strengths of its Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited baccalaureate and master’s programs, Southeastern offers a post-masters DNP program seeking qualified advanced practice nurses and nurse executives.

“I am very proud of our DNP program. Students who are administrators and advanced practitioners create a two year-long project, partnering with an organization to implement policy, evaluate quality, translate research and best evidence. These projects require tremendous organizational commitment and multidisciplinary team effort,” Carruth said.

“In the end, students document data-driven analysis and evaluation of the project. We’ve had five cohorts graduate from our program. They have impacted health care throughout southeast Louisiana and beyond. It is an honor to be a dean working with such talented, dedicated faculty and students.”

The nursing school also operates a completely online RN to BS degree program that allows registered nurses with an associate’s degree or nursing diploma to complete courses leading to a bachelor of science degree.

New Residence Halls First in the Nation with Geothermal Energy, and a Monumental Step in Making Southeastern More Green

Southeastern’s newest student housing is one of the university’s latest and largest sustainability initiatives garnering national attention, and yet it is also only one part of a grand plan to create a more eco-friendly campus.

For over 500 Southeastern students, the 2018-2019 school year began by moving in to one of the two new, state-of-the-art residence halls. Ascension Hall and Twelve Oaks Hall, located adjacent to the former Zachary Taylor Hall, feature private and shared rooms, classrooms, meeting and common areas, and dining and retail venues. But while the roomy, contemporary spaces may be what awe most people who enter these additions, what’s below the surface is perhaps even more exciting.

Ascension and Twelve Oaks halls have a hybrid geothermal system. With this type of system, pumps move heat from the ground to the building when the weather outside is chilly. When cooling is needed, the process is reversed. The result is a sustainable, environmentally-friendly, and economical solution to heating and cooling.

An initiative of Southeastern Sustainability, the system is the first of its kind for any university or state building in Louisiana. The new buildings, which draw from 220 geothermal wells, are also the second largest site in the country to use a system like this.

In addition to environmental benefits, the system significantly reduces heating and cooling costs. It is projected to save over 50 percent on energy expenses as compared to a traditional system and build.

And students now get to feel the effects of this new technology in more ways than one; the system also serves as a learning laboratory for real-world experiences for Southeastern students in various disciplines.

This ambitious construction project is the latest in a long line of efficiencies executed on campus with the lofty goal of becoming 30 percent “off the grid” by 2025. Other current efforts include the use of wind turbines, incorporation of photovoltaic panels, and harnessing of solar thermal energy at several sites across campus.

With student organizations such as Reconnect and the Student Government Association leading the way, students are helping promote the use of refillable water bottles, the retrofit of water fountains into modern refillable water bottle fountains across campus, new additions of recycling bins across campus, and adoption of community garden plots on the grounds at the Sustainability Center.

What started out as a committee tasked with addressing litter concerns has evolved into a committee that is now a driving force behind making Southeastern more green.

“This is a perfect example of what makes Southeastern so special,” said President John Crain. “I convened a group to combat litter. They not only addressed that issue, but then
began exploring ways to expand involvement and nurture a culture of conservatism across campus. Southeastern’s students, faculty, and staff always go above and beyond. This is but one instance.”

For more information about Southeastern’s ongoing efforts to keep getting greener, go to or visit the university’s Sustainability Center and see the efforts in action.