Nationally Ranked by U.S. News and World Report

Southeastern was named one of the top national performers for the social mobility of its students and among the top 125 regional universities in the South by U.S. News and World Report.

“These accolades are yet another testament to the tremendous support Southeastern students receive from our faculty and staff,” said Southeastern President John L. Crain. “We care about each and every student.”

Every year, U.S. News and World Report publishes what many regard as the gold standard for college rankings in the United States. This year, 1,400 colleges and universities were reviewed, focusing on academic quality and measures, such as graduation rates, retention rates, and social mobility.

Graduation rates for first-generation college students were factored into the ranking’s overall methodology for the first time this year, and the new ranking “Top Performers on Social Mobility” was added.

The new ranking “evaluates which schools best serve underrepresented students” and analyzes enrollment and graduation rates of low-income students with Pell Grants.

“Economically disadvantaged students are less likely than others to finish college, even when controlling for other characteristics,” U.S. News said. “But some colleges are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of disadvantaged students awarded with Pell Grants. The vast majority of these federal grants are awarded to students whose adjusted gross family incomes are under $50,000.”

Southeastern was ranked 108th nationally in social mobility and in the top 125 regional universities in the South.

Professional Sales Education Growing and Earning Accolades

With an eye to the dynamic nature of business today, Southeastern’s new marketing concentration in professional sales provides real-world experiences in what many executives call the single most important function in any business—sales.

According to statistics produced by the Sales Education Foundation, sales as a discipline plays an important role in both the economy and the professional lives of today’s college graduates. A recent Harvard Business Review article stated that nationally, over 50 percent of college graduates will take on a role in professional sales at some point in their career. That percentage grows to 88 percent for marketing majors. However, only three percent of colleges in the United States offer a professional sales program. In 2017, Southeastern moved forward to enter this growing area with its own program.

Students who graduate from university sales programs, when compared to their non-sales educated peers, fare better in the workplace. They receive an average of 2.8 employment offers before they graduate; experience, on average, over 90 percent job placement; ramp up 50 percent faster with standard company training; have a current average starting salary of $60,000/year; and 77 percent report high career satisfaction.

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Southeastern prides itself on working with regional companies to respond to industry needs—the development of curricula in industrial technology and welding inspection are recent examples. The professional sales program is no different.

“Our Marketing Degree Advisory Board was instrumental in confirming the need for graduates with specialized sales training. We also had many companies reaching out to us looking for students interested in going into sales positions,” said Dean of the College of Business Antoinette Phillips.

Once it was obvious that the need was high, Dr. Tará Burnthorne Lopez and Ms. April Field Kemp, marketing faculty members in the College of Business, worked to get the program started. The program helps students differentiate themselves in the job market by enhancing their analytical and tactical skill sets, focusing on consultative selling, relationship building, and developing trusted long-term partnerships with clients.

According to Phillips, “The professional sales concentration was approved to begin in the fall of 2016, but real momentum began in Spring of 2018 when the first Advanced Professional Sales course was offered, and Southeastern students began competing in on-campus and regional sales competitions. We had been teaching an Introduction to Personal Selling course for many years, but we wanted to offer a deeper level of sales training for our students.”

The core sales curriculum consists of courses in Personal Selling, Advanced Professional Selling, and Sales Management, and is supported with other marketing courses in Consumer Behavior, Marketing Research, and Marketing Strategy. Because the current goal is to prepare students for success in the sales profession, the program has been developed for marketing majors with a future goal of including those majoring in areas outside of business who wish to pursue a sales certificate.

“We know that professional sales is not only a starting point for careers, but is becoming more and more important across all sectors of the economy. With the proliferation of technology, data analytics, and CRM applications, the role of the salesperson has become significantly more sophisticated as have the skills needed to be successful. The Southeastern professional sales program will help train the next generation of sales leaders,” said Phillips.

The success of an academic program can be seen in several ways—student interest, industry interest, and third party accolades. After only one year up and running, the professional sales program has achieved all three.

The strength and effectiveness of the program is already being recognized. This past year Southeastern’s sales concentration was named one of the top professional sales programs by the Sales Education Foundation. Student numbers were immediately strong and businesses from all over were looking to participate through support, sponsorships, and recruitment for interns and graduates.

“We’ve been very fortunate that the program started off so strong with so much support,” said Kemp.

As the program got off the ground well over 30 companies have shown interest in participating in some way, many making financial commitments.

Most recently Northwestern Mutual has sponsored the program at a significant level. Through a generous financial commitment, professional sales students will learn in a new Northwestern Mutual Training Room, to be located in Garrett Hall, with renovations to the existing space set to begin early this year. Steven Dugal, managing partner of the Mississippi and Louisiana offices, as well as Paul Hodge, managing director of the Mandeville and Gulfport offices, are supporting the initiative.

“We are excited to get involved in Southeastern’s sales program. From our experience at other universities, sales students ramp up faster than non-sales students, have lower turnover, and are more prepared for the workforce” said Dugal.

“The investment that Northwestern Mutual is making demonstrates that the program is on the right track. We are really appreciative of their support,” concluded Phillips.

By Mike Rivault

Only University in Louisiana with Student-Produced Football Broadcasts for ESPN

The Southeastern Channel is broadcasting and streaming Southeastern’s first two home football games this fall on ESPN+, making Southeastern the only school in Louisiana with students fully producing football games for ESPN.

“Being on ESPN is truly a dream come true,” said student play-by-play announcer John Sartori of Mandeville, who won a 2018 student Emmy for on-camera talent. “I will cherish every second of this coming season. The exposure we are receiving is truly second to none.”

The Emmy award-winning Southeastern Channel, honored by the Broadcast Education Association as one of the top four in the nation two years running for its live sports game broadcasts, produced the ESPN+ broadcast for the Lions’ home opener with Jacksonville State on August 29, and is also producing the September 21 Southland Conference contest with Lamar.

“The fact that our broadcasts are now being aired on ESPN is truly a tremendous honor,” said game broadcast director student Dylan Domangue of Houma, who was the play-by-play announcer for the 2018 winning broadcast. “Our broadcasts are student-led, so having our work on ESPN is a huge honor because our production is getting recognized alongside professionals.”

Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon said streaming on ESPN+ means increased exposure for Southeastern Athletics to more than two million paid subscribers.

“It’s an incredible honor that ESPN and the Southland Conference hold the quality of our student productions in such high regard,” Settoon said. “It’s extremely rare for a student-produced game broadcast to be selected for streaming on an ESPN platform. This is the culmination of many years of hard work by our students and Southeastern Channel supervising staff members.”

Game selections after the first four weeks of the season will be announced by the Southland Conference 12 days prior to kickoff, allowing the best matchups to be selected each week for various broadcast partners.

ESPN+ is the premium multi-sport, direct-to-consumer video service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer and International segment in conjunction with ESPN. It offers fans thousands of additional live events, on-demand content and original programming not available on ESPN’s linear TV or digital networks.

Programming on ESPN+ includes hundreds of MLB, NHL and MLS games, thousands of college sports events (including football, basketball, and multiple other sports from more than 15 conferences), Grand Slam tennis, international and domestic rugby, cricket, and the full library of ESPN’s award-winning 30 for 30 films. In recent years Southeastern Channel game broadcasts have streamed live on the Southland Digital Network and aired on the Cox Sports Television Network.

“We are very excited to have Southeastern Louisiana home games added to our ever-expanding menu of football broadcasts across the Southland Conference,” League Commissioner Tom Burnett said. “The award-winning production efforts of the student-led Southeastern Channel will be seen by a wider audience of football fans to enjoy watching the Lions and other Southland competition.”

Settoon said that the Southeastern Channel provides unique sports broadcasting opportunities for students whose work can be seen on national networks.

“We’re one of the very few college television stations in the entire country—and the only one in the state or region—where students are able to do the play-by-play announcing, color commentating, sideline reporting, live game directing, and every other crew position for Division One Football and other sports events,” Settoon said. “Most college game productions relegate students to running camera or production assistant positions.”

The Southeastern Channel football broadcast from last season’s Lions vs. Abilene Christian game won fourth place in the nation for Live Game Broadcast given by the Broadcast Education Association.

ESPN+ is an integrated part of the ESPN App, the leading sports app and the premier all-in-one digital sports platform for fans. The ESPN App is a showcase of the company’s culture of innovation, delivering a rich, personalized experience that curates all of ESPN’s incredible content around each fan’s individual tastes. ESPN+ is also available through ESPN.com. Fans subscribe to ESPN+ for $4.99 a month or $49.99 per year and can cancel at any time.

The Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards in the past 16 years, including 17 from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Charter Spectrum 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany, Livingston and St. Helena parishes, and its live webcast and video on demand can be viewed online via the channel’s website at thesoutheasternchannel.com. It’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

Launching Two Commencement Ceremonies for Enhanced Experience

As part of ongoing efforts to ensure graduates and guests enjoy a safe and high-quality experience, beginning this December Southeastern will host two commencement ceremonies on the same day.

A ceremony for graduates of degree programs housed in the College of Education, College of Business, and College of Science and Technology will begin at 10 a.m. while a ceremony for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will begin at 5 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held Saturday, December 14, at the University Center. This will be the arrangement for winter commencement ceremonies moving forward.

For spring commencement ceremonies, however, the assigned colleges will switch, with the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences students graduating at the 10 a.m. ceremony and graduates of the College of Education, College of Business, and the College of Science and Technology participating in the 5 p.m. ceremony.

Those earning master’s and doctoral degrees will participate in the ceremony with the college where their degree program is housed.

The decision to divide what was previously one larger ceremony into two smaller ones was based on input from student and faculty and staff focus groups, as well as feedback from guests, according to President John L. Crain.

“What a wonderful dilemma to have when record-high attendance and numbers of graduates participating in the ceremony necessitate such changes,” he said. “Southeastern has a proud tradition whereby we call every graduate’s name while they cross the stage. Hosting two ceremonies moving forward will continue that tradition.”

Several options were considered to address concerns of an ever-growing ceremony, according to Kay Maurin, assistant vice president of enrollment management, including the possibility of issuing tickets to limit the number of guests.

“After meeting with our students, it was clear that the preference was for our graduates to celebrate with the family and friends who supported them on their college journeys,” Maurin said.

In recent years, Southeastern instituted additional safety and security measures by making a prohibited items list available and providing bag checks for guest entry. The Southeastern Channel now also live streams Commencement so family and friends unable to attend can watch from homes or their mobile devices.

More information about the two Commencement ceremonies can be found at southeastern.edu/commencement.

Southeastern Foundation Welcomes New Board of Directors

The Southeastern Foundation recently announced its 2019-20 Board of Directors.

“Our board is a group of committed professionals who understand the value of Southeastern both to its students and the region,” said Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale. “They work hard to provide guidance for the Foundation in support of the University.”

Dawn Cantrell of Baton Rouge, a 1984 marketing graduate, will chair the board. This is her second year of a two-year term.

Three new members will join returning board members. New members include Vice President of Investment Advisors for Stirling Properties Barry “Beezie” Landry of Hammond, a 2000 accounting graduate; Jared Riecke of Covington, CEO of Riecke & Associates, LLC; and Jonathan Wong of Hammond, a 2002 business graduate, co-founder and team leader of Cate Street Seafood Station, The Boston Restaurant, and FitFam.

Returning Southeastern Foundation Board members include Thomas “Tom” Akers of Mount Juliet, Tenn.; Marcia Barr of Hammond, board secretary; Troy Broussard of Prairieville; Barry Brown of Frisco, Tex., past board chair; Toby Cortez of Ponchatoula; Stan Dameron of Hammond, investment committee co-chair; Helen Dufreche of Hammond, philanthropy committee chair; Marcia Galatas of Houston, Tex.; Jack Gautier of Hammond; Bill Kingsmill of Covington; Shelby P. LaSalle, Jr. of Mandeville; Rodney LeBlanc of Madisonville; Terri LeBlanc of Baton Rouge; Wallace Lewis of Hammond, Randy Moffett of Covington; Marcus Naquin of Hammond; Cynthia Nesser of New Orleans, governance committee chair; John Poteet of Hammond; Mike Sharp of Springfield, real estate committee chair; Tony Volz of Mandeville; and Robert Watkins of Robert, treasurer.

“I am proud to be a part of the Southeastern Foundation Board and serve alongside a diverse group of talented individuals who bring passion, experience and love for Southeastern to their work as board members,” Cantrell said. “Our board has been highly effective in fundraising, governance and financial oversight of the Foundation’s assets with a recent focus on strategic planning to position us to meet our long-term fundraising goals to help Southeastern students.”

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From left: Mike Sharp, Jack Gautier, Helen Dufreche, Randy Moffett, Terri LeBlanc, Jared Riecke, Marcus Naquin, Tom Ackers, Shelby LaSalle, Tony Volz, Marcia Galatas, Toby Cortez, Dawn Cantrell, Robert Watkins, Wallace Lewis, Jonathon Wong, Barry “Beezy” Landry, Stan Dameron, and Bill Kingsmill. Not pictured are Marcia Barr, Troy Broussard, Barry Brown, Rodney LeBlanc, Cynthia Nesser, and John Poteet.

Columbia Theatre Announces New Season Performances

Southeastern’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts recently announced its 2019-20 season, which offers everything from live music to theater.

The season also boasts entertainment from campus ensembles, said Jim Winter, artistic director of Columbia Theatre. Performances will be scheduled throughout the season. Dates and additional information are available at columbiatheatre.org.

The Columbia Theatre curtain officially opens with Southeastern Opera / Theatre Workshop’s presentation of Cabaret. The production is scheduled for September 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $21 for adults and $16 for seniors, Southeastern faculty / staff, and non-Southeastern students. Southeastern students are admitted free of charge with their ID.

Tickets are available at the Columbia Theatre box office, located at 220 E. Thomas Street in downtown Hammond, or by calling 985.543.4371.

Back by popular demand, Missoula Children’s Theatre will return the week of October 19 with a production of Jack and the Beanstalk for area youth. Upon their arrival on October 14, Missoula will hold auditions and cast approximately 50 to 60 area children. Rehearsals will begin that day, and a full-scale production will be presented October 19 at 2 p.m. For additional information, contact the Columbia Theatre administrative office at 985.543.4366.

Also in October is An Evening with Clarence Gilyard Jr. on October 23. The Die Hard, Top Gun, Matlock, and Walker, Texas Ranger actor will share his life experiences as a film, television, and stage actor.

Next on tap is a concert from the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, which begins its series of performances at Columbia on October 25 at 7:30 p.m. with Romantic German Masters. The concert is the first of three LPO performances.

Additional LPO concerts include the Yuletide Celebration on December 6, a fun program of holiday musical favorites for the entire family featuring local student choirs, and Nature’s Awakening on February 28. Both concerts are scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

The Jazz Ambassadors of the United States Army Field Band from Washington DC will make a return appearance for a free concert October 27 at 3 p.m. Known as America’s Big Band, the Jazz Ambassadors are the premier touring jazz orchestra of the United States Army.

On November 1, Columbia Theatre presents Durand Jones and the Indications.

“Durand is a Southeastern alumnus who is a rising star. His fantastic, soul-influenced band recently played on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and CBS This Morning,” Winter said. “We are thrilled to have him returning to his roots. My staff and I are currently working very hard to make November 1 a special night celebrating some of Southeastern’s most successful alums.”

In celebration of Jones’ return to Southeastern, Columbia Theatre will be serving Gnarly Barley, a beer brewed by Southeastern alumni Zac and Cari Caramonta; offering a special discount for alumni that night; and hosting additional surprise guest alumni for the curtain speech and lobby greeters.

Approximately one week later on November 7 at 7:30 p.m., Columbia Theatre presents One-Man Star Wars Trilogy. The show has been performed for over a million Star Wars fans in London’s West End, Off-Broadway, Dubai, and the Sydney Opera House. Charles Ross single-handedly plays all the characters complete with voice impressions, sings the music, flies the ships, fights the battles, and condenses the plots of three films into one comedic production.
On December 13 and 14 at 7 p.m., Columbia Theatre will present Hammond Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker. The classic holiday ballet features professional guest artists and excellent all-star local dancers.

Columbia will present Walk On: The Story of Rosa Parks as the first performance of 2020 on January 25 at 2 p.m. Winter said the production weaves together music and drama to tell the story of Rosa Parks from her childhood in rural Alabama to her famous decision to “sit down and be counted.”

Aquila Theatre will bring its production of 1984 to Columbia on February 15.

“We are thrilled to present this world-class theatre company’s stage adaptation of George Orwell’s legendary novel that was decades ahead of its time,” Winter said.

Columbia presents a pair of performances in March. First up is The Songs and Stories of Neil Diamond on March 6 at 7:30 p.m.

“Come sing along to your favorite songs with show-stopping entertainer Jack Wright and his music and media presentation of Neil Diamond’s greatest hits,” Winter said.

Next up on March 27 at 7 p.m. is TheatreWorksUSA’s presentation of Pete the Cat. Based on the New York Times #1 best-selling children’s books by author James Dean, Pete the Cat is a fun, musically-driven series about exploring the world.

Rounding out the season is a performance by the band Che Apalache on April 4 at 7:30 p.m. Led by Joe Troop, Che Apalche features three powerhouse Latin American musicians and has been taking audiences by storm with their fusion of Latin and American roots music.

A compliment to the Columbia Theatre season, Fanfare will feature many “home-grown” artists. Fanfare will once again showcase music, theater, dance, lectures, children’s events, and art exhibits, highlighting the myriad of talent university faculty and students have to offer in Fanfare’s 34th season.

For Columbia Theatre season or individual ticket information, contact the administrative office at 985.543.4366 or visit columbiatheatre.org.

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