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.
“UNIVERSITY SO NICE,
I GRADUATED TWICE
LAUREN BUCHANAN, MBA”
“IN LOVING MEMORY OF
GLEN DAVID HUNTER
“CHRISTINA B RISING
RISING TO BE”
No matter the message, each brick shares one commonality: pride.
For 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.
“MEGAN M BONCK
WILL YOU MARRY ME?
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.
For many families, bricks are a special way to honor their loved ones in a permanent way.
“ARTHUR & EVA HOOVER
LOVE, GENNY, JAMES,
& THE CHILDREN”
“THE SHARP FAMILY
LOVES THE LIONS”
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 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.
OUR FIRST HOME
SYLVIA & DICKIE
19 WHITSON 71
“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 southeastern.edu/friendshipbricks.
By Olivia Graziano