Your Guide to Spring 2019 Commencement

Spring 2019 commencement is almost here! Whether you have a loved one graduating or simply want to be a part of this special Southeastern tradition, there are a few things to keep in mind to help the day go smoothly. A few changes have been made within the past year, including alterations to the list of allowed items, the addition of bag checks, an increased number of attendants to assist guests, and live streaming of the big event on The Southeastern Channel. Please continuing reading below for further information, and we look forward to seeing you soon!

Time & Place

Doctoral, Master’s, Bachelor’s, and Associate’s Degree Ceremony
Saturday, May 18, 2019, at 10:00 a.m.
University Center, 800 West University Avenue
Doors open at 8:00 a.m.
The commencement ceremony is anticipated to last until 12:30 p.m.

Live Stream

Watch the ceremony online on the Southeastern Channel’s live stream.

Parking & Seating

Complimentary parking is available in all campus parking lots to guests attending the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18. Guests walking from South Campus to the University Center should utilize the tunnel for the safest route.

Accessible parking at the University Center is limited and is on a first-come basis. Please note that disabled plates and/or hang tags are required to secure space in lots reserved for accessible commencement parking.

A complimentary commencement shuttle will be available on Saturday, May 18, to transport guests from (the Gen Pershing and Univ/Oak Street parking lots) to the University Center. The shuttle will operate before and following the ceremony. One (1) bus will have wheelchair accessibility.

The doors to the University Center will be opened for guests at least one hour before the start of the ceremony. We kindly ask that you refrain from saving seats out of consideration for other guests. Seating is available on a first-come basis so groups should plan to arrive early to find seats together.

For suggested parking lots and a layout of the University Center, please refer to the below maps.

Commencement_maps (1)


Etiquette & Prohibited Items

Commencement is a ceremonious occasion honoring your student’s accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to you, as well as to all degree candidates and their families. Guests and graduates are encouraged to remain for the duration of the ceremony.

  • Once seated, all participants are expected to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony.
  • Cell phones and other electronic devices should be silenced.
  • Candidates should plan to meet their guests outside the University Center as guests are not allowed on the arena floor or stage.
  • Southeastern maintains the historic tradition of each degree candidate shaking hands with the President as his / her name is called. The last degree candidate is as important as the first so we ask guests to be considerate and keep celebratory applause to a minimum so that each graduate’s name can be heard.

Prohibited Items
For security purposes, all commencement attendees are asked to limit the handbags, camera bags, and tote bags they bring with them to only those that are absolutely necessary. All articles brought into the facility will be subject to search, and this may delay attendees from entering the University Center.

To ensure a safe and comfortable Commencement, the following items are strictly prohibited from being brought into the University Center:

Containers of any kind (including but not limited to coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks)
Aerosol and spray cans
Animals (except for service animals for persons with a disability)
Balloons and beach balls
Alcoholic beverages
Signs, banners, and flags
Laser pointers
Noisemakers (including but not limited to whistles, air horns, bull horns, sirens, thunder sticks, etc.)
Confetti, glitter, streamers, and silly string
Fireworks, party poppers, and sparklers


Inclement Weather Policy

We are hopeful that Mother Nature will cooperate in the celebration, but as the 2017 snow day proved, inclement weather is possible.  To ensure a safe commencement, the following plans are in place:

  1. The ceremony is scheduled to take place rain or shine. Given the size of the gathering, it’s not feasible to move the ceremony to an alternate date.
    1. In the event of severe weather, the ceremony may be delayed, paused, or canceled. The safety of our guests is our highest priority.
    2. If a schedule adjustment is required prior to your arrival, information will be shared via email, social media (,,, website, and local news media.
  2. At the venue, instructions will be given via the stage announcer. Graduates and guests are asked to listen for announcements and remain seated until otherwise instructed.


The commencement ceremony will be fully accessible. Accessible seating will be available for individuals with disabilities or guests with limited mobility. ASL interpreters will be on site. Guests who utilize sign language interpreting services should sit in sections 114 and 115.

Seating Accommodations
If you or anyone in your party is in need of accessible seating or assistance, we recommend arriving early as the seating will be determined on a first-come basis. Accessible seating is limited to only those guests who require it. The seats will be for the person with accessible needs and for one companion. No pre-ticketing will occur for accessible seating.

Wheelchair Seating Locations
Wheelchair and wheelchair companion locations are scattered throughout the main level concourse 100 level at sections 104, 109 and 110.

Street-level entry to the building is through gate 4 on the north side of facility. Passenger elevators with priority for persons with disabilities are available at gate 5, near section 111 / 112.

The public restrooms are accessible and all contain diaper-changing stations.

The concession stand is accessible.

Messages and Emergency Information
In case of an emergency, the ASL interpreter will alert the deaf and those hard of hearing. Emergency messages will be announced from the stage via the announcer.

Additional Activities
Lion4Life Launch Party

Thursday, May 16 | 2:30-4:30 p.m. | Alumni Center
Register Online

Hotels & Restaurants
To plan your weekend in Hammond, go to  Enjoy your time in beautiful Hammond, America!

Night Out: Southeast Louisiana Historical Association Dinner and Lecture, 150 Years of Tangipahoa

The Southeast Louisiana Historical Association will hold its annual meeting in Hammond April 17. The event will take place at the Hammond Regional Arts Center in the Levy Building downtown at 6 p.m.

Southeastern professors Samuel Hyde and Robert Moreau will headline the event centered on continuity and change over 150 years in Tangipahoa Parish.

The Leon Ford Endowed Chair, Professor of History, and Director of the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies, Hyde will provide a short presentation on dramatic events from Tangipahoa’s past and details from his new book.

Moreau, a professor of biology and director of the Turtle Cove Research Station, will present details on current projects at Turtle Cove and highlight continuing, and newly emerging challenges to the Manchac Swamp ecosystem.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with refreshments and conversation. Dinner, with regionally appropriate foods courtesy of Chef John Jordan, will be served at 6:30 p.m., followed by Hyde and Moreau’s presentations. A book signing will follow the presentation with books available for purchase.

Hyde said SELHA is a town and gown organization devoted to promoting and preserving the history and culture of Louisiana’s Florida Parishes and surrounding environs. The organization is housed in the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at Southeastern.

“New members and guests are welcome,” Hyde said. “A $25 membership fee entitles one to attend the April 17 meeting and dinner, along with a one-year membership in the organization and a copy of the annual newsletter ‘The Centerpiece,’ and the SELHA’s scholarly journal ‘The Southeast Louisiana Review.’”

Spouses or member guests may attend for a $10 fee, Hyde added. Those interested only in attending the April 17 dinner and lectures may do so for $15.

For additional information on tickets or the SELHA, contact the Center for Southeast Louisiana Studies at 985-549-2151 or email

Celebrating 50 Years of Earth Day at Reconnect Farmers Market

The Southeastern Louisiana University student organization Reconnect is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Earth Day with a farmers market on April 17 in front of the Student Union from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Sponsored by the Sociology and Criminal Justice Department, the market will feature locally grown produce, pies, food, coffee, soaps, jewelry, live music and more.

In addition to the farmers market vendors, representatives from various student and community organizations will be on hand to celebrate Earth Day, including the Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, the Sustainability Center, biology graduate students, Dining Services, Reconnect, the Sierra Club, and the Citizens Climate Lobby. The first 300 participants will receive a free reusable water bottle.

A student environmental club, Reconnect participates in the Real Food Challenge, a national effort among college students to promote the use of locally grown, healthy and sustainable food products.

For more information, contact Associate Professor of Sociology David Burley at

Southeastern Librarian Earns State Award

A Southeastern Louisiana University librarian has been recognized with a state award by the Louisiana Chapter of the Association of College and Research Libraries and the Louisiana Library Association. Angela Dunnington, head of access services of Southeastern’s Sims Memorial Library, received the 2019 Academic Award for Outstanding Librarianship at the LLA annual conference held recently in Baton Rouge.

Angela Dunnington

A resident of Hammond, Dunnington was nominated by Sims Library Director Eric Johnson, as well as her peers.

“Angela has passion for librarianship, a strong desire to provide the best possible service that Sims Library can offer, the ability to work through thorny problems to find appropriate solutions, and an ongoing commitment to faculty and student assistance and instruction,” Johnson said.

Dunnington received a bachelor’s degree in general studies from Southeastern in 1995 and a master’s degree in library and information science from LSU in 1997. She has worked at Sims Memorial Library in various capacities since 2001 and has introduced new technology to library collections, led information literacy assessment projects, written grants, improved policies, and created a student/employee training course.

Perhaps most importantly, Johnson said, Dunnington frequently shares her expertise locally, statewide, and nationally. She has published and presented extensively and frequently mentors new librarians.

“It is an indescribable honor to be selected as this year’s Outstanding Academic Librarian. It has been an incredible journey to be part of academic libraries and higher education spanning 22 years,” Dunnington said. “I share this award with Southeastern librarians, staff and fellow colleagues who mentored and inspired me throughout my career. It is not every day a librarian gets to spend the majority of her career working at their undergraduate alma mater.”


Southeastern Guitarists Excel at Mississippi Guitar Competition

A Southeastern Louisiana University student and two alumni were recognized at the 2019 Mississippi Guitar Festival Guitar Competition at William Carey College in Hattiesburg.

Southeastern junior Graham Guillory of Covington placed third in the Young Artist division of the competition that included national and international students performing music for solo guitar. Guillory, a student of Instructor of Guitar and Coordinator of Guitar Activities Patrick Kerber, performed Dilermando Reis’ “Se Ela Perguntar” and Angel Barrios’ “Arroyos de la Alhambra,” two challenging works.

Co-sponsored by the Mississippi Guitar Alliance, the festival also featured a Jazz Guitar Competition in which two Southeastern alumni earned recognition. Zakkary Garner (’13) of Hammond earned first place, and Justin Burdette (’10) of Baton Rouge took second place.

Garner is currently teaching in the Tangipahoa School System Talented Music program. His CD “Humble Ambition,” featuring mostly original compositions, was released in late 2018. In addition to his teaching duties, Garner maintains an active performance schedule as a saxophonist, guitarist, and pianist. Since graduating from Southeastern, he has been featured at music festivals throughout the United States and Europe.

Burdette maintains a substantial teaching schedule with the Overtones Music Studio in Denham Springs. He performs regularly throughout the region as a soloist and with the popular King Creole Orchestra.

“It is certainly an understatement to say that I am very proud of and happy for these young guitarists,” Kerber said. “Music competitions are very difficult propositions, as musicians have to present what makes them happy – the joy of performing music – in the face of instant comparison and judgement. Their success in this event bodes well for their future academic and professional success.”

Students Win Prestigious Emmy Scholarships

Above Image: From left are junior Dylan Domangue of Houma and senior Amanda Kitch of Covington. Not pictured is scholarship winner Alexis Minor, a senior from Baton Rouge.

Three Southeastern Louisiana University students at the Southeastern Channel have received prestigious Emmy scholarships from the Suncoast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

Junior Dylan Domangue of Houma and senior Alexis Minor of Baton Rouge were awarded $5,000 scholarships each, while senior Amanda Kitch of Covington won a $4,500 stipend.

The Suncoast Chapter offers scholarships to eligible high school seniors and university students who reside within the Suncoast Region, comprised of Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Alabama and Puerto Rico.

To be eligible for the university award, students must maintain a 3.5 overall grade point average with a major in communications/broadcasting and a concentration in television. Applicants are required to submit a transcript, resume, work samples, one-page biography, 250-word essay, a letter of recommendation, and participate in a personal interview conducted by the Emmy scholarship committee.

It is the second consecutive year that Domangue and Kitch received scholarships. In 2017, along with Courtney Bruno of New Orleans, they became the first students in Louisiana awarded Emmy scholarships.

“This is a tremendous honor for Dylan, Alexis and Amanda since they had to pass very strict Emmy criteria to win the scholarships,” said Southeastern Channel General Manager Rick Settoon. “This shows that not only are they all producing outstanding television work, they’re excelling in the classroom as well. The Emmy committee has rightly recognized their mature career goals and bright futures in television. We’re extremely proud of them and happy that these generous scholarships will help finance their continued education and development.”

Domangue is a producer, director, reporter and anchor for the Southeastern Channel’s live, weekly sportscast “The Big Game,” which in 2017 won first place in the nation for “Best Video Sportscast” given by College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI) at the National Student Production Awards in San Antonio. The sportscast has also been named one of the top four in the country for the last two years at the College Sports Media Awards in Atlanta. In addition, Domangue has done live play-by-play announcing, color commentary, sideline reporting and directing for a number of live Southeastern sports broadcasts.

Minor has contributed to the Southeastern Channel’s student comedy show “College Night,” which recently won first place in the nation for “Best Video Comedy” at CBI’s National Student Production Awards in Seattle. She is also the student social media manager for the Southeastern Channel.

CBI has honored Kitch, an anchor, reporter and producer for the station’s student newscast “Northshore News,” during the past two years with both first place and second place in the nation honors for “Best Video News Reporting.” In addition, she received “Best in the South” recognition for news reporting at the Southeast Journalism Conference made up of universities from eight states.

Kitch has won “Best TV Reporter” and “Best of Show” honors given by the Associated Press Louisiana-Mississippi College Broadcasters over the past three years. She also won first place Mark of Excellence Awards for both news reporting and videography given by the Society of Professional Journalists for Region 12 (Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas) along with Honorable Mention Emmy recognition.

The Southeastern Channel has won over 400 national, international and regional awards in the past 16 years, including 17 awards and 62 nominations from the Emmys. The channel can be seen on Charter 199 in Tangipahoa, St. Tammany and Livingston parishes. The live 24/7 webcast and video on demand can be seen at

Best College Radio Station, TV Station, and More: Southeastern Earns Top Awards at SEJC

Southeastern Louisiana University earned the high praise of judges at the Southeast Journalism Conference earlier this month, bringing home first place awards in categories for both radio and television.

Southeastern media placed in the following categories: KSLU News ranked first for Best College Radio Station, Northshore News ranked first for Best College Video News Program, and The Southeastern Channel ranked first for Best College TV Station.

Students who placed in the Best of the South categories include the following: Connor Ferrill of Mandeville, first for Best Radio Journalist; Tyler Rogers of Hammond, first for Best Broadcast Advertising Staff Member; Parker Berthelot of Denham Springs, second for Best Television Hard News Reporter; Andrew Scherer of Mandeville, third for Best Television Feature Reporter; and Jessica Bowen of Denham Springs, seventh for Journalist of the Year.

Professor of Communication Amber Narro, past chair of the conference, said Southeastern’s team participated in onsite competitions during the conference, and students benefitted from workshops and networking with professionals who shared their work and experiences in photography, multi-media journalism, data driven journalism, and investigative reporting.

“The competitions evolve every year,” Narro said. “The workshops are geared for real jobs where students could develop their skills so it is relevant to the work they’ll be doing in the field.”

Participants from Southeastern Louisiana University who attended the Southeast Journalism Conference included, from left, Philip Trahan of Metairie, Raeleigh Joshlin of Deridder, Jessica Bowen of Denham Springs, Southeastern Professor of Communication Dr. Amber Narro, Peyton Sawyer of Robert, Victoria Rocquin of Gramercy, Connor Ferrill of Mandeville, Emily Garrett of St. Amant, Lorraine Weiskopf of Covington, Lily Gayle of Greensburg, and Elizabeth Benedict of Slidell.

Excellence in Theatre: Students Receive Awards and Training Opportunities at Kennedy Center Festival

Above image: Southeastern production of She Kills Monsters. Photograph by Rande Archer.

After competing at last year’s Region 6 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF), two Southeastern students, Miranda Miller and Matt Doyle, earned the opportunity to study with some of the best in their field.

Fourteen Southeastern students traveled with three faculty members to Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, to compete in a variety of categories including performance, directing and design, and technology. Doyle received two awards, the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Sound Design and the Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas (SILV) Award for Excellence. Miller also received the SILV Award for Excellence. Three additional students placed as finalists.

Doyle and Miller both won for their sound design work on the highly-acclaimed Vonnie Borden Theatre production of She Kills Monsters.

Matt Doyle and Miranda Miller at the Region 6 Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival
Matt Doyle and Miranda Miller

“This was one of our most successful years at the KCACTF Regional Festival,” said Jim Winter, associate professor of theatre. “I am incredibly proud of how admirably our students represented our university and our theatre program.”

As a result of winning the SILV Award, both Miller and Doyle had the opportunity to travel to Las Vegas for a one-week masterclass—an experience they’ll never forget. For winning the Barbizon Award for Excellence in Sound Design, Doyle additionally was afforded the chance to work with prominent theater professionals during an intensive week-long masterclass in Washington, DC, at the Kennedy Center.

“It was one of the best academic experiences I’ve ever had,” DoyIe said of this program. “I got to meet a dozen of the best college sound and lighting designers from across the country. Every night after the masterclass we would get together and share notes and thoughts until late, late, late, which was incredibly inspiring and helped me develop all kinds of new skills and ideas to take to my next design. We all still keep in touch and regularly bounce ideas off each other and get feedback. The networking opportunity was one of the best you can hope for, as I now know both established and up-and-coming professionals based around the country.”

Doyle graduated from Southeastern this past summer, bringing into his new career the skills and professional network that he acquired during both the program and his time at Southeastern. He is now an assistant news director at Louisiana Radio Network in Baton Rouge, producing NPR’s Talk Louisiana and Ask The Governor.

Contemporary Art Gallery

Louisiana is a state rich with culture. A state that does not simply embrace the arts at its surface, but is deeply intertwined with them in its soul.

While the first thoughts of many may jump to iconic locales such as New Orleans, with its distinct architecture and multitude of galleries and museums, the deep-seated, vibrant arts culture of Louisiana’s Northshore region is one that should not be overlooked. Its jewels may be more hidden away within the local communities, but for those who embrace them, they shine just as brightly.

Tucked away on Southeastern’s campus, at 100 East Stadium, is one such gem: the Contemporary Art Gallery. An extension of the Visual Art + Design Department, the gallery serves not only students and faculty but the community as well.

The gallery is devoted to presenting contemporary art exhibitions, lectures, and workshops and to providing a forum for contemporary art for students, the city of Hammond, and residents of the Northshore.

“Part of our mission is to bring contemporary art to campus, to the gallery, to show students and the public what is going on in the art world today in terms of cutting edge, new ideas,” explained Dale Newkirk, the gallery’s director and curator in addition to the department head of Visual Art + Design. “We bring in regional, national, and international [art]. There is more of a national focus, but we have also had artists from Europe, Africa, and Canada. We try to bring in people that the university and the community would be exposed to that they normally wouldn’t have access to.”

Dale Newkirk
Dale Newkirk

Upon passing between the gallery’s sandy columns then stepping though its unassuming glass front doors, a façade that blends seamlessly with the traditional red brick and concrete architecture of the surrounding buildings, a shockingly large 7,000 square feet of modern gallery space greets visitors. The gallery is actually the largest art space in the area and one of only two devoted to showing contemporary art.

While some stop in for a respite from their busy day or to take advantage of the quiet, serene environment to read, the exhibitions—which switch out eight times per year—are at the foundation of what draws people in. Popular past exhibitions have included Real to Not Real, a paintings show comprised of 20 artists “working in the gap between representational and nonrepresentational visual languages, bringing the two together”; a cell phone photography show that featured over 300 images taken by people all over the world; and a national tattoo arts show. Many of the exhibitions are not only innovative, but they feature topics that are relatable to Southeastern’s students—meeting them where they are and thus helping to better engage them and draw connections between objects and ideas, creating more meaningful learning experiences.

The other part of the Contemporary Art Gallery’s mission is, in fact, to serve these students and open up new possibilities for them. Each semester an exhibition is held showcasing the work of graduating art majors. This exhibition serves as the students’ thesis show and is part of the capstone course in their curriculum, with students putting everything they have learned over the years into it. This dedication has paid off for many of the students active with the gallery throughout their college careers by landing jobs at galleries and museums across the country, allowing them to continue to follow their passion.

Southeastern student installing artwork for an exhibition

The gallery is also used as a learning tool by groups across campus. “A lot of the art faculty bring their students over to talk about the shows and do various projects with the artwork,” said Newkirk. “The drawing classes come over and draw in the gallery. Faculty will come over and talk about content of the work. But other departments come over as well. The English department comes over regularly to have students write about work. Foreign language classes use the space a lot, and some of the teachers are devoted to coming over and having the students engage by using the works as a vehicle for exploring language.”

For students, faculty, and the general public alike, the gallery also hosts several events a year that provide a deeper insight into the current world of contemporary art. Evening opening receptions celebrate each new major exhibition and allow attendees to be among the first to explore the works on view while mingling with fellow art lovers.

Consisting of either a lecture or exhibition and tying in with both Fanfare and Homecoming activities, special programming is held each year in October for Southeastern alumni. The gallery additionally organizes an active and robust visiting artists program, which brings in about 10 artists each year. These reputable artists travel from all over the country to provide workshops and seminars at Southeastern.

The gallery also manages the Southeastern Fine Art Collection, which consists of over 350 works of art. These pieces are not only kept in the gallery’s collections storage room, but are installed around campus in public spaces where all can enjoy them. Portraits of former university presidents in the library and sculptures by world-renowned artists John Scott and Robert Warrens situated outside near popular student walkways are just a few examples of pieces that have been made highly visible. While the collection’s focus is on contemporary art of the Southeast, a wide variety of artworks and objects—from
works on paper and ceramics to sculpture and video—comprise the entire collection.

Furthering its efforts to serve students and expose the entire community to the current world of contemporary art, admission to the gallery and its popular public events is free of charge.


While many unfamiliar with Southeastern’s campus may not realize this vibrant, impactful resource exists, its ever-flowing reach permeates the artistic soil of the Northshore area, and of those who engage with it. As Newkirk remarked, “It’s part of creating a more rich life in this region.”

By Sheri Gibson

Celebrating Women’s History Month and More with Timely History and Political Science Lecture Series

Southeastern Louisiana University’s Department of History and Political Science hosts lecture series throughout the year, celebrating seasons and timely topics through the lens of history and political science.

The department sponsors of co-sponsors a program nearly every month of the year, including a Constitution Day Lecture in September, “Then and Now” lectures during Fanfare in October, a Veterans Day Lecture in November, the Southeastern Louisiana Historical Association Winter Meeting in December, Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, the Matheny Lectures in Science and Religion in April, the Southeast Louisiana Historical Association Spring Meeting in May, and the Deep Delta Civil War Symposium in June.

Last month, the department provided a trio of talks in recognition of Black History Month. Topics included “Obstruction: African American Golfers and Southern Resistance in the Twilight of Jim Crow” by Chad Duffaut, “African Philosophy: Past and Future” by Peter Gratton, and “Mary Seacole: Breaking all Boundaries in the Victorian Age” by Samantha Cavell.

This month the tradition has continued with a series of three lectures in honor of Women’s History Month. “We have a diverse and interesting list of presentations this year,” said Bill Robison, head of the Department of History and Political Science. “We encourage everyone to join us in celebrating Women’s History.”

This current lecture series kicked-off on March 13 with a discussion by Professor of Political Science Margaret Gonzalez-Perez on female genital mutilation and the recent US legislation banning it. On March 19, Heather Duncan, a history and political science graduate student, delivered a presentation titled “Patrons of Prophecy: Oracular Practitioners in Ancient Greece.”

Rounding out the series is the final lecture by Lauren Doughty, instructor of history and political science, titled “Royal Women: Sexual Politics and the Gendering of Royal Authority.” Scheduled for March 27 at 1 p.m., the lecture will take place in Pottle Auditorium.

“Often marginalized or ignored, the women of West Saxon royal court nevertheless played a valuable role in securing and expanding royal authority. Limited by geography, politics, and economics, Anglo-Saxon kings increasingly relied on women of the court to secure their ascension, legitimize their reign, and retain dynastic power,” Robison explained. “Dominated by fraternal succession struggles, the West Saxon court relied on women to both produce heirs and rule as regent if necessary. The increasing power of the nobility through the ninth and tenth centuries threatened royal security, thus making the role of queen a vital component of a successful reign.”

For additional information about Southeastern’s Women’s History Month or other department-sponsored lectures, contact Robison at 985.549.2413 or