Southeastern Dean Selected as Higher Education Professional of the Year

Southeastern College of Education Dean Paula Summers Calderon was recently selected by the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children as the Higher Education Professional of the Year. A resident of Baton Rouge, Calderon will be honored by the organization in January.

The Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children Higher Education Professional of the Year Award recognizes a professional who currently provides direct services to students with exceptionalities. The Professional of the Year is an outstanding member of the education profession whose work exemplifies the best of special education services. His or her work reflects significant educational success for students, continues professional development, and the highest standards of educational quality.

“As the Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Calderon has been a significant advocate for the Lions Connected Program, an inclusive, comprehensive post-secondary transition program at Southeastern for students with intellectual disabilities,” said Director of Lions Connected Gerlinde Beckers. “She has gone above and beyond to help Lions Connected become the outstanding program that it is for college students with intellectual disabilities. Dr. Calderon never says, ‘No.’ She says, ‘We will find a way.’”

The Council for Exceptional Children is an international organization that sets the standard for high-quality education for individuals with exceptionalities. Beckers said the CEC is known as the primary source for advocacy, ethics, standards, resources and professional development that directly impacts the lives of individuals with disabilities.

Enhancing Our Wetlands with Recycled Christmas Trees

Southeastern is asking area citizens to give the environment a gift after Christmas this year. Discarded Christmas trees can be dropped off and used for a wetland restoration rather than throwing them out with the trash.

“We can put the old Christmas trees to work in our area marshland while also reducing the waste stream going into landfills,” said Rob Moreau, manager of Southeastern’s Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station located on Pass Manchac between lakes Pontchartrain and Maurepas.

Although grant funding from the state for Christmas Tree recycling in many areas ended years ago, local partners have stepped up with donations to fund the collection of trees and make the project possible. This marks the 25th straight year Southeastern has conducted its recycled tree program. Moreau depends on volunteers and students to deploy the trees in the Manchac wetlands. It is estimated that approximately 40,000 trees have been deployed through the Southeastern program since that time.

Southeastern scientists at Turtle Cove use the discarded trees to help build up marshland in areas that have been impacted by erosion and other factors, said Moreau.

Moreau said the trees will be used in a variety of ways, including ongoing research on the trees’ effects on helping to fill in test logging ditches, creation of Christmas tree “mounds” to create habitats for wildlife and, of course, help to control erosion along various shorelines, most recently occurring on Galva Canal, and in areas around the research station itself on Pass Manchac.

This practice also provides hands-on environmental education opportunities for students and other volunteers who help with the project.

Collaborating in the project for the fifth year is the Southeastern Sustainability Center on North Oak Street, which will serve as a drop-off point for area residents to leave their used Christmas trees. Other partners include the city of Hammond and Middendorf’s Restaurant in Manchac, and a Christmas tree supplier, whose farm is located in North Carolina, for their leftover trees.

Trees can now also be taken to Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting, located at 407 Highway 22 W. in Madisonville.

Trees can be dropped off through Mardi Gras from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Hammond Maintenance facility, 18104 Hwy. 190, next to Piggly Wiggly Super Market. The Southeastern Sustainability Center, 2101 North Oak Street, will collect trees through the end of the month from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 to 10 a.m. on Friday, and Pennington’s Hardware and Screenprinting will accept trees during the same time period during normal business hours daily. Moreau said a Turtle Cove trailer drop-off site is also maintained at Middendorf’s Restaurant.

He said the city of Hammond will again provide transport of collected trees to the Turtle Cove Galva Canal parking lot area in Manchac, where they will be stored until they are deployed in the marshes in the spring.

No flocked trees will be accepted, and all trees should be stripped of any ornaments, lights, tinsel, stands, nails and screws, etc.

“This greatly helps our efforts to get the trees quickly deployed,” Moreau said.

Additional information can be obtained by contacting Moreau at rmoreau@southeastern.edu or by visiting the website at www.southeastern.edu/turtlecove.

Donations to help support the activity can be sent by check payable to “Friends of Turtle Cove” and mailed to Southeastern Box 10585, Hammond, LA 70402 or can be made by credit card by visiting the Turtle Cove web site and under the “Friends and Donors” link.

Click here to watch the Fox 44 news coverage.

Online Nursing Doctorate Program Named One of the Top in the Nation

Southeastern’s online doctor of nursing practice program has earned recognition as one of the top 50 programs in the nation by Healthcare-Management-Degree.net. Southeastern was recognized for its online DNP for post-masters applicants and BSN-DNP applicants and was the only university in Louisiana to make the list, ranking higher than schools such as Baylor University, Duke University, and Florida State University.

Southeastern earned its ranking based on student to faculty ratio, average graduate tuition rate, and specialization area of family nurse practitioner. The university was also recognized for the flexibility afforded to students to complete coursework while maintaining current employment.

“We are thrilled our DNP nurse faculty have been recognized for their excellence in graduating advanced nurse practitioners and nurse leaders who provide high-quality, population-based care to people with chronic illnesses, improve access to care in underserved areas, and reduce costs of care,” said Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Ann Carruth. “We are so proud of our School of Nursing in the work they do to meet the healthcare needs of this community and beyond.”

Southeastern’s online doctor of nursing practice program offers coursework in ethics and healthcare policy, organizational and systems leadership, health assessment, and advanced pathophysiology.

For more information on Southeastern’s online doctor of nursing program, contact the School of Nursing at nursing@southeastern.edu.

The full ranking can be accessed here.

Biology Building Dedicated

Southeastern formally dedicated the Biology Building on Thursday, Nov. 14. Although officially it has been renamed the Thelma Ryan Biological Science Building, the building façade will now bear the name “Thelma Ryan Biology Building.”

In 2017, Southeastern received the largest single donation in its history, an endowment totaling $10 million, from Seth W. Ryan, a 1953 Southeastern business graduate who passed away in March that same year. Ryan left a significant portion of his estate to Southeastern’s Foundation in the name of his wife, Thelma Ryan.

In honor of his wife, who was unable to attend college, Ryan outlined that income from his donation should be used for scholarships for female students in specific academic disciplines.

Vice President for University Advancement Wendy Lauderdale said the donation also helps one of the university’s strategic initiatives, which is to increase the number of women enrolled in STEM programs.

“Southeastern’s student population is over 60 percent female, but women only account for approximately 15 percent of STEM majors,” Lauderdale said. “These scholarships will encourage and aid women to enter these high demand, well-paying disciplines.”

The scholarships will also be used in the areas of nursing, business and education for female students.

All programs housed within the newly dedicated building will offer scholarships under the Ryan gift.

“We are so honored that Mr. Ryan saw the potential in Southeastern as a steward of his estate. He saw that this university could make a difference in so many lives by using the estate that he spent a lifetime building. I know his wife would be both proud and satisfied,” said Lauderdale. “Having Mrs. Ryan’s name on our building will forever remind us of the kindness and vision of Mr. Ryan and his legacy of helping others.”

Professional Sales Team Takes Home International Win

Southeastern’s Professional Sales Team won the Rookie Award at the 2019 International Collegiate Sales Competition. Hosted each year in Orlando, Fla., by Florida State University, the ICSC is the largest and most prestigious university sales competition in the world.

Southeastern’s Professional Sales program has been named one of the top sales programs in the country for the past two years by the Sales Education Foundation. The winning team was comprised of Southeastern students India Williams of Baton Rouge, Karlie McDonald of Tickfaw, and Paxton Page of Prairieville.

“We are extremely proud of the sales team’s performance at the International Collegiate Sales Competition,” said Tara’ Lopez, associate professor of marketing and one of the sales coaches. “Having success in these competitions helps bring recognition to what we are doing at Southeastern to prepare students for successful and fulfilling careers in sales. They also provide a great opportunity for our students to network with their peers and interact with employers from around the country at career fairs.”

In addition to the Top Rookie Team Award, Williams placed in the top 20, and McDonald placed in the top 40 out of 160 student competitors from other top U.S. schools. Sales competitions such as this one, said Lopez, allow students to test their selling skills against their peers through role-playing scenarios, cold calling, case competitions, and speed selling.

The competition also offered a career fair attended by over 40 national companies who were there to hire these outstanding students.

For more information about the professional sales program, visit southeastern.edu/sales.

Professor Jeffrey Bell Earns Prestigious Fellowship in London

Southeastern Professor of Philosophy Jeffrey Bell is temporarily living abroad thanks to a prestigious Leverhulme Fellowship. This semester Bell, a resident of Covington, is working as a Leverhulme Trust Visiting Professor at the School of Politics, International Relations, and Philosophy at Royal Holloway College in the University of London.

The Leverhulme Trust awards such grants to institutions in Britain that wish to invite an eminent researcher from overseas for an extended stay to enhance the knowledge and skills of their academic staff or student body, said History and Political Science Department Head William Robison. Bell will be advising the philosophy unit at Royal Holloway about how they might develop a specialization in philosophy that bridges the differences between analytic and continental philosophy.

“Professor Jeffrey Bell is a very worthy recipient of the extremely prestigious Leverhulme grant,” Robison said. “He has an extensive record of top-quality scholarship that would be stunning if he were at an Ivy League university with a fraction of the teaching load he has at Southeastern.”

A member of the Southeastern faculty since 1993, Bell earned master’s and doctoral degrees from Tulane University and was the recipient of the 2010 President’s Award for Excellence in Research. He is the author of “Deleuze’s Hume: Philosophy, Culture and the Scottish Enlightenment,” “The Problem of Difference: Phenomenology and Poststructuralism,” and “Philosophy at the Edge of Chaos: Gilles Deleuze and the Philosophy of Difference.”

“Jeffrey Bell has an international reputation, especially for his work on the philosopher Gilles Deleuze, and has been an invited speaker at conferences in America, Asia, and Europe. His books are well-reviewed, and he enjoys the esteem of the best scholars in his field,” Robison said. “Moreover, he is one of the best teachers in a department full of good teachers and is the only member of the Department of History and Political Science to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in history, philosophy, and political science. It is no exaggeration to describe him as a superstar. He has made the department and the university proud.”

As part of his fellowship responsibilities, Bell will give three public lectures related to his research, as well as a series of six research seminars. He also has speaking engagements scheduled at Dundee University, Manchester University, University of Warwick, and Nottingham University.

Southeastern Police Department Receives Highway Safety Commission Grant

The Southeastern Louisiana University Police Department has been awarded a grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission to participate in the LHSC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “Click It or Ticket” and “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaigns. The primary goal of the grant is to reduce crash-related fatalities and injuries on Louisiana roadways.

“Our students and employees travel the city and state roadways every day including commutes from surrounding parishes,” said Patrick Gipson, police lieutenant at Southeastern. “We want everyone to arrive at their destination safely. That’s why we conduct traffic safety enforcement.”

The grant provides funding for officers to work overtime conducting day and night occupant protection and impaired driving enforcement.

“Enforcement is only part of the effort,” explained Gipson. “We will also be collaborating with local partners to educate about safe driving habits.”

Gipson listed partners including Tangipahoa – Reshaping Attitudes for Community Change, Hammond City Police Department, Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Louisiana State Police.

“Our activities are part of a community-wide effort to save lives,” added Gipson. “If everyone works together and encourages their friends to drive safely, we can make our parish roadways some of the safest in Louisiana.”

Janine Hatcher Wins Miss Southeastern Crown

Southeastern business administration major Janine Hatcher of Chesapeake, Va., has been chosen Miss Southeastern 2020.

Hatcher received her crown from Miss Southeastern 2019 Chelsey Blank of Paulina at the annual pageant Nov. 22 at Southeastern’s Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts. Sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, the pageant is affiliated with the Miss America Pageant System.

A senior, Hatcher also received the Evening Gown and Social Impact Statement awards.
The top five contestants for the pageant were Hatcher, Lily Gayle of Hammond, Leslie Jones of Watson, Victoria Reid of Folsom, and Abby Eubanks of Zachary.

First runner up was Gayle, a junior majoring in communication broadcast, and second runner up was Jones, a junior majoring in English.

Omaira Romero, a freshman from Gonzales majoring in athletic training, took home the Talent Award, while Catherine Spanogianni, a junior human resources management major from Mandeville, took home the Miss Congeniality Award, as well as the Student Government Association Academic Award.

Cameron Hooper, a junior kinesiology major from Tampa, Fla., took home both the People’s Choice and Miracle Maker Awards.

Hatcher will advance to the Miss Louisiana’s Pageant that will be held in Monroe in June.

Making a Difference

What makes success? What mix of nature, nurture, surroundings, and events come together to create a person’s life? Most importantly, once successful, what does one do with that success?

John Regan, a 1969 business graduate in marketing, considers these things as he reflects on his life to this point.

“Over and over I think about just how truly blessed I am,” he said as he looked off the balcony of his home atop the building he lives in on Walnut St. in New Orleans that overlooks both the Mississippi River and Audubon Park with views of downtown. John considers his road to success and thinks back to his days at Southeastern.

“It opened up my life to opportunities to do what I wanted to do. It provided a launching pad for my career in the financial industry,” he said.

He noted that some of his professors had a major impact on him. Mac Mitchell was one of them. “I was not as outgoing as I am today. Mitchell taught his class in a very interactive way. He got you participating in class.” This helped John become more outgoing and find his ability to eventually lead others. Another was Odies Ferrell. Today, Dr. O.C. Ferrell is the James T. Pursell Sr. Eminent Scholar in Ethics at the Harbert College of Business at Auburn University.

JohnReganJohn noted how challenging Ferrell’s tests were and how it seemed the entire class struggled. “His tests were so hard he always had to curve the grades significantly,” he said. The challenging level of this class encouraged John to be creative in how he approached obstacles.

Southeastern gave John the foundation and confidence he needed to venture out in the business world. As his career moved into the very competitive and highly networked financial trading sector, he never felt his degree from Southeastern, in spite of it being a small regional university at the time, was ever a hindrance to his career. He used what he learned, worked hard, and could compete with colleagues from Ivy League schools and larger state universities.

Around the time of graduation, John was considering a marketing position with Campbell’s Soup, but he began getting more and more interested in becoming a stock broker. Encouraged by an acquaintance with the Howard-Weill brokerage, John’s interest was piqued. Also, John’s wife, Francelle Bryant, who he met at Southeastern, was working in an office with other stock brokers and she told John, “There are a lot of these guys who are not all that smart making a lot of money.” He decided to move in that career direction. ”

With his family just beginning and a college degree in hand, John spent a short time in the Navy before pursuing an MBA and stock broker training at Northwestern University in Chicago. From there, the sky was the limit. John became a successful stock trader and financial services entrepreneur. In his long career, he worked with Howard, Weil, Labouisse, Friedrichs Inc; South Coast Capital; and Sterne Agee & Leach, for whom he started the Institutional Equities Department. Now partially retired, John keeps his eyes on the future.

John Regan

John reengaged with Southeastern by helping to establish the KDT fraternity endowed scholarship. It was important to him and his fraternity brothers that the name of the fraternity, which is no longer on campus, continue to exist at Southeastern. As he reconnected, he learned things about the University he was not aware of, among them, that Southeastern had a Bloomberg Lab. He had just visited another major university with his granddaughter and had seen a Bloomberg Lab, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that Southeastern had one. Bloomberg software perfectly mirrored what he had done in his career as a broker, only he used a Bunker Ramo machine, where you could only get one quote at a time.

Coincidentally, as he was contemplating investing in Southeastern, he serendipitously got to know a student in the MBA program who was using the Bloomberg Lab, and who was holding down a full-time job while attending school. The work ethic of that young man and the information he shared inspired John to invest in Southeastern’s College of Business for the benefit of future students.

John has named Southeastern’s Bloomberg Lab the John and Francelle Regan Bloomberg Lab in loving memory of his beloved wife of 47 years to help ensure that students choosing a career in the finance industry have the greatest opportunity for success. Half of his gift is dedicated to the current needs of the lab and the other half has been placed into an endowment to provide perpetual support for the lab. He hopes his gift will inspire other successful Southeastern grads to remember the University by giving something back.

When asked what he would tell others considering a gift to benefit students, John  clearly stated, “Do it!” When he learned what a Southeastern semester costs today he was surprised. He remembered his tuition being significantly lower; it was $93 per semester, and now it is $4,500 per semester. He knows firsthand that coming up with this amount of money can be hard for many students.

John hopes his story opens students’ eyes that a degree from Southeastern can take them anywhere they want to go, and that they can compete for jobs at any level. He encourages them to just be persistent and go after what they want. He also hopes that his gift can inspire others to support the University in ways that are important to them. John knows that a great deal went into his success, and he knows what to do with it.

“We all should help the next generation find their own opportunities,” he said.

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By Mike Rivault

LION VIP CARE: Increasing Opportunities for Veteran and Military Nursing Students

Southeastern has been awarded a Veteran Nurses in Primary Care Health Resources and Services Administration grant. The three-year, $1.2 million grant was awarded for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences program LION VIP CARE—Louisiana Increasing Opportunities for Nurse Veterans in Primary Care.

Southeastern is partnering with Federally Qualified Health Centers and State Public Health Units in the Florida Parishes region to provide primary care clinical experiences for undergraduate veteran and active military nursing students.

“LION VIP CARE will provide opportunities for veteran/military undergraduate nursing students to develop primary care competencies and complete community-based clinical training experiences in FQHCs and PHUs located in rural and medically underserved communities,” said School of Nursing Department Head Ken Tillman. “This will be achieved through recruitment, retention, and support of veteran/military undergraduate nursing students and by providing curriculum enhancements and academic clinical partnerships in community-based primary care.”

Tillman said the project will provide ongoing support to veteran/ military undergraduate nursing students by incorporating a student success coach and dedicated nursing academic advisor. A stipend will be provided to student participants while enrolled in nursing courses.

“The LION VIP CARE project will provide a professional development training workshop for nurses on primary care nursing competencies, roles and scope of practice, and offer an interdisciplinary professional training workshop on the health needs of veterans, including chronic disease prevention and control, mental health and substance use disorders, as well as military cultural competence,” he explained.

An additional goal of the project, Tillman said, is to increase employment of veteran/military undergraduate nursing students in community-based primary care settings in rural and medically underserved areas following graduation.

In an effort to assist veteran students, Southeastern houses an Office of Veteran Services that serves as an intermediary between veterans, or their family members, who are seeking or receiving educational benefits and Veterans Benefits Administration. The office strives to provide veteran students with the tools and education benefits needed to succeed in college.

Southeastern was also named a 2019 Military Friendly School for the seventh consecutive year. 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.

For more information on LION VIP CARE, visit the program’s webpage or email lionvipcare@southeastern.edu.

The LION VIP CARE project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1.2 million dollars. The contents of this press release are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.