Page 1


A Letter From



“Our fundamental driver is the role LSU has in the lives of our students and fans, in our home state of Louisiana, and in the worldwide communities that our network of students, faculty, staff and alumni serve.”

“Vision and Passion” is an apt theme for this issue of Cornerstone. Those are certainly words that come to mind when I reflect on my first year as a Tiger. As has become the norm at LSU, our university has celebrated many successes this year, from groundbreaking discoveries to nationally recognized scholarships to quantifying our annual economic impact on Louisiana (an incredible $5.1 billion). Such pursuit of excellence is a given, as it should be. We mark our progress and celebrate our successes, but we do so knowing that our fundamental driver is the role LSU has in the lives of our students and fans, in our home state of Louisiana, and in the worldwide communities that our network of students, faculty, staff and alumni serve. In the last issue of Cornerstone, we highlighted LSU’s bold new strategic plan to solve global challenges acute to Louisiana through cutting-edge research, while graduating future leaders equipped with the ability, skills and desire to make positive contributions to the world. Philanthropy will forge the critical link that emboldens our collective passion into purpose. By the time the next issue of Cornerstone reaches you, LSU will have launched the largest capital campaign for higher education in Louisiana’s history. We have an ambitious but achievable plan for a $1 billion-plus philanthropic effort that will unite our eight campuses statewide to reach a transformational level of support. We—all of us who care deeply about LSU and believe in what LSU can make possible—are stewards of an institutional vision. Together, we can engage LSU’s wealth of human capital and our unmatched community of supporters to solve Louisiana’s most urgent and compelling concerns in education, coastal resilience, economic development, health and culture. Thank you for being part of LSU, and for caring enough to make LSU a philanthropic priority. It takes support from Tigers all over the world to deliver on the promise of being Louisiana’s state university. Gratefully,

J. Bryan Benchoff LSU Foundation President and CEO and LSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement




To Louisiana with Love Dynamic Conversations Green Thumbs Very Curious Birds of a Feather


DRIVES EXCELLENCE 19 22 24 25 26

From Sea to Shining Sea In His Honor Building a Legacy Ringing the Bell The Best is Yet to Come



Helping Our Own A Great Knack Growing in Greatness The Right Thing to Do


The Last Frontier So Awesome Without Borders The News Room Legacies of Leadership



ABOUT THE COVER The LSU Foundation partners with the LSU Graphic Design Student Office for Cornerstone’s cover art. The GDSO is a full-service graphic design studio where students create graphic design solutions for university units and local clients. They experience the full design process, including client consultation, idea generation, rounds of revision and final production―uniquely preparing them for career success. This Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2018 cover, representing the issue’s “Vision and Passion” theme, is by GDSO member Alexa Scherer, a graphic design junior from Covington, La.

Q&A Q: How do you get inspired to create spirited and innovative work for your clients? A: Whenever I am designing, I am either watching movies or listening to music. Whether it be the feelings they evoke or interesting quotes found within them, both movies and music allow me to explore new solutions to design, which I can later apply to client work. Q: What was your creative thought process while designing this issue’s cover? A: The inspiration behind my cover design is the expression “reach for the stars,” which came to mind after reading one of the story topics (Editor’s note: See “So Awesome” on page 40.). I think that this idiom embodies the perfect combination of setting goals and pursuing what you are most passionate about. Within the illustration, the eye is meant to be a literal display of vision while the astronaut in space is a more abstract representation of passion. The astronaut’s hand is extended toward the reader to signify our desire to act upon what we envision for our futures and the goals we have set for ourselves. Q: What would you say to the donors of the LSU School of Art? A: Thank you. Every donation helps improve our resources and imaginative environment that the LSU School of Art has to offer.

“ 4


SUMMER AND FALL 2018 EDITOR Jennie Gutierrez



ART DIRECTOR Ashley Motsinger


PRINTING Progress Printing

TO SHARE FEEDBACK, PLEASE CONTACT: Sara Whittaker Senior Director of Communications and Marketing 225-578-8164

The astronaut’s hand is extended toward the reader to signify our desire to act upon what we envision for our futures and the goals we have set for ourselves."

- Alexa Scherer, student cover designer






Board of Directors

Clarence P. Cazalot Jr. (Science, ’72), chairperson-elect of the LSU Foundation Board of Directors, was a first-generation college student. He calls his LSU education the best investment his parents ever made, one that ultimately led him to the role of chairman, president and CEO of Marathon Oil Corporation. “I was a kid from a working-class family on the West Bank of New Orleans. If we drove to Biloxi, that was a big vacation. Now, I’ve been to 45 countries. I’ve negotiated and dined with presidents, kings and princes. I’ve been all over the world, lived in London and had experiences that I could never have imagined,” Cazalot reflected. “None of this would’ve happened if it was not for this great institution.” Cazalot only interviewed with one company, Texaco, Inc., on campus his Photo by Kathryn Gaiennie senior year. After some prodding by the geology department head, he ran to his dorm and grabbed a mismatched sport coat and tie. To his surprise, he was offered a job as a geophysicist. He moved up through the Texaco organization, ultimately becoming president of worldwide production. He joined Marathon Oil as president in 2000 and retired at the end of 2013. “LSU was here when I needed it. While it was incredibly affordable for a family that couldn’t afford much, the quality of the education—the knowledge and skills that I walked away with—allowed me to be successful,” Cazalot shared. “That’s why I’m passionate about LSU.” Cazalot calls LSU Strategic Plan 2025 “outstanding and timely.” “I have maintained for a long time that this institution, by virtue of the world-class knowledge and expertise resident here, should be the primary problem-solver for not only Louisiana but our nation and the world,” he said. “I believe the strategic plan will drive innovative new learnings and solutions that impact and improve people’s lives.” Cazalot and his high school sweetheart and wife of 46 years, Ann, have three children and five grandchildren. They reside in Houston but visit Baton Rouge often, especially during football season. Cazalot also serves on the boards of Baker Hughes, Enbridge Inc., Memorial Hermann Health System and the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University, and he is on the Board of Visitors of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.



Robert M. Stuart Jr. | Baton Rouge, La. Chairperson of the Board & Director

Mark K. Anderson | Monroe, La. J. Herbert Boydstun | Baton Rouge, La. Deborah A. Elam | New Orleans, La. Keith J. Evans | Shreveport, La. Beau Fournet | Dallas, Texas T. Cass Gaiennie | Shreveport, La. Immediate Past Chairperson of the Board Frank W. “Billy” Harrison III | Houston, Texas Roger W. Jenkins | El Dorado, Ark. Gary L. Laborde | New Orleans, La. Charles A. Landry | Baton Rouge, La. David B. Means III | Mansfield, La. Dr. Mary T. Neal | Bellaire, Texas

Clarence P. Cazalot Jr. | Houston, Texas Chairperson-elect of the Board & Director J. Bryan Benchoff | Baton Rouge, La. LSU Foundation President and CEO and LSU Vice President of Institutional Advancement Laura L. Dauzat | Marksville, La. Corporate Secretary & Director D. Martin Phillips | Houston, Texas Corporate Treasurer & Director

Roger H. Ogden | New Orleans, La. Sean E. Reilly | Baton Rouge, La. Jack Rettig | Fort Lauderdale, Fla. John F. Shackelford III | Bonita, La. Jeffrey N. Springmeyer | Houston, Texas Sue W. Turner | Baton Rouge, La. Rick Wolfert | Greensboro, Ga.

EX OFFICIO F. King Alexander LSU President





LSU Foundation Membership

Dr. Keon Anderson (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’00) of Fort Worth, Texas, began his career as a manager for General Motors Corporation. The community’s response to Hurricane Katrina inspired Keon to maximize his potential to benefit others. He enrolled at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry and now works for Tarrant County’s corrections department through John Peter Smith Hospital. “I went into that field because I have a heart for serving the underserved,” Keon said. “I work in the jails and do all of the dental work for the inmates and folks who are awaiting trial.” Some of Keon’s finest memories took place at LSU. He and his wife,

Dr. Aiyanna Anderson, a highrisk OB/GYN, joined the LSU Foundation in 2016 because of a desire to become more actively involved in philanthropy. They are especially passionate about supporting mentorship programs that embrace

diversity on campus. Keon said the Summer Scholars program helped him to reach his full potential. “LSU is a culture in its own, and being a minority on campus, you’re in your own subculture just trying to figure things out. Summer Scholars was a support group for me, as well as the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity and the A. P. Tureaud Sr. Black Alumni Chapter, even in undergrad,” he said. “Those programs leveraged my network to help me navigate and find myself. Some of the connections and friendships that I’ve made through the programs, especially Summer Scholars, I have to this day.” By helping to make young scholars’ dreams a reality, Keon and Aiyanna want to build a long-lasting legacy at LSU. “Passion gives you the desire to get up every day and do what you do. Vision is the long-term goal with a plan. These qualities are important in leadership because they will guide you to your desired end result,” Keon said. “I see passion and vision in the leadership of LSU, and that’s why I’m so excited to be giving back to LSU through the LSU Foundation to the Summer Scholars Program and to the LSU Alumni Association A. P. Tureaud Sr. Black Alumni Chapter.”

Drs. Keon and Aiyanna Anderson with son Jaden Photo by Chaunva LeCompte








The American Sugar Cane League, continuing more than 90 years of partnership with the LSU AgCenter, has endowed a chair in sugar production to recognize, attract and retain top-notch faculty researchers. The chair will continue the AgCenter’s mission of improving the productivity, profitability and sustainability of Louisiana’s billion-dollar sugarcane industry.

Brothers Martin, Mitchel II and Robert Ourso on their farm in White Castle, La. The Ourso family manages more than 8,000 acres and produces 2,500-3,000 tons of sugarcane a day during the harvest season. Photos by Ron Berard




he League has a long-standing, mutually rewarding relationship with LSU,” said League General Manager Jim Simon (Business, ’71; Agriculture, ’83), who calls research the “lifeblood” of Louisiana’s 220-year-old sugarcane industry. “Our primary motive is to support the AgCenter and to ensure that, as an industry, we’re doing everything we can to sustain the effective research that we and LSU have become known for.” The League is a trade organization that funds industry success through research, legislation, education and public relations. The League was formed in 1922 after a disease nearly destroyed the state’s sugarcane crops. It began working closely with LSU and the USDA to develop new crop varieties more suitable for Louisiana. Variety development, along with disease and insect control, technical assistance and nutrition, remains a research priority of the LSU AgCenter today. “Sugarcane’s native origins are in the tropics. In Louisiana, we grow


“This is a gift from Louisiana’s sugar farmers and millers, family operations that have been in business for as many as seven generations. Our farming and mill families are passionate about what we do, and it’s not something that we take lightly. The sugarcane industry is important to our history and heritage, to our state.” – American Sugar Cane League General Manager Jim Simon



sugarcane at the most northern latitude than anywhere in the world,” Simon explained. “Developing varieties of cane that can withstand Louisiana’s climate is a tremendous challenge we’ve been working on for decades, if not centuries now. Ultimately, for our growers, investing in this research creates efficient production to make our industry sustainable from an economic perspective.” LSU Vice President of Agriculture Dr. Bill Richardson considers chairs like the League’s critical to the success of the AgCenter because “a university can only rise to the level of its faculty and students.” To illustrate this, he shared another current AgCenter research priority: Nipponaclerda biwakoensis (the pest commonly known as a scale), which received national coverage in February 2018. “We’re concerned about the Roseau cane, which helps to bind the marsh soil together. If we lose that cane, we could lose a lot of the land down there. Another concern is preventing the scale from getting into the sugar production,” Richardson said. “There will be a quarantine to prevent the movement of those plants outside of the region that they’re in now, while our scientist, who was quoted in the New York Times, tries to find a way to control the insect.”

Martin Ourso at a barn on his family's property



Although League dues are voluntary, nearly 97 percent of the membership pays them, which Simon believes is a testament to their dedication to quality and stewardship of the land and communities they serve: “This is a gift from Louisiana’s sugar farmers and millers, family operations that have been in business for as many as seven generations. Our farming and mill families are passionate about what we do, and it’s not something we take lightly.” The AgCenter’s mission is to provide the people of Louisiana with research-based educational information that will improve their lives and economic wellbeing. With more than 50 scientists receiving patents or plant variety protection certificates, the AgCenter has the most successful record of commercialization of intellectual property of any LSU campus.

c American Sugar Cane League General Manager Jim Simon (far left) with the Ourso family, brothers Artie (second from left) and Mitchel (far right) with Mitchel’s wife, Amy, and sons Martin, Robert and Mitchel II





Influential contemporary American artist Carrie Mae Weems has, for the past 30 years, investigated family relationships, cultural identity, sexism, class, political systems and the consequences of power. As the LSU School of Art’s 2017-18 Reilly Visiting Artist and Nadine Carter Russell Chair for the LSU College of Art + Design, Weems is broadening these dialogues, which often pass under the radar within historic art collections, and engaging LSU and Baton Rouge within them.




Top: “Into the Abyss,” from “Louisiana Project” (2003), pigment ink print, 20 x 20 inches Bottom: “A Distant View,” from “Louisiana Project” (2003), Iris print, 20 x 20 inches



he LSU Museum of Art and the LSU School of Art will raise both of their visibilities in the larger community, outside of LSU, through hosting this internationally known artist, Carrie Mae Weems. She is a pioneer,” said Winifred Reilly, who established the Reilly Visiting Artist Fund with her husband, Kevin. “As much as we can have these kind of conversations, the better we will be as a society and the more we will attract young, openminded people. We want everyone to feel that they can come to LSU, have their voice heard and be included in dynamic conversations about social issues.” Weems has pushed contemporary discourse through her complex body of work, which incorporates photographs, text, fabric, audio, digital images, installation and video. She has participated in numerous exhibitions at major national and international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Solomon Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo in Seville, Spain, and she is represented in collections around the world. “The Nadine Carter Russell Chair is for artists to come to LSU and present different viewpoints, so that the students have a variety of artists and a variety of art at the forefront in America to study. Carrie Mae Weems fits the bill right now,” said Nadine Carter Russell (Art + Design, ’67), for whom her aunt, Paula G. Manship, named the chair. “I’m very pleased with the different groups, with how the museum and college are working together. That’s terribly important.” As the Nadine Carter Russell Chair, Weems worked with art students throughout the spring 2018 semester and gave public lectures. The LSU Museum of Art’s annual collaborative exhibition with the LSU School of Art will feature two of Weems’ recent photographic and video series, “All the Boys” and “The Usual Suspects,” until Oct. 14, 2018. The images confront viewers with stereotypes

"Color Real and Imagined” (2014), archival pigment with silkscreened color blocks, 38 3/4 x 54 3/4 x 1 1/2 inches

in the deaths of black men and women at the hands of police and judicial inaction. Winifred, who has a background in ceramics and loves all things art, said that the School of Art’s and Museum of Art’s selection of Weems continues a pattern of dynamic and relevant decisions. As a fellow female artist, she is proud to help build Weems’ platform. “Women are not well-represented historically. Women artists ought to see that changing. We all want to compete in the bigger marketplace, not just in the female sphere or the African American sphere. We all want to be on that big stage together—not as a niche. I’m excited. It’s been a long time coming.” Selected works from Weems’ series will appear in the museum’s permanent collection. An excerpt from her “Louisiana Project”—“While sitting upon the ruins of your remains, I pondered the course of history."—will welcome museum visitors to signal the critical lens of identity, power, gender, race and class that Weems’ work inspires.

"All the Boys (Profile 1)” (2016), archival pigment print mounted on gesso board, 35 3/8 x 27 3/8 inches each Photos are courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York



GREEN THUMBS LSU Coastal Roots’ School Seedling Nursery Program for Habitat Restoration transforms second through 12th grade Louisiana and Chilean students into environmental stewards, doing their part to preserve and restore the eroding coastline by planting and growing local plants themselves. The program illustrates how LSU will meet its strategic challenge of bridging the coast, energy and environment through leading by example, starting right here at home for a global impact.


oastal Roots helps 56 Louisiana schools in 19 parishes—plus four schools in Concepcion and Santiago, Chile— establish a school-based plant nursery for raising plant seedlings and grass plugs native to their area. Students begin the process by planting seeds or stem cuttings. Once a year, usually during the winter months, each group of students travels (sometimes as far as three hours from their school) to their restoration site and plants their crop. The teachers are given flexibility as to how they incorporate the program into their curricula. Dr. Pam Blanchard of the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education leads Coastal Roots with



Dr. Ed Bush of the LSU AgCenter. Blanchard is a geologist and former school teacher. Raised in Port Arthur and evacuated “more times than I care to remember,” she started up the program in 2000 because she knows what’s at stake when it comes to Louisiana’s coastline and natural resources. Now she attends upwards of 40 Coastal Roots plantings a year. Blanchard said the students “surprise themselves” as they put in the work and realize the difference they are making. “I wanted the kids to see an area that has had some sort of major disturbance, either from a humaninduced problem or a natural problem. My hope is that kids can gain an appreciation for something that’s often overlooked and that when they reach

voting age, they’ll reach back to that memory and remember the value in protecting the environment.” In 2008, Renae (Human Sciences & Education, ’72 and ’78) and Harman Chandler of JH Chandler Land Company in Shreveport, La., became involved with the program and donated a van for travel to the schools and plantings across the state. They have loyally supported Coastal Roots ever since and are proud of the program’s continued growth and impact. “I would have loved to have been involved with Coastal Roots in the classroom. I think it would have opened so many doors,” Renae, a retired elementary educator of 31 years, said. “Coastal Roots correlates all subjects across the curriculum. It also promotes critical thinking skills,

LSU Coastal Roots participants take a field trip to Louisiana’s coast to plant their bitter panicum, or beach dune grass, sprouts. Bitter panicum is ideal for coastal living because it has a high tolerance of salt spray, wind, heat and dryness. It also thrives in, holds in place and blocks sand. These qualities not only allow the plant to grow, but also secure the coastal landscape beyond it.

following directions and teamwork. It’s just a wonderful experience for the students of Louisiana.” Between 2000 and May 2017, more than 20,542 Louisiana and Chilean students have planted over 154,196 native plants on 390 restoration trips. Coastal Roots has received past funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Bay Watershed Education and Training program and Louisiana Sea Grant College Program. In addition, several parish partners work with the program’s participating schools to meet their sites’ restoration needs.



VERY CURIOUS For more than 30 years, Dr. James “Jim” Bishop (Science, ’74) has consistently supported the LSU College of Science, LSU Museum of Natural Science and LSU Libraries, even as his career as a research scientist took him across the world. His gifts to the museum’s Alfred L. Gardner and Mark S. Hafner Mammalogy Fund will help the curator of mammalogy and his students reach their full potential out in the field.


d wife Virginia

an Dr. Jim Bishop

Photos by Nick





hat makes the MNS collection so valuable is that the specimens are data-rich, with representative tissues, stomach contents and often, for birds, voice recordings. This information is essential to our understanding of pristine environments and how they change from human-induced impacts,” Bishop said. “In spite of all the advances in technology, there is no substitute for field work. The world remains a very curious place, and documenting its biodiversity in a responsible manner is important for society.” Bishop’s primary research interest is assessing and managing renewable coastal marine resources, particularly shrimp and fish. As a marine science PhD candidate at LSU, Bishop met Dr. George Lowery, the founder of the MNS, during regular visits to the museum. “Dr. Lowery always made the time to show me around the bird range where the specimens are housed. On one occasion, I was able to witness the arrival and unpacking of a new shipment of material from Peru,” remembered Bishop. “His excitement during the unpacking of the specimens was infectious. He passed on stories attached to particular bird specimens, and that brought the specimen to life. Those visits sealed my long-standing relationship with the museum that continues today.”

In spite of all the advances in technology, there is no substitute for field work. The world remains a very curious place, and documenting its biodiversity in a responsible manner is important for society.” – Dr. Jim Bishop

Originally from Hammond, La., Bishop has worked at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research since 1983, serving as the leader or primary principal investigator for 20 projects totaling nearly $8 million. One of his most recent and memorable projects involved surveying Kuwait’s intertidal macrofauna. With the assistance of international taxonomists, he and his team identified more than 750 species, many of which were new records for Kuwait and the Persian Gulf, and quite a few new to science. Bishop and wife Virginia Bunker have visited more than 39 countries during their time in Kuwait, where they are centrally positioned for travel across Asia, Africa and Europe. Their adventures together include visiting Rwanda’s mountain gorillas, rafting down the longest river in Asia, swimming with whale sharks in Tanzania and hiking to elevations of 15,500 feet in the Himalaya Mountains. This year, Bishop and Bunker will move back to the U.S. to enjoy their retirement. Bishop plans “to organize our collection of traditional textiles and other artifacts acquired over the years, continue to travel, hunt all six subspecies of wild turkeys, eat oysters on the half-shell and softshell crabs as often as possible, and spend time at our little cottage in Wales, U.K.”

Photos by Andr ea Barbier

Bishop has also made a generous inkind donation to LSU Libraries’ E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection in Special Collections. One of the rare books he gifted is Louis Renard's "Poissons, Ecrevisses et Crabes," originally published in Amsterdam in 1719, with only 100 copies produced. With fewer than 10 existing copies of the first edition, "Poissons" is considered to be one of the earliest and rarest in-color works on fish, featuring 460 hand-colored copper engravings of tropical marine life— and a mermaid.



Audubon Day, a free public event held each spring, showcases John James Audubon’s “Birds of America” (London, 1827-38). Photo by Sissy Albertine

BIRDS OF A FEATHER Each spring, LSU Libraries hosts Audubon Day, a free public viewing of the famed double elephantfolio edition of John James Audubon’s "Birds of America," one of the most valuable rare books in the world. The event offers the community an opportunity to enjoy a special connection with history, literature, art and nature.


he book records the rich bird and plant life Audubon engraved and painted firsthand when he lived in Louisiana in the 1820s. LSU Libraries’ edition is known as the “elephant” folio because of its large size—each of its 435 pages measuring 39 by 27 inches. Publication took 11 years (1827-38), and complete sets sell today for $12 million. “Audubon traveled all over the world, but he made Louisiana his home. He painted Wild Turkey, the most famous and valuable of all his prints, at the Oakley Plantation in St. Francisville,” Dr. Trenton James, Friends of the LSU Libraries board member and Special Collections donor, said. “Preserving and making these volumes available to the community is important for the love and respect of our university, our libraries and all things Louisiana, as so many of the ‘Birds of America’ are native to our state.” LSU’s copy of “Birds,” which originally belonged to an English duke, was purchased in 1964 with a grant from the Crown Zellerbach Foundation and restored in 2008 through a generous donation by the Coypu Foundation.



Gina Costello, associate dean of technology initiatives and special collections, said Audubon Day attracts all ages, and LSU Libraries embraces the opportunity to bring the publication to life. “LSU Libraries staff members turn the pages in the McIlhenny room. We host the raptor rescue group from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, and the LSU Museum of Natural Science brings ornithologyrelated material. The volumes are very impressive, and people who’ve seen them before start calling in December inquiring about the next Audubon Day.” “Birds” is part of Hill Memorial Library’s E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection, one of the most prestigious collections of botanical and ornithological illustrations of the Americas. Hill Memorial Library houses and preserves LSU Libraries’ Special Collections, offering research resources in a variety of fields.


o t m o Fr S ea Shining Sea Jerry Dodson (Science, ’64; Law, 66’), an international maritime and personal injury lawyer, has created the LSU Law Center’s first endowed chair in maritime law and donated a maritime art collection, to be displayed in the Law Center’s lobby, valued at more than $1 million. He hopes that his gifts will spark an interest in maritime law, a division of law that he believes is invaluable to the economy of the U.S., specifically Louisiana. Jerry Dodson shares a laugh at his Dodson & Hooks, APLC office in Baton Rouge, La. Specializing in international maritime law, Dodson’s clients hail from all over the world. Photos by Andrea Barbier



T “



wenty percent of every job in this state is connected to maritime commerce. It’s something that LSU ought to teach well,” Dodson explained. “The two leading maritime law schools in the world are Tulane University and the University of Southampton in England. They both have master’s and doctorate programs. That’s fine, but a lot of people can’t afford to go to Tulane.” It took Dodson some time to figure out that maritime law was his niche. Born in Hope, Ark., and raised in North Louisiana, Dodson graduated from high school with the intention of playing football at Louisiana Tech University; however, he injured his knee and came to LSU. He finished his undergraduate degree in pre-med chemistry, changed his mind and chose to attend law school instead. Dodson started his law practice handling all kinds of cases, from real estate to criminal matters. In 1973, Dodson and a friend opened their own law firm, which ultimately became Dué, Dodson, deGravelles and Robinson, in Baton Rouge. “At that time, there were only 2,200 lawyers in the entire state of Louisiana, and attorneys could not advertise. Our business model was to assist other lawyers with cases outside their areas of expertise. After our firm’s representation of the families of foreign crewmembers who were killed on an international voyage, we all went back to LSU and audited maritime law.” The firm gained a reputation for outstanding results, and success followed. Since, Dodson has

represented seamen from more than 40 countries and is an attorney for the International Transport Workers’ Federation, a London-based labor federation with 19.7 million members worldwide. He has taught maritime courses at the Tulane Law School Summer Program in Greece and admiralty courses as an adjunct faculty member at Southern University Law School for nearly 30 years. He also gives lectures on international maritime topics throughout the world. Dodson previously had a law office in Manila, Republic of the Philippines, and he has traveled around the world five times. Now, Dodson & Hooks, APLC (His partner, Kenneth Hooks, is also an LSU Law Center alumnus.) has a global network of lawyers. Dodson’s first maritime antiques were acquired in 1977 while he was in Greece handling a case for his law firm; he bought his first maritime passport while on vacation in Aspen, Colo. Over the past 35 years, he has added to the collection through auctions and private dealers. “I have been told it is the most complete maritime passport collection of U.S. presidents, with the only George Washington Mediterranean passport that is known to exist. I can replace half of my collection for a reasonable amount, but the other half of my collection cannot be replaced for any amount because it can’t be found. I have had the great pleasure of collecting these presidential passports for all these years, and now I have the great pleasure of LSU accepting and displaying them.”

Above and right: Dodson’s maritime antique donation includes an engine order telegraph from the mid-20th century; a ship’s wheel and steering station; and a 19th-century ship’s figurehead named “Olive.” Below: Dodson’s collection also includes 30 historic passports.



IN HIS HONOR Fifty years ago, LSU faculty and staff created an endowment in honor of Dr. George H. Deer, a former dean of the LSU University College and longtime faculty member of what is now the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education. Daughter Carol Deer Miller (Education, ’58) and her husband, Roland, have decided to extend Dr. Deer’s legacy by expanding the endowment to support a teaching award, to be made every year in perpetuity, for University College faculty and graduate assistants.


y father was very much a people person. He wanted everyone to be well taken care of. Everyone seemed to appreciate that and liked him a lot,” Carol, a former schoolteacher, remembered. “He would be very pleased at the fact that it goes to an outstanding freshmen professor. He worked with freshmen and their families, and I think that was very important to him. He wanted to make sure they had good teachers at the freshman level, and at all levels.” The George H. Deer Distinguished Teaching Award provides academic support and professional development funds to an LSU faculty member who teaches courses with University College students and has a record of excellence, leadership, a genuine interest in students and outstanding relationships with peers. Potential for growth is also considered, in hopes that the recipient will move forward with greater confidence and a sense of purpose. “As his son-in-law, I can tell you that the love of his life was working with young people,” shared Roland, a retired ExxonMobil executive who leveraged the company’s 3-to-1 matching program to make this gift possible. “In this day and time, we’re all very aware of the emphasis given to scholarships and advanced instruction to faculty and graduate students who have demonstrated proficiency. We think it’s very important to recognize the university faculty and staff who are willing to share their talents and experiences with freshmen in the early years of their development.” After following Roland’s ExxonMobil career from Louisiana to Texas to New York and New Jersey, the Millers and their two children settled in Houston, where they all still reside, and Roland and Carol enjoy spending time with their four grandchildren. They are proud to support outstanding leaders and dedicated educators who emulate Dr. Deer’s memory.



We think it’s very important to recognize the university faculty and staff who are willing to share their talents and experiences with freshmen in the early years of their development.” - Roland Miller

2018 George H. Deer Distinguished Teaching Award winner Julia Ledet with some of her Spring 2018 Math 1552 students Photo by Troy Robertson



Macie Coker (Engineering, ’18)

Building a Legacy Macie Coker, a mechanical engineering senior from Chalmette, La., nearly dropped the phone when she was offered an internship by Valero Energy Corporation. Now, she has two “amazing” Valero summers under her belt. Valero’s $1 million leadership gift to the LSU College of Engineering has initiated a multipoint collaboration with the college to support hands-on experiences, just like Coker’s, for the energy sector’s future leaders.


hat really sticks out to me is Valero’s culture and how much they care about each individual employee, even on an intern level. My mentor was phenomenal in recognizing what I was passionate about and giving me more projects in that arena,” Coker said. “Another great memory is the symposium. They let us tour headquarters, and they held seminars and classes. All of us got to shake hands with the people who are leading the business.” Coker, who fell in love with engineering through her father’s construction and engineering work,



happened upon Valero’s table at the LSU Career Expo. Her internships broadened her horizons and exposed her to every aspect of the industry, particularly the business side. Coker is confidently approaching a career in the oil and gas industry and plans to attend graduate school one day. She wants to emulate the enthusiasm that she witnessed in Valero employees. “I know that Valero is building a legacy, and they’ve improved my life for years to come,” Coker shared. “I don’t know where I’d be without Valero. I’d still be that lost sophomore wandering around at the career fair.” The Valero Fund advances industryundergraduate student engagement and supports strategic initiatives designated by the dean to enhance student

learning, growth and leadership, as well as faculty recruitment. The gift also funds the acquisition of cutting-edge equipment for undergraduate education and research laboratories, including the state-of-the-art Valero Capstone Design Studio in the newly renovated Patrick F. Taylor Hall, and offers technology support for faculty research. “Valero is proud to support LSU College of Engineering,” said Lane Riggs, executive vice president of refining operations and engineering. “Our investment demonstrates our commitment to LSU and its current and future engineering students.”

RINGING THE BELL LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences alumni Stephen P. Herbert (’86), chairman and CEO of USA Technologies, and wife Julie Harris Herbert (’87) put their alma mater in the national spotlight in December by announcing a gift at the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, where Steve represented USA Technologies by ringing the closing bell. The Herberts’ gift kicked off funding for what will ultimately become an endowed deanship.


t the Nasdaq closing, Steve and Julie were celebrating the company’s recent acquisition of Cantaloupe Systems. They thought it was only appropriate to mark the occasion by honoring the university that gave them their start, providing an exciting backdrop for one of the college’s top fundraising priorities. The Herberts’ gift reflects their appreciation for their liberal arts background and the importance of retaining stellar academic leaders. “Ringing the closing bell is truly a unique and special opportunity, and we wanted to share it with family,” Steve shared. “We thought it was a great opportunity to promote the university in general. We have lived in the northeast for nearly 30 years, and other than athletics, LSU doesn’t get a lot of press up here. We thought ‘Let’s get LSU on the eighth-story marquee in Times Square!’” The Herberts are passionate about supporting well-rounded approaches to education, like they received from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, and believe it develops strong leaders in every field. They are “energized” by the vision Dean Stacia Haynie has for the college, and Steve’s participation in her advisory board helps make that vision a reality. “Steve and Julie’s generous, forward-thinking gift will benefit our faculty and students for generations to come,” said Dean Haynie, who is also acting LSU executive vice president and provost. “Visionary leaders seek job opportunities that will offer the resources to achieve ambitious goals, and that’s exactly what our endowed deanship will do. We are grateful to the Herberts for jump-starting this effort.” Steve oversees all operations of USA Technologies, from research and development to manufacturing and sales. USA Technologies (listed on the Nasdaq Global Market under USAT) is a global leader in wireless, cashless and mobile payments and has been on the forefront of mobile payment solutions such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. The company is a seven-time LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses honoree.

Steve and Julie Herbert, center, with LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences Dean Stacia Haynie (left) and LSU Foundation Assistant Vice President of Development Krista Allen Raney (right) in Times Square, and at the ringing of the closing bell at the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, on Dec. 20, 2017. Photos courtesy of Nasdaq




enson ni Steph ntly o T d n a onsiste Emmet ecades, illion to LSU, c alma mater d e e r h t m r their he last d an $25 During t icated more th pportunities fo n graduates an s o e d n e iv g tin me t t-dr have d and crea hinking, impac mational invest the g in t r o rd-t sfor supp ute, ce forwa ons’ tran nt Instit to produ s. The Stephens ster Manageme e Stephenson nd h a a outcome tephenson Dis ship Institute, t ation Systems have r S m ic u r ’s n e o li f n U & In epre in LS Pet C son Entr henson neurship Stephen ent of Entrepre Medicine’s Step as. Departm ol of Veterinary hese are t in r o e h d c the S as a lea ed LSU position

r) attend son (cente en h p te S i on met and T

ip Cel reneursh the Entrep




ddy Perez

hoto by E

2017. P ebration in


mmet (Business, ’67) and Toni (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’67), who began giving to the E. J. Ourso College of Business in 1990, were initially inspired to make a leadership gift to LSU by the university’s “magnificent” response to Hurricane Katrina—rescuing and providing shelter and care for thousands of people and animals affected by the devastation. Their vision to establish LSU as the premier disaster management university in the world is being realized through the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute. SDMI actively facilitates collaboration among emergency management practitioners and researchers, and applies business principles and research to produce and distribute best practices for disaster preparedness and recovery. “LSU really stepped into the breach like no one else could. The people in New Orleans were underwater within 100 miles of LSU,” Emmet said. “What struck us was that LSU now had more experience dealing with disasters than anyone else we knew anywhere in the world. They did a remarkable job; they were unsung heroes.” As venture capitalists, Emmet and Toni look at giving philanthropically as an entrepreneurial opportunity with a charitable purpose. They are both graduates of the Harvard Business School, established serial entrepreneurs and listed in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World. They like to identify and solve problems through continuous improvement and revenue-producing opportunities, such as SDMI’s Stephenson National Center for Security Research & Training and the new Stephenson Department of Entrepreneurship & Information Systems, which offers a Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship to be paired with a second degree. “By teaching entrepreneurship as a discipline, LSU will, in the long run, generate more entrepreneurs in Louisiana, create new businesses, create jobs and grow the economy,” Emmet said, adding later, “Statistically, it is true that 90 percent of all new businesses fail, but that comes from not being prepared and not having a good plan. That’s the whole idea of teaching it. I think that if you can teach research, planning, what’s a good business model and what’s not, you probably cut the chance of failure in half.”

sity. e univer impact h t o t e mad oni’s est ever Emmet’s and T ige they’ve g r la e h ong t prest ends. SU is am concrete divid dicine, and the L o t t n paid itme y me s’ comm investment has and veterinar n o s n e h p o grow.” ir hip d fellow enson an “The Ste years later, the entrepreneurs and continues t h p te S i n , t and To Now, 10 er management is immeasurable of Emme d n ie t fr , s r, y ersit membe on disa the univ Directors f o t o t rd h a g o brou dation B n LSU Fou Ogden, donor . H r e g SU – Ro ational L transform



The Stephensons are equally enthusiastic about pets, whom Toni believes are simply “more to love.” The LSU Stephenson Pet Clinic will allow the School of Veterinary Medicine to expand its space for clinical and academic programs and will facilitate further development of its community practice training. The result will be generations of LSU Doctors of Veterinary Medicine—already in high demand—with stronger skills and knowledge, prepared to lead in their field. A decade later, the Stephensons’ generosity continues to pave the way for LSU to improve and save the lives of people and animals through disaster-response management, applied research and education, and by educating future business leaders and veterinarians who will live and work in Baton Rouge and around the globe.

“Hurricane Katrina, a significant emotional event for so many, served as Emmet and Toni Stephenson’s call to action. The formation of LSU’s Stephenson Disaster Management Institute is a true testament to their values. In the aftermath of any natural disaster, many of SDMI’s success stories will never be fully known. The Stephensons’ legacy is in the face of a child who has just been reunited with his puppy, and in so many other priceless moments that we’ve witnessed. I’m proud to work for an institute that carries the Stephensons’ name.” – Jeff Moulton, Executive Director, Stephenson National Center for Security Research & Training Photo by Kilbert Paz

“It is impossible to discuss the university’s entrepreneurship programs without mentioning Emmet and Toni Stephenson. The E. J. Ourso College of Business is poised to become a leader in entrepreneurship education thanks to their support. Motivated by Emmet and Toni’s vision and generosity, we created an ambitious entrepreneurship program benefiting all LSU students that will produce graduates who can launch successful businesses and innovate existing ones. Those graduates will have a positive economic impact in Louisiana and beyond.” – Dean and E. J. Ourso Distinguished Professor of Business Richard D. White Jr., E. J. Ourso College of Business Photo by Bret Lovetro/Eye Wander

“Emmet and Toni Stephenson’s gift to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine originated from their love of animals, and from the school’s extraordinary efforts to reunite animals with their owners during natural disasters, initially during Hurricane Katrina but continuing today with each event our region faces. The Stephenson Pet Clinic will be transformative for the school, as it allows us to optimize treatment for all ‘creatures great and small,’ and to serve as a referral center for animal care throughout the region.” – Dean Joel D. Baines, LSU School of Veterinary Medicine Photo by Dr. Amy Grooters




HELPING OUR OWN The Staff Senate Fee Support Scholarship offers financial assistance to fellow staff members pursuing a degree, with a goal of positively enhancing professional development, skills and career longevity of LSU staff. Kayla Gros, an LSU Graduate School admissions officer, said receiving the scholarship made her feel valued and encouraged.


his scholarship is a great recognition and shows that LSU cares about their employees’ education, so that they may continue to help the university and our society as a whole,” she said. “Every little bit helps.” After receiving her bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Gros joined LSU’s Financial Aid & Scholarships team. There she realized how much she enjoyed working within higher education. She’s become very active on campus as a gala committee member for the Black Faculty and Staff Caucus and a social media and events chair for the Black Graduate and Professional Student Association. Now, she’s pursuing a master’s degree in higher education with a minor in women’s and gender studies. After earning her master’s, Gros would like to get her PhD in either higher education or counseling psychology. Throughout her career, she hopes to help to create a more equitable campus. “We focus so much on building our diverse student body, but we also want to make sure we have diverse graduating classes. That’s a really big thing for me … We need to meet students where they are and support them in every way possible to get them to graduation. That will continue to push them toward their goals and into their future.” The Staff Senate is comprised of elected staff representatives who enhance the personal and professional well-being of the campuswide staff, as well as support their colleagues’ vocational and educational development. Among many other initiatives, Staff Senate leads year-round fundraising efforts to encourage staff members to contribute to the Staff Senate Support Fee Scholarship and the Staff Senate Scholarship, which supports dependents of staff members.

We need to meet students where they are and support them in every way possible to get them to graduation. That will continue to push them toward their goals and into their future." - 2017 Staff Senate Fee Support Scholarship recipient Kayla Gros of Slidell, La.



Siblings Dr. John Cole and Dr. Natalie Cole and their father, James Fairfax Cole (opposite page)



A Great Knack Siblings Dr. John Cole (Science, ’77; Medicine New Orleans, ’81) and Dr. Natalie Cole (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’80) established the James Fairfax Cole Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship in Social Work to honor their father’s 30-year career as a medical social worker, his passion for helping people and his dedication to lifelong learning. The scholarship is the first of its kind within the LSU School of Social Work, as the undergraduate program kicks off in August 2018.


fter his service in the U.S. Airforce, James (Human Sciences & Education, ’55) took morning classes at LSU while he worked at the CocaCola Bottling Company in the evening, earning $1 an hour. He was much older than his classmates, and his wife, Mary Eleanor (Agriculture, ’66), was pregnant with their first child, but he was determined to earn his degrees. James earned his master’s at Tulane and began his career helping people with vision impairments find employment. He then accepted a role for the State of Louisiana focused on improving healthcare plans. “My dad was always interested in other people,” John remembered. “He had a really great knack for listening and drawing people out. That was particularly important in what he did because he needed to understand what people’s problems were and get to their underlying issues to help them.” In addition to the endowed undergraduate scholarship, his children continue his tradition of selfless work through their own professions: John is an oncologist/ hematologist for Oschner Health System in New Orleans, and Natalie is an English professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. “He was the type of father who was always encouraging. You were happy to make him proud, but he never put any pressure on you,” John shared. “I think he just

knew that you were going to try to do your best, and that was OK by him.” Throughout his life, James made knowledge a priority. He read the newspaper every morning and was a subscriber to The New Yorker, even up till the time of his death at 99 years old. His kids know that he valued his education, particularly his time at LSU, and he would be happy to give others the chance to start their careers as Tigers.



Roy Gerard and his son, Roy Gerard Jr., at the LSU v. Texas A&M football game in 2015 Photo by Darlene Aguillard



GROWING IN GREATNESS In 1988, retired Vice President of Shell Oil Company Roy Gerard (Engineering, ’53 and ’58) established the endowed Gerard Family Undergraduate Scholarship in Chemical Engineering, leveraging Shell’s matching gift program, a contribution from his brother and an IRA rollover. Now, the scholarship fund is valued at nearly $1 million and continues to support 21st-century engineers earning a foundational education at the LSU College of Engineering.


erard, a 1996 College of Engineering Hall of distinction inductee, worked with Shell for nearly 35 years before retiring in 1992. He held several leadership positions throughout his career, including serving as the first president of Shell Saudi Petrochemical Company, a one-year adventure that offered “exciting” opportunities to work with global leaders and exposed his family to new environments. He’s watched the “ever-increasing” LSU Department of Chemical Engineering evolve with the changes in industry, research and technology. “I feel like I owe LSU. I had a scholarship there when I was in graduate school. I always felt a need to find a way to help,” Gerard said. He cites his chemical engineering professors as major influences on his life and career and has also contributed to several professorships. “I once got a letter from the parents of one of the scholarship recipients, thanking me and telling me that without it, the kid wouldn’t have been able to finish school. That really made me feel good.” Michelle West (Engineering, ’18) is another of Gerard’s scholarship recipients. Born in Ohio but raised in Slidell, La., and Geismar, La., West was introduced to engineering at an early age, as her parents are both chemical engineers. She’s enjoyed the “community-based experience” at LSU, growing with her classmates and using the new facilities and resources at Patrick F. Taylor Hall. Following graduation, she will begin a full-time position with BASF Corporation, where she’s already completed three internships. Gerard’s advice to aspiring engineers like West is to “set the flag high on the hill, and keep working to get better and better.” “As far as leaving my mark, from a philanthropic perspective, I see someone like Mr. Gerard be so generous with his money and invest in someone else’s future, and I think that I would love to do that if I’m ever in a place where I can financially support a different student, or a set of students,” West shared. Gerard was encouraged by his wife of 58 years, Minnie, to become involved with philanthropy and charitable work. Passionate about charitable work, Minnie, now deceased, even helped to fund and build Northwest Assistance, a nonprofit that last year provided assistance to 130,000 people. Michelle West (Engineering, ’18)



THE RIGHT THING TO DO Jim (Science, ’76) and Debra Anderson believe that STEM education is essential to the future of the U.S. and call endowing a Superior Graduate Scholarship within the LSU Department of Geology & Geophysics “the right thing to do.”


oming to LSU as a young, geeky high He and Debra, who is also retired after 30 years in school kid, I suddenly got a career—a education, formed relationships with Department of very good career. My wife and I have Geology & Geophysics Chair Dr. Carol Wicks and been blessed to travel around a lot, College of Science Senior Director of Development Eric and around the world. Our kids have Guerin, who helped them structure their gift and take grown up and spent summer abroad. That’s something we advantage of two matching gift programs, helping to want to give back to the community, and LSU needs that,” leverage their philanthropic impact even further. The Jim shared. Andersons wanted to ensure that their gift Jim wanted to be a scientist since he was had longevity and flexibility. about 7 years old. His high school “It’s important to me to give guidance counselors in New Jersey back and to help people who encouraged him to apply to Ivy are in graduate school. League schools. However, We didn’t want any after coming down to take stipulations beyond it advanced placement testing belonging to Geology and attending a few & Geophysics,” Jim introductory classes, then explained. “My wife receiving a scholarship and I have decided that was “too good that for as long to turn down,” Jim as we’ll be living, decided to follow we’ll be giving in his family’s in some capacity It’s important footsteps. His to the LSU to me to give father (a longtime Foundation. LSU donor and Once we fully back and to help 2016 Cadets of fund this people who are in the Old War Skule scholarship, Hall of Honor we’ll be doing graduate school. inductee), brother something else.” - Jim Anderson and uncle were all The Andersons’ alumni. gift, which Jim took a job in was matched by Tulsa, Okla., where the ExxonMobil he met and fell in love Foundation and is with Debra, who was finishing her junior year in biology at eligible for state matching funds through the Louisiana Oklahoma State University. He was encouraged by his former Board of Regents, supports the department’s priority to LSU professors to apply for graduate school at University of increase endowment support, on par with other top tier Texas at Austin, and so the couple packed up for Texas. departments, to allow for future planning. It will be used “Five years later, I finished my PhD and started working by the department to recruit, retain and graduate excellent at Exxon, and I just retired after 35 years. I worked in graduate-degree candidates. exploration, production and research; I spent a third of my career in each, drilling more than 100 oil wells and traveling to more than 44 countries. It was quite an experience,” Jim said, adding later, “My advice is to find what you love and do it well.”




Jim and Debra Anderson







FRONTIER LSU's Marine Biology in Alaska program offers LSU College of Science, LSU College of the Coast & Environment and the LSU AgCenter School of Renewable Natural Resources students the opportunity to immerse themselves in Juneau’s rocky shoreline habitats and learn the fundamental principles of ecology, surrounded by real-life examples. Longtime leader of the program and LSU Professor Emeritus Dr. William “Bill” Stickle Jr. and his wife, Versa, established the Marine Biology Travel Fund to allow students to gain a new perspective of science. LSU’s Marine Biology in Alaska class of 2017 poses for a photo at the South Sawyer Glacier in Tracy Arm Fjord.




I took an undergraduate research course, and pretty much the whole time that we were earning the hours for that course, we were in the intertidal zone, out in the field. We got to see so many cool things—sea stars, sea urchins, an octopus and a sea cucumber—down at the beach while collecting data.” Devin Comba, a coastal environmental science junior



laska has as much shoreline as the entire continental U.S. and is the most productive fishery in the country, providing oceanographers an abundance of exciting and unique research opportunities. Bill’s bond with Alaska began in the late 1960s when he received a fellowship to study there. The 10-week trip doubled as his and Versa’s honeymoon (“We lived in a camper. It rained every day but three, and the roof leaked. We’re still married!” he fondly recalled.). Bill has returned many times over the years, taking his first group of students in 2008. “Every time I go back, it’s like stepping back into the last frontier. You get a half-mile out of Juneau’s city limits, and you’re out in the middle of nowhere. It’s just beautiful, untouched,” Bill said. “Juneau is so rich in terms of species diversity and absolute beauty. You have all sort of marine animals, humpback whales, killer whales, sea lions, harbor seals and five species of salmon. You don’t get that here.” While gaining seven hours of course credit, students dive into the diverse ecosystem of the North Pacific Ocean and temperate rainforests, including mammals, fish and invertebrates, and they explore the impacts of the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill on the Prince William Sound. Bill leverages his Alaskan connections to bring in expert scientists from the University of Alaska’s Department of Fisheries, University of Alaska Southeast and the National Marine Fisheries Service Laboratory as guest lecturers. “I took an undergraduate research course, and pretty much the whole time that we were earning the hours for that course, we were in the intertidal zone, out in the field,” Devin Comba, a coastal environmental science junior, shared. “We got to see so many cool things—sea stars, sea urchins, an octopus and a sea cucumber—down at the beach while collecting data.” The three-week trip begins with a flight to Seattle, Wash., followed by

a two-and-a-half-day ferry ride from Bellingham, Wash., to the community of Auke Bay in Juneau. The group stays and dines at the University of Alaska Southeast campus. Throughout the trip, participants enjoy a marine mammal-watching cruise, featuring humpback whales and Steller sea lions; a cruise to the Tracy Arm Fjord to see the South Sawyer Glacier and harbor seals; and a hike to the ice caves of the Mendenhall Glacier. Evan Wampold, who will begin at the LSU School of Dentistry in July, added, “You don’t have to be interested in the field of marine biology to attend and be successful. Most of the people on the trip are pre-med or pre-dental students. You get to meet people who are doing the same things as you and bounce ideas and plans off them … It’s a small group, only about 25 people. So, you really get to know the professors.” To date, Bill has led nearly 250 undergraduate and graduate students, plus six faculty members, through the Marine Biology in Alaska Program. Encouraged by the testimonials and contributions of past participants and their parents, he and Versa created the Marine Biology Fund to defray program costs for hardworking juniors and seniors. He believes most of all that the program teaches students the value of teamwork and adapting to diverse environments—two cornerstones of an extraordinary scientist.

Sights of the trip have included harbor seals on the packed ice of South Sawyer Glacier, a feeding group of humpback whales, Stellar sea lions taking a break on the shore at Little Diomede Island, and a killer whale and her calf out for a swim.



Rauch (far left) landed his first research position in the gravitational waves lab of Nicholson Hall in the 1970s.

We produce problem solvers. That is, we create a situation in which our students must grow in the way that they approach problems. We enjoy for our students to feel comfortable asking the question ‘Why?’ The investment that Dr. Rauch gifted to us will pay long-term dividends because now more students will have the opportunity to join us in asking ‘Why?’ in our research laboratories, as well as in our computation and theoretical settings.” - Department of Physics & Astronomy Chair Dr. John DiTusa



Dr. Rick Rauch (Science, ’77), an expert in rocket propulsion testing, will provide a $1 million bequest to establish an endowed research scholarship fund for the LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. A product of the 1960s, Rauch is living his childhood dream as project manager at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center.


he U.S. space program was just taking off, so to speak, and that was a big influence on me,” Rauch remembered. “Who knows what goes on in a 5-year-old’s head, but I just wanted to understand how this stuff works—it’s so awesome. That was the background that led me to physics.” A Kenner, La., native, Rauch was also heavily influenced by his undergraduate experience at LSU. He worked with Dr. William “Bill” Hamilton from sophomore through junior year, in the early days of gravitational wave-detection research. Now, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory and LSU have made three detections of gravitational waves (or ripples in space and time via the collision of two blackholes), and its leaders have received a Nobel Prize in Physics. “Word got out that they were looking for people to work in this crazy lab in the basement of Nicholson Hall … One day, I got enough courage to wander down there and talk to Dr. Hamilton. I said, ‘I don’t have any experience, but I’m willing to learn. I can do whatever you need, even sweep the floor,’” Rauch remembered, calling himself a “mediocre” physics student at the time. After graduating from LSU, Rauch tackled the “biggest challenge of his life”: earning his doctorate in theoretical physics and gravitational theory at Stony Brook University in New York. At the beginning of his career, he relocated to Los Angeles and specialized in nuclear weapons effects and strategic space defense systems against nuclear weapons, ultimately cofounding the Defense Group, Inc. in Washington, D.C. Eventually, he decided to take a leave of absence and earn his commercial pilot’s license; that’s when his big break happened. “I kept my application in for NASA all those years. Finally, I got a call from Stennis Space Center after I put my parents’ Mandeville address on there because I was without a permanent address. I asked, ‘After almost 25 years, why now?’ They said, ‘We didn’t think anyone from California or Washington would want to come down here to Mississippi,’” Rauch laughed. “It’s been 17 years, and altogether it’s probably been the best job I’ve ever had.” Currently, Rauch is managing a rocket exhaust capture system project, focusing on processing this exhaust into water and liquid oxygen to support safe ground testing of nuclear rocket engines. He hopes his gift will help students discover their dream jobs, too, by getting their hands dirty through real, meaningful research opportunities.



BORDERS Amanda Husein, a sophomore double majoring in biology and French, calls her 4.5-month study abroad stay in Paris “fulfilling.” She’s returned with a resolution to become a bilingual physician and member of the Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, team.

“E ris sein in Pa

u Amanda H

xperiencing another culture, mindset and way of life helps you to orient yourself and how you want to live your life,” Husein shared. “For my career, I would hope I could take on a worldly perspective, not just of medicine but of humanities and how to treat humans better.” Husein, whose mother and father are from Palestine and Brazil, respectively, was born and raised in Lake Charles, La. She had always dreamed of traveling to Paris but was discouraged by the cost. She was thrilled to learn she was chosen to receive an LSU College of Humanities & Social Sciences Global Scholarship to bring the trip within her financial reach and cover her stay with a Parisian host family. “Family life, the dinners and the talks we had, are irreplaceable. They knew that I only wanted to speak French as much as possible. On Sundays, we practiced their English,” Husein said of her host family, a single mother and her three children. “At the last dinner they told me how much my French had improved from the first dinner. They loved to talk about politics—French politics, American politics.” At the Université de Paris-Diderot, she took five classes taught solely in French: cinema, aesthetics, 17th-20th century literature, grammar and oral skills. She was impressed with how dedicated her peers were to their studies, despite a lack of homework and exams, and the university’s more philosophical approach to academia. “I was able to focus on different courses that have always interested me and to study subjects outside of the science realm that I hope have made me more of a well-rounded pre-med student,” Husein explained. When she wasn’t at school, Husein enjoyed weekend trips to her host family’s “awe”-inspiring country-side home, visiting museums and traveling Europe with her new friends. Scholarships like Husein’s are supported by the College of Humanities & Social Science Excellence Fund, which provides essential unrestricted funds to meet immediate needs and create extraordinary opportunities.



THE NEWS ROOM The Statehouse Bureau of the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication brings journalism and political communication students— the thought leaders of our future— to the front of the line, covering Louisiana politics and the Legislature, interviewing politicians and delivering real-time news. In just three years, the Statehouse Bureau has produced 1,000 stories for more than 40 media outlets across the state and nationally. Its stories have been picked up by Politico, USA Today and National Public Radio. 2018 John J. Maginnis Memorial Scholar and Statehouse Bureau reporter Devon Sanders covers a debate in the Louisiana House of Representatives chamber. Photo by Kaylee Poche/LSU Manship School News Service



Tryfon Boukouvidis takes notes during a Senate committee hearing.


hristopher Drew, who leads the Manship School's experiential journalism curriculum and is the school’s Fred Jones Greer Jr. endowed chair, teaches the field experience course that includes the Statehouse Bureau, part of the Manship School News Service. An award-winning journalist and bestselling author, Drew was a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, The Wall Street Journal and The Times-Picayune, and an investigative reporter and editor for The New York Times for 22 years. “We run the Statehouse Bureau as a newsroom, and we treat the students like any other young reporters. It’s education for the students, and it’s a



public service for the state,” Drew said. “The real crisis in journalism isn’t at the national level; it’s at the local level. One place that isn’t getting enough news coverage is the state legislatures. With 14 students, we have the biggest bureau by far." Devon Sanders, a junior with a concentration in political communication and minors in political science and history, had limited knowledge of Louisiana politics before joining the bureau and calls working there a “wild ride.” Her coverage on Louisianans’ confidence in government, as reflected in the Louisiana Survey produced by the Manship School’s Public Policy Research Lab, was picked up by 11 news sites.

A highlight for Sanders, now the 2018 John Maginnis Scholar Award recipient, was when she learned that one of her favorite outlets picked up a story she wrote on government spending transparency: “I listen to Capitol Access on NPR every single morning … Drew popped into a Senate meeting that I was sitting in and taking notes on. He said, ‘I just want to let you know that Baton Rouge’s NPR station picked up your story!’ … That was really exciting for me—I shared it on my Facebook! I never would’ve thought it would happen.” The Manship School’s experiential programs were created by former professor James E. “Jay” Shelledy to secure the school’s position at the

Sanders interviews Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, at the Louisiana State Capitol.

intersection of media and public affairs. In 2016, he created the Statehouse Bureau, an undergraduate and graduate program. Dr. Martin Johnson, incoming dean, suggested and taught a fall course on state government prior to the students’ spring coverage—a unique aspect of the Statehouse Bureau that guarantees students understand and can convey political news to the tens of thousands of readers who look forward to their reporting every day.

Political communication majors Ryan Noonan and Kaylee Poche write a story together in the Statehouse Bureau's office at the Capitol. Photos by Ashley Wolf/LSU Manship School News Service







LEADERSHIP The Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Leadership Legacy Award helps to fund the LSU College of Engineering Society of Peer Mentors’ guidance to K-12 students, teachers and STEM leaders through initiatives like the Foundation of a FIRST Team workshop and the FIRST Robotics Competition kickoff event. Society of Peer Mentors members also plan and execute the annual Robot in 3 Days Challenge.

The Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Leadership Legacy Award in the LSU College of Engineering provides seed funding for student-led projects and recognizes graduating students who exhibit outstanding leadership through their involvement in the Society of Peer Mentors and the college.




he Leadership Legacy Award is the highest recognition available in the Society of Peer Mentors, a program that encourages developing responsibility through extracurriculars, training, meetings and outreach events. Initiatives funded by the Leadership Legacy Award include a robotics workshop for high school teachers, a sophomore-level boot camp for chemical engineering majors, a 24hour computer programming event, a combat robotics planning conference and a three-day robot build challenge. April Gaydos, a mechanical engineering junior from Hammond, La., was first exposed to engineering when she joined her high school’s robotics team. One of only three girls on the team, the experience was “empowering” for Gaydos as she chose her path for LSU and her future. In her first two years at LSU, Gaydos oversaw elementary, middle and high school robotics teams, and she realized a need. Using Leadership Legacy Award funds, she created a day-long seminar for Louisiana STEM teachers and organization leaders, addressing funding, team building and conflict resolution. “I went from a student sitting in the background to president of this organization,” Gaydos said. “The $500 donation that funded my seminar not only impacted me but impacted the 10-15 team mentors who put it on and almost 100 elementary to high



school students. All of those people now have the opportunity to consider a career as an engineer or in the STEM field and know how to team-build and resolve conflict.” 2017 Leadership Legacy Award recipient Rebecca Collins (Engineering, ’17), now a petroleum engineer at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, said the Society of Peer Mentors taught her how to communicate and take initiative. “The Society of Peer Mentors is a great organization that allows for engineering students of all majors to meet each other and help each other with their strengths and weaknesses,” Collins said. “It's an organization where anyone can come in and shine, just by putting in the effort. The advisers and student leaders make it extremely clear how this organization is meant to give back to all members.” Taylor Energy Company LLC President William Pecue II (Engineering, ’83) was struck by the Society of Peer Mentors’ track record of improving retention within the college. He invested in the fund as a mechanism to increase exposure of the program—encouraging more engineering students to participate and, hopefully, inspire other colleges to create similar programs. He said the program has a “domino effect” of strengthening students’ leadership, communication and time management skills. Pecue explained, “Engineering is probably one of the most difficult, challenging academic programs on any campus. There

are the natural changes—emotional, social and academic—of the student coming into a large institution like LSU, and for many people, it can be overwhelming. That’s where the leadership comes in. If I’m mentoring you, you’ve developed a reception for feedback, an awareness and probably an appreciation for people taking time to help someone else. That’s then passed on to the next generation.” To be eligible for the Leadership Legacy Award, students must be an active member of the Society of Peer Mentors and must be nominated by their peers for exemplifying respect, accountability, integrity, superb individual accomplishments and enthusiasm.

Being a part of the Society of Peer Mentors taught me how to effectively and professionally communicate with others. I have been in a rotational position in which I get a new position, team and supervisor every two months for the first year of employment. Communication is super important in telling each supervisor what I have completed and asking any questions on projects they assign to me. I also grew as a self-starter. I can take a project, learn more and come up with fresh ideas.” - Rebecca Collins (Engineering, ’17), 2017 Warren N. Waggenspack Jr. Leadership Legacy Award recipient and petroleum engineer at the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement



A Letter From


I often reflect upon the passion our alumni and friends feel for LSU. It is unlike anything I have experienced in my nearly 20 years of serving as a university president. Your commitment to our success is tangible, and it creates boundless opportunities for our students. We want to leverage your passion into momentum for our vision of the future. Our strategic plan, paired with the campus master plan, will transform LSU’s enormous potential into reality. An exceptional example of this is the state-of-the-art makeover of Patrick F. Taylor Hall. In April, we celebrated the renovations’ completion, and a public-private partnership resulting in the nation’s largest On Jan. 31, 2018, Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards joined free-standing engineering education facility. LSU President F. King Alexander and others from the Because of its size and scale, students don’t just university and military community for a ribbon-cutting and go to classes, but study and socialize in the grand-opening ceremony at the new William A. Brookshire facility as well. The “living laboratory” concept Military & Veterans Student Center, named for the late Dr. Bill Brookshire (Engineering, ’61). The 4,600-square-foot of floor-to-ceiling glass is a constant reminder center, located on Veterans Drive, will support LSU’s 500 of the very real and necessary research student veterans, active military, reservists and guardsmen conducted there—research that will extend and 1,630 undergraduate dependents thanks to a donation the life of our precious natural resources while from Brookshire. Learn more about how the center will exploring renewable energy options; better transform LSU’s resources and services for veterans at protect our families from hurricanes; develop safer machinery for processing and refining chemicals; and so much more. It took far-reaching vision and decades of effort and collaboration to make the building many of you knew as “CEBA” into what is now the archetype for higher education facilities in the U.S. While the physical representation of those first steps is now a reality, the far-reaching ripple effects of a facility that attracts the best and brightest while supporting a world-class research operation will be felt for decades to come. That’s the kind of impact LSU can have with you behind us. And as we put in the hard work that will take our strategic plan from concept to reality, we know that, with your continued support, we can use this most recent achievement as the baseline model for our next big success. Because your passion makes great things possible. Thank you for helping LSU go the distance. Sincerely,

F. King Alexander LSU President



From Shreveport to Lake Charles, from New Orleans to Alexandria, from Eunice to the AgCenter, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and the flagship campus in Baton Rouge—three letters bind us together no matter where you call home. Those letters are L-S-U. As the state’s biggest economic engine, LSU institutions have the collective horsepower it takes to transform Louisiana for the better.


LSU PROVIDES A RETURN OF $13.25 FOR EVERY DOLLAR OF STATE INVESTMENT. LSU PROVIDES A RETURN OF $13.25 FOR EVERY DOLLAR OF STATE INVESTMENT. LSU consists of the state’s flagship university, regional insti- long-run benefits that a leading research university offers to LSU consists of the state’s flagship university, regional drive economic growth and the accumulation of human capital. tutions, health sciences centers, and research entities; every drive economic growth and the accumulation of human capital. institutions, health sciences centers and research entities; For a parish-by-parish breakdown of LSU’s economic impact part of LSU makes a significant contribution to Louisiana’s The purpose of this study is to estimate the economic impact every part of LSU makes a significant contribution to Louisiana’s statewide, or to download the complete study conducted by economy. These economic benefits include the impact of of LSU operations on the state in 2017 and explore some of economy. These economic benefits include the impact of the Economics & Policy Research Group at the E. J. Ourso current LSU operations throughout the state as well as the the broader long-run benefits of LSU. current LSU operations throughout the state as well as the College of Business, please visit long-run benefits that a leading research university offers to • During the 2017 fiscal year, LSU supported over $5.1 billion in Louisiana economic output, $1.9 billion in statewide earnings, an estimated 41,006 direct indirectover annualized Louisiana economic output, $1.9 billion in statewide earnings, • and During the 2017 fiscal year, LSUand supported $5.1 billion and an estimated 41,006 direct and indirect annualized jobs. • The direct and indirect jobs supported by LSU’s operations in 2017 account for 2.6% of all statewide jobs in Louisiana. • The direct and indirect jobs supported by LSU’s operations in 2017 account for 2.6 percent of all statewide jobs in Louisiana. • In total, 2016 graduates from LSU programs will benefit from an estimated increase of $8.6 billion in lifetime earnings a result of their education LSU. • as In total, 2016 graduates from at LSU programs will benefit from an estimated increase of $8.6 billion in lifetime earnings as a result of their education at LSU.


Research . Extension . Teaching










18,700 JOBS

12,688 JOBS

4,608 JOBS

2,061 JOBS









780 JOBS

655 JOBS

807 JOBS

640 JOBS

3796 Nicholson Drive Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70802 CHANGE SERVICE REQUESTED

Cornerstones Summer and Fall 2018  

The LSU Foundation's semiannual magazine features stories on the powerful impacts of your gifts to LSU.

Cornerstones Summer and Fall 2018  

The LSU Foundation's semiannual magazine features stories on the powerful impacts of your gifts to LSU.