Page 1

FA L L 2 0 0 8 V O L U M E 1 I S S U E 1

Raphiel Heard May ‘08

This Grand Chenier native’s admiration for small-town life led to his decision to become a doctor. page 6


2008 Foundation Board of Directors Officers Claire K. Sorkow, President Emma DiCarlo-Vincent, Vice President Willie Mount, Secretary James Taussig, Treasurer Members David Chozen Bob Davidson Judy Fuller Tom Henning Joe T. Miller, Sr. Lee J. Monlezun, Jr.


3........... A Lifelong Passion: Claire Sorkow 4.......... Foundation Honors: O. Carroll Karkalits 5............ Professorship / Donor Reception 6-7....... Cover Story: Raphiel Heard 7........... Foundation Giving 8........... Professorship in Action: Success on the B-List 9.......... Professorship in Action: Celebrating Accomplishments 10......... Company Matches 10 ....... The Gift Process Kimberly Donalson, Gift Management Specialist

George Paret

11......... Alumni Association Highlight: George Paret

Patricia Prebula

12......... The Annual Scholarship Brunch

Glenn Pumpelly Donna Richard Billy Rose

13......... McNeese Athletic Foundation Highlight: Joe T. Miller, Sr. 14......... Considering a Planned Gift?

John Scofield

15......... The Official McNeese Ring

Jim Serra

16-17.... McNeese Retiree Association

David Stine Ray A. Todd, Jr. Tom Tuminello, Sr. Charles Viccellio Ex Officio Members Robert Hebert Richard H. Reid Advisory Board Members Billy Blake William T. Clarke Allan Collette Coral Crain Byrd Fred R. Godwin Marilyn Hays 2

Outriders Enjoy Picnic Outriders Visit Pompeii

A Lifelong Passion . . .

Commitment to Volunteerism

As a little girl in the 1930s, Claire Sorkow stood on the corner of Ryan and Pujo streets on Poppy Day and sold construction paper flowers for the American Legion. The Legion is a service organization composed of war veterans including Claire’s father, Col. Louis Z. Kushner, who served in both world wars. It is Sorkow’s earliest memory of volunteerism – a community service she learned from her parents. “They were very compassionate, idealistic and caring people,” Sorkow said. “During the depression, I used to think our house was marked. The homeless men who traveled on trains came to our Division Street home because we always gave them sandwiches.” Sorkow has progressed from paper poppies to serving on more than 30 boards of directors, often in elected positions or other areas of leadership. During her year as president of the Louisiana State Medical Society Alliance, she had as her theme: “Volunteerism: Looking Inward, Reaching Outward.” “That’s what volunteerism is all about,” she said. “Looking inward at ourselves and reaching outward to help others.” She has served more than 15 years on the McNeese Foundation board of directors and was elected president in November 2006. She said she has “grown as the Foundation has grown.” She has a personal fondness for the University, partly because the first student loan to be given by a McNeese fund was made in honor of her brother, Charles Kushner, who died of leukemia in 1941 at age 18. The first Charles Kushner Pre-Medicine Memorial Scholarship was awarded in 1942 according to an article in McNeese’s student newspaper, The Contraband. The Charles Kushner Pre-Medicine Student Loan Fund was created with contributions from Charles’ friends. The loans were made to underprivileged students without interest. “When Mother and Daddy started the scholarship, the cost of attending McNeese may have been several hundred dollars. Today, a couple hundred dollars may cover the cost of one book,” Sorkow said. “There was a different need in 1941, but there is still a great need for student financial aid. There will always be that need.” Claire’s family legacy at McNeese State University began with her late brother, but it didn’t end there. In 1969, her aunts established a visual arts scholarship in honor of their brother, Abraham L. Kushner, who died in 1968 at age 74. In addition to the A.L. Kushner Memorial Scholarship, the Kushner family donated more than 80 books from Abraham’s art collection to the University. A pre-medical scholarship was established in honor of Claire’s grandparents, Ezrael and Hannah Kushner. The scholarship was earmarked for McNeese seniors who had been accepted to medical school. Another scholarship in the Foundation is the Charles Kushner-Dr. Eli Sorkow Pre-Medicine Scholarship established by Claire and her husband, Eli Sorkow, M.D. “Life is worthless unless you put some value in it,” Sorkow said. “Why not do something for others, especially if you have the time? To me, volunteering is a way of life—an exciting way of life that molded my sense of commitment to humankind and who I am.” Sorkow said she “learns every day from other people” and considers herself a people person, which has helped her achieve her philanthropic visions. She said the world is composed of those who are leaders and those who want to be led, and she has learned how to work with both – an essential skill in lasting success. “The secret to leading people is to allow them to work on projects at their own pace. You give them a seed, let them plant it and watch it grow,” she said. 3

FOUNDATION TIES Dr. O.Carroll Karkalits, retired dean • Honoree of the Dr. O.C. Karkalits Endowed Professorship in Engineering & Technology

Dr. O. Carroll Karkalits O. Carroll Karkalits wasn’t sure what he wanted to do in life when he enrolled at Howard Payne University in Brownwood, Texas, in the 1930s, so when he encountered a successful man who was in town for summer vacation, he asked for some guidance. The vacationing Texan told Karkalits he was a chemical engineer and indulged the younger man with career details. The intrigued young Karkalits asked where he needed to go to school if he wanted to learn the trade and less than a year later, he had enrolled at Rice University in Houston.

I believed that our engineering graduates could match up to anybody else’s. I still believe that.

“Once I got my bachelor’s degree, I figured the best way to make myself marketable was to learn as much as I could and go as high as I could go with my education, so I went to graduate school,” Karkalits said. “If there was a higher degree to get, I was going to obtain it.” He earned his doctorate from the University of Michigan in 1950, and not long after, he found a job in process development at American Cyanamid in Bound Brook, N.J., where he befriended a fellow engineer named Thomas Leary. Leary left Bound Brook in 1955 to work for Citgo in Lake Charles and eventually landed a teaching job at McNeese. At that time, aspiring engineers had to look outside Lake Charles if they wanted an engineering degree. With the area surrounded by plants and refineries, Leary recognized the need for a well-established engineering curriculum at McNeese. Under his chairmanship, the first department of engineering was formed in 1965. Four years later, when Leary was promoted to president, he called on his former friend and colleague to take over the department. When Karkalits arrived in 1972, the future of the engineering program was so dismal that the Louisiana Engineering Society suggested it be quashed – an opinion rejected by the Lake Charles chapter, Leary and Karkalits. Karkalits gained hold of his position as dean with the same tenacity that he adopted as an undergraduate college student. During his 34-year tenure, the fledgling program grew into its own college, enrollment more than doubled and partnerships were developed with area industries through the Lake Area Industries-McNeese Engineering Partnership. Karkalits considers the creation of LAI-MEP to be one of his crowning achievements. “Through this partnership, we were able to go to the industry leaders and say, ‘We want you to hire our students. What should we have in our curriculum to fit your needs?’” Karkalits said. “I believed that our engineering graduates could match up to anybody else’s. I still believe that.” According to Karkalits, one of the greatest strengths of the engineering program is its faculty. As dean, he sought faculty with field experience, rather than those who had spent their careers in a classroom. “I remember when I took a course in thermodynamics. I kept wondering why I needed to know all this stuff I was learning,” Karkalits said. “When you have faculty with field experience, they can tell you exactly why you need to know it.” Following his retirement in 2006, Karkalits was given Dean and Professor Emeritus status – an honor reserved for retired faculty and administrators who have made distinguishing professional contributions to the University – and in 2007, through the McNeese Foundation, the Dr. O.C. Karkalits Endowed Professorship in Engineering and Technology was established.


First Annual Professorship Donor and Recipient Reception Nearly 100 professors, donors, spouses, guests and staff attended the first McNeese annual professorship donor and recipient reception in April at the Pioneer Club. The event provided an opportunity for professors to meet benefactors who have created a named endowed professorship or chair through the McNeese Foundation. Named endowed professorships and chairs provide funding to reward faculty in the classroom to enhance academic excellence. Endowed professorships allow the donor to name the professorship or chair and designate the field of study. These awards ensure that faculty members remain intellectually vigorous, current and enthusiastic regarding the subjects they teach.

Named Endowed Professorships and Chairs A named endowed professorship begins with a minimum investment of $10,000. Donations may be added annually until the gift reaches the minimum endowed professorship level of $60,000. This gift then qualifies for a $40,000 Louisiana Board of Regents match, thus creating a $100,000 endowed professorship. A total of 80 professorships valued at $8 million have been endowed through private contributions to the McNeese Foundation. A named endowed chair begins with a minimum investment of $100,000. Donations may be added annually until the gift reaches the minimum endowed chair level of $600,000. This contribution in turn then qualifies for a $400,000 Board of Regents match, thus creating a $1 million endowed chair. McNeese currently has two $1 million chairs through the Foundation. For more information about endowed professorships and chairs, call the McNeese Foundation at 337.475.5588 or go online to *All gifts may be pledged over a period of five years. 5

FOUNDATION TIES Raphiel Heard, 2008 graduate

• Recipient, Chick White Pre-Med Scholarship • Recipient, Dr. John Stevens Memorial Scholarship • Recipien

McNeese Graduate Well Prepared For His Life As A Medical Student And Future Physician In fall 2006, Raphiel Heard enrolled in Biology 250: Comparative Anatomy of the Vertebrates, the study of the phylogeny of organ systems of representative vertebrate animals. Heard was a junior pre-med student and had already studied things like Mendelian genetics, statistical applications, phenotypic expression, molecular evolution, steric and orbital interactions, interconversions of families of organic compounds and the mechanics of speciation. He had even survived organic chemistry, the bane of every chemistry student’s curriculum. By the time he came around to BIOL 250, he had a solid 4.0 grade point average. Then, Rita. The infamous hurricane’s 115-mile winds sacked the Gulf Coast and destroyed virtually all of Cameron Parish, including Heard’s family home. “That was a tough semester. It was difficult to concentrate. I made a B in comparative anatomy. My only B in all four years,” said Heard, a 22-year-old Grand Chenier native. “The hurricane didn’t just destroy my family’s house. It destroyed my entire hometown. It was horrifying.” Heard’s hometown roots are the foundation for most of the decisions he’s made since he graduated from South Cameron High School in 2004. Because of his accomplishments as a high school student, he was well positioned to earn scholarships from universities across the U.S., but the pre-med program at McNeese impressed him, and he impressed the University. McNeese offered him the Chick White PreMed Scholarship and the Dr. John Stevens Memorial Scholarship, both funded through the McNeese Foundation. The Foundation scholarships, coupled with others, meant he would not have to take out any college loans. It also meant he could stay close to home. His admiration for small-town life also proved to be the impetus that led to his decision to become a doctor. “When I was a kid, there was only one doctor who served Grand Chenier, Cameron and Creole. I’d go in for a sore throat and he’d ask if my grandma was taking her medicine and if she was sleeping okay,” Heard said. For him and the other residents of Grand Chenier, a trip to the doctor was more of a family visit than a medical necessity. 6

nt, 10-week Research Internship in Bethesda, Md.

“I thought going to the doctor was the coolest thing, because he knew everyone in town and he took good care of them. The patients weren’t just patients to him,” Heard said. “After I’d leave, I would think to myself, ‘I want to do that.’” As a student at McNeese, Heard did all he could to prepare for life as a medical student and doctor. He cut the yard of a vascular and thoracic surgeon and eventually shadowed him at his practice in New Iberia. He served as president of McNeese’s Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental and American Chemical societies and completed 90 hours of volunteer work at the Southwest Louisiana Area Health Education Coalition. “Raphiel turned our student pre-medical group into an active service, as well as a pre-professional organization, which held meetings and engaged in projects far more often than ever before in its history,” Dr. Mark Wygoda, head of the department of biological and environmental sciences, said. “He’s a naturalborn leader.” Heard added the Student Government Association, Future Business Leaders of America, Campus Affairs Committee and the Technology Advancement Student Committee to his roster. He was also crowned Phi Mu’s Man of the Year. In 2007, however, came the opportunity of a lifetime: He was one of two students selected for a 10-week medical research internship at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. In Maryland, Heard worked on infectious disease research, where he learned cutting-edge microbiological techniques and participated in an ongoing research project on a protein that bacteria use to become resistant to antibiotics. His research will be included in a scientific manuscript to be submitted

for publication. Heard was recommended for the internship by Dr. William Dees, associate professor of biological science at McNeese. “Raphiel was selected because of his enthusiasm, exceptional grades and dedication to learning,” Dees said. “The researchers at the Uniformed Services University have consistently said that McNeese students have an excellent understanding of biology and Raphiel was another great example.” The internship, which has been funded by the McNeese Foundation for the past four years, opened Heard’s eyes to further possibilities. “When I was a kid, I wanted to be a family doctor, but after I spent time in Bethesda, I started wondering if I would enjoy medical research,” Heard said. Heard credits Dees and Wygoda with fueling his aspirations and helping him get accepted to medical school. “Raphiel exudes confidence and trust and yet is quite humble,” Wygoda said. “My immediate impression of Raphiel when I first met him several years ago was that I was speaking with a future physician.” Heard is currently enrolled as a first-year medical student at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in Shreveport.

FOUNDATION GIVING OPPORTUNITY First-Generation Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Program Purpose The Louisiana Board of Regents adopted the First-Generation Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Program in June 2007. The purpose of this program is to provide financial support to a first-generation undergraduate student attending McNeese. This program allows the state to match one gift of $60,000 in private or corporate donations raised by the McNeese Foundation with $40,000 from this support fund. Criteria for Selection of Recipients: • Must be a Louisiana resident. • Must be a “first-generation college student,” meaning neither parent nor legal guardian(s) have earned a college degree. • Must be awarded the federal Pell grant.

Number of Awards Each four-year institution will be guaranteed one $40,000 endowed scholarship fund challenge grant annually to match a private/ institutional contribution of $60,000. Proceeds will be used to establish/enhance a permanent endowed scholarship fund. The interest earnings from the fund(s) will be awarded at the discretion of the institution to eligible students and may be divided among multiple recipients, provided that each student receive at least $1,000 per year.

Selection Process The University Scholarship Committee will select the recipient of the First-Generation Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship. On March 31, 2008, AT&T endowed the first scholarship through the First-Generation Endowed Undergraduate Scholarship Program at McNeese. The principal of the endowment will not be touched, only the interest earnings from the fund will be awarded at a minimum of 5 percent per semester to qualifying students (subject to change).

Retention and Graduation In addition to scholarship proceeds, institutions will provide structured support through active and engaged advising and meaningful campus employment of at least 10 hours per week over and above the scholarship.

• Must be admitted to McNeese.


FOUNDATION TIES Dr. Harold Stevenson, professor • Recipient, Violet Howell Professorship in Environmental Science

PROFESSORSHIP IN ACTION Success on the B-List By Erin K. Cormier

In 1988, public concerns about the manufacture, distribution and use of chemicals prompted the International Council of Chemical Associations to develop an initiative known as Responsible Care, a voluntary program that encourages chemical companies and associations to work together to improve health, safety and environmental performance. When the initiative reached Southwest Louisiana in the early 1990s, Dr. Harold Stevenson, professor of environmental sciences, was on the long list of potential members to serve on the organization’s local community advisory panel. “I was on the B-list, but I made it,” Stevenson said. “After about three meetings, I realized how great it was for the plant administrators and community to have an open dialogue and I realized I could utilize the University to do my own research about the relationships between industry and Southwest Louisiana.” Stevenson was awarded the Violet Howell Professorship in Environmental Science through the McNeese Foundation and used that leverage to meet with plant administrators face-toface and arrange his own community meetings. These meetings dealt with issues, problems and concerns specific to the area. Community members, media, plant officials, scientists, doctors and activists packed into Baker Auditorium on campus for Stevenson’s first forum, which focused on regional cancer rates. 8

“My goal was for the public to know what’s going on – the good and the bad,” Stevenson said. Unlike the panels sponsored by Responsible Care, Stevenson had the flexibility to gear his forums toward a variety of biological and environmental concerns. He followed up the forum on cancer rates with informational meetings on birth defects and other health concerns that had nothing to do with local industry. His students were able to use the forums as a foundation for research work. “I learned new things and I was able to transfer that knowledge in my classroom,” Stevenson said. “The professorship with the Foundation gave me the credentials and the opportunities to do things I otherwise would not have done. It provided another window to the world for myself and my students.”

FOUNDATION TIES Dr. Michael Buckles, assistant professor • Recipient, Henry C. Alexander Endowed Professorship in Music • Recipient, JPMorgan Chase Endowed Professorship in Music

PROFESSORSHIP IN ACTION Celebrating Accomplishments By Erin K. Cormier The concert halls aren’t beating on Dr. Michael Buckles’ door just yet, but he’s beating on theirs. Buckles, an accomplished violinist with music degrees from Tulane, Louisiana State University and the Cleveland Institute of Music, has served as his own manager, agent and performer for the past three years as he seeks to make the most of the Henry C. Alexander and JPMorgan Chase endowed professorships that he received from the McNeese Foundation. The professorships have funded performance tours across the South as Buckles strives to make his violin heard. “Until you have name recognition, you have to find venues that are interested in listening to you play. If you are invited to play, you have to have your own money for travel and expenses. It’s not easy, but it has to be done. Performances provide name recognition and money provides for the initial performances,” Buckles said.

Performances have included concert and recital halls in Lafayette, Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Tennessee and Texas. He has fall recitals planned at Texas Christian and Loyola universities and this summer he cut a recording at the University of Virginia for Innova, the music label of the American Composers Forum. “I can’t place a monetary value on the endowed professorships because I’m still seeing the fruits of those awards. I have received calls based on my recent performances and I would not have been able to make those performances without the professorships,” Buckles said. Although he has thrown much of his energy toward his performance career, Buckles maintains that his role as an educator is just as important as concerts and recital halls. Buckles has developed string programs in both the New Orleans and Lake Charles areas and has served as director of the Lake Charles area youth orchestra. He also serves in a variety of

administrative roles, which include the past string chair of the Louisiana Music Teacher’s Association, the orchestra division chair of the Louisiana Music Educator’s Association and president of the Louisiana Chapter of the American String Teacher’s Association. His interest in contemporary music led to the creation of the McNeese Center for Contemporary Violin Studies, which allows living composers across the country to submit their works for review in monthly reading sessions. Buckles’ recording project utilizes the electric violin, a vital element to electric strings in modern music. “The seeds of many of my current successes came from those initial awards,” Buckles said. “I was happy to see that the University honored faculty this way. When you have a moment to stop, reflect and celebrate accomplishment with your colleagues and friends, it’s definitely special.” 9


How to Stretch Your Dollar The following are a few of the companies that match employee contributions made to the McNeese Foundation. To obtain a contribution form, contact your employer directly or contact Jennifer Griffith by phone at 337.562.4191 or by e-mail at jgriffith@ to receive further assistance. All donations must be made out to: McNeese Foundation. Air Liquide American, LP Air Products Advanced Materials Alcoa, Inc. Allstate Insurance Company American Eagle Outfitters Arch Chemicals, Inc. AT&T Corporation Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc. Capital One Bank CertainTeed Corporation CITGO Petroleum Corporation Chevron Corporation ConocoPhillips Dynegy, Inc. Entergy Services, Inc. Farm Bureau Insurance GAP, Inc. GEICO Corporation Georgia Gulf Corporation Grace Davison Halliburton Macy’s, Inc. Merrill Lynch & Company, Inc. Northrop Grumman Old Navy PPG Industries State Farm Insurance Companies United Parcel Service Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. 10

KIMBERLY DONALSON Gift Management Specialist gf The Office of Development and Public Affairs serves as liaison to the Foundation, handling day-to-day administration of donations and gifts. The Office works to ensure the best stewardship of donations of time, talent and financial contributions.

The Foundation’s Gift Process In 2007, the McNeese Foundation processed close to 5,000 gifts from almost 2,000 donors. Each gift to the McNeese Foundation, which includes the Athletic Foundation, is important to the University. All gifts to establish endowed and other academic scholarships are first initiated through a donor’s completion of a scholarship guideline form. Guideline forms identify the purpose and administration of donations such as college or area of study, student classification, grade point average requirements, scholarship distribution preferences, etc. Donations to established funds are also accepted. Donors may indicate the scholarship preference on the memo section of their check or enclose a note or card with their donation indicating where they would like their gift to be designated. The types of gifts accepted for donations are outlined as follows: • Gifts of cash, checks, money orders and credit cards. The Foundation immediately deposits all cash gifts on the day that they are received. Gifts paid by check are deposited via a remote deposit system which allows checks to be scanned into a database for immediate deposit from the Foundation office. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted. The University also accepts online gifts through the Foundation’s Web site at • Gifts of securities. All gifts of securities are wired to a broker for special handling; contact the Foundation to receive instructions on these donations. The value of the security is determined after the transfer and by the broker at the point of sale. • In-Kind Gifts and Donations of Property. Donations of this type require special handling and are governed by IRS and State of Louisiana regulations. Contact the Foundation if you wish to donate a gift of this type. The steps to process the gifts are outlined as follows: • All gifts are placed into a specific fund. All gifts received into the Foundation must go into an endowed or non-endowed operational fund as specified by the donor. The Foundation makes every attempt to place donations in the correct fund. If questions arise as to placement of a gift, the donor is contacted. • Receipts are sent. A receipt is mailed for all contributions received excluding Athletic Chapter Memberships and Banners Memberships. The receipt specifies the amount of the gift and the fund. If questions arise regarding your gift, contact Kimberly Donalson, gift management specialist, at 337.475.5588 or kdonalson@ • Funds are distributed to McNeese. If the gift is non-endowed, the Foundation disburses the gifts as designated by the donor and as requested by the University. If a gift is endowed, it is invested until it generates enough interest for distribution. The principal on endowed gifts is not expended. When these funds reach their payout ability, they are distributed to the University. • Gifts may be made in memory of a deceased relative or friend or in honor of a special person or occasion. The Foundation sends a letter or card of acknowledgment to individuals as requested by the donor in memory of a loved one or in tribute for an accomplishment or occasion such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc. Simply make a request for this service when submitting your gift.

FOUNDATION TIES George Paret, ’73 • Donor


George Paret has had the same seats at Cowboy Stadium since 1976. As a pharmacist, business owner and father of a college-aged son, his daily life rarely loses momentum, but one thing stays constant: His love for McNeese. Paret, an alumnus, was 16 years old when his father finished his degree requirements at McNeese after a long hiatus from college. “My father went to college, found a job, got married and quit going to school. He only needed three or four credits to finish, and when he finally did, he was in his 40s. I remember going to his graduation,” Paret said. “It was a proud moment.” Paret enrolled a couple years later and graduated in 1973 with a degree in biology. On a whim, he decided to enroll in

pharmacy school and has been a fixture in the Lake Charles community ever since. The week after he passed his boards, he was working prescriptions from Gordon Drug Store, a local pharmacy and gift shop that first opened its doors in 1897. He’s worked there for 32 years and has owned it for 15. Many of the part-timers on his staff are McNeese students. Paret’s son also attended McNeese before he decided to enroll in pharmacy school. Paret has been a member of the McNeese Alumni Association for 15 years and served as president from 2003-04. “I learned what McNeese’s needs were through my involvement with the Alumni Association. McNeese had a lot of needs that I probably wouldn’t have known about if I hadn’t been in the loop. Many of those needs followed the hurricane, and because I found out about them, I was able to help,” Paret said. “The Alumni Association also led me to

the Foundation. For a long time I didn’t even understand what the Foundation was or what it did. I figured it was an organization for millionaires to donate money, but I learned that you don’t have to be a millionaire to give. You can donate $100, $50 bucks, whatever you can.” Paret also likes to vanquish any misconceptions about the Alumni Association. He said although the Association certainly has a huge presence at the football games, the group does much more than celebrate Cowboy football – it provides student research grants, establishes professorships for faculty, honors past alumni, honors scholarship recipients and so much more, Paret said. Celebrating football is just one of the ways that alumni like Paret show their spirit. “I’ve been sitting in that same seat for 30 years,” he said. “Give or take a few rows.”


IT IS IN GIVING THAT WE RECEIVE The Annual Scholarship Brunch By Jennifer Griffith

McNeese held its 11th annual scholarship donor and recipient reception in April at the Lake Charles Country Club with approximately 200 students, donors, faculty, staff and family members. The purpose of the event was to provide an opportunity for scholarship recipients to meet the benefactors that have created a named endowed scholarship through the McNeese Foundation. Students had the opportunity to meet donors over brunch to share their academic achievements and student involvement while at McNeese. Ralynn Castete, McNeese director of scholarships and testing, explained how the reception is more than the average brunch. “The brunch provides a time for the donors and students to sit and talk to each other,” said Castete. “The donor is able to meet and hear about the student’s work at McNeese. The student has an opportunity to learn about the person or organization for whom the scholarship is named and to express appreciation for the assistance with educational expenses.” Receiving a scholarship helped Lorna Bourque achieve her goal of obtaining not one, but two college degrees. Bourque attended the scholarship brunch the past two years as a recipient of the C. Marshall Abadie Memorial Scholarship that was established by First Federal Bank of Louisiana. “My favorite part of the brunch is meeting the donors responsible for the scholarship,” said Bourque. “I’ve enjoyed meeting and getting to know the Timpa and Pierson families and hearing the history of Mr. Abadie. It’s very rewarding to receive the scholarship since it is based on scholastic achievement.” Bourque graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting in May 2008 and will receive a finance degree in May 2009. Castete added that a scholarship to a student is not just a payment for tuition or books. “A scholarship is a public recognition of academic accomplishments,” Castete explained. “For donors, meeting the student makes the donation personal. It is an opportunity to actually see that you are making a difference in someone’s life.” Sara Brasher has enjoyed the annual brunch for several years. She established the Philo Brasher Memorial Accounting Scholarship in memory of her husband who was a long-time employee in the financial aid office at McNeese. “My husband always saw the need for financial assistance and [a] students’ desire to get an education,” Brasher said. “He struggled to get his education, working all the time and going to school. It’s always a pleasure to meet young students working on their education. I’m so happy to be helping them, and it’s good to hear the students express their gratitude.” Seungjae Oh and Kyle Parfait provided musical entertainment during the brunch and were accompanied by department of performing arts assistant professor Karen Ganz. *All gifts may be pledged over a period of five years.


FOUNDATION TIES Joe T. Miller, Sr. • Board member • Donor, McNeese Foundation • Donor, McNeese Athletic Foundation

McNEESE ATHLETIC FOUNDATION Joe T. Miller, Sr. Joe T. Miller’s love of sports began on the corner of 7th Street and Kirkman. In the field behind Hightower Grocery Store, little boys from five blocks dirtied their clothes and scraped their elbows playing baseball and football. “We didn’t play basketball because we didn’t have a goal and we didn’t play soccer because we didn’t even know what soccer was back then. That left baseball and football,” Miller said. “I can remember playing out there at age 9 or 10 and getting stiff-armed by a 5-year-old.” When Miller had his own children years later, he put his two sons, Joe Jr. and John, in Little League and signed up to coach. When Joe Jr. and John grew out of it, Miller stayed on. His coaching career with the South Lake Charles Little League ultimately lasted 40 years. “When I started out coaching, Little League started off at 8 years old. The kids would put on their blue jeans and T-shirts and head out to the fields to play ball – nothing but fun,” Miller said. Because the 10-year-olds weren’t able to play as often as the 11-year-olds then, Miller would arrange games with other coaches and take the younger players to the ballfields in the mornings for informal competition. “We went out and had a lot of fun,” Miller said. “The kids haven’t changed much, but youth baseball certainly has.” Despite the increasing competitiveness and costliness of youth ball, Miller’s love for the sport has never waned. He attends McNeese baseball games, helped provide funds to repair damage to the baseball stadium after Hurricane Rita and contributes money to the Athletic Foundation to boost the baseball program. This support is in addition to the Franklin L. and Laura Chavanne Miller Professorship in Science, which is endowed in his parents’ name. When Miller started his service with the McNeese Foundation more than 20 years ago, the fund was less than $1 million and showed no signs of future growth. “I’ve had a connection with the McNeese Foundation for a long time and I’ve watched it change and grow tremendously,” he said. “I gave to the general fund at first, but decided to donate specifically to baseball, especially after all the damage that occurred after the hurricane.” Miller hopes that his enthusiasm for McNeese baseball and its players will somehow spread into the community. “The stadium should be packed,” Miller said.



Let it go. An outright gift of a paid-up life insurance policy makes an excellent charitable gift. The McNeese Foundation will take a policy’s cash value or will retain the policy for its future benefit. You receive a current deduction amounting to the cost of replacing the policy with a single premium life insurance policy at your current age (but not more than you’ve invested in the policy). Start anew. You can take out a new policy with McNeese as owner and beneficiary. Your continuing premium payments, usually gifted directly to the McNeese Foundation, are income tax deductible. Pay the premiums. You can also donate an existing policy and keep up the premiums. If you should lapse on the payments, the McNeese Foundation can receive the current surrender value of the policy, buy a smaller, yet paid-up policy, with the policy’s cash value or possibly even continue the premium payments for the life of the insured. Group term life insurance or employer group coverage above $50,000 also makes suitable gifts to charity. How You Can Benefit by Giving Life Insurance

Most of us think of life insurance as an asset for our heirs, which it can be on a very efficient basis. However, it is increasingly being used as a tool in the planning of charitable gifts. This trend is based, in part, on improved forms of life insurance that work well in conjunction with philanthropic options. The use of life insurance, with charitable organizations the recipients of death benefits, has been practiced for many years. Practical advantages include prompt, confidential transfers outside of the probate process, and the relatively simple, cost-free procedures for naming McNeese as a beneficiary or assigning ownership of a policy to the McNeese Foundation. Gift of an Existing Insurance Policy

The owner of a life insurance policy with cash surrender value may find that the original purpose for the protection no longer applies. It may have been purchased to provide financial security for a spouse now deceased, to educate children now grown and self-sufficient or to furnish liquidity for estate taxes since reduced or otherwise avoided. In such instances, one option simply is to name the McNeese Foundation as the primary beneficiary under the contract. This is a revocable arrangement for a future gift, not deductible for income tax purposes. As an alternative, the cash value can be a hidden asset, readily available to make a current charitable gift. When you name McNeese as the beneficiary of a policy under which you are insured, and also assign all incidents of ownership of the policy to the Foundation, the following good things happen: • an income tax charitable deduction, available under most circumstances. • tax savings from use of the deduction, which can be invested for future income. • removal of death benefits from a taxable estate, reducing the future estate tax payable. When the McNeese Foundation keeps the policy, then you make annual tax-deductible gifts that will cover the continuing premium cost. Although this delays your gift to the University, the future benefits can far exceed the current surrender value. Since the subsequent gifts are deductible, you are using pretax instead of after-tax dollars. Also, it is possible to use appreciated stock that otherwise is to be sold to fund your premiums, adding avoidance of the capital gains tax. Using a New Insurance Policy

Entering into a new life insurance contract, rather than using an existing policy, is another way of making a future gift to McNeese. Gifts to cover the initial and subsequent premiums are tax deductible, which, for those who itemize, reduces the net cost by the amount of income tax savings. This method can be especially attractive to younger donors. Consult an attorney or tax adviser regarding utilizing life insurance as a vehicle for charitable giving. Visit the McNeese Foundation Web site at or contact Marianne White at 337.475.5588 for further information. Information provided by Stelter.



The great traditions of McNeese State University now exist in more than our memories. The official McNeese ring represents many of the traditions and symbols our students and alumni identify with the spirit of the University. The top of the ring features a royal blue stone, with “MSU” proudly displayed and surrounded by the words McNeese State University. Upon graduation, the ring is turned with MSU facing outward informing the world of the graduate’s academic accomplishment. The ring is highlighted by the official University seal, which features a burning torch, a symbol of the light of truth, intelligence and spirit. With its characteristic flame flickering in a way that brings its surroundings to life, the torch symbolizes both an awakening and a passing of traditions. To symbolize the bond connecting all MSU alumni, the student’s year of graduation is carved above the seal. The year McNeese first opened its doors to students, 1939, is displayed below. On the other side of the ring is a representation of Bulber Auditorium, one of the first three buildings constructed on campus. The stately auditorium was named for Dr. Francis G. Bulber, a McNeese faculty member who led the University’s commitment to excellence in music and the performing arts for 40 years. Its architectural significance as art deco style was recognized for placement on the National Register of Historic Places. Students are welcomed to the McNeese community as they pass through the doors of Bulber Auditorium to attend orientation. Under the auditorium is the word “Cowboys,” the nickname voted on by students in 1940 that symbolizes our spirit and strength. Prominently displayed on both sides of the ring are oak leaves and acorns, representing the hundreds of oak trees that ring the McNeese campus. Oak trees historically symbolize life, endurance, power and grace. For further information regarding purchasing a ring, contact the McNeese Bookstore at 337.475.5491.

RING CEREMONY Each semester there is a ring ceremony where students are presented their rings. Over 287 rings have been awarded since this tradition began in December 2006. The McNeese Official Ring is available to all alumni, undergraduate students having earned a minimum of 75 hours while pursuing a baccalaureate degree, and degree candidates for the associate, master’s or specialist degree. For information on purchasing a ring, call the McNeese Bookstore at 337.475.5491.

George E. Bodin, Class of ‘90 and ‘08* Engineering Technician 3, Facilities and Plant Operations

I wear the MSU ring with pride. When people notice it, I always take the opportunity to show it to them and talk about McNeese because McNeese holds a very special place in my heart. My ring is a symbol in so many ways. I became a student in the late ‘80s and my degree actually got me employed within the first week following graduation. Then several years later, I was fortunate enough to be employed by McNeese. I’ve been here since 1994. McNeese and Lake Charles express one concept of “home” for me. I don’t define myself in terms of being a Lake Charles resident or an employee of McNeese, but they are a part of my own personal history and a part of who I have become. And now, I am about to receive my second degree from McNeese, which has not been an easy task while working full time, another chapter to record in my book of life. My ring represents this achievement and provides me much inspiration as the final weeks approach. It symbolizes a strong personal belief that learning never ends. It symbolizes McNeese’s importance to me. It symbolizes the experiences of college life and the commitments we all make to our futures. It identifies me to other graduates and establishes a commonality. It tells people that I earned a quality education. It tells people I’m a Cowboy and proud of it! 15

The McNeese Retiree Association Outriders Picnic

The McNeese Retiree Association, adopting the name of the “Outriders,” held its fourth annual picnic in April at the home of the McNeese President. Dr. and Mrs. Robert Hebert hosted the event, attended by over 60 retirees, faculty and staff. The food and the atmosphere could not have been better with Chartwells providing the red and white checkered tablecloths, red, white, and blue centerpieces, fried chicken, mashed potatoes, apple and pecan pie and assorted beverages. The beautiful blue sky and cool evening surrounded by wellmaintained spring foliage from the McNeese Grounds office only accentuated an already wonderful setting. This year’s event included the addition of restaurant gift certificates given away as door prizes. To create some excitement in the door prize giveaway, Marianne White, coordinator of planned giving and donor research, wrote a story of the “Outriders,” read by Jennifer Griffith, gift planning and donor research specialist. When the word “left” was read, the attendee passed the gift to the left, and when the word “right” was read, the attendee passed the gift to the right. Whoever ended up with the gift received the door prize. If the laughter among the guests was an indicator, the story was a success. An excerpt follows:

“The Outriders’ were a rough and tumble group of wranglers that still had McNeese’s best interest at heart. Victor Monsour had left his hitchin’ post as board president and ridden off into the sunset and the posse’ of outlaws was now led by none other than bandit, Dr. Stearns “Lefty” Rogers. Right by his side riding shotgun were board members Barbara Coatney, Linda Finley, Adrienne Ham, Ivy Mouton and Curtis Nelson. It didn’t take long for Dr. Hebert, McNeese range boss, to mosey in and ask the McNeese Foundation to corral this highly spirited herd and bring it right in line with the wagon train.” The Foundation would like to thank the following area restaurants for their generosity in donating a gift certificate: Casa Manana Mexican Restaurant Johnny Carino’s Italian Restaurant McAlister’s Deli OB’s Bar and Grill O’Charley’s Restaurant Pappy’s Deli Pat’s of Henderson Restaurant Piccadilly Cafeteria (Ryan St.) Pujo Street Café Que Pasa Taqueria 16

2008-09 Outriders Board President – Daniel Ieyoub Past President – Stearns Rogers President-Elect – George Kuffel Secretary – Brenda Dugas Treasurer – Ivy Mouton Board Member – Adrienne Ham Board Member – Robert Hayes Board Member – Curtis Nelson

Outriders Visit Pompeii . . .

Tales from an Eruption The Outriders, McNeese’s Retiree Association, and friends traveled to the Houston Museum of Fine Arts on June 10 to tour the Pompeii Exhibit. “On August 24, 79 A.D. the world’s most famous volcano, Vesuvius, erupted with pyroclastic fury, burying the city of Pompeii in a mountain of hardened ash.” The exhibit included statues, works of art, ancient coins, gold jewelry, wall frescos and castings of skeletons found in a boat shelter near the Pompeii sea shore. The relics were lost for nearly 1,700 years before being accidentally rediscovered in 1748. The only eye witness was Roman Historian Pliny the Younger who said:

“Thanks to you and Jennifer for the great way you more than took care of our every need/ want on the trip.” Linda Finley

What a cute couple! Barbara & John Lowin

“A fearful black cloud was rent by forked and quivering bursts of flame, and parted to reveal great tongues of fire. You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men…many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness.” Passengers passed the time in transit talking and laughing, particularly when the bus escape hatch window latch came loose on the ride home. We came close to losing one of our most valued passengers, Carl Grimmett, who had actually been to the top of Mt. Vesuvius while serving in the armed forces during World War II! The window’s dislodging was only a problem when the bus navigated turns and curves between Houston and Lake Charles. The bus leaned in one direction, the window leaned in the other direction, and Carl grasped the armrest while being held firmly in place by the huge Pompeii coffee table book that he had purchased as a memento of the trip.

What a great day! You oversaw every detail. Thanks for inviting me! Dea O’Rourke “What a great trip! I think I speak for all the attendees when I say, ‘Thank you! You did a magnificent job!’ Everything went so smoothly that we knew a lot of thought and organization had gone into the planning. The bus was comfortable, the pit stops timely, [and] the scheduling ideal. The Pompeii exhibit was spell-binding. I’ve always been enthralled by the story of Mt. Vesuvius erupting and entombing that city and its inhabitants. The attendees all seemed to enjoy themselves and each other. It was a congenial group and that always helps to make a good tour. Again, thank you, and I look forward to more trips with the Outriders.” Kathie Bordelon

Sitting by the wayward window! Jennifer Griffith & Carl Grimmett

These two look like they’re up to something. Dawn Leger & Liz Byles

McNeese Foundation Tour Company Directors, Marianne White & Jennifer Griffith


Editor Marianne White, ‘93

Staff Writers Jennifer Griffith, ‘06 Erin Cormier, ‘05 Marianne White, ‘93

Art Direction, Design, Photography Anne Cobb Erin Cormier, ‘05 Renee LeLeux

Foundation Staff Richard H. Reid Melissa Ellis Northcutt Marianne White Pam McGough

Jennifer Griffith

PILLARS represents the inaugural publication from the McNeese Foundation to educate and inform the community of the role that the Foundation plays in support of McNeese State University. The name, PILLARS, was chosen to represent the importance of the Foundation’s support of McNeese as an institution of higher learning.

Kimberly Donalson Beryl Romero Kelly McGough

Contact Information McNeese Foundation Box 91989 Lake Charles, LA 70609 Phone 337.475.5588 Fax 337.475.5386


FA L L 2 0 0 8 V O L U M E 1 I S S U E 1 We trust that you have been informed or enlightened by something you have read in this issue of PILLARS. Comments or suggestions for future bi-annual editions are welcomed and appreciated. Please take a moment to complete this form and return it to the McNeese Foundation, Box 91989, Lake Charles, LA 70609 or send comments via e-mail to You are also encouraged to visit the Foundation Web site at for further information about our activities or methods of giving.

First Name:

Last Name:

Street Address: City:


Home Phone:

Cell Phone:

Work Phone:


E-mail Address: Preferred Method of Contact:



Home #

Work #

Cell #


Please contact me regarding making a contribution or planned gift to the McNeese Foundation.


The William T. and Ethel L. Burton Business Center

For information on other naming opportunities available at McNeese State University, call 337.475.5588.

Nonprofit Org.

U.S. Postage Paid McNeese Foundation, Box 91989, Lake Charles, LA 70609

Name Address Address 2 City State Zip


Permit No 336 Lake Charles, LA

Pillars Fall 08  

PILLARS represents the inaugural publicationfrom the McNeese Foundation to educateand inform the community of the role thatthe Foundation pl...

Pillars Fall 08  

PILLARS represents the inaugural publicationfrom the McNeese Foundation to educateand inform the community of the role thatthe Foundation pl...