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FA L L 2 0 1 3 , V O L U M E 6 I S S U E 1

Put Me In

Coach pg. 6

In this issue

A Long-standing Partnership pg. 14

In this issue From the Desk of the President . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 3 The Most Important Day in Our Lives. . . . .

2013 Foundation Board of Directors

Page 4,5

Put Me in Coach. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 6,7 McNeese Leaders Unite. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 7 A Renaissance Man. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 8

Officers • Judy Fuller, President • Patricia Prebula, Vice President • Willie Mount, Secretary • James E. Taussig, Treasurer Members • Glen Bertrand • Roxie Boxie • Emma DiCarlo-Vincent • Tom Henning • Willie King, Jr. • Ben Marriner • Joe T. Miller, Sr. • Lee J. Monlezun, Jr. • Ryan Navarre • George Paret • Billy Rose • John Scofield • David Stine • Charles Timpa • Ray A. Todd, Jr. • Aubrey White Ex Officio Members • Philip C. Williams • Richard H. Reid Advisory Board Members • Billy Blake • Coral Crain Byrd • David Drez • Fred R. Godwin • Marilyn Hays • James Serra • Charles Viccellio

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Strumming My Way. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 9 Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way. . . . . . . . . Page 10 The Start of Another Banners Year. . . . . . . . . . Page 11 Sharing a Passion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 12 McNeese Makes National News . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 13 A Long-standing Partnership. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 14 The Heartbeat for McNeese. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Page 15 74 Years in McNeese Football History. . .

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Out With the Old, In With the New . . . . . . .

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Pillars Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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New Cowboy Statue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Pillars magazine is published for you! The McNeese Foundation values your feedback. If any of the articles strike a chord with you or you have suggestions for future issues, please share your comments by emailing:

From the Desk of the President Our 75th anniversary slogan, “Celebrating the Past~Pioneering the Future,” captures the essence of the University’s transformation from its beginning as a junior college to a regional university of national prominence. Recently, several prominent national organizations have recognized McNeese for its academic excellence, student success and fiscal responsibility. For the second consecutive year, U.S. News & World Report ranked McNeese in the top tier of regional universities in its 2014 Best Colleges publication. The McNeese MFA program is one of the top 25 programs in the nation for the second consecutive year. McNeese was recognized as one of the top public institutions in the country for offering affordable tuition and high average salary earnings for its graduates. The J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, under the direction of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the United States Department of State, has selected a 15th McNeese faculty member as a Fulbright Scholar to teach or conduct research at a university on another continent. The campus has undergone a transformation as well. Beginning with 86 acres of property on the southern edge of Lake Charles, the campus now includes more than 2,100 acres spread throughout three parishes. In 1939 McNeese consisted of three buildings: Kaufman Hall, Bulber Auditorium and the Arena. This year alone we opened a new state-of-the-art residence hall, a three-story student parking garage and the Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development Center. And there are more new facilities on the horizon!

Cooperative agreements between McNeese and SOWELA will allow students from both institutions to enroll in freshman or sophomore level courses at either school when equivalent courses are not available at their home institution and will also permit SOWELA students to live in residential housing at McNeese when space is available.

Chozen Hall, named in honor of former McNeese Foundation board member and generous University supporter, David Chozen, is being converted into a “one-stop shop” for incoming freshmen that will house offices related to admissions and recruiting. Upon completion, this will be our public “front porch” on the southern tip of the main campus. The 75th anniversary capital campaign is dedicated to increasing the McNeese Foundation assets and constructing a new Health and Human Performance Complex, which would house the health, kinesiology and athletic training programs and hopefully a future physical therapy program. It will also have a multipurpose arena type facility suitable for Banners performances and basketball and volleyball games. We continue to strengthen our partnership with SOWELA Technical Community College to provide access and pathways to higher education in Southwest Louisiana. We now have a formal agreement with Fort Polk to allow McNeese to provide academic degree programs and educational services to active duty service members, their families and civilians employed at Fort Polk. There are many reasons to be positive about the future. I invite you to get involved with the 75th anniversary celebration. On behalf of our current students, faculty, staff and administration, thank you for your personal generosity and continued support of McNeese State University.

Fall 2013   3


The Most Important Day in Our Lives What does Halliburton, a $30 billion company located in 80 countries and ranked 106 th on the Fortune 500 list, share in common with McNeese State University? The answer is McNeese alumnus and Halliburton executive vice president and chief operating officer, Jeffrey Allen Miller, and family. Ever since he was a toddler, Jeff loved rodeo. He used to dress up in chaps, vest and boots and pretend he was a cowboy. At age 11, he began working toward that goal by volunteering at a day camp and by age 13 was working at a ranch in Celina, Texas. His passion for rodeo was outside the norm as a student at St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas where lacrosse, water polo, tennis and track were among the athletic offerings. A rodeo scholarship brought Jeff, a calf roper, to McNeese and Lake Charles. Before technological advances, registration meant standing in line for hours on end to get an index card that would outline the semester’s schedule. Jeff ’s roommates, both bull riders, stood with him. Also standing in line that first day of school was Rhonda Sue Lee, a 1980 Sam Houston High School graduate. “That registration line in the Ranch turned out to be the most important day in our lives,” said Jeff.

not only opened the door for Rhonda but also pushed her through it. Rhonda pursued secondary education and paralegal studies while working full time as an aerobics instructor. Jeff followed an agriculture and business track and traveled for rodeo. He graduated from McNeese in 1986 and went on to complete his Master of Business Administration degree at Texas A&M University in College Station in 1988. After continuing one more semester at A&M to study accounting, Jeff qualified to sit for the certified public accountant exam which he passed. At McNeese, Jeff had turned pro with the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. He had one more year of eligibility remaining so he continued to rodeo at A&M. Rhonda joined Jeff in College Station after they married in May 1987. The Millers moved to Dallas where Jeff took a position with the accounting firm of Arthur Anderson. Rhonda enrolled at the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton to finish her studies. In 1997, after eight years of service and on a clear path to the partner track, Jeff left the accounting

firm to join Halliburton - one of Arthur Anderson’s largest clients - as a director of financial reporting. Halliburton moved the Miller family nine times including the international destinations of Caracas and Maracaibo, Venezuela, Luanda, Angola, and Jakarta, Indonesia. “Moving outside the United States with two young boys could be lonely,” stated Rhonda, “but I have always supported Jeff in everything. When he would come home to tell me that we would be moving again, it would take me about two weeks to process it. After that, I was fine. It was a different lifestyle, but we loved where we went and the people we met and our children were enriched by the experience.” Jeff spoke fluent Spanish and the boys picked it up quickly while living in Venezuela. In fact, Case was fluent in kindergarten. He did, however, tend to talk very loudly which concerned Rhonda. One day she was visiting his class and heard the instructor holler out a phrase. The children would just as loudly parrot the phrase – the root of why Case spoke so loudly was now understood.

With registration over and stomachs growling, Tony’s Pizza was in order. Before the meal was over Jeff and Rhonda had exchanged phone numbers. Unlike Jeff who entered McNeese directly from high school, Rhonda entered the workforce first. Through a connection with her church pianist, Lena Reeves, Rhonda got a job with Bechtel Corporation, which built the Gulf States Utilities Power Plant (now Entergy). Rhonda felt secure as the tenured employee among her peers until Lena, also with Bechtel, told her that she was being laid off. Lena’s pronouncement was strategic. She recognized that Rhonda had what it took to succeed in college. Lena 4   Fall 2013

Rhonda and Jeff Miller


Jeff, Rhonda, Sam and Case are now back in the states living in Houston, Texas. Sam is a 19-year-old sophomore at Texas A&M and a Corp of Cadets member, and Case is a 15-year-old high school student. After nine moves, Jeff said, “They can say grace over me here.” “To succeed in a career, you have to keep first things first and be willing to do what others won’t do. Treat every position as if it is your terminal position, not a stepping stone up the career ladder. Most of the situations I have been brought into with Halliburton were turnarounds where the operations were struggling before I was brought in and back on track before I left,” stated Jeff.

Jeff in the 1984 McNeese Rodeo Club photo

Rhonda and her twin sisters, Lynette (Lee) Monteith and Dynette (Lee) Cooley, are first-generation college students and education graduates. Rhonda graduated from UNT in 1992 at age 30, while Lynette graduated from McNeese in 2000 and Dynette from Northwestern in 2007, respectively. “As first-generation graduates, our dad was very proud of us as we walked across the stage to receive our diplomas,” said Rhonda. “I attribute my success to my education and love of learning. I needed to go to McNeese for my undergraduate education – it was perfect for me,” said Jeff. “I considered myself to be a mediocre student in high school. McNeese was where I got excited about being a good student for a change.” In 2010, the Millers returned to Lake Charles for Jeff to make a presentation to the College of Business’ Executive Speaker Series and Business Day event. They established the Jeff and Rhonda Lee Miller Distinguished Student Award in 2010 to recognize the accomplishments of outstanding business students. The award is presented annually during the Beta Gamma Sigma ceremony.

2010 Business Day

Halliburton has employed several McNeese graduates including Robert “Bob” Verrett, a 1971 mechanical engineering graduate, and Marshall Heard, a 1977 premedicine graduate. Halliburton Foundation is one of the few companies that provides a two-for-one match for employee donations to higher education institutions.

Fall 2013   5


Put Me in Coach

L to R: Sara Sonnier, David Richard, Donna Richard, Rick Richard, Pat Shult

“Put me in coach,” said Oliver G. ‘Rick’ Richard III to University President Philip C. Williams after being introduced as the McNeese Foundation’s 75th anniversary campaign chair at the McNeese Leaders Unite event held at the historic Calcasieu Marine National Bank. As a child growing up in Oak Park, Rick looked forward to attending LaGrange High School and becoming a Gator as his sisters had done. By the time Rick reached high school age, the Calcasieu Parish School Board had rezoned the boundaries to send students living north of 18th Street to Lake Charles High School. Like it or not at the time, Rick was destined to become a Wildcat. Standing outside school one day, Rick felt a tickling behind his ears. He turned around and found a fellow Wildcat of the female persuasion measuring his frame. The girl happened to be a friend of Donna Margaret Guzman, who was to become Rick’s future wife. He must have met the minimum height requirement as Donna asked him to go to Twirp. Rick in turn overcame his shyness and asked Donna to go to Homecoming. The foundation was laid for their now 39-year marriage.

the area Popeye’s Fried Chicken franchises. They enjoyed every move they made as Rick ascended the corporate ladder in the energy market. Over time, he held the positions of general counsel, president, chairman and chief executive officer, just to name a few.

Rick and Donna continued dating but parted ways long enough to obtain their college educations. Rick attended Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge while Donna enrolled at McNeese. He graduated from LSU in journalism and continued on to LSU Law School for a Juris Doctorate and Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., for a master’s degree in law and taxation. Donna graduated from McNeese in accounting and continued on to Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., for a master’s in education degree.

Wherever they traveled, the Richards took an active interest in historic preservation. However, they were often frustrated in their efforts to buy historic properties to renovate since the local citizens network had the inside-run on purchasing them first.

Rick, Donna and their young son, David, moved 10 times in 33 years. Stops included Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia and Washington, D.C., where Donna served as controller for

Thirty-three years after leaving Southwest Louisiana, the travelers decided to return home. That decision provided even more appeal when the couple learned that the beautiful historic Krause-Burton

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home on Shell Beach Drive was on the market with the Richards now having the inside-run. No time has been wasted diving into preservation since their return including renovating their Shell Beach Drive home. In 2008 they bought and restored the 1928 Calcasieu Marine National Bank on the corner of Ryan and Pujo streets, and in 2007, they bought and restored the 1936 Cash & Carry warehouse on the corner of Enterprise Boulevard and Broad Street. Their work has received accolades with both structures now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Noble Building on Pujo Street was purchased in 2012 and is the next building Rick has slated for rehabilitation. It is

currently home to the Majestic Barbershop. Donna serves on the board of the Calcasieu Historical Preservation Society and chaired the 2013 Palm Sunday Tour of Homes. Rick’s investment in the community extends beyond preservation. The Phoenix Building on the corner of Ryan and Kirby streets was recently built to complement the surrounding architecture. Space is available for lease and a portion of the second floor serves as Rick’s corporate office. The name “Phoenix” reflects Lake Charles’ rising from the ashes of the 1910 fire that destroyed much of the downtown area.

But stepping up to the plate when called on to bat is more Rick’s style. Donning a McNeese Cowboys baseball cap on the podium at McNeese Leaders Unite, Rick quoted lyrics from John Fogerty’s popular song, Centerfield, in saying, “Put me in coach.” McNeese believes that Rick is ready to play – today.

Past and present alumni and foundation board members and student government association presidents, as well as current campus administrators, were among those attending the event. Attendees were invited to participate in or assist with 75th anniversary planned events such as a mystery dinner theatre, a president’s gala, a historical exhibit and a cochon de lait or pig roast. The McNeese Leaders Unite gathering was the first of what is anticipated to be many events planned to celebrate the University’s 75th anniversary in 2014. The yearlong celebration is being designed so that the interests of varying constituencies are represented. To participate in the celebration or to provide input during the planning phase, contact Sarah Hogan, director of university events, at TATE UNI ES V ES


*Rick Richard’s accomplishments, awards and recognitions are too numerous to cite in this article. For further information on Rick or the companies he manages, visit www. and

The event brought University leaders together to Celebrate the Past and Pioneer the Future as McNeese steps into its 75th year of providing quality and affordable education to residents in Southwest Louisiana and beyond. The event was hosted by Rick Richard, president of Empire of the Seed and capital campaign chair, Dr. Philip C. Williams, McNeese president, and Richard Reid, McNeese Foundation executive vice president and vice president for university advancement.


When asked by President Williams to serve as McNeese’s campaign chair for its 75th anniversary, Rick didn’t hesitate to accept. “Dr. (Robert) Hebert left McNeese

As president of Empire of the Seed, chairman of CleanFuel USA, treasurer of the Coastal Plains Conservancy and board member of American Electric Power, Buckeye Partners and Cheniere Energy, it would seem that assuming another responsibility would be out of the question.

Excitement filled the air at the McNeese Leaders Unite event held at the historic Calcasieu Marine National Bank in July to announce plans for McNeese State University’s 75th anniversary and the McNeese Foundation’s capital campaign.



The Richards established the Mary Jean Turvey Richard Nursing Scholarship in memory of Rick’s mother, who was one of the first registered nurses in the Calcasieu Parish public school system. The Richards are avid fans of Banners at McNeese and multi-year sponsors of Rouge et Blanc. In fact, the first Rouge et Blanc was held in 2006 at the Calcasieu Marine Bank Building, prior to their purchase in 2008.

Leaders Unite


“As campaign chair I look forward to meeting with Foundation donors to thank them for their support. I also believe that where a McNeese graduate goes, leadership grows. I hope to get better acquainted with McNeese alumni, not only those living locally but also those outside the area. There are many opportunities for alumni to re-engage with their alma mater,” stated Rick.





Though not a McNeese graduate, Rick will tell you that he did the next best thing by marrying one. His two sisters are McNeese graduates and many years ago his father was employed by McNeese to teach geology to non-degreed offshore oil company workers.



poised for growth and President Williams knows how to grow it. I want to be a part of the fabric of that growth,” stated Rick.



1 VE RSA RY Fall 2013   7



Having a physician tell you at age 45 that you only have five years left to live might give anyone pause, but to the late Dr. Samuel Morris “Sam” Emerson, the news only verified what he already knew – that life was meant to be lived; and live it he did, packing 80 years into 60 years. Sam was a renaissance man whose thirst for knowledge and adventure was never quenched. As an athlete, Sam played football for the Winnfield High School Tigers. As a musician, he played the tuba, trumpet and banjo and occasionally blew a mean harmonica. As a patriot, Sam served as a captain and flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force. As a physician, he completed a long career as an ophthalmologist at the Lake Charles Eye Clinic. As a family man, he fulfilled the roles of husband to Betty (Berdon) and father to John Emerson and Denise Emerson Rau of Lake Charles and Kathleen “Kate” Emerson Johnston of Coppell, Texas. After graduating from Winnfield High, Sam attended Tulane University in New Orleans and graduated from its College of Arts and Sciences in 1954. He continued on to pursue a medical degree, graduating four years later from the Tulane School of Medicine. Sam served in the Air Force from 1958 to 1961. He completed a medical internship at McLeod Infirmary in Florence, S.C., attended flight surgeon school at Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas, and worked as a flight surgeon at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Anchorage, Alaska. The Emersons settled in Lake Charles when Sam’s military service was over.

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Sam’s greatest joy was found in conquering mountains – not mountains in the literal sense (although hiking mountains was also fun) – but conquering mountains in the sense of lifelong learning. “Daddy would take up hiking and learn everything there was to know about orienteering,” said Denise. “Then he transitioned to canoeing and learned all about tracking; from there he would move to kite flying and study the aerodynamics in the shape. No sooner would he conquer one subject then he would move onto yet another. His friend, Val Archer, bought him an apron that said, ‘I would rather be biking, hiking, kiting, canoeing, gardening, reading, etc.,’ ” Music was near the top of Sam’s many interests. He played multiple instruments and sang in the Lake City Ditty Committee Barbershop Quartet. He was administrative vice president to the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America. He was president of the Lake Charles Community Band and Lake Charles Symphony and was instrumental (pun intended) in introducing the Symphony’s first Summer Pops. When Sam died at age 59 in 1991, his good friend and fellow Tulanian, Wayne Vincent, started the Sam Emerson Memorial Music Scholarship at the McNeese Foundation. “The scholarship has been a tremendous gift to our family as it has provided us with a meaningful way to honor him, especially on significant occasions such as Father’s Day, Christmas and birthdays,” stated Denise. *See the article, Strumming My Way, on page 9 to read about the Sam Emerson Memorial Music Scholarship recipient, Masson LeMieux.

McNeese State University has a program for everyone. Whether you’re interested in a professional degree or you find liberal arts a more interesting curriculum, McNeese has a degree to fit you! Frederick “Masson” LeMieux III grew up in Baton Rouge surrounded by music. His father, Chip, fiddled with guitar in high school and they often attended concerts and listened to music. While Masson didn’t play an instrument in high school, he did play sports including ice hockey and baseball at Our Lady Queen of Heaven and St. Louis Catholic High schools in Lake Charles. It wasn’t until Masson came to McNeese that he picked up a guitar for his first lesson. “Formal education teaches you so much more than how to play an instrument – it teaches you the fundamentals of the instrument, a lot of which deals with understanding classical music,” said Masson. Masson started a local band, The Easy Bayou Experience, that consists of acoustic and electric guitars, drums, clarinet, violin, mandolin and upright bass, with an occasional spattering of flute and harmonica. The band recently played for the Lake Charles Symphony’s Wild Beast Feast and the McNeese Harold and Pearl Dripps Agricultural Sciences Department’s Alumni Crawfish Boil and also performed “The Bluegrass Rambler, an Interactive Concert” at Luna Live this past summer. Performance majors complete a senior capstone course by playing a senior recital. Masson will perform a jazz and classical repertoire on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. in the Shearman Fine Arts

Pillars Performing Arts Theatre. Masson’s parents, Chip and Tracy, never miss a performance whether the venue is a local restaurant or at McNeese and the senior recital will be no exception. Masson attends McNeese as a recipient of the Dr. Sam Emerson Scholarship in Music. He will graduate in December 2013 with a Bachelor of Music degree in music performance, with a concentration in music performance band and orchestral music. He won’t be the only family member graduating on the Burton Coliseum floor that day as his mother, Tracy, graduates as well with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art, with a concentration in ceramics. Yiseul Kim, Masson’s wife, is a May 2013 McNeese graduate with a Bachelor of Music degree in music performance with a piano concentration. The LeMieuxs plan to pursue graduate studies on the east coast beginning fall 2014. In the meantime, they plan to open a small studio to teach guitar and piano and to expand their online jewelry and clothing business called Strawberry University. “I have discovered a newfound respect for musicians and what it takes for them to become successful. There is so much time and effort that go into practicing, rehearsing and promoting your talent. Musicians must not only be passionate about their music, but they must also have the staying power that it takes to sustain a career,” stated Masson. Visit Facebook to see Yiseul’s designs at Strawberry University and Masson’s upcoming performances of The Easy Bayou Experience.

strumming my way

Masson is a creative, talented and hard-working musician. He has studied and become proficient in jazz and fusion guitar and is currently advancing in his study of classical guitar. His upcoming senior recital will include selections from both genres. Adding to this versatility is the recent performances of his neobluegrass group at local venues. Eric Sylvester Instructor/Musician-in-Residence Fall 2013   9


Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way McNeese began offering coursework leading toward a minor degree in Innovation Engineering in fall 2011. Long before that, however, Logeshwaran “Logesh” Janarthanan, a 2004 McNeese master of engineering graduate, was exercising his own innovative engineering in pursuit of his aspirations. Logesh moved to the United States and enrolled in McNeese’s William J. Doré Sr. School of Graduate Studies after completing his Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Madras in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India. According to Logesh, in India, students are taught a more theoretical approach to engineering, while in the United States student exposure to engineering exceeds the theoretical and moves into the practical application of learned principles. After graduating from McNeese, Logesh remained in the U.S. by working in software development for Dryomatic in Frederick, Md., and Freddie Mac in McLean, Va., with both employers willing to sponsor his application for permanent residency. While grateful for the opportunity to remain state-side, Logesh’s long-range goals were to work with research and manufacturing. With a will to establish permanent residency and work in manufacturing, all Logesh needed was a way. He found that way by establishing two companies during the height of the economic recession – I Scope Technology Inc. and EMPOR Energy Saver (Empores). Logesh established I Scope Technology in October 2006 as a software consulting firm headquartered in Vienna, Va. He was I Scope’s sole investor and continued working for Freddie Mac. Through I Scope Technology’s success, Logesh accumulated sufficient working capital to start his second company, Empores, headquartered in Lake Charles with offices in India and Singapore. Empores is a research and manufacturing company that produces components that

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result in reduced electric bills and lower carbon footprints and improves power quality for both residential and commercial use, according to Logesh. Empores clientele include international icons such as IBM, Yahoo, IKEA and Sony. The Federal Communications Commission has recently awarded Empores the technical certification

needed to branch into the U.S. market. Local installations are now underway at four area businesses including Coushatta Casino Resort in Kinder. With his ingenuity in starting his own companies while investing in the U.S., Logesh has found a way to become his own employer sponsor as well as the sponsor of approximately 35 of his 100 employees. He is now qualified to apply for a green card to become a permanent resident. Empores has made a financial contribution to the engineering campaign in the College of Engineering in appreciation for the education Logesh received at McNeese. As a husband, a father, an innovator and an employer, Logesh rarely has time to play Cricket, a popular game in India. Logesh was sporting a cast on his hand at the time of this interview as a result of a Cricketrelated injury. “Limited spare time may be a good thing,” he said.

One of the features that makes our program different from others is that we not only teach our students the principles of engineering, but we also teach them that at the end of the day their activities must result in an economic gain for themselves and/or their employer. Logesh is the perfect example of a McNeese engineering graduate who used his engineering skills and entrepreneurship to start a successful technologyoriented business. Dr. Nikos Kiritsis Dean, College of Engineering




As McNeese State University looks toward celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2014, Banners at McNeese is entering its 22nd year of providing quality arts and humanities programming and education to Southwest Louisiana. Banners founding director, Mary Richardson, was instrumental in building this successful program before stepping down to enjoy a well-deserved retirement. Taking over the helm as the captain is Patricia Prudhomme with support from the same dependable crew of Tami Chrisope, LaDonna McKnight and Bill Mungai. In plotting its future course, Banners will navigate under the guidance of the University’s five-year strategic plan. McNeese’s strategic plan evolved from a series of brainstorming sessions conducted by President Philip C. Williams with employees, alumni, students and community members. The sessions were designed to consider input into how McNeese could be improved. The process culminated in the development of a

five-year strategic plan with clearly defined goals and objectives, goals which include Banners need for strengthening community collaborations and brand cultivation.

reality is Banners began at McNeese in 1993 where it is a yearlong program and one of the University’s most successful community collaborations.

Community collaboration is unquestionably Banners’ greatest strength. Having grown from a budget of $2,000 in year one to over $300,000 today, Banners is succeeding on the wings of its corporate sponsors, season subscribers, committee members and K-12 school partners.

“Banners at McNeese brings artists, performers, authors and other talent to the community and schools that could not be seen in any other way. While many cultural programs have experienced significant budget cuts due to decreased federal and state appropriations, Banners is striving to continue the same level of quality programming through the support of our Southwest Louisiana partners,” stated Patricia.

While Banners outreach to area school children is already vast, the University’s strategic plan calls for additional expansion over the next five years in K-12 schools and through McNeese campus-based visits. Brand cultivation is possibly Banners greatest opportunity, according to Patricia. Some people think that Banners is a cultural program of interest only for patrons of the arts. Others believe Banners to be a stand-alone program offered in spring and associated with Rouge et Blanc, but with no affiliation to McNeese. The

Rouge et Blanc, with its affiliated wine dinners the week prior to the event, is the only fundraiser for Banners. “All proceeds from Rouge et Blanc are dedicated to support cultural programming and education,” said Patricia. For further information, contact the Banners office at 337.475.5123 or email or Fall 2013   11


Sharing A Passion The Tarver family – Philip, Dewanna, Corey and Eric – share more than just a last name. They share a passion for McNeese State University and Cowboy/Cowgirl basketball. They all work in the family business at Lake Charles Toyota, are avid McNeese basketball fans and have either attended or graduated from McNeese. In fact, Philip and Dewanna met while both were enrolled in Lt. Col. Theodore Lansing Moon’s English 101 class at McNeese. The couple married two years later and began wedded life in King Hall dormitory until an apartment became available at Pine Haven – also affectionately known as the “married dorms.” “Pine Haven was our first real home,” Dewanna recalled. “Philip would work from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., then drive down Ryan Street to the apartment where I would have supper waiting on the table. He would eat and be at class for 6 p.m.” Philip graduated from McNeese in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting. A few years later, his career moved into the automobile industry where he became part owner of a Nissan dealership before buying his own Toyota dealership in 1997. A second dealership, Tarver Ford, was acquired in 2009. Twin sons, Corey and Eric, selected McNeese as their university of choice 12   Fall 2013

and graduated in mass communication and electrical engineering respectively. According to Philip, the boys “worked” at home by listening to him and Dewanna discuss the car business at the dinner table. Both sons officially joined the dealership in 2006. Corey manages the sales department while Eric works as the controller. Dewanna stays busy working as the self-titled dealership “Mom,” gift shop manager, employee relations specialist, Philip’s sounding board and anything else that is needed. Everyone agrees that working at the family business is more than just a job. “We get to come to work every day and see our family and friends,” said Dewanna. “How many people get to do that every day? It really is a blessing.” The Tarvers can be spotted at McNeese basketball games cheering on both the Cowgirls and Cowboys at home and away. As long as a McNeese team is playing in the Southland Conference basketball tournament in Katy, Texas, one of the Tarvers is there. All are members of the Tip-Off Club and are on a first-name basis with the players. McNeese men’s basketball coach Dave Simmons and the Tarvers have become close friends over the years. “You could write a book on the kindness that the Tarver family has shown to McNeese, the

athletics department and to any person that needs a helping hand,” Simmons said. “Two words that describe the family – ‘first class.’” Academics are equally important to the family and they have demonstrated that importance by giving to scholarships since 1989. Over time two endowed scholarships have been created – the Philip E. Tarver Scholarship at LaGrange High School and the Philip E. and Dewanna Tarver Scholarship at Barbe High School. When Dewanna and Philip first began supporting McNeese financially, they did so in smaller contributions. Those smaller gifts grew over time and now 29 LaGrange and Barbe High School graduates have benefited from their generosity and received scholarships. “You may not see the fruits of giving immediately, but you will see it,” Philip said. “You start building with little stones, and before you know it, you have a great big pyramid. We’ve been building this pyramid for a long time now and it has become part of our heritage.” The current recipients of the Tarvers’ scholarships are both freshman nursing majors. Ashley Prudhome received the Philip E. Tarver Scholarship at LaGrange High School while Caitlyn Fontenot received the Philip E. and Dewanna Tarver Scholarship at Barbe High School.


Makes National News McNeese Ranked as One of Best Regional Universities in South For the second consecutive year, McNeese is ranked in Tier One in the Best Regional Universities-South category in the 2014 edition of “America’s Best Colleges” published by U.S. News & World Report. McNeese was one of only two Louisiana public universities in the top tier ranking of the annual publication. McNeese also ranked in the top 50 among the top public schools in the southern region.

AC Online Recognizes McNeese in Two Categories • McNeese has been nationally recognized as one of the top public institutions for offering affordable tuition and high average salary earnings for its graduates. McNeese ranked 32nd in the top 58 public institutions by, a national resource for college affordability and financial aid information. • AC Online also ranked McNeese third in Louisiana among all public and private institutions with the greatest lifetime return on investment for its graduates. McNeese graduates have a lifetime ROI of $596,200.

MFA Program Ranks in Top 25 for Second Consecutive Year The McNeese Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing has been ranked in the Top 25 MFA programs for the second consecutive year by Poets & Writers magazine in its 2014 MFA Index. McNeese’s program – up to No. 22 in the nation - is ranked better than major programs at Columbia University, Florida State University, No t re D a m e, O re gon State University, Purdue University, University of Arkansas and Virginia Tech.

MFA Alumni Stand Out • McNeese alumnus Michael Shewmaker received a 2013 Wallace Stegner Fellowship in Poetry from Stanford University. Shewmaker is a 2010 graduate with a Master of Fine Arts degree and is a doctoral candidate at Texas Tech University. The Stanford writing program offers 10 two-year creative writing fellowships each year, five in fiction and five in poetry, and this year there were over 1,700 applicants. The celebrated writer and environmentalist Stegner founded the Stanford Creative Writing Program and Writing Fellowships in 1946. • McNeese MFA Director Amy Fleury has released a new collection of poetry titled, Sympathetic Magic, published by the Southern Illinois University Press. Fleury is a 1997 graduate of the McNeese MFA program. Her first poetry collection, Beautiful Trouble, was the winner of the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award and she has been the recipient of an Amy Clampitt Resident Poetry Fellowship in Lenox, Mass. • Neil Connelly, a 1996 graduate of the McNeese MFA program, has released his fourth novel, The Midlife Crisis of Commander Invincible, through the Louisiana State University Press. Connelly, an assistant professor of English at Shippensburg University in Pennsylvania, is the former MFA director at McNeese. • A 1998 MFA graduate, Morri Creech has released his third collection of poems, The Sleep of Reason. Creech is currently an assistant professor of English and writer-inresidence at Queens University of Charlotte, N.C. He has won a number of awards for his poetry, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize, the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize and a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Modern Poetry Foundation.

Spring 2013   13


A Long-standing Partnership The Pathology Laboratory in Lake Charles began supporting McNeese State University and the McNeese Foundation before the majority of this fall’s first-time freshmen were even born. In fact, the business was the first pathology laboratory in Southwest Louisiana and the first business to financially support faculty development in the College of Science and has continued its support for nearly 25 years. The Path Lab, as it’s also known, was established in the mid-1960s on Second Avenue by Dr. Andrew Ranier and Dr. Phil Newman. Dr. Lehrue Stevens joined the group in 1968 and decided to move the Path Lab to its current location at Bayou Pines in 1972. Nine pathologists, four cytologists and two pathology assistants are included in the approximately 60-70 Path Lab employees - many of whom are McNeese graduates. The Path Lab provides anatomic and clinical lab services throughout Southwest Louisiana and is one of the leading medical laboratories in this area. In 2006 the Path Lab partnered with McNeese to become an affiliate for the clinical laboratory science program. Since that time, seven clinical laboratory science seniors have completed their required internship at the Path Lab. Applying for this internship is a competitive process and students are interviewed just like they would be for a “real-world” job. The selection process Interning at The Path Lab has given me a more realistic view of what I’ll be doing as a medical technologist. The technologists I’ve worked with during my internship have given me great advice and have taught me things that can’t be learned in a class – real, hands-on experience. Dorian Botley, Senior, Clinical Laboratory Science Program/Path Lab Intern

14   Spring 2013

considers the student’s grade point average as well as the employer-employee “fit” before hiring. Once selected, interns spend one year working in the lab with the technologists in each of the three main departments: chemistry, hematology and micro. Interns learn how to operate microscopes and other instruments, how to run tests and how to prepare the instrumentation each day so that it operates effectively. Nicho Bourque, the Path Lab’s clinical lab manager and a 1995 McNeese graduate, stated that the internship is a necessary part of the clinical laboratory science program. “Students learn the concepts in class and receive hands-on training here,” explained Bourque. “All of the learning comes together during the internship.” In 2010 the Path Lab doctors established the Dr. and Mrs. Lehrue Stevens, Jr. Scholarship in Medical Laboratory Science to honor Dr. Stevens for his 40 plus years of service and leadership. The scholarship is awarded to a junior or senior enrolled in the clinical laboratory science program.

“McNeese is a wonderful institution and the Path Lab wants to support it,” Lehrue stated. “Providing funding to the College of Science for professional development, giving to scholarships and offering internships are how we’ve chosen to show our commitment to McNeese.”


Pillars McNeese State University is continuing its quest to cultivate an innovative campus culture with the creation of its longawaited radio station. KBYS (Cowboys) 88.3 FM will arrive on the airwaves in early 2014 to coincide with the University’s 75th anniversary. The station is breaking new ground as the only community radio station in Louisiana run by volunteers. Although the station is owned and managed by the University, day-to-day operations will be led by a volunteer staff through the use of a non-profit 501(c) 3 corporation, tentatively named McNeese State University Community Radio. KBYS will be housed in the former One Hour Martinizing building on Ryan Street across from campus. Renovations to the building are currently underway. According to McNeese Police Chief Robert Spinks, a member of the initial build team and formerly associated with a community-based radio station, no broadcasting experience is needed to volunteer. “Anyone can walk in and make a huge contribution to this radio station,” Spinks said. “All you need to volunteer is an appetite for fun, a can-do attitude and a desire to promote McNeese. We’ll teach you everything else you need to know.” Volunteers will provide the link between the community and the University and become the backbone for the station. Volunteer positions will include announcers/radio personalities, general manager, volunteer coordinator, grant writers, receptionists and newsroom staff to name a few. Initially, the station will be more automated than live and play music from the 1950s to 1990s - one of radio’s most popular formats - in addition to providing general news and weather and crucial information during emergencies. As the station grows, it will become an additional tool with endless potential to communicate campus and community activities involving

McNeese. Coverage could span from broadcasting athletic events to covering Banners at McNeese to announcing the number of parking garage spaces still available during the morning commute. Over time, listener feedback will drive the direction of the station. One possible segment is the McNeese Moment in History – a daily two-minute recap about happenings at McNeese on that date in history. That segment would amount to 365 shows running seven times a day and potentially reaching nearly 300,000 listeners within the five-parish area. “The representative dollar amount of advertising gained from that one broadcast alone for McNeese would be huge,” Spinks added. KBYS will touch nearly every program on campus and provide students with real-work experience related to their majors. Mass communication students could gain on-air, production and news experience while computer science and engineering majors could work behind the scenes on software and equipment. The business end of a radio station offers management and marketing experience to business majors and topic specific segments could be developed for any other program McNeese offers. “Small radio stations run by volunteers are the last true heartbeat of a community,” explained Spinks. “ We hope KBYS will provide a unique level of energy for Southwest Louisiana and become the heartbeat for McNeese.” Anyone interested in volunteering may email or chad@kbys. Financial support can be made at and selecting “KBYS 88.3 FM” in the designation box.

Future KBYS home on Ryan St.

Fall 2013   15


74 Years in McNeese Football History

What defines the great tradition that is McNeese football? One could look to the games and championships won, Players of the Year, All-America, All-conference and All-Louisiana athletes’ designations and the program’s continued success. It has been 74 years since the University first opened its doors. There have been 454 victories, 18 conference titles, 30 league or state player of the year selections, 23 coach of the year picks (one national), 162 All-Americans selections, 384 players named first team All-conference or AllLouisiana and eight bowl and two national championship game appearances. Throughout these achievements of the Cowboys, there are many stories, some that became public and some that did not. Following are a few of those stories: Charlie Kuehn was McNeese’s first All-American, selected to the Associated Press little All-America team in 1952 as a defensive end. He would go on to become the Cowboys football and track coach. In that 1952 season he came off the bench to tackle a ball carrier who was running back a punt for an apparent touchdown. It happened in a game against Tampa in Tampa, Fla., and it was the sixth outing of the season. In later years Kuehn said that he didn’t know what made him come off the bench and tackle the runner. Head coach A.I. Ratcliff said of the incident that out of 16   Spring 2013

the corner of his eye he could see Charlie coming off the bench, running down the sideline before getting on the field to make the tackle. The incident resulted in a Tampa touchdown but the Cowboys would win the game by a 42-20 score. This happened two years before the nationally televised game that showed Alabama’s Tommy Lewis coming off the bench to tackle Rice’s Dicky Maegle in the 1954 Cotton Bowl, embedding the incident forever in the annuals of collegiate football. Jim Clark served as both an assistant coach and a head coach for the Cowboys in the 1950s and 60s. In one game with Clark as head coach, the Cowboys were having a tough time against the University of Texas at Arlington. The Texas mascot is Maverick. Every time UTA scored a touchdown, a rider would run his horse around the field. Wingy Keigley was a Cowboys running back and every time the horse circled the field, he’d have a smile on his face. Coach Clark noticed and called him out, referring to the fact that McNeese was getting its butt beat and Keigley was smiling. Keigley’s reply was something like, “Coach, if the game keeps going this way, we’re going to kill that horse.” Jack Doland served as a player, head coach and athletic director at the same school for which he became president. He added state senator to his status after leaving McNeese and was a strong contender for

state governor until his death in 1991. When he was named McNeese President, Doland had his detractors, including Gov. Edwin Edwards. Edwards was reported to have said that he didn’t know who the committee would select but it certainly wasn’t going to be that football coach. The next day, after having visited with a few of his Southwest Louisiana backers, the governor recanted his statement, noting that he wasn’t sure who McNeese’s next president was going to be, but he felt sure the committee would make a wise decision. Doland’s destiny may have been determined from the outset. He played football and basketball at McNeese as a junior college student-athlete and continued both sports while at Tulane. After graduation he played professional baseball in the summer while working as a high school coach during the school year. One year he played in the Carolina League with Greenville (S.C.) when he was traded to Crowley of the Evangeline League. He was supposed to join his teammates in Alexandria for a game with the Aces two days after the trade, but his travel arrangements prevented him from arriving on time. The night he was supposed to be in center field a storm hit and lightning struck and killed the player for Crowley. As a coach, Jack Doland led the Cowboys to their first Division I bowl appearance in 1976 at the Independence Bowl. The

the second round. During the 1975 season the Cowboys were preparing to play Lamar in a conference game. Lamar had an AllConference linebacker who didn’t think much of Files and said so during a televised interview with a Beaumont station. On the Cowboys’ first offensive play, Files flattened this linebacker. He flattened him again on the second and third plays. After the linebacker landed on his back the third time, he got up to say, “Yes, sir, Mr. Files, you are a good player.” Jack Doland

Cowboys, however, had to play in the bowl without some of their starters and first line reserves due to a dormitory incident and an NCAA rule that fifth-year players (those who had redshirted) could not play in a post-season game. McNeese was forced to leave 16 players at home. The Independence Bowl and the Southland Conference wanted McNeese to bypass the bowl and let league runner-up Louisiana Tech represent the conference. Doland would have none of that. The Cowboys went out and won the game by a 20-16 score on a last minute touchdown run by Oliver Hadnot, capping a 10-2 season. The headline in the Shreveport Times the next morning read: “McNeese Had Not 16 players but did have Hadnot.”

Charles Keuhn

In 1977, then West Texas State coach Bill Yung hung a characterization on the Cowboys that gained national attention. He told members of his local media that the Cowboys hit you so hard that they would raise a “snot bubble” on your face.

Daryl Burckel

That 1976 Independence Bowl was the first of three bowls for McNeese, the others in 1979 and 1980 with Ernie Duplechin as head coach. In that first bowl game, none of the writers covering the game saw the winning touchdown. All had been in the elevator headed down from the press box to the field where they expected to interview the winning coach – F.A. Dry of Tulsa.

Joey Granger and Keith Bonin played linebackers for the Cowboys in the early 1980s. In their final season, Granger injured his knee in a game and Bonin was sent in to replace him. On the very next play Bonin injured his knee and both players had to have operations. Hubert Boales, the team’s linebacker coach, visited both in the hospital only to find them competing in a wheelchair race. Then there’s the story of the recruitment of Daryl Burckel – a McNeese accounting professor, one of the top linebackers in school history and a member of the McNeese Hall of Fame. Burckel was a standout in high school in New Orleans but he was only 5’ 9”. During a recruiting visit, Ernie Duplechin brought Daryl in to see head coach Jack Doland. Doland told Burckel that he felt he was too short to play for the Cowboys. Burckel’s comment was, “What difference would it make if my eyes were two inches higher on my head.” He got the scholarship and the rest is history, Cowboy history.

At that time, the squad didn’t always have team meals so they were given money to buy their own. Two unnamed Cowboys, both offensive linemen, went to Pancho’s, an all-you-can-eat Mexican restaurant. At each table there was a little flag and pole and you ran the flag up the pole if you wanted more food. They later complained that the manager took the flag away from them. McNeese Hall of Fame member James File was a two-time All-American center for the Cowboys in 1974 and 1975. He went on to play professionally with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being drafted in

Jim Pousson played defensive tackle for the Cowboys in the 1970s, twice earning All-conference honors. He was inducted into the McNeese Hall of Fame in 2008. During his career he suffered several injuries with the most serious in his senior year. When athletic trainer Jim Murphy got to him on the field following that injury, Pousson’s first words were, “How’s the crowd taking it?”

James Files

Fall 2013   17


Out With the Old, In With the New Expansion, demolition and construction – McNeese State University’s footprint is expanding beyond the boundaries of its McNeese, Common, Sale and Ryan thoroughfares and improving campus-wide. The $13 million Southwest Louisiana Entrepreneurial and Economic Development (SEED) Center officially opened for business Aug. 16 with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony. The SEED Center is a partnership between the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance, the city of Lake Charles and McNeese. The building houses the Southwest Louisiana Incubator, several McNeese programs and economic development centers, a reception/information center, classrooms for training, the Willis Noland Conference Center and the Southwest Louisiana Economic Development Alliance. The unique combination of a regional chamber of commerce located on a college campus could make McNeese one of the only universities in the nation to have this advantageous setup. Another feather in McNeese’s cap is the Student Innovation Center, located on the building’s first floor. McNeese is one of only two universities in the country to offer the innovation curriculum developed by Doug Hall. Aug. 16 also marked the ribbon cutting ceremony for the reopening of McNeese’s Burton Residence Hall. A fixture on the southwest corner of campus since 1970, Burton Hall had been closed since September 2005 due to massive damage inflicted by Hurricane Rita. After the hurricane, the building stayed in limbo until 2008 while the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Louisiana Office of Facility, Planning and Control discussed repair and restoration. Ultimately it was decided that repairing the building would not be cost effective and plans were made for demolition and reconstruction by means of a $7.2 million combination of disaster recovery and insurance funds. The original Burton Hall was designated a women’s residence hall and stood five stories tall and covered 98,000 square feet. Over time both men and women called the building home in separate, gender-assigned suites. The new Burton Hall stands three stories tall and covers 60,000 square feet with 150 beds. Amenities provided for today’s Burton residents are private bedrooms, in-suite restrooms, casual living areas, high speed Internet, cable television connections and wireless access points. Burton revolves around a high-achieving academic community of emerging student scholars and leaders, creating a true living-learning community in this residence hall. Burton is designed for students who have demonstrated academic excellence. It will be a diverse community and will have students from a cross section of majors and extracurricular interests, including the Honors College. 18   Fall 2013

PILLARS is published by 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. We know that there is a story behind your loyal support and we would really like to hear it. Contact Marianne White at 337.562.4107 or mariannewhite@

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

Pillars Staff EDITOR

Marianne White Coordinator of Planned Giving and Donor Research STAFF WRITER Jennifer Pitre Planned Giving and Donor Research Specialist Renee LeLeux Public Information Officer II ART DIRECTION, DESIGN, PHOTOGRAPHY Anne Cobb Graphic Designer/Multimedia Specialist Contributing Writers Louis Bonnette, Sports Information Director (Retired) Candace Townsend, Director, Public Relations

Foundation Staff Pam McGough

Coordinator of Athletic Development

Shanie Miller Administrative Assistant Melissa Ellis Northcutt Director for University Advancement Operations and Special Events Richard H. Reid Vice President for University Advancement Executive Vice President, McNeese Foundation Shelley Shaw Administrative Specialist Pam Tate Gift Management Specialist

Fall 2013   19

Nonprofit Org.

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

Doland Lobby Welcomes “The Cowboy” A bronze statue titled “The Cowboy” by legendary western painter and sculptor Buck McCain has been installed in the lobby of the Jack V. Doland Field House. “The Cowboy” depicts a working cowboy - dusty and tired - after a long day’s work. The statue - one of only 35 produced - is finished in a rich brown patina and stands 6 feet 8 inches including the base and weighs almost 900 pounds. McCain is known for his attention to detail and all dress and gear are authentic reproductions based on clothing and accessories he wore while working on the

family ranch in southern California. The cowboy is carrying a saddle typical of the 1920s and ‘30s, and the belt buckle was cast from an original buckle issued by Justin Boot Co. McCain’s studio is located in the mountains north of Tucson, Ariz. His work can be found in numerous galleries, private collections and museums throughout the country.

He has been named Artist of the Year by Friends of the Western Art and Tucson Museum of Art and True West magazine has named him the Best Western Sculptor. Funding for the statue was included in the 2011 renovation of the Field House through a program under the Louisiana Division of the Arts. Richard Reid, McNeese vice president for university advancement and executive vice president of the McNeese Foundation (left), assisted in locating the artist after seeing one of McCain’s cowboy statues in an art gallery.

20   Fall 2013

Permit No 336 Lake Charles, LA

Pillars Fall 2013  

PILLARS is published by the McNeese Foundation to educate and inform the community of the role that the Foundation plays in support of McNee...

Pillars Fall 2013  

PILLARS is published by the McNeese Foundation to educate and inform the community of the role that the Foundation plays in support of McNee...