Page 1


Steven Vige The Family Bond

page 6


2011 Foundation Board of Directors


Officers Bob Davidson, President Judy Fuller, Vice President Willie Mount, Secretary James Taussig, Treasurer Members Glen Bertrand Roxie Boxie Emma DiCarlo-Vincent Tom Henning Joe T. Miller, Sr. Lee J. Monlezun, Jr. Ryan Navarre George Paret Patricia Prebula Glenn Pumpelly

3..........From the Desk of the President: Dr. Philip C. Williams 4.........The Heart of a Helper: Jordan Anne Harlow 5..........Equal Access for All 6.........The Family Bond: Steven Mikeal Vige 7..........El Vaquero: Thomas “Tom” D. Watson Jr. 8, 9.....A Rodeo Powerhouse 10, 11...Engraving: Gerry Wubben 12........The Giving Pledge

Donna Richard Billy Rose

13........Brothers Banding Together: Dr. Eric Sanders

John Scofield Jim Serra

14........Sharing Peace and Knowledge: Dr. Pankaj Chandra

David Stine Charles Timpa Ray A. Todd, Jr. Tom Tuminello, Sr. 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 Charles Viccellio 2

15........An Amazing Creation: Kevin Shrewsberry 16........A Moment in History…The McNeese Faculty Wives Club 17........McNeese Branding

From the desk of the President Since July, the McNeese campus community has undertaken an intensive self review to position itself for withstanding the upcoming fiscal year’s budget shortfall. Every academic program and administrative unit on campus undertook a self-study to identify potential efficiencies in operations and cost savings and to rise to the challenges demanded by a tough economy and unprecedented expectations for performance. At the core of countless hours of meetings and volumes of data, we kept our focus on two important values: our core educational mission and our mission to serve Southwest Louisiana by enhancing its economic potential and by providing valuable services to arts, industry, health care and K-12 education. A new President scarcely could have walked into a more challenging situation than this. But, a new President scarcely could have found such forward-thinking, hardworking and dedicated professionals, either. I am pleased to report that the McNeese community’s efforts have dramatically reduced the projected budget gap. While we still face budgetary uncertainty and challenges, through a combination of efforts our ability to maintain our mission and offer a high quality education for our region will not be compromised. In fact, the McNeese community did not stop at just finding savings, but took this intensive self-review process as a springboard to improve in all areas. Combined, the review teams put forth some 60 recommendations to enhance everything from educational experiences to our internal operations. This spring semester, numerous implementation teams have been working hard to ensure that these recommendations become reality. Some of the more notable efforts include bringing together all academic support services for students under one umbrella, improved advising processes and an increased emphasis on helping students better understand how each step in their program leads to an endpoint and a career. We are also exploring ways to create a one-stop shop from admissions to enrollment, registration, financial aid and all other related services. Along with these recommendations, our belt-tightening includes some significant, shortterm administrative reorganization. Two vice president level positions will be vacated due to retirements, so we are closing those positions and reapportioning the functions to other areas. These moves will require, in some cases, hiring personnel to support the functions, but at a lower cost to the institution. Over the next year, we will embark on a much more forward-looking, strategic planning process to chart our course for the future. I am confident that the McNeese community will once again come together to ensure we build upon our successes for even greater heights. As I said at the conclusion of my inauguration, our beloved university, like a virtual aircraft, is positioned on the runway with clearance from the tower to take off. We have the collective talent to fuel our aircraft and the will to lift it into the ionosphere. As we experience that lift off together, and as we rise higher and higher above the clouds, we may begin to notice that the brightness of the sky begins to deepen to a richer shade. I can think of only two words that can capture that beautiful color. And those two words are Geaux Blue! Dr. Philip C. Williams


FOUNDATION TIES Annette Harlow • Donor • The Jordan Anne Harlow Memorial Endowment for the Assistance of Students with Disabilities

The Heart of a Helper

Jordan Anne Harlow’s story is about a life filled with abilities. Despite losing her vision, hearing, mobility and independence, Jordan cherished her life and focused on making the world a better place. Born a healthy baby on April 11, 1966, Jordan was the child of Ben and Annette, big sister to Christopher, and master of Winston, her pet cocker spaniel. At age 12 she was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type 2 (NF2), a rare genetic disease characterized by benign tumors that grow on the cranial and spinal nerves. The first of Jordan’s many surgeries began at age 16. After completing her education at Prien Lake Elementary, S.J. Welsh Middle School and Barbe High School, Jordan enrolled at McNeese State University. She pledged Phi Mu sorority and became a Panhellenic officer. Jordan graduated with honors, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology in 1988 and a Master of Arts degree in psychology in 1990.

Jordan Anne Harlow

Jordan was watching us closely, looking for body language that revealed our words. She was deaf, and I had not yet communicated that surgery would no longer be an option. The scar tissue was too extensive and the tumors too spider-like. I swallowed hard and turned to meet Jordan. As I began to sign, I could see that she was apprehensive, but open and ready to receive the information that would end the limbo we had all been experiencing for the last two months. When Jordan understood that she would become blind, she learned Braille on her own. Her deafness and blindness were leading to isolation. She began reading scripture in Braille. Missing her faith community at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church, Jordan formed an email house church. “I’m not interested in anybody getting too excited. I don’t want to hear a lot of scripture. I just want people to tell me what’s in their heart,” wrote Jordan. 4

Jordan was passionate about helping others. As a graduate assistant in McNeese’s counseling center, Jordan had a gift for listening. According to B.J. Cayton, former counseling center director, “Jordan was one of the most gifted counselors I have ever encountered. She was so still and listened on such a deep level. Even though she was both vision and hearing impaired, she could feel someone’s energy.” The Mayor’s Commission on Disabilities presented Jordan its student achievement award in 1989. She served on the Southwest Louisiana Independence Center board and was selected conference chair for the city of Lake Charles’ inaugural “We the People Conference.” As a gifted writer, Jordan’s articles appeared in several newsletters including, Life after Deafness, the NF2 Review and the Association of Late Deafened Adults. She served as contributing editor on the children’s book, “Missy Morgan and the Poke-a-Dot Braille,” by Cookie Phillips. As Jordan’s world was closing in, the Internet opened up a new window. Jordan and friends formed an online support group called the NF2 Crew (www. The name selected represented boating crews working together for a common cause and supporting each other through good times and bad. “Jordan lived her life in total gratitude,” said Cayton. “While she accepted NF2 as part of her life, she didn’t let it define her life.” “The biggest impact NF2 has had on my life is to make my faith stronger, my love and appreciation of my family and friends deeper and my gratitude for the little blessings more heartfelt,” Jordan wrote. (Spring NNFF Newsletter, www.ctf. org/pdf/nf2review/winter00.pdf) After spending a peaceful week with a friend in a small fishing village in Maine, Jordan returned to the comfort of her own home and died Oct. 4, 2000. With a helping heart, she encouraged her parents to establish a fund at McNeese to assist other students with disabilities. The Jordan Anne Harlow Memorial Endowment for the Assistance of Students with Disabilities provides funds to purchase materials, equipment or technology to assist visual and/or hearing impaired students with their studies.

Equal Access for All

takers, classroom relocation, access to special technology and other services; and the Office of Facilities and Plant Operations ensures compliance with ADA regulations for pathways, parking and buildings.

On July 26, 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act that established a clear and comprehensive prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability and provided enforceable standards for addressing discrimination against individuals with disabilities. In 2008, President George W. Bush signed the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 that broadened protections and expanded the list of major life activities covered by the ADA.

According to Tim Delaney, director of services for students with disabilities, advances in technology have greatly improved access to higher education. “Our office has a variety of equipment that allows students to enlarge print for easier readability and translate text to Braille, and provides listening devices that allow the instructor to speak into a microphone that students with hearing disabilities hear through a special receiver. We also provide access to special telephones, transcribing services, note takers, interpreters and testing services.”

The ADA applies to employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation and telecommunications. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered. For a public university, providing equal opportunities to participate in all aspects of university life applies to students, employees and visitors. And it is an ongoing challenge. Three McNeese offices share responsibility for compliance with the ADA and work together to provide access and reasonable accommodations. The ADA coordinator works primarily with employees and visitors; the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities assists students by providing academic adjustments such as extended testing time, note

Delaney works with offices involved in the enrollment process to provide information about these services to incoming students and encourages students needing accommodations to notify McNeese as early as possible to ensure adequate time to determine the appropriate academic adjustment. Students are not required to register with the OSSD to enjoy access to the campus or programs, but registering with the office is encouraged. “We can provide priority class registration to students receiving services from our office,” Delaney explained. “We advise our students to consider certain factors when creating their class schedule that include building and classroom locations, the time between classes and the distance between class locations, elevator access, location of emergency evacuation routes, accessible seating and restroom facilities.” Currently more than 140 students are registered with the OSSD. McNeese is also required to follow specific architectural standards

in new construction and in the renovation or alteration of existing buildings. Richard Rhoden, director of facilities and plant operations, says it takes vigilance and communication to interpret the ADA regulations and ensure that contractors comply with the standards. “Two members of the staff have completed extensive training on the ADA standards for facilities and we are training other members of the staff,” Rhoden said. “It is important for us to know and understand the details of the standards so we can ensure that our construction and renovation projects meet the requirements.” Currently underway is a project to create campus-wide accessible pathways between all buildings and parking lots. This includes creating or correcting accessible parking, constructing wheelchair ramps and correcting sidewalk slopes, modifying handrails and installing directional signage. Numerous interior changes have improved access to buildings, classrooms, restrooms and other services. The recently redesigned and upgraded quadrangle in the center of campus includes paved pathways and accessible benches. Renovations to Frazar Memorial Library, Kaufman Hall and Frasch Hall are slated to begin soon and will include ADA modifications and upgrades. An extensive renovation to the Doland Athletic Field House is nearly complete and will bring that building into compliance, Rhoden said. “All of these renovations and modifications are part of a comprehensive plan to improve access for all students, employees and visitors,” Rhoden said. 5

FOUNDATION TIES Steven Mikeal Vige • Recipient • McNeese Foundation Scholarship

THE FAMILY BOND Steven Mikeal Vige has a bond investment that returns dividends greater than any interest rate can pay . . . The Family Bond. Steven and his younger brother, Jon, grew up in Longville, a community north of Lake Charles. A tragic motorcycle accident 11 years ago took the life of Steven’s stepfather and severely injured his mother, Marile. At only 8 years old, Steven witnessed Marile’s suffering as she underwent multiple surgeries in New Orleans followed by years of rehabilitation. Told by doctors that she would never walk again, Marile beat the odds. Although disabled, she now walks on her own. With two young boys to raise and Marile unable to work, Grandpa Herman and Grandma Suzan Vige stepped in. Herman took early retirement to stay home and take care of the family. Grandma Suzan became the family breadwinner as an administrative assistant in distribution with Entergy Corp. Steven graduated from South Beauregard High School where he played varsity baseball, was a member of the Governor’s Program on Abstinence, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and the Senior Beta Club. He received a Horatio Alger Scholarship upon graduation, a national award given to students demonstrating hard work, courage and determination to overcome obstacles. From an early age, Steven was fascinated with electricity. He spent hours disassembling and reassembling remote control trucks to make them run faster and stronger. He taught himself how to rewire devices when the batteries wore out. In choosing a college, Steven selected McNeese State University. He said McNeese provided an ideal location within a commutable distance and with an accredited engineering and engineering technology program to fulfill his career goals. Having good role models can make the difference between success and failure in life. Steven has been fortunate to have had many. “My Grandpa Herman has had a big influence on my life, on how I grew up and on how I was raised. My Grandma Suzan has been the backbone of the family. I can’t begin to explain in words everything that my family means to me,” said Steven. Pat and Paul Shirley, youth pastors at Beauregard Memorial Baptist Church, have also been positive role models. Steven said, “Even though they are older than my generation, they adapt to people my age.” Steven sings in the church choir, serves as camp counselor and is learning to play the guitar. Steven recently met his biological father, Amos Comeaux, for the first time. “Meeting my dad was a big turning point in my life and I now feel complete,” he said. A Pell Grant and a McNeese Foundation Scholarship assist Steven in his pursuit of higher education. Between semesters, Steven works odd jobs to pay for gas and other expenses and is proud of his money management skills. “This is my story,” stated Steven. “Everything that my family has been through is part of God’s plan. This is the road that He has led me down.” Steven looks forward to graduating and finding employment that will afford him the opportunity to support his family in return for the support and encouragement that they have given him. 6

Steven Mikeal Vige

FOUNDATION TIES Dr. Tom and Carol Watson • Donors • McNeese Rodeo/Golden Saddle Scholarships • Joe Gray Taylor Humanities Research

El Vaquero

Thomas “Tom” D. Watson Jr. was a member of the McNeese Junior College Intramural Rodeo Team before the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association was even established. In 1948, Tom placed first in saddle bronc riding and steer dogging and second in bareback riding. Tom tied with Conway LeBleu, later a state representative, for second in steer roping. Tom was born the day of the stock market crash, Oct. 29, 1929, in Lake Charles, an only child of Thomas Davis Watson Sr. and Jeane Carroll. He attended Landry Memorial High School before entering McNeese Junior College. After completing junior college, Tom enrolled at New Mexico State University to complete his degree and to rodeo. The New Mexico State “Aggies” were charter members of the newly formed NIRA. After graduating, a commission in the U.S. Air Force through the ROTC program took him to Korea. Tom was trained and rated as an aircraft observer and specialized as a radar operator. He flew 27 combat missions out of Yokota Air Base in Japan with the 343rd Bomb Squadron. “Yes, they did shoot at us,” said Tom. Coincidentally, the 343rd Bomb Squadron was recently reactivated at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport. Tom was asked to serve as guest speaker at the Reactivation and Assumption of Command ceremony. After his deployment to Korea, Tom returned to Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. He was discharged from the service in 1955 at the Lake Charles Air Force Base, now called Chennault. By that time he was married to Carol Ann with children, Michael and Elizabeth, on the way, and became a pipefitter with Cities Service, and later, Conoco.

Tom Watson, left, retired history professor and former rodeo team member at McNeese, and Justin Browning, current McNeese rodeo coach, stand in front of one of the three national championship rodeo trophies on display in the Golden Saddle Room at Burton Coliseum.

After 12 years as a pipefitter, Tom finally pursued his dream of becoming a history professor. When asked why he pursued a career in teaching history, Tom replied, “I guess you can say because of Prince Valiant, a 1937 comic strip set in the days of King Arthur.” “It was a pull, but also a push,” said Tom. He completed his Master of Arts degree in history at the University of Southwestern Louisiana and pursued his doctorate at Texas Tech in Lubbock.

“Tommy Watson was top scorer in the student rodeo held Saturday by McNeese Junior College. He will be presented a gold belt buckle at a college assembly program to be held later. [Lake Charles American Press, November 15, 1948]

Dr. Joe Gray Taylor, McNeese history department head, was searching for a historian with Latin American specialization. Tom was hired and moved to Lake Charles to teach for a semester while writing his dissertation. Carol and the kids, meanwhile, remained in Lubbock. The Watsons met halfway periodically to review his chapters. Once while in College Station they placed a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door to allow greater concentration on their editorial reviews. As time passed with no signs of activity from their room, hotel personnel would bang on the door and ask, “What’s going on in there?” Upon completing his doctorate, Tom was hired permanently by McNeese in 1972 and eventually served as department head from 1990-94. During his career, he discovered continued on page 9


o e e s d u o o R A owe rh P

Rodeo has been a part of McNeese State University since 1947 when the first rodeo team was formed. The team was sponsored by the Horn and Hoof and Veterans clubs.


The rodeo program at McNeese has performed so well that it makes it difficult for bigger schools like Texas A&M to recruit members. In fact, the spring 2009 issue of The Texas A&M Foundation Magazine, Spirit, described McNeese as a “regional rodeo powerhouse.”

Beau Schro

The tradition began in the 1950s with the McNeese men’s rodeo team winning three consecutive national championships from 1957 to 1959. Currently, the men’s team is in first place in the Southern Region’s team standings, while the women’s team is currently in second place in the region, its best standing in over five years, and is on track to finish first. In 2009-2010 the men’s team finished first in the Southern Region for the second year in a row, and Kobyn Williams finished in the top five at the College 8

Hope Thompson

National Finals Rodeo in saddle bronc riding. The winning tradition continues with the most recent championship won in 2008 by Hope Thompson for ladies breakaway roping. In 2007, three national champions were produced: Beau Schroeder in bull riding, Ben Shofner in steer wrestling and Lydia Martin in reserved breakaway. The men’s team took fifth in the nation that same year. Winning those championships requires dedication and hard work, qualities to which rodeo team members are accustomed. According to McNeese Rodeo Coach Justin Browning, team members usually put in 12- to 16-hour days. “They [students] get up early to feed their animals, go to class, go to work, practice and study. A usual day is from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.,” said Justin. The rodeo season consists of 10 rodeos. Traveling to each competition can be quite expensive. Entry fees and gas, lodging and animal feed expenses add up quickly. McNeese is able to provide travel assistance for the top six men and top four women on the team through a student assessment fee. That leaves some students to pay their own way, in addition to paying for common college expenses such as tuition, books, meals and housing. In 2000, business leaders Billy Navarre and William Doré Sr. learned that local students were attending college out-of-state where more financial assistance was provided for the rodeo program and its students. In an effort to stem this exodus, the Golden Saddle Club was formed to provide scholarships for McNeese rodeo students. The

McNeese Rodeo Stats initial fundraising effort raised $250,000 for scholarships. Each year eight team members are selected by the rodeo coach and are awarded scholarships varying from $1,000 to $1,500 per semester. Katie Perkins Permit me, suh, to raise this received a Golden frosty julep in honuh of the team Saddle Club from Lake Charles, LOO-ziana. Scholarship and Scholahs and gentlemen ev’y one, competed for suh—and how they did ride! [Sam Gadd, Colorado Springs Free Press, McNeese rodeo June 17, 1957] for four years in breakaway roping and goat tying. “McNeese is the only college in Louisiana that has a rodeo program. You can rodeo at other schools, but as an independent,” Katie explains. “The scholarship helps me pay for my books, rodeo entry fees and travel expenses.” Coach Browning explained how the rodeo team invests the funds that it receives back into the community. “Horses alone can cost $200 each month including their feed, veterinarian bills, shoeing and so on,” he said. “Rodeo students spend money in the community for clothing, gas, saddles and animal boarding fees.” The combination of talented rodeo athletes, a dedicated coach and financial supporters will ensure that McNeese continues its rodeo powerhouse tradition. continued from page 7 two original copies of the first treaty ever negotiated by the United States, an agreement with the Creek Indians. He retired as department head in 1995. Tom continues to research and write. He has written a book titled “Fifty Years of High School Rodeo in Louisiana.” An active follower of McNeese Rodeo, Tom praises Justin Browning, the current rodeo coach, as a “Godsend.” “Justin runs like a little tractor all day long. He is energetic, hard working and a great recruiter,” said Tom.

McNeese State University hosted National Rodeo Championships in 1955. National Rodeo Team Championships 1957 • 1958 • 1959 National Individual Rodeo Championships 1958—Jim Miller, Bareback Riding 1963—Nelson Spotts, Bull Riding 1985—Kent Jude Richard, Men’s All Around 1988—Kelly Lorraine Foster, Barrel Racing 1994—Shana L. Hooks, Barrel Racing 1995—James Boudreaux, Bareback Riding 1997—Gus LeDoux, Steer Wrestling 2006—Ben Shofner, Reserve Champion Steer Wrestling 2007—Ben Shofner, Steer Wrestling 2007—Beau Schroeder, Bull Riding 2007—Lydia Martin, Reserve Champion Breakaway Roping 2008—Hope Thompson, Breakaway Roping

Tom and Carol Watson provide support for the McNeese Rodeo/Golden Saddle Scholarships and Joe Gray Taylor Humanities Research.

McNeese history professor Dr. Tom Watson advises a student.

The McNeese Arena (now called Ward Memorial Arena) was one of the first three buildings constructed on campus and was originally designed for livestock shows and rodeos as an open-air facility. 9

Foundation Ties Gerry Wubben • Recipient • Shearman Professorship in Liberal Arts • Robert Jones Beauregard Parish Historical Fund Visual Arts Professorship

Gerry Wubben, professor of art in the Department of Visual Arts at McNeese State University, is a master in the art of engraving. Engraving utilizes the intaglio process whereby an image is etched or scored into a printing plate, ink is applied to the surface and a cloth is used to wipe away excess ink. A dampened paper is then placed on top of the surface before running the plate and paper through a printing press. The pressure from the press transfers the ink from the recesses of the plate to the paper. Engraving or printmaking media include etching, lithography, woodcuts and silkscreen. Gerry was born in Abilene, Texas, and raised in Grand Junction, Colo. His father, Paul D. Wubben, was a physician and his mother, Mildred Guigas, was a homemaker and nurse. He excelled in sports and science in high school and received the freshman chemistry award. His love, however, was drawing, a talent he recognized from an early age. “I could always draw,” said Gerry, “and drawing serves as the building block for engraving.” His passion was fostered while pursuing an associate of arts degree in printmaking at Mesa State College in Grand Junction. He continued his studies, completing bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fine arts from Colorado State University in Fort Collins and Indiana University in Wilmington, respectively. After painting opera sets for the Indiana School of Music for several years, Gerry joined the McNeese faculty in August 1987. “Jobs in printmaking are scarce and McNeese really is a good place to work. Our talent pool of students is pretty extraordinary and the administration is highly supportive of our program,” said Wubben. With funds provided by the Shearman Professorship in Liberal Arts and the Robert Jones Beauregard Parish Historical Fund 10

Visual Arts Professorship, Gerry created the Engraving 2007 Invitational Print Portfolio. Gerry stated, “I was inspired to create a network to celebrate people that specialize in engraving.” Twenty-five of the nation’s most talented engravers were invited to submit an engraving. The Portfolio was catalogued and shown at various exhibits and developed into a print piece as a recruiting and educational tool. Gerry collaborated with James Ehlers, a McNeese graduate and assistant professor of engraving arts at Emporia State University in Kansas, to catalogue and to exhibit the prints. “I consider James one of the best engravers in the world,” said Gerry. In recognition for submitting their work, participating artists received an original image of each of the cataloged engravings. The Engraving 2009 Invitational Print Portfolio is in progress and will be shown in England, among other locations, when completed. Wubben’s prints, drawings, sculptures and paintings have received local, regional and national awards and may be found in both public and private collections including the Kansas City Art Institute and the Southern Graphic Print Collection. Wubben’s work has been exhibited in over 200 regional, national and international exhibitions. “I’m lucky to make a living doing what I love and I love printmaking and teaching. Teaching allows me to serve as facilitator for a huge body of creative work,” said Gerry. Wubben’s contributions to printmaking have been recognized by being named as distinguished faculty member by the McNeese Alumni Association in 1999-2000 and honored with a distinguished alumni award from Mesa State College in 2007. He has served as a representative on the Louisiana Division of the Arts panel and was selected Lake Charles Artist of the Year in 2000. He and his wife, Angela (Richard), reside in Moss Bluff with their son, Liam, age 9, and daughter, Avery, age 6.

In terms of sheer ability and skill, it is difficult to deny that the engraver, as artist, excels. The mental and physical control necessary to move the sharp burin upon the metal plate is fine-tuned through the process of drawing and accessible to those who possess the fundamental talent. Once inked and printed, any errors made during the carving process become blatantly apparent. An engraver, therefore, must have the attributes of exactitude and patience along with an unyielding dedication to the use of the burin and the history that stands behind it. Bridget McDaniel Assistant Professor of Art History, McNeese State University

Gerry Wubben


What Will Your Legacy Be? Have you signed “The Giving Pledge?” Unless you are one of the wealthiest individuals and families in America who have committed to giving the majority of their wealth to philanthropy either during their lifetime or after their death… probably not. Your charitable contributions may not reach the billions or even millions of dollars, but your current and planned gifts are no less important to the McNeese State University Foundation.

Evergreen. Durable. Resilient. A Southern Symbol of Strength.

For information on planned giving, visit McNeese Office of Planned Giving P 337.475.5588 F 337.475.5386 Bequests • Charitable Trusts • Gift Annuities • Life Insurance Beneficiary Designation Real Estate • Retirement Plan Designations • Securities • Tangible Personal Property


Foundation Ties Dr. Eric and Sheila Sanders • Donors • Theresa Sanders Scholarship • Members of The 1939 Living Oak Society

Brothers Banding Together Gaining consensus from 250 people may seem virtually impossible, unless they are alumni members in the band of brothers of the Theta-Rho chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity.

The U.S. Army afforded Eric Austin Sanders, D.D.S., the opportunity to obtain a college education when he graduated from Barbe High School and entered military service. After discharge in 1985, Eric returned to Lake Charles and entered McNeese State University. Eric joined Kappa Sigma fraternity in 1969, where he enjoyed the camaraderie Dr. Eric Sanders of spending time with like-minded individuals. “I saw a lot of guys that wouldn’t have been able to graduate from college without the support system provided by the fraternity,” said Eric. “My ‘big brother’ in the fraternity was a role model to me when he went on to become a dentist. In fact, McNeese’s Kappa Sigma chapter has produced many doctors over the years.” In 1989, Eric entered the School of Dentistry at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. After graduation, he moved to DeRidder to practice general dentistry. A pediatric dentistry residency at the University of Texas Health Science Center took him to Houston in 1995. After nine years living away from Southwest Louisiana, Eric felt the call to return home. He opened up his pediatric dentistry practice in Lake Charles in 1997. The bonds developed through his membership in Kappa Sigma have been strong and life long. Seven of eight groomsmen were fraternity brothers at Eric’s wedding to Sheila in 2004. They now have two children, Maya, 5, and Megan, 3. The brothers still enjoy spending time together and playing golf tournaments several times a year. Eric also serves as an adviser to Kappa Sigma fraternity. The original Kappa Sigma Chapter House, built in 1974, saw considerable wear and tear over the years. In disrepair prior to Hurricane Rita, the storm managed to make the house unsalvageable. Another striking blow to the chapter’s survival was its dwindling membership, down to five. In 2006, Dr. Sanders and his band of brothers met to discuss reinvigorating the fraternity by rebuilding the chapter house. Working with the McNeese Foundation, the group formulated a plan for launching a fundraising project with a goal of raising $500,000. Letters were sent to around 800 Kappa Sigma alumni, the Theta-Rho Housing Corp. was formed and a loan secured to begin construction. The house at 4220 Auburn St. was dedicated Oct. 11, 2008. To date, over 250 donors have contributed a total of $360,000 towards the cost of construction and fundraising efforts continue. The three-story Kappa Sigma Fraternity Chapter House is now the envy of fraternity row and is 60-members strong. “McNeese is true to my heart,” stated Eric. “I spent four years here at McNeese and I loved it. “Eric is a first generation college graduate. In addition to supporting the house rebuilding, Dr. and Mrs. Sanders established the Theresa Sanders Scholarship in memory of his mother, a Lake Charles native. They are also members of The 1939 Living Oak Society through their establishment of a planned gift of life insurance proceeds dedicated to the scholarship.

Kappa Sigma members are required to provide volunteer service hours and raise funds for their national fraternity’s signature project, the Fisher House. The Fisher House provides housing for military families to stay close to their loved one during hospitalization for an illness or injury. 13

FOUNDATION TIES Dr. Pankaj and Meera Raj Chandra • Donor • Chandra “Peace” Memorial Scholarship in Engineering

Sharing Peace and Knowledge The dream of a higher education and the opportunity to reach his full potential brought Dr. Pankaj Chandra and his wife, Meera Raj, from India to the United States. Growing up in India, Pankaj saw first hand the poverty that exists in India and wanted a chance to utilize his knowledge and share it with others. “In America you work hard to achieve your goals, and no one prevents you from doing this,” stated Pankaj. Pankaj always knew teaching would be his life profession and a way to give back by sharing his knowledge. His educational influences included his mother, a college professor, his father, a post office employee who always wanted his children to become something more, and his father-in-law, a high school principal. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in physics, chemistry and mathematics from Meerut University in India, he obtained a second bachelor’s degree and a Master of Science degree in mechanical engineering from IIT Roorkee. He then made the move with his wife and two sons to the United States to attend Texas A&M University where he received a doctorate in mechanical engineering in 1987. He was hired as an assistant professor at McNeese State University in the department of engineering by the former dean of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, Dr. O. Carroll Karkalits, and has moved up the ranks to professor. “This was my first job out of college and it will hopefully be my last,” he remarked. Pankaj enjoys teaching because it always makes him feel young. 14

Meera Raj Chandra, mother-in-law Saraswati Devi Chandra and Dr. Pankaj Chandra display a photo of Shanti Chandra, in whose memory the Chandra “Peace” Memorial Scholarship was created through the McNeese Foundation. “You learn every time you teach something. Sometimes you learn how to teach in a different way so that students will better understand. It adds to and enriches your knowledge.”

more,” Pankaj said. “Education is the most important part of life - it opens your mind. If I can give students the same chance to see their dreams come true, then I have done my part.”

Teaching at McNeese allows Pankaj to know his students by name and their background. He often runs into former students and is happy to see them doing well in life. “They ask me if I’m still here at McNeese, and I say, ‘Yes, I’m still here’,” he said with a laugh.

Pankaj received the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2000 and has obtained over $400,000 in grants for research and equipment in the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology.

After his father, Shanti Chandra, passed away in 2009, he and Meera created the Chandra “Peace” Memorial Scholarship to honor his father’s memory. Shanti means “peace” in Hindi. The scholarship is designated for junior female engineering majors. “I recognized that my parents saw the value of education and wanted my siblings and me to be something

He and Meera, a 1999 McNeese graduate, continue to give back to society whether it is through teaching, tutoring or serving as coordinators for India Night, a celebration that showcases the Indian culture and food. “Search your soul and try to give as much as you can,” Pankaj encouraged. “It doesn’t matter what it is – time, money or knowledge – just give.”

FOUNDATION TIES Kevin Shrewsberry • Recipient • Calcasieu Kennel Club Scholarship • Rotary Club of Greater Lake Charles Scholarship • H.C. Drew Scholarship

An Amazing Creation “Starting my first semester at McNeese State University, I began learning real-world applications for my life’s career. I learned how to worm and brand cattle, castrate pigs and dissect other animals. My goal is to work in cattle production. Cattle are such an amazing creation,” said Kevin Shrewsberry, a junior majoring in agricultural sciences with a pre-veterinary medicine concentration. Kevin is the son of Keith, a lead analyst at Louisiana Pigment, and Cindy, a self-employed licensed marriage and family therapist and a two-time McNeese alumna. As a child, Kevin would accompany his mother on trips to the vet’s office. He was fascinated with animals and science from an early age. Hamilton Christian Academy’s strong science curriculum prepared Kevin well for his intended career as a large-animal veterinarian. He has gained handson experience working with small animals at Gill Animal Clinic and with large animals, particularly cattle, at Bayou South Animal Hospital. Kevin chose McNeese based on its pre-veterinary medicine concentration.

“McNeese just felt right. When I entered the Harold and Pearl Dripps Department of Agricultural Sciences, it drew me in. I found it intriguing and cool that the faculty seemed to really take an interest in their students. They have helped mold my future,” stated Kevin. “Tom Shields [assistant professor of agriculture] has been my most influential instructor. He combines textbook material with practical experience to show students what they can do with their own sheep, goats or cows. I confess that my initial motivation for pursuing vet school was primarily financial gain. I now realize that by helping animals, I will also be helping people. It takes time, money and good genetics to produce competitive cattle. I want our cattle to compete with Texas cows. Hopefully, my legacy will be that, ‘He gave his best…’,” said Kevin. Kevin is a recipient of a Calcasieu Kennel Club Scholarship, a Rotary Club of Greater Lake Charles Scholarship and an H.C. Drew Scholarship. “The cost of books is unbelievably expensive. I appreciate every scholarship I have received. The donors have stayed with me all the way through school and have been big blessings in my life,” said Kevin.

“My choice to enroll in the McNeese Department of Agricultural Sciences has been one of the best decisions I have made. I owe everything I have learned and will continue to learn to the faculty in that department.”

Kevin is a quiet, serious student and highly motivated to be accepted into veterinary medicine school. The odds of a student being accepted into veterinary medicine school are low compared to acceptance into medical or law school. Since there are so few vet schools, only eight of every 100 qualified students applying get accepted. Every state has several medical and law schools but not every state has a vet school. Dr. Edward Ferguson Assistant Professor and Adviser Harold and Pearl Dripps Department of Agricultural Sciences


Moment in History THE McNEESE FACULTY

Wives Club

of the people I met a long time ago through the Faculty Wives Club.”

Women on the faculty were invited to join the club as the McNeese faculty diversified. As the years progressed, more and more women were joining the work force and interest in club activities waned. The club officially disbanded in 1990.

While it now takes many households two incomes to make ends meet, there was a time not so long ago that only one spouse had outside employment. The spouse charged with running the household and rearing the children was certainly working, just not for pay. For spouses of McNeese State University employees, the Faculty Wives Club provided a welcome relief from the day-to-day responsibilities of being a full-time homemaker. The McNeese Faculty Wives Club was established in 1952 for the purpose of promoting fellowship among the wives of the faculty through social, cultural and educational activities. Membership was open to the wives of current, retired or deceased faculty and administrators. Lillie Frazar, wife of McNeese President Lether E. Frazar (1950-55), hosted an organizational meeting to initiate the Faculty Wives Club at the Pioneer Club in downtown Lake Charles. Mrs. Frazar served as the club’s sponsor and as its first honorary president. In March 1953, the constitution and by-laws were adopted and signed by 25 charter members. The Club hosted social events such as newcomer teas, style shows, bridge groups and dinner 16

dances. It also offered educational programming including book reviews and nutritional counseling. Meetings were held in the evenings in the girl’s dormitory lobby or the Ranch. According to Betty, wife of former forestry instructor Paul Kitt, the Faculty Wives Club served as a wonderful outlet for non-working spouses to spend time together and to leave their cares at home. The Club also served as the “Welcome Wagon” in introducing new incoming faculty to McNeese and the area. Meeting hostesses rotated, taking turns to prepare food and beverages for the guests. By 1963, the Faculty Wives Club was 80 members strong. Monthly meeting dues, which started out at $3 per year, were raised to $5. McNeese Faculty Wives Club activities were common features in the Lake Charles American Press, the Beaumont Enterprise, the Beacon and the Contraband newspapers. The Club even had its own newsletter. Billie Faye, wife of the former Dean of the School of Sciences and Technology, Stephen M. Spencer, said, “The Club was a great way for faculty wives to feel that they were part of McNeese. Our children got to know each other by swimming together at the Chennault Air Base pool and by attending park outings. I still have a connection with many

The McNeese Archives and Special Collections, under the direction of Pati Threatt, maintains scrapbooks, yearbooks, photos, minutes and other memorabilia from the McNeese Faculty Wives Club (1952-89).

Examples of club programming: Pirates of Penzance (1953) Vacation Togs for the Younger Generation (1964-65) The Wives Wonderful World of Wigs and Wiglets (1964-65) Stocks, Bonds and Women (1968-69) Hawaiian Luau (1968-69) Christmas Crafts (1970-71) Sculpture (1971-72) The Cat’s Meow, Dancing and Band (1971-72) Taste and Tell (1976-77) Family Investing (1983-84)

BrandingWhat do people think of when they hear “McNeese State University?” That is what “branding” is all about. A brand is not simply a name, a logo, a family of marks, a motto or a slogan. Your brand is what sets your organization apart, what makes it distinctive, what defines your reputation. Last fall semester, McNeese President Philip Williams and the Office of University Image conducted two campus-wide brainstorming sessions. Participants at these informal meetings were asked what messages and images should be conveyed in the McNeese advertising and marketing materials. Several ideas were consistently repeated: • Get McNeese students involved in the marketing and advertising initiatives; • Demonstrate the University’s impact on the community; and • Utilize McNeese alumni and their success stories in our advertising and marketing materials. “In the brainstorming sessions, we also heard repeatedly that we should emphasize that a degree from McNeese takes hard work, that McNeese graduates are competitive with graduates from flagship and other renowned universities and that our advertising and marketing efforts should instill a sense of prestige about the University and a sense of pride in the students, parents, community and alumni,” said McNeese Marketing Coordinator Virginia Karg. Information from the brainstorming sessions was used by the External Communications Advisory Team to create a new advertising and marketing slogan. This new campaign slogan will replace the “Become a Cowboy” campaign that has been in use for several years—it does not replace the McNeese motto “Excellence with a Personal Touch” that was selected in 1987 during the University’s 50th anniversary. “Our campaign slogan should be broad enough to speak to all of our target audiences but specific to McNeese. It should strengthen the University’s brand and it will be used consistently throughout all marketing and advertising media and in all other applicable communications that promote the University,” Karg said.

The External Communications Advisory Team selected “Meet Your Opportunity: Dream. Drive. Discover.” and it is already in use in television commercials announcing summer and fall registration. Branding is also about maintaining a consistent look. “We have been working with a firm that specializes in branding and corporate identity to develop a distinctive typeface, or font, and to incorporate that into the block M logo,” Karg explained. The new font and updated block M are featured on the horse and rider logo that athletics is phasing in to create a unique and consistent look to the athletics website, athletics complex signage and uniforms. “The horse and rider logo has not changed,” Karg said. “We simply updated the mark with our own unique block M.” In a message to the campus, Dr. Williams said, “Another exciting development is the creation of a separate, original, logo that will be available for both internal use and for retail merchandise. Focus groups will review and discuss this new mark very soon and we hope to launch this new logo in time for football season.”   It takes time to develop or revise official logos and marks and they must be protected. The offices of University Image and Public Information and Communications are working together to develop comprehensive guidelines for how the marks and the new campaign slogan will be used. This is truly a work in progress! 17

McNeese Impacts Student’s Life in Positive Way My time at McNeese State University will always be a special part of my life. As I look back over the past four years, I realize that the friends and memories I have made will last a lifetime. My educational experiences, as well as my fond memories here at McNeese, will provide me with the sound investment I need to reach my future goals. This investment was made possible due in large part to the scholarships I received through the McNeese Foundation. I thank all of the donors for allowing me this wonderful opportunity. I know that my experiences at McNeese have impacted my life in a very positive way.

Jada O’Blanc Senior, Civil Engineering Major


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 email to You are also encouraged to visit the Foundation website at for further information about our activities or methods of giving.

First Name:

Last Name:

Street Address: City:


Home Phone:

Cell Phone:

Work Phone:

Email Address: Preferred Method of Contact:



Home #

Work #

Cell #


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



Pillars Staff EDITOR Marianne White Coordinator of Planned Giving and Donor Research

STAFF WRITER Jennifer Pitre Planned Giving and Donor Research Specialist

ART DIRECTION, DESIGN, PHOTOGRAPHY Anne Cobb Graphic Designer/Multimedia Specialist

Renee LeLeux Public Information Officer II

OTHER FOUNDATION STAFF Pam McGough Coordinator of Athletic Development

Dr. Jeanne Daboval, from left, provost and vice president of academic affairs, President Philip C. Williams and College of Science Dean George Mead chat prior to the processional at December’s graduation ceremony. Williams gave his first welcoming address as president to the fall class of 2010.

Melissa Ellis Northcutt Director of Development Operations and Special Events

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.

Richard H. Reid Vice President of Development and Public Affairs/Executive Vice President, McNeese Foundation

Clarification - There was an error in the timeline given in the Fall 2010 issue of “Flying High as a Para-Poke.” The editor regrets the mistake.

Beryl Romero Administrative Specialist

Pam Tate Gift Management Specialist

Correction - The 2011 Scholarship Brunch Program should have read, “Calvin A. Hays, Jr. Memorial Scholarship.”

Contact Information

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


McNeese Foundation, Box 91989, Lake Charles, LA 70609

Francis G. Bulber Auditorium



McNeese Foundation Spring 2011 magazine


McNeese Foundation Spring 2011 magazine