Southeastern Louisiana University began as a grass-roots movement by the people of Hammond and the
surrounding area, who recognized the need for an institution of higher education in order to further
the educational, economic and cultural development of southeast Louisiana. What began as a junior
college supported by local taxes has developed into a major university as Southeastern has grown to
meet the evolving needs of southeast Louisiana.



Voters overwhelmingly approved a bond issue that created Hammond Junior College.

Operated under the auspices of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, President
Linus A. Sims opened the doors with a faculty of three women, two men and 40

The two-year co-educational institution offered basic undergraduate work in arts
and sciences that culminated in a teaching certificate.



Voters supported the purchase of the Hunter Leake estate on Hammond’s north end.



Hammond Junior College became Southeastern Louisiana College, formally adopted
into the state educational system under the control of the State Board of

The purchase of sixty acres adjoining the original fifteen-acre plot provided the
space to develop a suitable campus.



A state bond issue provided for the construction of McGehee Hall and a gymnasium.



The State Board of Education authorized curricula for four-year programs in
liberal arts, teacher education, business administration, music, social sciences
and physical education.



Voter approval of Act No. 388, an amendment to the 1920 Louisiana Constitution,
granted Southeastern Louisiana College the same legal status as other four-year
colleges. The amendment did not, however, require the state to fund Southeastern
at the level of other institutions of higher education, despite strong local



The first baccalaureate degrees were conferred.



The State Board made available funds to purchase seven city blocks east and west
of the campus, and 275 acres of land north and northwest of the campus,
increasing Southeastern’s total area to approximately 365 acres.

Southeastern was formally approved and accepted into full membership in the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) as
a four-year degree-granting institution.



After World War II, returning GIs caused exponential growth of the college,
necessitating construction of classrooms, a student union, a cafeteria, a health
center, dormitories, apartments for married students and many surplus temporary
buildings donated by the federal government. The U.S. Navy contributed two steel
barracks for use as dormitories.



The State Board authorized Southeastern to offer master’s degrees through the
newly formed Division of Graduate Studies.



Southeastern began awarding the Education Specialist degree.



Governor John J. McKeithen signed into law the legislative act turning
Southeastern Louisiana College into Southeastern Louisiana University.

D. Vickers Hall, the Athletics Building and the C.E. Cate Teacher Education
Building were constructed in the early 1970s.



A group of faculty members launched Fanfare, a festival celebrating the arts,
humanities and sciences. Since then, Fanfare has become an acclaimed month long
event, drawing nationally and internationally recognized artists and providing
recognition for those closer to home. In addition to providing entertainment for
the Northshore, Fanfare has an educational outreach program that works closely
with local schools.



More than 15,000 students registered to attend Southeastern for the fall



Southeastern celebrated its 75th anniversary.



Southeastern received full approval from the Board of Regents for its first new
graduate degree program in more than a decade, a Master of Science in Integrated
Science and Technology.

The Southeastern Village Complex, Fayard Hall and the Claude B. Pennington, Jr.,
Student Activity Center were completed.



Southeastern hit a record enrollment of 15,662 students.

Southeastern also saw the return of football to Strawberry Stadium after an
18-year hiatus. The Lions completed the season 5-7.



Southeastern began implementing portions of the Board of Regents Master Plan
admissions criteria, a full year ahead of schedule and before any other schools
in the state.



Southeastern began its first year under the full Board of Regents Master Plan
admissions criterion.

Fanfare proudly celebrated its 20th anniversary.

On August 29, just six days into the semester, Hurricane Katrina hit southeast
Louisiana, devastating the parishes of St. Bernard, Orleans, Jefferson,
Plaquemines and St. Tammany, as well as the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Southeastern
fared well and suffered no major structural damages (although the University
campus did lose many trees). After the storm, Southeastern was able to play an
instrumental role in the relief effort by providing housing for the National
Guard, disaster relief teams from across the country and utility workers. The
University also provided housing for its displaced faculty, staff and students
as it re-opened its doors on September 6. In addition, the University re-opened
enrollment and provided housing for many displaced students from other
universities and community colleges in the disaster area; this also included the
hiring of several displaced faculty from these institutions. By the 14th class
day, in spite of Katrina, Southeastern had again enrolled a record-breaking
number of students: 16,068.



Southeastern was given approval to offer its first doctoral level program: a
doctorate in educational leadership designed to prepare a new generation of
school principals, district superintendents and other administrators. The
program is offered in consortium with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.



Southeastern dedicated a new campus fountain as a memorial to the victims of
hurricanes Katrina and Rita and to the citizens who responded in the wake of the
sister storms that ravished the Gulf Coast region in 2005.

Southeastern launched a free shuttle bus service called Lion Traxx to transport
students, faculty and staff across campus.



Southeastern began offering a 100 percent online bachelor’s degree in nursing to
registered nurses who hold associate degree or diploma programs. The program is
part of a statewide adult learning initiative known as CALL (Continuum for All
Louisiana Learners).



Dr. John L. Crain was invested as Southeastern’s 14th president.

ACT scores among incoming freshmen reached 21.7, an increase over both state
(20.1) and national (21.1) averages.



Southeastern announced an increase in admissions standards for the fall semester.

Southeastern’s GRAD Act agreement was approved by the Louisiana Board of Regents.



Southeastern announced its 100 percent online family nurse practitioner program
offered through the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in
Nursing, a partnership involving Southeastern, the University of
Louisiana-Lafayette and McNeese State University.



Southeastern began offering a doctor of nursing practice degree in consortium
with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.



Southeastern began offering a new accelerated bachelor’s degree in information
technology program to meet local workforce demands.

Southeastern’s football team competed in and won the first NCAA playoff game in
school history.



Southeastern’s School of Nursing celebrated its 50th anniversary.

The first phase of the $32 million Student Union renovation and construction
project opened.



New Computer Science and Technology Building opens on campus. The 70,000 square
foot facility houses computer science, information technology, engineering
technology, industrial technology, and occupational safety, health and
environment programs.

Southeastern named one of the lead higher education institutions of a
public-private partnership to meet workforce demands created by the arrival of
DXC Technology, the world’s leading independent Information Technology (IT)
services and solutions company, in southeast Louisiana.



Southeastern opens two new residence halls, Ascension Hall and Twelve Oaks Hall,
which feature a hybrid geothermal system that draws from 220 geothermal wells
situated 300 feet underground to heat and cool 556 rooms. That system is the
first of its kind for any university or state building in Louisiana and the
second largest site in the country to use such a system. It is projected to
reduce energy costs by more than 50 percent, and will also serve as a learning
laboratory for real world experiences for students in various disciplines.



The biology building was officially renamed “Thelma Ryan Biological Science Building.” This change was made in honor of the mother of Seth W. Ryan, who made the largest single donation in Southeastern’s history, an endowment totaling $10 million.

The first collegiate recovery program in the state, Lion Up Recovery, was established by Southeastern.

The landmark lion statue in Friendship Circle, near Strawberry Stadium, was unveiled. Standing 65” tall and 82” from head to tail, and composed of bronze, this statue would become one of the most photographed and iconic spots on campus.



In March 2020, with the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the country and the region, Southeastern temporarily moved all classes to remote learning for the remainder of the spring semester and for the entirety of the summer semester. The university also quickly developed opportunities for online engagement, procured masks for the campus community and developed stringent cleaning procedures to enhance a safe return to campus, and dispersed over $5 million to students via the federal CARES Act.



Southeastern reinvented its visual identity with the launch of new logos for both the university and athletics. After a years’ long process of research and development in identifying and reimaging a unified brand that best resonates with the university’s audiences, the full scale of Southeastern’s new brand would be launched the following year.

On August 29, Hurricane Ida made landfall, leaving a wake of devastation across the region. Several of Southeastern’s structures, including Pottle Music Building Auditorium and D Vickers Hall, sustained significant damage.



After an extensive renovation, the Alumni Center (originally built in 1994) was reopened and given the new name “Alumni Visitor Center.” The renovation arose through a push to better serve the university’s alumni community, creating a more open and welcoming space as well as an added outdoor venue to enhance programming.



After serving as president since 2009, and in roles including interim president and provost prior to that, Dr. John L. Crain announced his retirement. Dr. William S. Wainwright was selected as Southeastern’s 15th president that summer and invested in the fall.

Since 1925, many dedicated individuals have led Southeastern from a junior
college to the vibrant university it is today: Linus A. Sims, 1925-1933; Y. L.
Fontenot, 1933-1937; J. Leon Clark, 1937-1944; George W. Bond, 1944-1945;
Gladney J. Tinsley, 1945-1951; Clark L. Barrow, 1952-1953; Luther Dyson,
1953-1967; J. B. Wooley, 1967-1968; Clea E. Parker, 1968-1980; J. Larry Crain,
1980-1986; G. Warren Smith, 1986-1995; Sally Clausen, 1995-2001; Randy Moffett,
2001-2008; John L. Crain, 2009-2023; William S. Wainwright, 2023-Present.