Southeastern's 2015 yearbook cover art holds special meaning

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 Le Souvenir
by: Tonya Lowentritt

MEMORABLE ARTWORK – A lion drawn by Jeffery Lynn Kirk, a decorated veteran and the deceased son and brother of Southeastern Louisiana University alumni, adorns the cover of the 2015 “LeSouvenir,” the university’s annual student yearbook. With a theme of “Memories,” this year’s annual features original cover art with special meaning to the university family. Every Southeastern student is entitled to a copy, which can be picked up at the Student Union, suite 1303, during regular university hours.


     HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University’s 2015 edition of “Le Souvenir,” the university’s annual student yearbook, holds special meaning for a recent graduate and his family.
     As the final deadline to turn in artwork for the 2015 yearbook approached, Editor-in-Chief Fernanda Chagas faced a challenge. Although Chagas, a senior graphic design and printmaking major from Belo Horizonte, Brazil, knew she wanted a graphic of the Southeastern mascot – a lion – on the cover of the annual, none of the designs met her expectations.
     “My initial idea for the cover was to have an illustrated lion,” Chagas said. “We haven’t had a lion on the cover for a while, and I wanted to create something that would stand out. I tried creating several versions, and none seemed right.”
     Then Chagas had a conversation with friend Lisa Kirk of Abita Springs, which turned everything around.
     “When I learned that Fernanda was looking for a lion, I knew I had one that my son Jeffery Lynn had drawn,” said Kirk. “I didn’t know if she would use it, but I said, ‘If you want it, it’s yours.’ It was like it was meant to be. It was fate.”
     The Lion artwork was drawn by Jeffery (“Lynn” - as his family calls him) Kirk, the deceased son of Lisa and her husband Southeastern graduate Peter Kirk, and brother of Southeastern alumnus Benjamin Kirk.
     Chagas said the artwork was perfect and exactly what she had envisioned for the cover.
     “The theme of the yearbook is memories, which made the cover even more special. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to use this illustration,” Chagas said. “It was the last piece of the puzzle I’ve been working on for the past year.”
     When the time came for the Kirks’ children to attend college, their eldest son Lynn knew he wanted to enter military service first. He enlisted in the Marine Corps a few months shortly after his high school graduation.
     Lynn Kirk not only excelled in the military, but also in art. Although he had never received formal art training, according to his mother, he often created designs for t-shirts or tattoos at the request of his follow soldiers.
     After serving his first tour in the Middle East, Lynn Kirk volunteered for a second tour of duty. His mother said even after being wounded in action in Fallujah, he opted to stay with his unit rather than coming home. In the fall of 2004, he and five fellow Marines were killed in a firefight with enemy combatants. For his valor and gallantry in combat, he was awarded the Silver Star and the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster.
     In his honor, the Kirk family purchased a commemorative brick sponsored by the Southeastern Foundation. The brick bearing Jeffery Lynn’s name now rests with others in the patio overlooking Friendship Oak.
     Kirk’s younger brother Benjamin graduated from Southeastern this past May with a degree in accounting and is currently employed in the Northshore area. With his brother’s artwork featured on the cover of the yearbook, Benjamin Kirk now has deeper connections with the university.
     “It took on a new meaning for me to see the artwork on my senior yearbook,” said Benjamin Kirk. “It made me feel proud to know that I’ll be able to look at it in the future, and it will have the good memories of my college experience and of my brother.”

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