Enrolled are 14,594 students representing 43 states and 66 countries. During the 1990s Southeastern was the fastest-growing college in the United States. The university is the third largest in Louisiana, trailing only LSU and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Southeastern's colors are green and gold, and the mascot is the Lions. Southeastern's sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (FCS for football) in the Southland Conference.
The Hammond campus is located 45 miles (72 km) east of Baton Rouge and 60 miles (97 km) northwest of New Orleans.
What began as a junior college supported by local taxes developed into a major university as Southeastern has grown to meet the evolving needs of southeast Louisiana and the Florida parishes.
On July 7, 1925, the voters overwhelmingly approved a bond issue that created Hammond Junior College. Operated under the auspices of the Tangipahoa Parish School Board, Sims opened the doors on September 13, 1925, with a faculty of three women and two men and 40 students. The two-year coeducational institution offered basic undergraduate work in arts and sciences that culminated in a teaching certificate.
Rapidly increasing enrollments quickly forced the college out of its two rooms in Hammond High School. In 1927, voters supported the purchase of the Hunter Leake estate on Hammond’s north end. In 1928, Hammond Junior College became Southeastern Louisiana College, formally adopted into the state educational system under the control of the State Board of Education. The purchase of 60 acres (240,000 m2) adjoining the original 15-acre (61,000 m2) plot provided the space to develop a suitable campus. In 1934, a state bond issue provided for the construction of McGehee Hall and a gymnasium.
Lucius McGehee Hall was built in 1935. As of 2009 it is the oldest building constructed by the University. McGehee Hall is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1937, the State Board of Education authorized curricula for four-year programs in liberal arts, teacher education, business administration, music, social sciences, and physical education. The first baccalaureate degrees were conferred in May 1939.
Voter approval of Act 388 in 1938, 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 support.
On January 18, 1946, the State Board made available funds to purchase seven city blocks east and west of the campus, and 275 acres (1.11 km2) of land north and northwest of the campus, increasing Southeastern’s total area to approximately 365 acres (1.48 km2).
On March 3, 1946, Southeastern was formally approved and accepted into full membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), as a four-year degree-granting institution.
After World War II, returning G.I.s 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. In 1948, the U.S. Navy contributed two steel barracks for use as dormitories including McNeely Hall (which was demolished in 2007).
In 1960, 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 in 1967. The War Memorial Student Union, constructed in the mid-1960s, is the only student union building in the United States dedicated to alumni who died in World War II. In 1969, the college awarded its first Distinguished Alumnus Award to jazz pianist Bill Evans. Governor John McKeithen on June 16, 1970, signed into law the legislative act turning Southeastern Louisiana College into Southeastern Louisiana University. Early 1970s also saw the construction of D Vickers, the Athletics Building, and the C.E. Cate Teacher Education Building.
After years of planning and fundraising, the Southeastern Louisiana University Center was constructed. An 8000-seat (more if the floor level is used) arena, the University Center hosts all home basketball games and a variety of civic, cultural, and big-name entertainment events.
In October 1986, 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 Lake Pontchartrain's Northshore Area, Fanfare has an educational-outreach program that works closely with local schools. In October 2005, Fanfare proudly celebrated its 20th anniversary.
Southeastern’s enrollment, continually increasing since its inception, reached an important milestone in 1997, registering over 15 thousand students for the fall semester. Pervasive professional accreditations, such as accreditation of the College of Business by AACSB, and excellent egress from/to I-55 and I-12 figure significantly in the increase. From its founding in 1925 until 2009, Southeastern has conferred more than 50,000 degrees.
As Southeastern celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2000, the fall semester marked an exciting change as Southeastern implemented screened admissions standards for the first time. Also during the 2000–2001 academic year, the Village, Fayard Hall, and the Claude B. Pennington, Jr., Student Activity Center were completed.
In May 2001, Southeastern received full approval from the Board of Regents for its first new graduate degree program in more than a decade, an MS in Integrated Science and Technology. Since then, Southeastern received approval for seven additional programs: MA in Organizational Communications, MS in Applied Sociology, BS in Athletic Training, BS in Health Education & Promotion, BS in Health Studies, BS in Occupational Health, Safety & Environment, and Master of Arts in Teaching.
In 2001 Southeastern took ownership of the historic Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in downtown Hammond. The theater is operated by a separate foundation and presents a variety of theatrical works, concerts, and dance performances.
In Fall 2003, Southeastern hit a record enrollment of 15,662 students. Fall 2003 also saw the return of football to Strawberry Stadium, after an 18-year hiatus. The Lions completed the season 5–7.
In the fall of 2004, 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.
In Fall 2005, Southeastern began its first year under the full Board of Regents Master Plan admissions criterion. In the same semester Southeastern, which was virtually undamaged by Hurricane Katrina, absorbed some two thousand students whom the storm had displaced from institutions in New Orleans. North of the War Memorial Student Union is a large fountain constructed and dedicated in 2007 to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita; as of 2009 it is the only such memorial fountain in existence.
John Alario (R – Jefferson Parish), dean of the Louisiana State Senate, is a graduate of Southeastern. Another Southeastern alumnus was the late State Representative Donald Ray Kennard, who began representing parts of East Baton Rouge and Livingston parishes starting in 1976. Kennard is also a former president of the Southeastern Alumni Association. See also Southeastern Louisiana University alumni.
Southeastern offers has its University Center for commencement exercises of high schools throughout the Northshore Region and actively encouraging area high school students to continue on to the university level.
Southeastern owns the Columbia Theatre for the Performing Arts in Hammond's Historic District. First opened in 1928, the Columbia was acquired by the university in the 1990s and renovated in the amount of $5.6 million. The large foyer is dedicated to the late State Senator John Hainkel, who was instrumental in obtaining the funding for the renovation.
Southeastern Louisiana University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to award degrees at the Associate, Baccalaureate and Master's levels. Southeastern has been accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools since 1946.
Southeastern consists of five colleges with 18 academic departments and programs offering over 60 degree programs.
Southeastern's state-of-the-art library houses several important collections, including the Morrison Room, the Rayburn Collection, the Pineywoods People Exhibits, and the Center for Regional Studies.
Southeastern offers nursing curricula in Hammond and Baton Rouge. In a consortium with the University of Louisiana at Lafayette Southeastern offers a master of science in nursing.
Southeastern became a doctoral-granting institution in 2005 with the inauguration of a doctor of education in higher education leadership.
Southeastern's business programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Southeastern was the first institution in Louisiana to achieve AACSB's separate and special accreditation in accounting. Graduates of both the MBA program and the Executive MBA program are serving widely in education and industry.
In the aftermath of Tulane University's post-Katrina decision to close several engineering programs including computer engineering, Southeastern received approval from the Louisiana Board of Regents to develop an undergraduate curriculum in engineering technology within the Department of Computer Science & Industrial Technology. Dr Cris Koutsougeras was hired from Tulane to head that Department.Southeastern's main campus is located in Hammond in Tangipahoa Parish.
Baton Rouge Center, Baton Rouge. The focus is nursing education.
St. Tammany Center, Abita Springs
Livingston Parish Literacy and Technology Center, Walker
Turtle Cove Environmental Research Station, a field research and educational facility located in Manchac, Louisiana, to study the Lake Pontchartrain estuarine ecosystem.
Alfred J. Cox
John L. Crain
Michael L. Kurtz
Joe Gray Taylor
George T. Walker
Southeastern Louisiana sponsors 16 NCAA Division I level varsity teams compete in the Southland Conference.
Southeastern has several state-of-the-art athletic facilities, including an eight-lane all-weather running track completed in 2011 (see inset).
Southeastern's major campus media and publications are the Lion's Roar (newspaper), KSLU (FM radio station), ByLion (weekly online publication), the Southeastern Channel (public access cable television channel), and Le Souvenir (official yearbook).
The Lion's Roar is the official newspaper of the students of Southeastern Louisiana University. Distributed on Tuesdays, it is published weekly during regular semesters and monthly during the summer semester. The Lion's Roar is planned, written, designed, created, and published by the students of Southeastern Louisiana University working in the Office of Student Publications, a part of the Division of Student Affairs. The Lion's Roar has been in continuous publication since 1937.
Southeastern's KSLU-FM radio station began operation on November 11, 1974, as a radio club at the university, operating at 10 watts of power. Initially the station was on the air a few hours a day during the week; the transmitter was turned off during weekends and holidays. Thanks to support from the Student Government Association and self-assessed fees of the student body, in 1983 the station qualified for membership in the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Since that time the station has grown to 3,000 watts, the maximum allowed because of the crowded 88–92 MHz band and the university's proximity to Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
In 1988, KSLU became the first radio station in the South to install a digital touchscreen operating system. The installation was featured in Broadcast Engineering magazine and visited by radio personnel from across the world.
The broadcast schedule offers non-commercial programs, with offerings including local talk shows, entertainment and sports news, campus and community activities.
In 1993, an emergency-situation room was added using amateur radio equipment purchased with grants from State Farm Insurance and Louisiana Power & Light (a subsidiary of Entergy). During critical times, this room is staffed by local ham operators, members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service in the Florida Parishes area.
In the past, the station produced several political forums which were fed to all public radio stations in Louisiana and to commercial stations via the Louisiana News Network.
The year 1996 brought another phase as KSLU began broadcasting globally via the internet, enabling families of international and out-of-state students to hear live university events.
A job at KSLU was the start of the media career of Robin Roberts.
ByLion is published weekly online (bi-weekly during the summer session) for the faculty and staff of Southeastern Louisiana University. This newspaper is very popular among freshman students.
The Southeastern Channel officially began July 9, 2002, and less than five years later had established itself as one of the premier university television channels nationwide.
The Southeastern Channel won four Telly Awards in 2007. Staff member Steve Zaffuto won two Bronze Tellys for animation of "Native Sounds" and "Current Events" promotions, and Josh Kapusinski won a first-place Silver Telly for animation and a Bronze Telly for editing the "Florida Parish Chronicles" promo. Josh Kapusinski’s “Florida Parish Chronicles” promo won a 2006 Emmy Award in the Suncoast Region.
Alumni of the public-access TV channel include Randi Rousseau, Christopher Guagliardo, Chris Lecoq, Matt Milton, Nick Brilleaux, Robbie Rhodes, Travis Connelley, Tim Tregle, Tim Tully, John Reis, Allen Waddell, Whitney Magee, and Chris Coleman.
Le Souvenir is the official student yearbook of Southeastern. It is published annually and distributed to the student body in the fall semester. Le Souvenir is planned, written, designed, created, and published by the students of Southeastern working in the Office of Student Publications, a part of the Division of Student Affairs. Le Souvenir (French for "the memory") has been in continuous publication since 1929.