Tell us about yourself.
I'm a native of Sulphur, Louisiana. I grew up in a fairly typical middle-class family. I have four brothers and two sisters. My father was a businessman and my mother was a teacher. My father's family is from Cameron Parish and my mother grew up near Thibodaux. I attended Our Lady's School in grades 1-8 and then attended public school for my middle and high school years. I am a graduate of Sulphur High School, Class of 1972, and I enrolled as a freshman at UL (then USL) in the Fall of 1972. I've been in Lafayette ever since.
While I was in high school, I participated in several speech and debate tournaments at UL and always enjoyed being on the campus. I was already familiar with Lafayette. My mother, who is a 1940 graduate of the university (then SLI), would stop in town to visit friends on our regular family trips to visit my grandmother in Thibodaux. We would always drive through the campus. We also stopped by Evangeline Maid Bakery for hot french bread. Those are good memories.
The summer between my junior and senior years in high school, I participated in a summer leadership program at LSU. I didn't feel as comfortable there as I did here at UL. Because of the familiarity and comfort level, I decided to come to UL for college. It's a decision I'll never regret.
What were you like as an undergrad?
I had a lot of fun and made a lot of friends.
I majored in Social Studies Education. I wanted to be a high school history teacher. I had, and still have, a particular interest in Louisiana History. I was fairly active in school activities as a member of the Union Program Council, Student Government Association, the Interfraternity Council, and I was dorm counselor. I was a member of Kappa Sigma fraternity, which was a fairly rambunctious group then. The chapter got into some big trouble during my sophomore year, and that event led me down a path that changed my career.
One of the sororities was going through its initiation of pledges. Back then, part of their initiation process for this sorority's pledges was to go to all the fraternity houses and get a signature from the president of the fraternity. Some Einstein in my fraternity came up with the bright idea that when the pledge came to the door, she would be invited in and everyone would stand up to do a group moon.
As it turns out, the girl was the daughter of an influential judge from New Orleans, so the fraternity got in a lot of trouble. All of the officers were suspended and the chapter was put on probation. Luckily, I had to leave early because of my duties as a dorm counselor. There were only five or six of us not there at the time, so we became the new officers. I became the president of the fraternity as a sophomore. I served five terms. Because we were in and out of trouble for a couple of years, I became a regular in the Dean of Students office. The relationships I developed there led to a job in student affairs which was advising campus organizations, my first job on a college campus. I've been in higher education ever since.