HAMMOND---Saturday, Dec. 14, is Southeastern's fall commencement, and for the first time in the university's history, there will be two ceremonies to accommodate the graduating class.
A ceremony for graduates of degree programs housed in the College of Education, College of Business and College of Science and Technology will begin at 10 a.m., while a ceremony for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences and the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences will begin at 5 p.m.
The university will confer more than 1,000 degrees on students who are graduating with bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees.
Motorists and visitors planning to attend Southeastern Louisiana University’s commencement ceremonies on Saturday, Dec 14, should anticipate heavy traffic and route changes affecting University Avenue (Hwy. 3234) between Interstate 55 and North Cherry Street.
Retired State Farm Executive Wallace Lewis, Sr. will address Southeastern graduating students at the 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. ceremonies, where more than 1,000 students will receive associate, bachelor, master and doctoral degrees in the University Center.
University Police Captain Carmen Bray said the section of University Avenue between Lion Lane and SGA Drive will be restricted from 7 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. that day. Local traffic will be allowed to proceed on University Avenue for as long as possible but will be diverted through the campus as congestion increases.
Prior to commencement, the University Center parking areas are expected to fill early, and all traffic on University Avenue will be diverted to main campus via North General Pershing Street and SGA Drive. Eastbound commencement traffic will be diverted to Lion Lane for parking at the University Center, and westbound commencement traffic will be diverted to the campus at SGA Drive.
“Traffic will begin to get heavy early in the morning and again in the afternoon,” said Bray. “We anticipate the parking areas around the University Center to be filled an hour before each ceremony.”
Additional parking spaces around the University Center will be set aside for vehicles with appropriate handicapped placards. Individuals requiring handicap accommodations should try to arrive as early as possible, as handicapped parking is available on a first come, first served basis.
Vacant parking spaces in the Southeastern Oaks/Greek Village complex will also be used for this event. Residents are requested to use the back gate near the laundry facility and maintenance warehouse for entering and exiting between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Southeastern Lion Traxx shuttle buses will be in operation before and after the ceremony to accommodate those parking in outlying areas or needing special transportation assistance, Bray said. Shuttle stops will be marked with signs and/or canopies.
Drivers not attending commencement are asked to use U.S. 190 (Thomas Street and Morris Street) or Natalbany Road (Hwy. 1064) to avoid University Avenue traffic.
Southeastern students wishing to return rental textbooks that day should do so on an alternate date.
Retired State Farm Executive Wallace Lewis, Sr. will address this fall's graduating class.
Lewis is a retired multi-faceted executive with broad-based experience in business start-ups. A 1976 graduate of Southeastern with a bachelor’s degree in business education, he is currently a board member of the Southeastern Foundation, is a current elder member mentor for Southeastern Sons of Promise/Daughters of Destiny, and has served on the Southeastern Alumni Association Board.
A resident of Hammond, Lewis has over 40 years of experience in insurance, financial services, banking, management, field leadership, regional territory marketing and sales, market expansion, market research, team development, public speaking, and talent development.
Lewis has experienced many firsts over the years. While he was the first African American hired for First Guaranty Bank’s Management Training Program, most of his firsts came from his 32-year tenure with State Farm. There he was the first African American agent in Tangipahoa Parish, the first appointed as an agency manager in the three-state region of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana, the first to appear in a nationwide television commercial for State Farm, and the first African American to be featured by State Farm in “Black Enterprise Magazine.”
Lewis is also a published author of a book titled “125 Proverbs for Fruitful Living-Wisdom from My Dad.”
More information about Saturday's commencement exercises:
Watch the ceremony online on the Southeastern Channel’s live stream.
Maps, Parking, Shuttle
Parking: Complimentary parking is available in all campus parking lots to guests attending the commencement ceremony. Guests walking from South Campus to the University Center should utilize the tunnel for the safest route.
Accessible parking at the University Center is limited and is on a first-come basis. Please note that disabled plates and/or hang tags are required to secure space in lots reserved for accessible commencement parking.
Shuttle: A complimentary commencement shuttle will be available on to transport guests from (the Gen Pershing and Univ/Oak Street parking lots) to the University Center. The shuttle will operate before and following the ceremony. One (1) bus will have wheelchair accessibility.
Map: To assist with planning, shuttle stops, suggested parking lots, and traffic routes are noted below.
The doors to the University Center will be opened for guests at least one hour before the start of the ceremony. We kindly ask that you refrain from saving seats out of consideration for other guests. Seating is available on a first-come basis so groups should plan to arrive early to find seats together.
Commencement is a ceremonious occasion honoring your student’s accomplishments. Decorum and courtesy are important to you, as well as to all degree candidates and their families. Guests and graduates are encouraged to remain for the duration of the ceremony.
Once seated, all participants are expected to stay until the conclusion of the ceremony.
Cell phones and other electronic devices should be silenced.
Candidates should plan to meet their guests outside the University Center as guests are not allowed on the arena floor or stage.
Southeastern maintains the historic tradition of each degree candidate shaking hands with the President as his/her name is called. The last degree candidate is as important as the first so we ask guests to be considerate and keep celebratory applause to a minimum so that each graduate’s name can be heard.
For security purposes, all commencement attendees are asked to limit the handbags, camera bags, and tote bags they bring with them to only those that are absolutely necessary. All articles brought into the facility will be subject to search, and this may delay attendees from entering the University Center.
To ensure a safe and comfortable Commencement, the following items are strictly prohibited from being brought into the University Center:
Containers of any kind (including but not limited to coolers, thermoses, cups, bottles, cans, flasks)
--Aerosol and spray cans
--Animals (except for service animals for persons with a disability)
--Balloons and beach balls
--Signs, banners, and flags
--Noisemakers (including but not limited to whistles, air horns, bull horns, sirens, thunder sticks, etc.)
--Confetti, glitter, streamers, and silly string
--Fireworks, party poppers, and sparklers
Inclement Weather Policy
We are hopeful that Mother Nature will cooperate in the celebration, but as the 2017 snow day proved, inclement weather is possible. To ensure a safe commencement, the following plans are in place:
The ceremony is scheduled to take place rain or shine. Given the size of the gathering, it’s not feasible to move the ceremony to an alternate date.
--In the event of severe weather, the ceremony may be delayed, paused, or canceled. The safety of our guests is our highest priority.
--If a schedule adjustment is required prior to your arrival, information will be shared via email, social media (facebook.com/southeastern, Instagram.com/oursoutheastern, twitter.com/oursoutheastern), website, and local news media.
--At the venue, instructions will be given via the stage announcer. Graduates and guests are asked to listen for announcements and remain seated until otherwise instructed.
The commencement ceremony will be fully accessible. Accessible seating will be available for individuals with disabilities or guests with limited mobility. ASL interpreters will be on site in a designated area. Guests who utilize sign language interpreting services should sit in sections 114 and 115.
If you or anyone in your party is in need of accessible seating or assistance, we recommend arriving early as the seating will be determined on a first-come basis. Accessible seating is limited to only those guests who require it. The seats will be for the person with accessible needs and for one companion. No pre-ticketing will occur for accessible seating.
Wheelchair Seating Locations
Wheelchair and wheelchair companion locations are scattered throughout the main level concourse 100 level at sections 104, 109 and 110.
Street-level entry to the building is through Gate 4 on the north side of facility. Passenger elevator with priority for persons with disabilities are available at gate 5, near section 111/112.