Law Center to Honor University Founders

The Southern University System will honor its founders on Wednesday, March 7 on the Baton Rouge campus. The 138th Annual Founders’ Day is themed, “Southern University: A Global Trailblazer Celebrating the Value and Power of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.” Speakers and honorees will include attorneys who participated in the out-of-court settlement resulting from the 1980’s era case, The U.S. Department of Justice v. The State of Louisiana, also known as the “Consent Decree.”

Under the Consent Decree, regarding school desegregation, Southern University was promised enhancement funds to upgrade physical resources, construct new facilities, and establish new academic programs to better serve its students and employees. During this period, 13 major facilities were constructed, including those for the Nursing School, Physical Plant, Band, Central Cooling and Heating Unit, John B. Cade Library, J.S. Clark Administration Building, Mayberry Dining Hall, Health Research Wing, Performing Arts. Several units were also constructed for agricultural research.

Academic programs were established to offer a bachelor’s degree program in nursing. Master’s degree programs were offered in computer science, environmental chemistry, professional accounting, public administration, and rehabilitation counseling; and doctoral programs were offered in special education. During this period, three schools were established: the School of Accountancy, School of Nursing, and School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs. The Department of Architecture was separated from the College of Engineering and elevated to the status of a school. The Law School was designated as a Law Center, with a chancellor who reported directly to the System’s president. All schools and centers were freestanding units except for the School of Accountancy, which remained as a unit in the College of Business. This was the beginning of further growth for Southern, which was founded in 1880.

Events for Founders’ Day begin at 8:30 a.m. with the annual pilgrimage led by the Southern University Laboratory School to the Clark gravesites overlooking the Mississippi River at the back of campus. Following, the Community Prayer Brunch and Convocation will take place at the F.G. Clark Activity Center at 10 a.m. The day culminates with a symposium at the Southern University Law Center at 2 p.m. All events are free and open to the public.  –