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Visitation for Dr. Emmett W. Bashful to be held Friday at SUNO - Tuesday, March 1, 2011

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Visitation for Dr. Emmett W. Bashful, the first chancellor of Southern University, New Orleans (SUNO), will be held on Friday, March 4 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. in the University's gymnasium at 6400 Press Drive. Dr. Bashful died Saturday morning, February 27, in Baton Rouge at the age 93. He led SUNO from 1959 to 1987 and had served as chancellor emeritus since his retirement.
"There is no question that we have lost the man who built Southern University at New Orleans," Victor Ukpolo, the current SUNO chancellor. "I am honored to be among the leaders who have taken the baton and run with it to continue the progress of SUNO."
"While we may think of Dr. Bashful's passing in terms of what we've lost, I'd like to think that his legacy is about what higher education gained," said Ronald Mason Jr., president of the Southern University System. "SUNO’s history is a reflection of Dr. Bashful's warrior spirit. Throughout the University's history of challenges, he did all in his power to provide a place for unique, deserving students to achieve the dream of earning a college degree."
Darren Mire, chairman of the Southern University System Board of Supervisors adds, "I truly admire the kind of leadership that Dr. Bashful displayed. During sometimes tumultuous years, he remained focused on serving the Greater New Orleans area and beyond with the kind of service that only SUNO could provide. All I've heard from SUNO graduates is how much they benefited from Dr. Bashful's leadership and the SUNO faculty's support."
Of his death, Herman "Skip" Mason, general president of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated, of which Dr. Bashful was a member, wrote on February 27 from his GeneralPrez Twitter account, "We lost a giant in Alpha Bro. Dr. Emmett Bashful."
Dr. Bashful was born in Oscar on March 12, 1917, and he was raised in Baton Rouge. A product of the Baton Rouge public school system, he went on to Leland College in Baker before receiving his bachelor of science from Southern University and A&M College in 1940. Dr. Bashful would later receive both his master's and his doctor of philosophy degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana.
Before becoming an educational leader, Dr. Bashful served his country as a member of the United States Army. He had begun his career as a public school teacher in Allen Parish but was drafted to fight in World War II in 1942. First Lieutenant Bashful served the United States in the Mediterranean Theatre of Operations until 1946.
Upon returning to America, Dr. Bashful resumed his career in education. He taught political science at Florida A&M University then moved on to teach political science at Southern. In 1959, Dr. Felton G. Clark, president of Southern, asked Dr. Bashful to open Southern University at New Orleans. It was there that the University started as a one-building campus with 158 freshmen, ten courses, and fifteen faculty members. Dr. Bashful began as dean of the University. In 1969, he was named vice president, and he was eventually named chancellor in 1977.
Of SUNO's founding, Dr. Bashful wrote in the 1987 report, Southern University at New Orleans: Twenty-Eight Years of Stewardship, "In August, 1959, Dr. F. G. Clark, then President of Southern University at Baton Rouge, presented my name to the Louisiana State Board of Education as Dean of the projected New Orleans Campus. Several days later, I came to New Orleans and after examining the campus, realized what a monumental task I faced."
"The one building under construction was hardly near completion; the faculty had been only partially recruited; no office space was then available on campus; and it was expected that classes would begin sometime in September."
Despite the initial challenges, SUNO would grow impressively. At the time of Dr. Bashful's retirement, SUNO had conferred more than 5,000 degrees, it had grown into a 17-acre campus of 10 buildings (the Multipurpose Building was added in the 1990's), and a student population of approximately 4,000 students. SUNO had established five academic divisions--business, education, humanities, sciences, and social sciences. The University had also won three NCAA Division III national championships, all in men's outdoor track and field with a 2nd place finish in 1974 and 3rd place finishes 1980 and 1982.
During his life, Dr. Bashful demonstrated a significant commitment to leadership via public service. He served as a board member of the New Orleans Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Salvation Army, the Greater New Orleans Foundation, the Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, the Southern Institute for Education and Research, the New Orleans Public Schools Scholarship Foundation, the National Conference for Community and Justice, and other distinguished organizations. Dr. Bashful was a life member of both Alpha Phi Alpha, Incorporated, and the NAACP, and he was chair of the Southern University at New Orleans Foundation.

So beloved was Dr. Bashful that SUNO's major annual fundraising effort, The BASH, was named in his honor.


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