Southern celebrates 100 years on Scott's Bluff

In its century on Scott’s Bluff, Southern University has become a significant university with an international student body. But it wasn’t always so.

When Louisiana’s first state institution of higher education for African-Americans outgrew its New Orleans location and reopened north of Baton Rouge on March 9, 1914, there were just a few buildings for a few students on a campus that few if any living today would recognize. It spent its first 55 years under the presidencies of a father and son, Joseph S. Clark until 1938, and Felton G. Clark from then until 1969, along the way adding undergraduate, graduate and law degree programs, its enrollment eventually topping 10,000 students.

The modern Southern is what its students and alumni know-how. But, in the spirit of pictures being worth at least a thousand words, today we look back into the university’s 100 years in its current location, thanks to the photo archives at Southern’s John B. Cade Library.

Over the 100 years, the university has welcomed world-famous political figures, none more celebrated than former South African President Nelson Mandela, who spoke to Southern’s spring 2000 graduation ceremony at A.W. Mumford Stadium, the first time Southern had held an outdoor commencement in more than 30 years. In celebration of Southern’s 25th year at its current location, first lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited on March 8, 1939, speaking to about 1,500 students and faculty members.

To see more, go online to contentdm.auctr.edu/cdm/search/collection/suam.

The school’s centennial celebration will continue this fall, including a display of historic photos and artifacts from Sept. 24 through Oct. 4 in the Smith-Browm Memorial Union, the coronation of the centennial year Miss Southern University at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1, in the F.G. Clark Activity Center, and the Red Stick Gala at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, in the F.G. Clark Activity Center.

Here’s to another century on “The Bluff.”