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SUSLA Host Grand Opening of First New Building in Over 30 Years and Welcomes New SU System President


August 19, 2010

LaKesha Mosley

SUSLA Host Grand Opening of First New Building in Over 30 Years and Welcomes New SU System President

SHREVEPORT, LA – Tours, food tasting and welcoming of the new Southern University System President are scheduled activities for the grand opening celebration of the new Johnny L. Vance, Jr., Student Activities Center. The ceremony will be held on the main campus of SUSLA, 3050 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, August 20th at 11:30AM.

What was once a vacant space on the campus, the newly erected Johnny L. Vance, Jr., Student Activity Center is now the hub for campus life. The new facility stands adjacent to its previous 2-level location which was also renovated and now provides over 16,000 sq. ft of space for student activities, campus clubs and organizations and dining needs.

The new Johnny L. Vance, Jr., Student Activity Center offers some amazing amenities for students and staff alike. Students can retreat from classes and enjoy a new game room equipped with arcade-style video games, a billiard table, plasma televisions, pc docking stations and dine at the new eatery called “The Market Place” where students and staff can enjoy on-campus dining experiences at a reasonable price.  The self-service dining facility provides students with daily hot and cold menu items.  For the campus coffee enthusiasts, the “Jaguar Java,” a gourmet coffee kiosk, will be added in future developments.  Also housed in the center are new offices for the Student Government Association, (SGA), and the Student Center Board, (SCB).  Other amenities include an enlarged and enhanced bookstore and a multi-purpose room.

Guest speakers at the celebration include: Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr.-SUS President, Dr. Ray L. Belton-SUSLA Chancellor, Dr. Sharon Green-SUSLA Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs, Honorable Randale Scott-SU Board of Supervisors Student Representative & SUSLA SGA President and Miss SUSLA-Kristen Davis.  Guided tours and refreshments from The Market Place will also follow the program.

After an extensive search, the Southern University System welcomed a new president, Dr. Ronald Mason, Jr.  Dr. Mason will be in attendance at the grand opening celebration. The SUS Board of Supervisors will also be holding the regular meeting session this week.  Dr. Mason will be available for interview following the program.

Dr. Ronald Mason Jr. became the seventh president of the nation’s only historically black university system on July 1, 2010. As President of the Southern University and A&M College System, he serves as the Chief Executive Officer and provides oversight for the System’s five campuses. President Mason brings more than 30 years of experience in the higher education, community development, and legal fields.

Prior to his appointment as Southern University System President, he served as President of Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi.  During his tenure at Jackson State University, the campus and surrounding community experienced unprecedented transformation and growth pursuant to a five-year strategic plan he developed in 2002. The academy and business units were reorganized, information technology was infused throughout the campus, more than $70 million in construction of new buildings and improvements enhanced the JSU landscape, and public relations and fundraising divisions were installed.

Under his leadership, JSU acquired a $20 million facility from Allstate Corporation for only $3 million and developed it into the Mississippi e-Center @ JSU, a technological hub for corporate, community, and academic advancement.

President Mason’s administration continued its improvement initiative with the development of a five-square-mile urban laboratory surrounding the JSU campus called e-City, a technology-based economic, housing, and community development initiative. JSU also partnered with Jackson Public Schools and state and federal governments to create the Mississippi Learning Institute, a literacy-based, math-oriented professional development learning system. In addition to his productive tenure at Jackson State University, President Mason enjoyed a successful 18-year tenure at Tulane University that encompassed several positions, including Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Vice President for Finance and Operations, prior to his work in urban issues and community development. He also served as the Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for the Urban Community at Tulane and Xavier Universities in New Orleans.

President Mason has been involved in numerous public service and professional activities including current membership on the White House Board of Advisors for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and the boards of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund and National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO). He previously served on the boards of the American Council on Education and the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, Office of Postsecondary Education.

He is a native of New Orleans and received his B.A. and J.D. degrees from Columbia University in New York City. He is a graduate of the Harvard Institute of Educational Management and is the recipient of the Mayor’s Medal of Honor from the City of New Orleans, the Martin Luther King Lifetime Achievement Award from Dillard, Loyola, Tulane, and Xavier universities, and was one of five recipients of Columbia University’s 2008 John Jay Award for distinguished alumni.
He is married to the former Belinda DeCuir and has one daughter, Nia, and two sons, Jared and Kenan.

Southern University at Shreveport Louisiana, an institution within the Southern University System, seeks to provide a quality education for its students, while being committed to the total community. This institution prepares students for careers in technical and occupational fields; awards certificates and associate degrees as well as offering courses and programs that are transferable to other colleges and universities.  Dedicated to excellence in instruction and community service, this open enrollment institution promotes cultural diversity, provides developmental and continuing education, and seeks partnerships with business and industry.

Southern University at Shreveport | Martin Luther King Jr. Drive | Shreveport, Louisiana 71107
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