OLOL College

College Holds Inauguration for 4th President

Baton Rouge, LA – On Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm, Our Lady of the Lake College held the inauguration of Tina S. Holland, PhD, the fourth President of Our Lady of the Lake College. 

The inauguration ceremony, which took place at St. Joseph Cathedral in Baton Rouge, was attended by a broad representation of students, friends and members of the College as well as civic and healthcare leaders including the Honorable Jay Dardenne, Lieutenant Governor of the State of Louisiana, Melvin “Kip” Holden, J.D., Mayor-President of Baton Rouge and Joseph C. Rallo, PhD, Commissioner of Higher Education of the Louisiana Board of Regents.  Civic, religious and educational leaders as well as members of the College and an alumna spoke during the program to express best wishes to the president.

Institutions of higher education use Presidential inaugurations as an opportunity to formally welcome new leadership and to mark a new vision for the future of the institution.  During the inauguration ceremony, Dr. Holland shared aspects her vision for the College:  to grow educational programs to meet both the needs of students and the community, and to further develop the physical campus, and “in so doing we hope to establish a true sense of place for our campus—a place where we build students professionally, personally and spiritually—to be leaders and servants.” 

Earlier in the day an Inaugural Mass was also held at St. Joseph Cathedral.   The Mass was officiated by the Most Reverend Robert W. Muench, Bishop of the Diocese of Baton Rouge. 

With the installation of Dr. Holland, Our Lady of the Lake College begins a new chapter in its nearly 100 year history.  Established in 1923 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, the School of Nursing began as a school of nursing in conjunction with the establishment of Our Lady of the Lake Sanitarium in the Capitol Lake area of downtown Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Revising the curriculum over the years to incorporate advances in medical science, nursing practice and nursing education the school transitioned to a degree-granting institution of higher education in 1989.  By July of 1995 the College was officially renamed Our Lady of the Lake College, earning full accreditation to offer associate degrees. 

After serving as an Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs for the LSU System and Chancellor at Louisiana State University at Alexandria, James W. Firnberg EdD served as the College’s first President from 1993 to 1999.  Under his leadership the institution transitioned into an institution accredited to offer baccalaureate degrees.  Michael Smith, PhD served as President from 1999-2006, and was followed by Sandra S. Harper, PhD from 2006-2013.

Currently the College offers a full range of applied arts and science and clinical degrees, now offering associate, baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral degrees.  The 25 areas of study include arts and sciences, biology, clinical laboratory sciences, health sciences, liberal studies, nursing, nurse anesthesia, physical therapist assisting, physician assistant studies, radiologic technology and respiratory therapy. 

In addition to an emphasis on academic excellence, Our Lady of the Lake College has continued a promise to serve others begun by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, earning national recognition for its commitment to do service in the community.

For a complete bio for Dr. Holland go to www.ololcollege.edu/office-of-the-president/president-biography

To learn more about Our Lady of the Lake College, please visit www.ololcollege.edu.

For additional information, please call Elaine Crowe, OLOL College Communications, at 225-768-1700.  

New Board of Trustee Leader Named

Baton Rouge, LA – Alden L. Andre, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 2010, has been named Board of Trustee Chair for Our Lady of the Lake College.  Mr. Andre, a native and resident of Pointe Coupee Parish in Louisiana, completed his Bachelor of Science at Louisiana State University then served for a number of years in the U.S. Army.  During his fifty year career in plastics manufacturing he held various managerial positions at the Baton Rouge Formosa Plastics corporation and established two sister company plant sites in Pointe Coupee Parish.  Mr. Andre has served on numerous Boards of Directors including the Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, the Louisiana Chemical Association and the Capital Area United Way.

Other current Board leadership includes Redfield Bryan, M.D. who serves as the Board’s Vice-Chair. 


About Our Lady of the Lake College

Offering doctoral, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate degrees, Our Lady of the Lake College is a four-year, independent Catholic institution, providing a strong foundation in the liberal arts and continuing its highly-regarded health sciences and nursing programs.  Established in 1923 as a nursing school by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL), Our Lady of the Lake College holds to a Franciscan tradition of service, offering a healing and spiritual presence for the community and especially those most in need.  To learn more about Our Lady of the Lake College, please visit www.ololcollege.edu.

College Named to Community Service Honor Roll

OLOL College Recognized with Distinction for Community Service 

Baton Rouge, LA – Our Lady of the Lake College has been named to the 2014 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.  This is the seventh time that Our Lady of the Lake College has been named to the Honor Roll and the third time to be named to the Honor Roll “with Distinction.”  

This designation is the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.  This year 196 colleges and universities across the United States were recognized with the Honor Roll with Distinction for their strong institutional commitment to service.

Our Lady of the Lake College was the only Louisiana institution of higher education named to the Interfaith Community Service Category Honor Roll with Distinction of the 43 colleges and universities selected in that category for the 2014 application.

Inspired by the thousands of college students who traveled across the country to support relief efforts along the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina, The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) has administered the award since 2006.  It chooses institutions for recognition based on their achievements in general community service or in one of two special focus areas which align with the President’s education and innovation priorities.  Schools recognized with “Distinction" additionally share a key characteristic: that there is evidence that their service has made measurable improvement in the community.   

“Our goals for our students reflect the mission of Our Lady of the Lake College. Their time with us provides them with an understanding of what it means to serve,” explains Tina S. Holland, Ph.D., Our Lady of the Lake College President.  “Our holistic approach to learning fosters a sense of individual purpose as our students encounter increasingly complex moral and ethical questions. Whether called to work within the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System or well beyond the borders of Louisiana, our students will graduate with a firm foundation upon which to build successful, purposeful, and faith-filled lives.”

Our Lady of the Lake College has developed a national reputation for service in the community.  In 2011 the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching named OLOL College to an elite list of institutions designated with the Carnegie Foundation Community Engagement Classification.  This classification put OLOL College into a select group of 311 higher education institutions in the United States recognized for their student’s engaged service in the community through service-learning and civic engagement initiatives.

On a campus of approximately 1750 students, over 1400 Our Lady of the Lake College students participated in community service of some kind during the award’s timeframe, giving almost 47,000 total service hours to the community.  According to DatabankUSA, the estimated dollar value of a volunteer hour for Louisiana is $18.71, which translates to over $879,000 worth of service offered through our community partners.

CNCS manages the program in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, as well as the American Council on Education and Campus Compact.

“Service and higher education go hand in hand,” said Wendy Spencer, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. “These schools are inspiring young leaders to roll up their sleeves and work alongside community members to solve problems. By recognizing the institutions who are leading the way to achieve meaningful, measurable results for the communities they serve, we also highlight the vital role all colleges and universities play in addressing community challenges and placing more students on a lifelong path of civic engagement.”

The entire list of schools recognized by the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll can be accessed at http://www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll/ .

Offering master’s, baccalaureate, and associate degrees, Our Lady of the Lake College is a four-year, independent institution, providing a strong foundation in the liberal arts and continuing its highly-regarded health sciences and nursing programs.  Established in 1923 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL), the school that evolved into Our Lady of the Lake College holds to a Franciscan tradition of service, offer a healing and spiritual presence for the community and especially those most in need. 

For additional information, please call Elaine Crowe, Communications Coordinator, at 225-768-1700.  

Professor of Nursing Receives National Recognitions

Baton Rouge, LA – Lisa Skemp, PhD, RN, Professor of Nursing at Our Lady of the Lake College, has recently received recognition from two national academic organizations, the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America. 

During the American Academy of Nursing’s Transforming Health, Driving Policy Conference on October 18, 2014, in Washington, DC., Dr. Skemp was inducted as a American Academy of Nursing Fellow, an award that recognizes individuals for their leadership in education, management, and policy focused on improving health.  Being named an Academy fellow is a prestigious honor that is, according to the American Academy of Nursing selection criteria, based on the “extent the nominee’s nursing career has influenced health policies and the health and wellbeing of all.”   

Academy fellows represent all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 24 countries.  In the 2014 class of 168 nurse leaders, Dr. Skemp was the only individual inducted from the state of Louisiana.

Additionally, during the Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Annual Scientific meeting held on November 5-9, 2014 in Washington, DC, Dr. Skemp was awarded GSA fellow status.  GSA fellowship is peer recognition for outstanding contributions to the field of gerontology.  This distinction recognizes activities that include research, teaching, administration, and public service.

Dr. Skemp, who serves as Our Lady of the Lake College’s Sister Agnes Marie Fitzsimons Endowed Chair of Gerontological Nursing, organizes interdisciplinary participation in gerontological study and encourages student involvement in gerontology practice and research.  She draws upon her experience as a nurse scholar to promote health and quality of life for elders by encouraging regional research collaborations and conducting domestic and international research related to healthy aging.  

Offering doctoral, master’s, baccalaureate, and associate degrees, Our Lady of the Lake College is a four-year, independent Catholic institution, providing a strong foundation in the liberal arts and continuing its highly-regarded health sciences and nursing programs.  Established in 1923 as a nursing school by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL), Our Lady of the Lake College holds to a Franciscan tradition of service, offering a healing and spiritual presence for the community and especially those most in need. 

For additional information, please call Elaine Crowe, OLOL College Communications, at 225-768-1700.

December 2014 Graduation

Baton Rouge, LA - Over 160 Our Lady of the Lake College students were conferred master’s,  bachelor’s or associate degrees during the College’s commencement exercises held on Friday, December 19.

During his keynote speech, Reverend Matthew P. Lorrain, pastor of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Brusly, Louisiana talked about the importance of mentors to the success of new graduates.  Father Lorrain was ordained to the priesthood in 1986 and appointed Vocation Director from 2005-2012 after having served in several parishes in the Diocese of Baton Rouge.  A long-time advocate of catholic education and vocation, Father Lorrain is a current Our Lady of the Lake College Board Trustee.  

The College awarded its Student Excellence and Commitment to Service Award to Bridget Jones, a bachelor’s degree in nursing graduate.  In addition to maintaining a very high gpa, Bridget Jones was an outstanding a leader for the college’s Student Nurses Association (SNA), and served as the Louisiana state SNA President and regional representative at conferences in Tennessee and the Carolinas. A strong advocate for breast cancer awareness, Bridget organized annual walks that involved hundreds of students.  She also helped implement a fundraising project for children in Haiti and assisted with CI HealthCare Days, an opportunity for high school juniors and seniors to actively learn about healthcare careers.  When asked to name one of her future professional goals, Bridget always includes her desire to “help others as a registered nurse who practices the daily ‘spirit of healing’ by helping the patient’s family members as well as the patient – one day at a time.”

Anticipating trends in healthcare, the College has transitioned away from offering Associate of Science in Nursing degrees and now only offers Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degrees.  This graduation ceremony featured the College’s first foundational BSN class.  

School of Arts, Sciences, and Health Professions

Master of Health Administration
Maegan Dunn, Jessica Miller, Jan Pennington

Bachelor of Science in Biology
Kynesha Johnson, Regan Thomas, Marquis Heard

Bachelor of Science in Clinical Laboratory Sciences
Erika Coates, Alicia Joseph, Gavin Montgomery, Chelcee Pollock, Megan Schoonover, Alexis Stratmann, Kali Vicknair, Danielle Williams

Bachelor of Science in Health Service Administration
Johne Walker

School of Nursing

Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia
Jerred Anderson, Kayla Brubaker, Meagan Champagne, Jeremy Dufrene, Parker Ellis, Jodi Fremin, Trevor Grau, Nathan Hanberry, Sam Heath, Travis Hibbert, John Hoffpauir, Douglas Hymel, Michael Johnson, James Keith, Courtney Kelly, Kathryn Kelly, Paul Lafleur, Richard Levy, Deron Lewis, Jarrod Peters, Christina Prendergast, Emily Smith, Brendan Weishaar, Justin Williams, Matthew Williams, Alex Wimberley, Robyn Wriborg

Bachelor of Science in Nursing
Sarah Aldridge, Alissa Allen, Shelley Allison, Clayton Alombro, Kristin Alonso, Brandi Anderson, Elizabeth Antoon, Taylor Azar, Katie Ballard, Sunnybrooke Banks, Latoya Barnes, Brittany Barnett, Kalynn Bell, Natalie Bertucci, Heather Best, Erica Blank, Patricia Boguslawski, Nicholas Boone, Raymond Boudreaux, Reva Broussard, Maxwell Breaux, Kristen Bridges, Shalecia Brown, Tracy Burgess, Kayla Cannon, Lyndsi Carter, Christi Chaves, Kassie Claverie, Kenndrica Crum, Kenneth Crum, Lindsey Cullen, Charrisa Culpepper, Alisha Davis, Christopher Davis, Dara Deitch, Kristian Dijamco, Halie Domiano, Morgan Ducote, Ashton Dupuy, Ariyeil Edwards, Ashley Escoe, Daniel Flynn, Lorri Fontenot, Kelli Galiano, Sonjac George, Anita Gilbert, Alicia Giraldo, Margaret Godfrey, Amanda Grzych, Elizabeth Hammett, Kari Hartley, Robert Hawkes, Kristie Henderson, Blake Hoff, Shelly Holder, Tara Hollins, Sarah Holtmyer, Eric Hymel, Lashelle Johnson, Bridget Jones, Kareen Kaltakdjian, Kristopher Kindschuh, Sarah Kolbe, Evan Laiche, Chloe Lawson, Christine Leblanc, Kaelyn LeBlanc, Cassie Lemoine, Melissa Marcantel, Danielle Martrain, Jowana MᶜCaskill, Anastasia McPherson Richardson, Megan McIntosh, Storie Melancon, Natalie Mills Miller, Jessica Moran, Christine Mullally, Rachael Nethken, Sarah Nicholas, Laura Parsons, Caroline Pourciau, Sheena Powell, Isabella Prehn, Jessalyn Prejean, Amberlee Roaden, Charley Roberson, Chase Robert, Naydean Ruffin, Carla Salvatore Bimmler, Danette Scherer, Janeka Scott, Rachael Searcy, Kristen Self, Jessica Simoneaux, Ashleigh Smith, Jarred Smith, Rebecca Smith, Laura Spell, Magahn Stanga, Bradley Taylor, Janie Theriot, Ashley Thornton, Tiffani Traina, Sally Trammell, Megan Vollenweider, Amanda Wallner, Kayeli Watts, Vance White, Molly Whitmore, Leonie Woollery, Caitlin Yeager, Brittany Young, Xiomara Zelaya, Helaine Zito

Associate of Science in Nursing
Nicole Anthony, Ashley Chambers, Rachel Guillory, Kimberly Hutchinson, Ethel Nelson, Tuesday Netherland, Brittany Templet

Note:  Graduate list is subject to change.  List provided is accurate as of 12/12/14. 

Our Lady of the Lake College, located in Louisiana's capital city of Baton Rouge, is a four-year, independent institution, providing a strong foundation in the liberal arts and continuing our highly-regarded health sciences and nursing programs. A private organization founded in 1923 by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady, we stand as the sole Catholic college in the greater Baton Rouge region.

OLOL College alumna nominated for Women of Iberville award

Lori Morgan does not like to 'toot her own horn.'  She carries herself with confidence and a strong sense of self along with such strong empathy and compassion for others.  For years, she has quietly been the backbone of her family, helping with many community projects, activities and efforts using her creative talents and abilities.  Click here to read the rest of the article.

Ebola Information

From the Office of Health & Safety
October, 2014

What is Ebola

Ebola is a rare disease caused by infection with one of the Ebola virus strains. There are no known cases in Louisiana. Early symptoms include fever greater than 101.5, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, and unexplained bleeding or bruising. According to the CDC symptoms appear within two to 21 days of exposure to the virus.

Persons at risk and virus transmission

Those at risk are anyone who has traveled to West Africa in the past three weeks and believes they were in contact with body fluids of someone ill with Ebola.  Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with the blood or body fluids of sick patients. Body fluids include blood, sweat, urine, feces, saliva and possibly nasal secretions if close to the infected person. The virus cannot be transmitted through the air, through water or through food. It can only be transmitted through fluids of an infected person or from exposure to contaminated objects – such as needles. 

How to monitor for symptoms and when to seek health care

Any person with recent international travel to affected areas should monitor their health status for three weeks after arrival from West Africa. Taking your temperature once or twice daily might be helpful. If you have traveled to West Africa and develop sudden fever, chills, muscle aches, severe diarrhea, vomiting, rash or other symptoms consistent with Ebola, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Before visiting a health-care provider, alert the clinic or emergency room in advance about your possible exposure to Ebola virus so that arrangements can be made to prevent spreading it to others. When traveling to a health-care provider, limit contact with other people and avoid all other travel.

Ways to prevent illness

Ebola virus is transmitted by close contact of the body fluids of a person who has symptoms of Ebola. Treat any body fluid as though it is infectious. Blood or body fluids can spread Ebola if they get into your eyes, nose or mouth. Therefore, hand washing is the most important infection-control measure, along with avoiding hand contact to one’s face. Wear disposable impermeable gloves when cleaning visibly contaminated surfaces. Maintain good healthy practices like getting plenty of sleep, maintaining good nutrition, drinking plenty of water and increasing your physical activity to help your immune system best resist infections.

International surveillance

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) continue to monitor and respond to the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa and according to the CDC, Ebola currently poses no significant threat in the United States.

The federal government has not issued travel bans to these areas. If anyone does arrive in the US from the affected areas they will receive information about how they should monitor their health during the next few weeks.

Additionally, OLOL College has no international students from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone. There are no College-sponsored trips where students or faculty are coming to campus from the affected West African countries.

Ebola preparedness in Louisiana

First and foremost, there are no known cases of Ebola in Louisiana. However, if there ever was a case in our state, Louisiana is prepared. For the last several weeks, the Department of Health & Hospitals has been working to ready Louisiana's public health and medical infrastructure, including procedures for emergency medical workers, hospital physicians and regional emergency response coordinators.

Our Lady of the Lake’s infection prevention protocols were specifically updated regarding the Ebola virus in early August. Their teams and physicians are up to date on the most current surveillance and national alerts from the CDC and are using the CDC checklist to ensure appropriate strategies are in place for isolating Ebola patients should the need arise. 

Protecting Healthcare Workers

Refer to http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/hcp/index.html includes information on the Sequence for Putting On and Removing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Tools for Protecting Healthcare Personnel 

Facts and resources

More  information is available from the CDC and World Health Organization

Student Service Exceeds $1 Million In-Kind Value

Service-learning, a teaching method that integrates instruction with meaningful community service, has become an integral part of an OLOL College education.  Through this program, OLOL College students have given over 68,000 service-learning hours working for others.  The College is pleased to report that based on the valuation designated by experts, OLOL College students have provided over $1 million of in-kind service to the community.  

The estimated value of volunteer time is established each year by the Independent Sector, a coalition of charities, foundations, corporations, and individuals that publishes research important to the nonprofit sector.  The estimate helps acknowledge the millions of individuals who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to make a difference in the community. 

From June 2009 to June 2014, Our Lady of the Lake College students gave 68,084 service-learning hours working in collaboration with the College’s many community partners.  The average of the Independent Sector’s in-kind value during that time frame is $19.10 per hour, bringing the total in-kind value of the College’s student service to $1,303,400.50.  OLOL College service-learning students work with over 90 community partners who serve in sixteen parishes across southeast Louisiana. 

The Service-Learning program at the College has been developed by and coordinated through the Office of Service-Learning, directed by Rhoda Reddix, Ph.D.   “It is exciting to see that our student’s service now tops over a million in-kind dollars.  But I can tell you this . . . the service itself is invaluable to everyone involved:  the community partners, the people in the community who are helped, and the students themselves.  Service-learning both supports engaged learning and reinforces the College’s Franciscan mission,” she explained. 

An important part of the service-learning process is for students to write down their thoughts afterwards.  A reflection from a nursing student after a service-learning experience at St. Martha’s Activity Center was, “I cannot begin to explain how this experience further proved that nursing is exactly what I want to do.”

Dr. Holland Welcomes Students to Campus for the Fall Semester

As we begin our first semester together on the campus of Our Lady the Lake College, I hope you are as excited as I am about where we are. Since joining the College as President in April, I have been completely wowed by the energy of the College family!

Our college is more than a place to take courses and earn credits. It is a vibrant faith-based learning community where highly engaged students learn from and work with exceptional faculty, seasoned professionals, and leaders throughout our community. Through the interaction with your peers, the incredible service-learning activities, and the foundations of the Franciscan Values, your experiences here will truly be life changing.

Our faculty are much more than lecturers. I have observed how the small class sizes lead to the formation of lasting relationships between and among faculty and students. Faculty invest in their students’ academic and professional success. They challenge their students to succeed while supporting students’ efforts to do so. They understand the enduring value of professional preparation when it is experienced in the context of a broad liberal arts education.  No matter which program area is your concentration, you will be immersed in a rich and relevant combination of rigorous coursework, real-life multidisciplinary simulations, and meaningful case studies, acquiring the competence and confidence to succeed in your chosen vocation.

Our goals for you are a reflection of the mission of Our Lady of the Lake College. Your time with us will change your understanding of what it means to serve.  Our holistic approach to learning fosters a sense of individual purpose as you encounter increasingly complex moral and ethical questions. Whether you are called to work within the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System or well beyond the borders of Louisiana, whether you choose a career that you always expected or choose to work in an area very different than what you imagined, you will have established a firm foundation upon which to build a successful, purposeful, and faith-filled future.

I am glad that you and I have come to Our Lady of the Lake College. I look forward to meeting you all! Have a wonderful first week, and a fantastic semester!


Tina S. Holland, Ph.D.
President, Our Lady of the Lake College

College President discusses job market on LPB

Louisiana Public Square "Job Market 2014"
Wednesday, May 28 at 7 p.m. (LPB) and 9 p.m. (WLAE)
Sunday, June 1 at 11 a.m. (LPB)

The month of May heralds the end of the school semester and the entry of thousands of new college graduates into Louisiana’s job market. This year these job seekers will also be joined by hundreds of veterans returning to the state’s workforce as the military downsizes its troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

So, what does Louisiana’s employment market look like for these job hunters in 2014? What employment sectors anticipate the most growth? And are Louisiana’s college graduates and returning veterans adequately prepared for the jobs that lie ahead?

Louisiana Public Square looks for answers on “Job Market 2014".

The panelists are:

Program features interviews with Bryan Moore, Louisiana Workforce Commission’s Director of Workforce Development; House Speaker Chuck Kleckley, sponsor of the Workforce and Innovation for a Stronger Economy bill (HB1033); Leah Kight, Southern University senior and IBM intern; John Culotta, Baton Rouge Community College Process Tech graduate and Kelly Lynch, veteran and career counselor with the LWC Veterans Program.

Beth Courtney, LPB CEO, and Robert Travis Scott, President of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, moderate the discussion.

Visit www.lpb.org/publicsquare to comment or take a survey on this month’s topic.

College Dean Receives Teaching Recognition

Phyllis L. Simpson, Ph.D., Dean of Student Services and Director of Counseling for Our Lady of the Lake College was recognized as one of the nation’s “Outstanding First Year Educators” by the Center for the First Year Experience and Students in Transitions. Attendees of this group’s national conference honored Dr. Simpson at its annual meeting held in San Diego, California, February 15-18, 2014.

Each year a national panel of distinguished educators review the top 100 applications, selecting ten for recognition.  All of these top educators demonstrate the common goal of improving the educational experience of first-year students in colleges and university throughout the United States.

David England, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs stated unequivocally, “It is hard to imagine there being a more worthy recipient!  Phyllis Simpson has long served as one of our College’s richest resources as the scores of students she helps each year will readily attest.”

As the nomination stated, “Phyllis Simpson is an educator who believes that true collegiate learning must happen both inside and outside of the classroom walls.”  With her strong teaching background and her proficiency as a reading specialist, she helped to re-vamp the academic seminar to adapt program-specific reading strategies and incorporate learning style inventories to improve testing/study strategies.  She created a tutor lab and established a First Year Student Experience program which had students meeting with her one-on-one several times during their initial year at OLOL College.  Recognizing that first year students at a commuter college would benefit from more connections to the campus, Dr. Simpson began working energetically to make student organizations more active. Additionally, she has led civic engagement efforts on campus and works as Co-Chair for the College’s acclaimed Service-Learning programs.  As a result, retention efforts for incoming freshmen are improving steadily.

Students sincerely appreciate her contribution to their education.  Biology major Derek Wiltz said "Dr. Simpson has helped me grow in so many ways . . . She is an exceptional leader and teacher, always giving us great support that not only helps academically but encourages us with our career goals."  Non-traditional student Melanie Koscick who returned to school at the age of 45 added, "As someone who has been out of school for over twenty years, Dr. Simpson has been my guiding light and my anchor. She has not only assisted me with how to handle college in this day and age, but has helped me to believe that I can accomplish great things."

Dr. Simpson has been involved with various areas of education since 1970, and has taught at every grade level except for kindergarten and first grade.  Among her many accomplishments, she has authored teaching manuals for postsecondary reading textbooks as well as a strategy textbook for elementary/junior high teachers.  Receiving her B.S. degree from Louisiana State University (LSU), her Masters of Education from Southeastern Louisiana University, and her Ph.D. from LSU in 1998, Dr. Simpson began her teaching career in Washington Parish in the early 70s, taught at Southeastern Louisiana University in the 90s, and then became a member of the staff at OLOL College in 1997. 

A Legacy of Service

A legacy of service . . . that is what Isabel Lasseigne, ‘47 and her granddaughter Emily, a current Our Lady of the Lake College student, represent. 

Isabel Lasseigne not only raised a family of five but served her career in the challenging field of nurse anesthesia. 

Emily Lasseigne, her granddaughter, is currently in her third year at Our Lady of the Lake College pursuing a Biology degree with a concentration in Human Medicine.  She plans to apply to become a Physician Assistant in 2015 after she graduates. 

While volunteering at St. Joseph’s Hospice, Emily felt a calling to become a voice for those who are dying and help address issues that involve the dying process.  As part of a special extra-curricular Mentor/Mentee project, Emily will promote health literacy regarding Advance Care Planning for a population that includes low-income elderly seniors. 

Emily has successfully completed the professional requirements and standards as required by Respecting Choices housed under Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse, Wisconsin to become an Advance Care Planning Facilitator.  Emily will utilize this training during her research with her mentor, Alice Battista, Director of Mission Services at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center. 

Both grandmother and granddaughter are excellent examples of the over 7,500 graduates and College community members who demonstrate daily a desire to serve.

Freeburgh Selected to Lead Board of Trustees

Freeburgh Selected to Lead Board of Trustees

Charles Freeburgh, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees (BOT) since 2008, was elected Chair during the September 19, 2013 BOT meeting.  Freeburgh, a native of Pearl, Mississippi, currently serves as the Vice President of Advocacy for Axiall Corporation.  With over 35 years of experience in the chemical industry, he has served on many boards and committees, including the Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center Board of Directors.  A bachelor of science in chemical engineering graduate from Louisiana State University, Freeburgh has served as chairman of the Louisiana Chemical Association and the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance, and as a board member of both the Louisiana Manufacturers Political Action Committee (LAMP) as well as the River Parishes Community College Foundation.  

Freeburgh succeeds Steve Nathanson who has joined the Franciscan Missionary of Our Lady Health System Board. 

New Board leadership also confirmed at the September meeting include Redfield Bryan, M.D., Vice-Chair, and Judge Luke LaVergne, a retired District Judge of the Baton Rouge Family Court, who will serve as Secretary.

Professor of Nursing Awarded Gerontology Fellowships

Baton Rouge, LA – Fayron Epps, Ph.D., R.N., faculty in the School of Nursing at Our Lady of the Lake College (OLOL College), has recently been awarded two fellowships recognizing her research dedicated to improving the quality of life for African American older persons with dementia and their caregivers.

Dr. Epps was selected as a 2013-2015 National Hartford Centers of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE) Claire M. Fagin Fellow. This fellowship supports post-doctoral research in gerontological nursing. “The NHCGNE Claire M. Fagin Fellowship will afford me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge and skills as a nurse scientist and as a leader in gerontology,” explained Dr. Epps. “It will also give me the opportunity to cultivate interprofessional relationships, allowing me to improve the care of elders through research, instruction and practice.”

Under the auspices of this fellowship, Dr. Epps will collaborate with mentors Janet K. Specht, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Director of the Iowa John A Hartford Center for Geriatric Nursing Excellence and Lisa Skemp, Ph.D., R.N., the Sister Agnes Marie Fitzsimons Endowed Chair of Gerontological Nursing at OLOL College. Furthermore, she will consult with Wanda Spurlock, D.N.S., R.N., Associate Professor of Nursing at Southern University and a 1976 alumna of OLOL College, School of Nursing to facilitate inter-professional relationships in Louisiana.

“This research study aims to determine what types of health promotion activities family member caregivers are involved in and how this involvement improves the functionality and health of these community members. This program of research will enable me to contribute to evidence based practice and research for African American older adults in Louisiana and in the United States,” says Dr. Epps.

Dr. Epps has also been selected as a Fellow to attend the 2013 Summer Workshop on African American Aging at the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research. This fellowship is a collaboration between the University of Michigan and Wayne State University to enhance diversity, mentor new investigators in minority aging research and recruit/retain new participants in minority aging research.

The objectives of the summer training workshop are to identify and train early stage career scientists of diverse backgrounds who are committed to conducting African American aging research. “The summer workshop will nicely complement her postdoctoral NHCGNE Claire M. Fagin fellowship, as she not only develops her career as a nurse scientist but develops her leadership in facilitating Our Lady of the Lake College becoming a Center of Excellence in Gerontology,” explained Dr. Lisa Skemp, one of Dr. Epps’ mentors. “The committees awarding these fellowships have confidence in Dr. Epps’ potential to do research that will make a real difference in the nursing care of older persons.”

Dr. Epps shared the origin of her interest in geriatric research, “I recognized my interest in older adults when I was in high school. As part of a health career class, I was involved in visiting with older adults who lived at an inner city nursing home. Listening to the stories from the older residents inspired me to become a gerontological nurse with hopes of making their lives better. After working in a long-term care setting, I became involved in staff and caregiver training on prevention of elder abuse. My graduate studies and dissertation research emerged from this experience and led to my current research on creating culturally informed interventions to prevent difficult situations that may lead to abuse for both the elder and the family member caregivers.”

With these two fellowship opportunities, Dr. Epps’ continued research will advance as she collaborates with a network of gerontological clinicians and researchers supported by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System and coordinated through the Sister Agnes Marie Fitzsimons Gerontological Nursing Endowment.

Offering master’s, baccalaureate, and associate degrees, Our Lady of the Lake College is a four-year, independent institution, providing a strong foundation in the liberal arts and continuing its highly-regarded health sciences and nursing programs. Established in 1923 as a nursing school by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL), Our Lady of the Lake College holds to a Franciscan tradition of service, offering a healing and spiritual presence for the community and especially those most in need. To learn more about Our Lady of the Lake College, please visit www.ololcollege.edu.

Religion Professor Earns Research Fellowship

Baton Rouge, LA – David L. Whidden, III, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Our Lady of the Lake College, has been accepted for a competitive Wabash Center Summer Fellowship. The mission of the Wabash Center Summer Fellowship is to support the careers of promising young teachers and scholars in religion and theology.

“I am grateful that the Wabash Center is supporting my research and also that the administration at Our Lady of the Lake College is so supportive of my work,” explains Dr. Whidden. “Students at OLOL College are the real beneficiaries when their faculty have an opportunity to think and write about difficult topics, as the new knowledge and the example of rigorous thinking carries over into the classroom.”

Dr. Whidden, who completed his doctoral work at Southern Methodist University in 2011, is a scholar in systematic theology with a particular interest in the medieval theology of Thomas Aquinas and Anselm. The Fellowship will allow him to finalize work on his first book, “Christ the Light: The Theology of Light and Illumination in Thomas Aquinas,” which has been accepted for publication in 2014 by Fortress Press. The book will be a part of the Emerging Scholars Series, a selective, curated series “dedicated to highlighting innovative and creative projects from new scholars in the fields of biblical studies, theology, and Christian history,” according to the publisher.

This grant to support Dr. Whidden’s research follows on his selection last year to participate in a year-long workshop on classroom teaching. “Whatever success I have had as a professor is the consequence of the many excellent professors who taught me throughout my education. I strive to give my students the same experience, where we use all of our intellectual abilities to think carefully about the deepest and most difficult questions that frame human existence. The small class sizes at OLOL College give me an opportunity to get to know each student and to help that student develop the critical thinking skills necessary for their future careers. OLOL College is a great place to be a professor, with bright, hardworking students.”

Stated David A. England, Ph.D., Executive Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at OLOL College, “In his short time here, Dr. Whidden has distinguished himself as an emerging scholar, an engagingly effective instructor, and a fully engaged faculty member.”

In addition to supporting scholarship efforts, The Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, which is located in Crawfordsville, Indiana, offers faculty the opportunity to reflect with colleagues about teaching as a vocation. According to its web site, the Wabash Center “organizes its activities around five areas: strengthening teaching and learning; developing the professoriate in theology and religion; supporting teaching environments in theological schools and religion departments; understanding new technologies in teaching and learning; and developing scholarly literature on theological teaching.”

“As a member of the faculty at a Catholic and Franciscan college, I hope that my work, both in the classroom and in my research, makes a contribution to our students’ understanding of their world and how they might contribute to it in a way that is deeply formed by the commitments of the Catholic Church. For me, studying Thomas Aquinas, who has had such a profound influence on the Church’s theology, provides both my students and me the opportunity to engage with one of the great minds of human history.”

Offering master’s, baccalaureate, and associate degrees, Our Lady of the Lake College is a four-year, independent institution, providing a strong foundation in the liberal arts and continuing its highly-regarded health sciences and nursing programs. Established in 1923 as a nursing school by the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady (FMOL), Our Lady of the Lake College holds to a Franciscan tradition of service, offering a healing and spiritual presence for the community and especially those most in need. To learn more about Our Lady of the Lake College, please visit www.ololcollege.edu.

Student Recognized Nationally for Service

Baton Rouge, LA – Campus Compact has honored 181 student leaders from 36 states as 2013 Newman Civic Fellows. Among the honorees is Lisa McDivitt of Our Lady of the Lake College. The Newman Civic Fellows Awards recognize inspiring college student leaders who have worked to find solutions for challenges facing their communities.

Nominated by their college and university presidents, these students are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change. Says Sandra Harper, Ph.D., President of Our Lady of the Lake College, “I have watched Lisa evolve from a shy, interested volunteer in 2009 to a highly vocal, committed scholar leader in 2013; her future work as a foreign medical missionary will, indeed, be a reality that will globally bless many malnourished children in very remote places in desperate need of healthcare.”

Lisa McDivitt is a dedicated and committed student leader, active in issues involving civic engagement on all fronts. Since 2009 Lisa has increasingly made her presence known to many non-profits in the Baton Rouge Area because of her desire to help those most in need. She is a particularly strong global/world advocate for children’s health rights and was actually involved in a four week medical mission trip to Mombasa, Kenya during the summer of 2012. She has been a leader and student organizer for several Habitat for Humanity Builds in North Baton Rouge for the College, and very active with the campus Student Ambassador group, providing over 235 service hours at the College. In addition she has been a collaborative participant in many recent leadership conferences and workshops – including the National Student Leadership Forum in Washington DC in November 2012.

“Lisa is a LEADER for health rights and has actively excelled in her purpose to serve others – while consistently keeping a 4.0 GPA the entire time,” explains Phyllis Simpson, Ph.D., Dean of Student Services. “As she prepares for a professional medical career in the future following masters level work here, all of her experiences at the undergraduate level have well prepared her for future service in the foreign mission field that she so clearly envisions as her priority service destination.”

As these students tackle community challenges, they provide fresh energy and perspective, inspire and mobilize others, and develop their own skills and potential. Through service, research, and advocacy, Newman Civic Fellows are making the most of their college experiences to better understand themselves, the root causes of social issues, and effective mechanisms for creating lasting change.

“These students represent the next generation of public problem solvers and civic leaders. They serve as national examples of the role that higher education can—and does—play in building stronger communities,” notes Campus Compact President Maureen Curley.

Newman Civic Fellow awards are made in memory of Dr. Frank Newman, a founder of Campus Compact, who dedicated his life to creating systemic change through education reform. At the core of Dr. Newman’s leadership was a belief in the power of individuals to make a difference and in the power of connection with others. Frank Newman had a tremendous impact on American education and its role in the development of citizens who want to make a difference. This class of Newman Civic Fellows embodies this spirit and dedication.

Campus Compact is a national coalition of almost 1,200 college and university presidents— representing some 6 million+ students—who are committed to fulfilling the civic purposes of higher education, that is, to improve community life and to educate students for civic and social responsibility. For more information about the organization and the award, visit www.compact.org.

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