The University Lecture Series will feature lectures on topics relevant to higher education, history, and intercollegiate athletics.
Hosted & Moderated by President Mike Martin
The format will include a 45 min – 1 hr. presentation followed by a 15 min Q & A.
For more information, please contact University Relations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: Seidler Hall Room 114 at 6 P.M.
The University Presidency and Rushing to InjusticeAn enlightening conversation with Dr. Graham Spanier , President Emeritus of Pennsylvania State University and Chancellor Emeritus of University of Nebraska.
Dr. Spanier will recount the unlikely story of a life and career turned upside down almost overnight in a firestorm of breaking news about a retired Penn State assistant football coach that unraveled into a nightmare of false accusations and labyrinthine legal proceedings stemming from a scandal surrounding a man Spanier barely knew. Spanier will discuss his new book, "In the Lions’ Den," a personal memoir that reveals how and why a university and many individuals, including legendary football coach Joe Paterno, were unfairly targeted in a colossal miscarriage of justice. Book signing to follow event.
Seidler Hall Room 114 at 6 P.M.
For additional questions, please contact University Relations at email@example.com.
Joe Alleva continues to bring unprecedented national recognition to LSU as Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics, leading one of the country’s premier collegiate athletic programs. The success of LSU Athletics is a clear reflection of Alleva’s mission to prepare student-athletes to excel in competition, in the classroom and the community, and to build champions in life on and off the field of play.
Alleva joined the LSU family on April 2, 2008 after an outstanding tenure as director of athletics at Duke University. He was named vice chancellor in 2009, marking the first time in LSU history the director of athletics has also held a vice chancellor position. In the spring of 2016, Alleva completed a five-year term on the prestigious NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee, an appointment cementing his reputation as one of the most respected athletic administrators in the country. He has been appointed to numerous national committees, including the Football Bowl Certification Committee, the NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet and several Southeastern Conference and Atlantic Coast Conference committees.
Alleva, who earned his bachelor’s degree in finance from Lehigh in 1975, was the quarterback of the football team and team captain in 1974. He also played on the baseball team and served as a graduate assistant football coach, earning an MBA in 1976. He became director of athletics at Duke in 1998 and his historic tenure there propelled the university into the ranks of America’s top all-around collegiate programs. While at Duke, he played a key role in the Durham, N.C. sports scene. Alleva started Little League Baseball in Durham nearly 30 years ago, and also began the American Legion baseball program.
Joe and his wife, Annie, have three children, J.D., Jeff, and Jenny, and six grandchildren.
D. D. Breaux
LSU Gymnastics Head Coach
43 Seasons (Retired August 4, 2020)
Alma Mater: LSU (1976)
Member of the LSU College of Coast and Environment Advisory Council
Member of the Governor’s Council for Fitness and Sports
2022 LSU Alumnus of the Year
2022 College of Health Science and Education Hall of Distinction Class
9 SEC Coach of the Year Honors
9 Region Coach of the Year Honors
Member of the USA Gymnastics Regional 8 Hall of Fame
Member of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame
8 NCAA Championship Finals Appearances (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
35 Consecutive NCAA Regional Appearances
30 NCAA Championships Appearances
15 Individual National Titles
19 Regional Titles
1 Honda Award Recipient
3 AAI Award Winners
1 NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist
266 All-America Honors
22 SEC Champions with 44 SEC Titles
93 All-SEC Honors
160 Scholastic All-Americans
7 SEC Gymnasts of the Year
6 SEC Championships
D-D Breaux built LSU Gymnastics from the ground up and turned it into the national powerhouse it is known as of today. For 43 years Breaux represented the university and state before retiring in August 2020 as the longest tenured head coach for any sports in Southeastern Conference history.
LSU Gymnastics is known nationally thanks to Breaux’s work in the gym and the community. Her dedication to the student-athlete on an individual basis has transcended into academic success, community involvement, Coach of the Year honors, SEC Championships, NCAA Regional Championships and top-10 national rankings throughout her tenure.
Under Breaux’s leadership and coaching, LSU reached new heights in individual and
team success. LSU saw increasing accomplishments in the new millennium that included
17 NCAA Championships appearances in 18 seasons, seven NCAA Championship Finals appearances
since 2008 and 14 individual national titles since 2002.
The passion Breaux showcased in 43 seasons never wavered. Breaux worked tirelessly to make LSU gymnastics the most exciting and family-friend event in the city, state and country. Friday night inside the Maravich Center is a major attraction in Baton Rouge, and the attendance records have been rewritten thanks to the hard work by Breaux and her staff.
The 25-best attended meets in school history came during the Tigers’ explosion. LSU exceeded 13,000 fans on four different occasions and in 2018, the program sold out the PMAC against Alabama and Kentucky. LSU set the single-meet attendance record with 13,729 in the arena to watch the Tigers take down the Crimson Tide.
In competition, LSU put together one of the most consistent programs in the nation with four-straight NCAA Championship Finals appearances, three-straight SEC meet championships and two SEC regular season titles during Breaux’s final years as head coach.
Breaux is considered a pioneer of collegiate gymnastics and women’s sports. She never stopped advocating for her program since being named head coach in 1978. At the beginning of her career, the Tigers trained in a corner of the Carl Maddox Field House. They now utilize the top gymnastics training facility in the world.
During her tenure Breaux established and maintained LSU's reputation as one of the premier collegiate gymnastics programs in the country. Under her tutelage, the Tigers placed among the nation's top-10 teams 30 times, finishing a program-best second in 2016, 2017 and 2019, third in 2014, fourth in 1988 and 2018, fifth in 2008 and 2013 and sixth on four separate occasions.
LSU also placed among the top three in regional competition on 34 separate occasions. The team won regional titles 18 times in four different decades, including back-to-back first-place regional finishes in 2008 and 2009 and the streak of seven straight from 2013-19.
Under her leadership, LSU captured 15 individual national titles and 44 SEC titles. There were also 266 All-America and 91 All-SEC honors earned in 43 seasons.
Breaux's squad won the inaugural SEC Championship title in 1981 and returned to the top once again in 2017, 2018 and 2019. The three-peat marked the fifth time in SEC history a team has won three or more SEC titles in a row. Her team also finished second on five occasions and third seven other times.
For her dedication to the sport and her teams' numerous accomplishments, Breaux was recognized by her peers time and time again. In the summer of 2009, Breaux received one of the highest honors as she was voted into the USA Gymnastics Region 8 Hall of Fame. Breaux was first recognized as the National Coach of the Year in 2014 and once again in 2017. She was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2017.
She was named the SEC Coach of the Year on nine occasions (1990, 1993, 1994, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2015, 2017 and 2019) and NCAA Central Regional Coach of the Year nine times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017).
An All-Around Coach
Aside from athletic honors, Breaux exceled in recruiting quality student-athletes. A Louisianan through and through, Breaux’s recruiting efforts reached farther than her home state.
Outside of the gym, Breaux took an active role in the academic success her program has achieved in her 40-plus seasons at LSU. By making academic success her team's No. 1 priority, Breaux's teams reached the highest scholastic goals she has established over the years. Throughout the country, she was acknowledged as having one of the finest academic team year in and year out. LSU gymnasts were named Scholastic All-Americans 154 times and members of the SEC Academic Honor Roll on 231 occasions.
Breaux’s team won the Tiger Cup in 2013, 2014, and 2015, an award given to the LSU team with the most community service hours, the highest GPA and the highest national placement in postseason competition. In addition, the gymnastics team earned the Community Service Award for combining community service with excellence in the classroom at the annual LSU Academic Gala in 2013 and again in 2015.
Following her retirement in August 2020, Breaux spends most of her time volunteering in the Baton Rouge community and serving as ambassador for LSU. She continues to talk to groups across the state and represent the university. Breaux served on the LSU College of Coast and Environment advisory council and was appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to the Governors’ Council for Fitness and sports.
Breaux and her team always participated in volunteer activities throughout the Baton
Rouge area. The team annually took part in the Samaritan’s Purse Christmas Box Program
and Operation Christmas Child to provide presents and gifts to children who are less
fortunate. From 2005-08 Breaux's teams were awarded the LSU CHAMPS Community Service
Award after logging hundreds of hours of community service work.
Breaux, who has served as the Chairperson of the YWCA's Pink Ribbon Campaign for Breast Cancer, and her team have also volunteered their time to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, St. Jude's Hospital and the Alzheimer's Association, among others. The Tigers’ coach also served as chair for LSU’s United Way campaign, and in 2009 she received the McMain’s Community Service Award from the McMain’s Children’s Development Center, a great honor for Breaux.
From 2008-13, Breaux and the Tigers joined forces with Foundation 56 – an organization established by former LSU standout linebacker and NFL star Bradie James. James’ mother, Etta, succumbed to breast cancer in February 2002. LSU held the Etta James Memorial Meet for six years, raising money for Foundation 56’s efforts to raise awareness and fight breast cancer. In all, LSU gymnastics and the Baton Rouge community raised more than $300,000 for Foundation 56’s fight against breast cancer.
It is this delicate balance among exceptional academics, athletic excellence and exemplary community service efforts that allowed Breaux to keep her team at the top of the national scene year in and year out.
The foundation for Breaux’s coaching career developed long before her arrival at LSU. An excellent athlete in her own right, Breaux's affiliation with the sport began at the club level where she was a nationally-ranked gymnast by both the A.A.U. and the U.S.G.F.
She was also a Junior Olympic National Champion who earned the S.A.A.U.'s Outstanding Gymnast award. By virtue of her accomplishments Breaux qualified as one of the top-15 athletes in the country to compete at the World Games Trials and was set to compete at the 1972 Olympic Trials before a career-ending knee injury forced her to retire.
Breaux, a native of Donaldsonville, Louisiana, attended Southeastern Louisiana University where she competed for the Lady Lions gymnastics team for two seasons (1972-73) and helped SLU to a second-place finish at the 1972 AIAW Championships.
Breaux then served as an assistant coach for the Lady Lions for three seasons, where she also became a national-level judge and served as the first state director for the Louisiana USA gymnastics program. She later transferred to LSU in 1976 where she earned both her bachelor's and master's degrees.
Breaux is one of eight children and comes from a great family tradition. Her parents, brothers, sisters and their spouses and children supported the program since the coach’s arrival at LSU and continue to support till this day.
Breaux has two daughters, Jewel and Sara. Sara, her younger child, played soccer at LSU and earned her degree in May 2009. Sara finished her master’s program in public administration in the LSU E.J. Ourso School of Business. She has two children, Robert Eric (4) and Rose Breaux (3).
Jewel, Breaux’s older daughter, is also a graduate of LSU, and she served as a volunteer coach for the gymnastics team for several years. Jewel is the owner of Weichert Realty in Baton Rouge and the mother of Porter Thomas (15) and Chase Hebert (12).
On June 30, 2019 Karl Benson stepped aside as Commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference ending a 47 year career in intercollegiate athletics – as a student-athlete, coach and athletics administrator. And since 1990, Benson served as the only Commissioner of three different Football Bowl Championship conferences – Mid-American, Western Athletic and Sun Belt.
During his 29 years as a Commissioner, Benson was at the center of the influence of TV on the sports of football and men’s basketball watching the rights fees of both escalate to billon dollar industries. He was also “around the table” as the Football Bowl Alliance was created that subsequently merged into the Football Bowl Championship Series and ultimately the College Football Playoff.
Benson served on the NCAA Management Council from 1999-2002 and a five-year term on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee from 2002-2006.
Prior to taking the reins of the MAC in 1990, Benson served on the NCAA staff for more than four years where he was the director of NCAA championships when selected as MAC commissioner.
A native of the state of Washington, Benson graduated from high school in Pullman in 1970, attended Spokane Falls Community College and then received a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education from Boise State University in 1975. He has also completed course work toward his master’s degree in athletics administration at the University of Utah.
Benson played baseball at both Spokane Falls Community College and Boise State University before serving as the baseball coach at Fort Steilacoom Community College in Tacoma, Wash.for eight years and as the director of athletics at Fort Steilacoom from 1979-84. From 1984-86, he was an assistant baseball coach and an administrative assistant in the athletics department at Utah.
Dr. Graham Spanier
Graham Spanier served as president of The Pennsylvania State University from September 1995 to November 2011. His prior positions include chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Oregon State University, and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He previously served Penn State from 1973 to 1982 as a member of the faculty and in three administrative positions in the College of Health and Human Development.
A family sociologist, demographer, and marriage and family therapist, he earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Northwestern University, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Iowa State University. He is the recipient of three honorary doctorates. Spanier is President Emeritus and University Professor Emeritus at Penn State. He held academic appointments as professor of human development and family studies, sociology, demography, and family and community medicine.
As president of Penn State, Dr. Spanier was often described as an unconventional university president. He is a magician who served as faculty advisor to the Penn State Performing Magicians, performed with Penn State’s Musical Theatre students, the marching band, the glee club, and the chamber orchestra. He has run with the bulls in Pamplona, has a commercial pilot’s license, and plays percussion with the Deacons of Dixieland. He and his racquetball partner were the eleven-time Penn State co-ed intramural racquetball champions.
He oversaw one of the nation’s largest and most comprehensive universities, with nearly 100,000 students and 47,000 employees on 24 campuses and a physical plant of 1,700 buildings. During his tenure, applications soared to more than 120,000 per year and the academic standing of dozens of programs rose in national rankings.
As a national leader in higher education, Spanier chaired the Association of American Universities, the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges, and led the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land-Grant Universities. He was a founding member of the Internet2 board, U.S. Chair and international Vice Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network, and co-chair, with the President of the Recording Industry Association of America, of the Committee on Higher Education and the Entertainment Industry. Dr. Spanier was the first university president to receive the Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence awarded by the American Council on Education. He was given the American Institute of Architects Award for Contribution to the Profession by a Non-Architect.
In the world of collegiate athletics, he chaired the NCAA Division I Board of Directors, was a member of the NCAA Executive Committee, was chair of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) Presidential Oversight Board, oversaw the reorganization of the Fiesta Bowl, was chairman of the Big Ten Conference Council of Presidents/Chancellors, and chaired commissions for the NCAA.
A distinguished researcher and scholar, he has more than 100 scholarly publications, including ten books, and was the founding editor of the Journal of Family Issues. Spanier served as President of the National Council of Family Relations, chairman of the Board of Directors of Child Fund International (formerly Christian Children’s Fund), a member of the Board of Governors of Junior Achievement Worldwide, and a member of the Board of Trustees of the National 4-H Council.
Spanier served as chair of the National Security Higher Education Advisory Board, a member of the National Counterintelligence Working Group, and as a member of the Board of Advisors of the Naval Postgraduate School and the Naval War College. He has received numerous recognitions for his contributions to national security, including being honored as one of the “Most Influential People in Security,” the “Wings of Law” Award from the Respect for Law Alliance, the Director’s Award for “Exceptional Public Service” presented by the FBI, and the Warren Medal for “Outstanding Contributions to the National Security of the United States of America.” He has been a frequent speaker at FBI and other governmental and educational conferences and seminars on topics related to national security.
Spanier spent decades working in television and radio, even while serving higher education. He hosted To the Best of My Knowledge, a live call-in program on public television and radio, and Expert Opinion, a sports topic program on the Big Ten Network.
Spanier currently serves as a consultant in national and international security, intelligence, and risk management.
Bob played college football at the U of Minnesota, where he was twice named All-America, twice Academic All-America and a 3 year All-Big Ten selection as a DE and placekicker. He played on the 1967 Gopher Big Ten Champion team. Upon graduation in 1969 he received NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship and National Football Foundation Student-Athlete Leadership awards.
After college he spent 8 years as an NFL linebacker, starting with the ’69 KC Chiefs Super Bowl champions, and graduated in the top 10% of his U of Missouri-KC law school class, attending full time while a Chiefs player. He also played for the Rams, Chargers, Saints and Vikings.
In 1986 he became the founding CEO/President of the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves and Target Center Arena, with primary responsibility for securing the franchise, financing, business operations and the development of Target Center. The team established the current NBA attendance record and led pro sports sponsorship marketing in Minnesota during his tenure. Target Center was selected four times as a Top 3 U.S. arena. 8 hires went on to become organization presidents themselves. Bob was an NBA/Sporting News Executive of the Year finalist in 1990.
He represented many NFL and NBA players in contract negotiations and was co-lead counsel in the Dryer v. NFL publicity rights class action, also representing retired players in the NFL Concussion Settlement.
Bob has participated on numerous charity boards including the National Football Foundation Minnesota Chapter, Minnesota Boxing Commission, U of Minnesota National Alumni Association, Children’s Cancer Research Fund, Jacob Wetterling Foundation and Taste of the NFL/Hunger Related Events boards. He is a member of five sports halls of fame: the U of MN, Missouri, National Jewish, St. Louis Park HS and in 2020 the College Football Hall of Fame.
Gregory L. Geoffroy
Gregory L. Geoffroy served as President of Iowa State University from 2001-2012. Prior to that he held leadership positions at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Pennsylvania State University where he was also appointed Professor of Chemistry. He holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Louisville. While at Iowa State he served on the NCAA Division I Board of Directors for three years and a member of its Executive Committee for 2 years. He also was a member of the NCAA’s Basketball Academic Enhancement Group & served as Chair of its Transfers Subcommittee.
McKinley Boston Jr.
McKinley Boston Jr. is an American university administrator who most recently was athletic director at New Mexico State University, retired effective December 2014.
Boston is from Elizabeth City, North Carolina and graduated from P. W. Moore High School in 1964. He attended the University of Minnesota from 1964 to 1968 where he played football. Boston went on to play professionally for the New York Giants in the National Football League (NFL) and for the BC Lions in the Canadian Football League (CFL) for two years.
Boston received his bachelor's degree in 1973 and his master's degree in 1974 from Montclair State University. He received his doctorate in education in 1987 from New York University.
Boston served as director of athletics at Kean College in Union, New Jersey (1986–1987) and University of Rhode Island (1989–1991).
Boston was named the AD at the University of Minnesota in 1991 and in 1995 he became vice president for student development and athletics at Minnesota. He left the University of Minnesota in 1999.
General Ty Seidule
Ty Seidule is a Visiting Professor of History at Hamilton College and Professor Emeritus of History at West Point. He served in the U.S. Army for 36 years, retiring as a Brigadier General. Ty serves as Vice Chair for the Congressional Naming Commission tasked to rename Department of Defense assets that honor Confederates. His latest book is Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause. NPR, Forbes and other news outlets named it one of the best books of 2021. The Associated Press called it “an extraordinary and courageous book, a confessional of America’s great sins of slavery and racial oppression, a call to confront our wrongs, reject our mythologized racist past and resolve to create a just future for all.” A leader in digital history, Ty is the creator and senior editor of the award-winning West Point History of Warfare, the largest enhanced digital book in any field. His video lecture “Was the Civil War about Slavery?” has 35 million views on social media. Ty is the author or editor of six other books on military history, three of which won distinguished writing prizes, including The West Point History of the Civil War. He is a New America Fellow and serves on the advisory board for the National World War II Museum. During his long army career, he served in armor and cavalry units in peace and war in the US, the Balkans, Germany, Italy, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Kenya.