e-Newsletter for over 25,000 Alumni & Friends
January 2015

Warhawks to raise "402" banner to honor Mike Vining Jan. 24

The ULM men's basketball program announced that it will honor legendary former head coach Mike Vining by raising a banner featuring the number "402" in a special halftime ceremony during the Warhawks game on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2015 against Georgia Southern at Fant-Ewing Coliseum.

Mike Vining

The 402 represents the total number of Vining's regular season and post-season victories over his 24 seasons as ULM head coach from 1981-2005.

"The number 402 was selected to incorporate and embody all of Mike's accomplishments and his countless contributions to the ULM men's basketball program," said current ULM head coach Keith Richard. "This banner will serve as a symbol of the enduring legacy of Mike Vining, one of the greatest coaches in ULM history and a member of the ULM family."

Vining is a member of the ULM Hall of Fame, Southland Conference Hall of Honor, the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the LABC Hall of Fame.

A full bio and history of Coach Vining's legacy at ULM is available at ULMWarhawks.com

Mardi Gras Revelers Alumni float to roll Feb. 7 in Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras Parade

The ULM Alumni Association float will roll in the 32nd Annual Krewe of Janus Mardi Gras parade, Saturday, Feb. 7. The parade starts at 7 pm.

Come pass a good time and get some beads from your fellow Warhawks!

Warhawk Sports Weekend

For more Good News about ULM, visit the ULM News Center!
Robin Stockton Underwood


Director's Corner: a message from ULM Alumni Director Robin Stockton Underwood

Dear University of Louisiana at Monroe Alumni,

I hope 2015 has been great thus far for each of you! Great things are happening on campus in academics and athletics. Please make sure you read more about them in this editon of Good News!

Recently, I was involved in a car accident (not a life threatening injury, but I did need medical attention). I experienced just how big an impact our Alums have in Monroe. I had on a ULM jacket whihc sparked conversations throughout the day. The kind gentleman who stayed over 45 minutes just to give a witness statement was—you guessed it—a ULM grad.

The first responders (policemen, firefighters, and paramedics) on the scene had ULM connections. Many were alums; several were parents of current students. At the hospital, the physician, physician's assistant, nurse, and radiologist were all proud ULM graduates. My pharmacist was a ULM grad, and ULM pharmacy students were behind the pharmacy counter. I have to say I felt a little more at ease knowing I was in a fellow graduate's care.

The quote "We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, what we do, we take a little of each other everywhere" came to mind.

As we leave our University and go about establishing our careers, each of us take a piece of the University we love. Our alumni serve their communities in many ways - nurses, doctors, paramedics, firefighters, radiologists, business owners, pharmacist, accountants, educators, artist, moms, dads, etc. The list could go on and on of the career paths our graduates take. The one thing in common is our time at our campus on the beautiful bayou. We benefited from those who came before us and so do our current students.

I believe it is our duty to give back to our school what we can.

There is no better way to do this than by joining the Alumni Association. We are more than a platform to plan, organize events, or to meet old friends. We help share with today's students what we've learned in our lives so they can make better choices. We provide an opportunity for graduates to network and to grow personally and professionally. I invite those of you who share positive feelings towards our school to step forward and contribute in whatever way you can. Just think of the impact your gift can have on those in school now!

Many of you remember fondly—receiving a scholarships, participating with Oozeball, crawfish boils, shrimp boils, T-shirt swaps, Homecoming, Chili Cook-offs, and the many more fun times from your time here on campus. These events or scholarships happen because those who came before us cared enough to give back so that we could benefit.

Have you never given before and not sure what you can do?

No worries, we can help you. It's easy. Take that first step by joining the Alumni Association. You can join online safely and securely or mail your check to the ULM Anna Gray Noe Alumni Center, 4400 Bon Aire Drive, Monroe LA 71270.

Are you concerned you can't afford to make a big impact?

No worries, with an investment as small as $35 individual membership today you can join our association. Just imagine — if 75% of our living alums paid their dues of $35, the revenue would be over $1.7 MILLION!!

Have you given already and not sure what else you can do?

First, THANK you for giving! No worries, you can volunteer to help. We can always use extra help in the following: making phone calls, recruiting members and students, and event host/hostesses and planning volunteers. If you are interested, please reach out to me to volunteer.

Thank you fellow alums for serving in your local communities and continuing to proudly bleed maroon & gold!

Robin Underwood Signature

Robin Stockton Underwood, BBA ‘00
Director of Alumni Affairs
University of Louisiana at Monroe

PS - Remember to support your ULM Alumni Association with a financial gift! And you can easily double or even triple your gift with a Maching Gift from your employer. Find out more at our Matching Gift website!

Fall 2014 ULM Magazine now available!

Fall 2014 ULM Magazine cover

In the Fall 2014 Issue . . .

- Stan Humphries comes back to the nest to join the Women's Basketball coaching staff

- EJ Ok reflects on her legacy and her love for her fans

- The Scelfo family tradition: All Warhawks a dozen times over

- Embracing Change: Buddy Embanato is part of ULM's past, present and future

Click on the magazine to read an interactive version or download as a PDF!

Exclusive Offer on Auto and Home Insurance!

Warhawk Wines

Get quality protection for your auto and home.

Liberty Mutual is pleased to offer University of Louisiana at Monroe alumni special savings and personalized coverage.1

Enjoy exceptional service your way: at a local office, by phone, online or via mobile device.

We will help ensure you, your family and your valuables are properly protected.

Visit www.libertymutual.com/ulmaa for a free quote.

1Discounts and savings are available where state laws and regulations allow, and may vary by state. Certain discounts apply to specific coverages only. To the extent permitted by law, applicants are individually underwritten; not all applicants may qualify. Please consult a Liberty Mutual sales representative for additional information.

Help Fund ULM Scholarships with a Warhawk Plate!

ULM License PlateWhen you purchase a Warhawk license plate, part of the proceeds help fund scholarships for future Warhawks.

And if you have an older NLU plate, you can even retain that plate number with your new ULM Warhawks plate!

For more information and to order your new Warhawk license plate, visit ulm.edu/alumni/licenseplate.

For more information about your Alumni Association, visit ulm.edu/alumni!

The ULM Alumni Association draws its membership from over 65,000 graduates located worldwide.

We invite you to reminisce and remember your time on campus and to stay connected to your university, to each other, and to your ULM Alumni Association.

Visit our "Reminisce & Reconnect" web page on the Alumni Web site and please feel free to send your memories and photos to Brooke O'Brayant at obryant@ulm.edu and we'll post what we can on this page!

Pickle Barrel named ULM Alumni Association "Business of the Month"

If you've ever stepped foot into the Pickle Barrel, you have more than likely seen D.J. Fortnenberry's story; it's plastered proudly on the front of the menu. It goes a little something like this:

Born and raised in south Louisiana, grew a beast of a child who was often found with a baseball in one hand and a pickle in the other. Here, he developed into a real eating machine, in which his mother would prepare for him any sandwich he could want. He then became compiling a list of his sandwich likings, until he created a list only for a real "Son of a Botch!"

As time moved on, he took his taste for beer (which started with a love of root beer) and list of sandwiches, along with his talent for baseball to the little town of Monroe. During his baseball career at ULM, 2004-2008, he took Babe Ruth's famous stint (calling his shot by pointing towards the stand and hitting a home run) and created an infamous one of his own. DJ would point towards the stands in the middle of the game, and then immediately go to the concessions stand to get the burger he was trying to order.

Photo of Current 'Business of the Month'

After his baseball career came to a close at ULM, he took to visiting places around Monroe, to do what his mother would call, "market research for future endeavors." It was then that DJ decided that he needed (and wanted) to open a pub of sorts to provide the Monroe community with all that DJ deemed to make life worth living. Problem was with the location.

D.J. Fortenberry


As he stumbled through the doors of the Pickle Barrel one day, he realized his whole life was brought together in this one moment. The only thing this place was missing was a kid crazy enough to take a chance on it.

So, as you dine and drink there today, realize that every bit and every sip you take was part of a boy's dream that started so very long ago. The Pickle Barrel may be over 30 years old, and D.J. is only 29, but that's exactly how it happened!

D.J. is a 2008 graduate of ULM, with a Bachelor's in General Studies. He is married to Jessica, who you can almost always find working at the Pickle Barrel, and they have one son, Phoenix.

About the Business of the Month: The purpose of the Business of the Month award is to show not only our alumni-owned businesses how much we appreciate their support, but to also show the community how special these places are.

The criteria for becoming ULM Alumni Association's Business of the Month are simple:

1. An owner (or managing operator) must be a ULM Alumni; if you are not an alumnus, you can join our association as Alumni by Choice.
2. Be current on alumni dues (annual dues are $35 for a single membership or $50 for couples, or $500 for a Legacy Society (lifetime) membership
3. Have ULM gear (pennants, flags, stickers, etc) visible in your business.

The Alumni Association selects its Business of the Month at the beginning of each month, and moves the sign to their location. Check the ULM Alumni Association Facebook page to see who will win next!

ULM alumni creates app to help with simple math

Screenshot of appLike most people interested in technology, Blake Rogers is fascinated with the iPhone, and all of its capabilities. When Apple announced the App Store would give the ability to anyone to publish an app, Blake set a goal and challenged himself: to develop an app and have it published in the App Store. At that time, Blake's oldest son Dylan was in kindergarten, and gave him the idea to create a simple math app to help Dylan learn and practice his math facts.

"I came up with the idea of taking the age old concept of flashcards, which is how I learned math facts, and bring it to the iPhone," says Blake.

Map of app usage

Blue areas are all countries using the app currently. Dark blue are heavily saturated and most popular.

After learning a few things, like programming language, the iPhone framework and some basic graphic design, Blake published version 1.0 in February 2011. He named his business TipTapTech, LLC and called his work of art app Math Fact Master.

"It wasn't a smash hit, but it was pretty cool to see something I had created in the App store," says Blake. The fact that his boys thought it was super awesome didn't hurt either.

Over the following months, Blake continued to learn and enhance the app in both functionality and appearance. Around Thanksgiving of that year, he submitted his fifth update and sales gradually began to improve.

Blake's app has now grown to consistently rank among the top Educations apps in the App Store, along with apps created by Disney and Nickelodeon. At one prideful point, it was as high as the #2 Education app and has also been in the top 100 of all apps in the App Store. Blake Family picture

"Math Fact Master is not a "flashy" app, but I believe it's simplicity of design is what has made it successful," says Blake.

Since the success of his app, Blake and his wife Michelle have collaborated on other apps. They have eight apps in the Apple App Store, most of which are education related.

Their most notable include "Mathopolis" (a firefighter-themed math game) and "The Spelling Bee" (an app to play games with spelling words).

Math Fact Master can be found in the Apple App Store, and purchased for $0.99.

Blake is a 1994 graduate of ULM, with a degree in Marketing, and his wife Michelle is a 2003 graduate with a Master's in Education. They have two sons, Dylan (age 10) and Colin (age 8).

ULM alum honored for outstanding community service

John Cameron


University of Louisiana at Monroe alumnus, John Cameron, recently received the Society of Louisiana Certified Public Accountants' (LCPA) 2014 Distinguished Public Service Award. Presented jointly by the LCPA and the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA), the award is the highest honor for public service leadership, impact, involvement and innovation a Louisiana CPA can earn.

A West Monroe native, Cameron has served community organizations for over three decades. Cameron is also devoted to improving the academic, economic, and cultural climate of his community.

Cameron's dedication to service helped guide him and his family through the tragic loss of his teenage son, Jason, killed at age 17 in a car crash. After that event, Cameron focused his attention on other young people and sought to give them the needed support to prepare them for the future. In 2005, the Jason Paul Cameron Foundation was created, and through it, hundreds of students have benefited.

In an interview with the LCPA, Cameron said, "The purpose of the foundation is not simply to memorialize Jason's life, but rather to honor the way he lived his life by calling young men and women to impact their communities through lives of service to others."

Through the Jason Paul Cameron Foundation, as well as the many other organizations for which he volunteers, Cameron works tirelessly to enrich the lives of young people. He provides resources and comfort to families experiencing similar loss of loved ones.

Cameron also devotes his time to ensuring that where funding is lacking in local schools or churches, that the foundation is there to help. He helps young couples, widows, new business owners, and many others better understand the importance of finance, budget and money management.

As part of the award, the LCPA made a $1000 contribution to the Jason Paul Cameron Foundation.

A partner in the firm, Cameron, Hines, and Company, Cameron will now be nominated for the AICPA National Public Service Award.

The LCPA was organized in 1911 and serves more than 6,300 CPAs statewide working in public practice, industry, government, and education. It is the premier organization of accountants in the state.

Cameron graduated from ULM in 1979 with a degree in accounting. To learn more about the LCPA, visit lcpa.org

For more Good News about ULM, visit the ULM News Center!

West Side Story logo
VAPA to present "West Side Story" March 26-29

By special arrangement with Music Theater International, ULM's School of Visual and Performing Arts presents Leonard Bernstein's "West Side Story" as its Spring Musical March 26 - 29, 2015 in ULM's Brown Theatre.

"West Side Story" will be directed and choreographed by ULM Associate Professor of Dance Robin Stephens, with Associate Professor Dr. Deborah Chandler as musical director.

Ticket info and performance times will be available soon.

ULM online programs gain national recognition

ULM's online MBA was nationally ranked by U.S. News and World Report for student engagement, and admissions selectivity, while four ULM online programs received affordability rankings from AffordableCollegesOnline.org

ULM's Master of Business Administration program was one of nearly 200 programs listed, and no other program in the state was ranked higher. The MBA's 2015 ranking is up 30 spots from the 2014 ranking of 87.

This ranking is U.S. News and World Report's first MBA-only ranking. In the past, non-MBA business graduate degrees were also considered in the rankings. This year's ranking assesses the MBA separately.

According to the methodology provided by U.S. News and World Report, "Master's degree programs in business administration have a greater enrollment by far than any other type of graduate business degree program."

Each program was ranked based on five factors.

Student engagement accounted for 28 percent of each ranking. Included in this factor were student/instructor interaction; accessibility of instructors; and positive student experiences.

Admissions selectivity accounted for 25 percent of each ranking. Included in this factor were student aptitude; rigor of coursework; and selectivity in awarding degrees, which leads to more significant success in the job market.

ULM's criminal justice, education, psychology, and MBA online programs were all recognized in the 2015 most affordable rankings.

AffordableCollegesOnline.org (ACO) seeks to help students and parents identify the best programs and universities that fit each individual academic and financial need.

ULM's online MBA has received numerous national rankings since its inception in 2010. Most recently, the program was awarded a number 57 ranking from U.S. News and World Report for Best Online MBA.

ULM's online MBA came in at number 22 in the nation on ACO's list for affordability, with 68 total programs ranked. In 2013, the MBA made ACO's list at number 27.

Within the methodology—the criteria used to assess each ranking—ACO reviewed factors including accreditation; non-profit status; student-faculty ratio; faculty credentials; degrees conferred; and peer review.

ULM's online psychology program has also received various national recognitions recently, including a national top-20 "Best Buy" ranking from OnlineU.org in 2014. In ACO's 2015 most affordable ranking, the online psychology degree ranked at number 28 in the nation.

For this ranking, the methodology factors included: tuition rate; six-year graduation rate; financial aid availability; academic and career counseling services; job placement; loan default rate; peer review; and many others.

For more Good News about ULM, visit the ULM News Center!

Warhawks earn triumphant victory over Ragin' Cajuns, lead Sun Belt Conference with sixth straight win

The sixth consecutive victory for the ULM men's basketball program came in heart-pumping fashion as the Warhawks escaped UL-Lafayette with a huge 57-55 win on Jan. 19 at the Cajundome.

Warhawks vs ULL

The Warhawks (12-6, 6-1 SBC) were clinging to a 56-55 lead with 38 seconds left with the ball when the Ragin' Cajuns (10-8, 4-3 SBC) opted not to foul with just under a three-second shot clock to game clock differential. The Cajuns got the ball back with 2.7 seconds underneath their own basket when senior Tylor Ongwae intercepted a long pass with 1.2 seconds remaining. After a foul and a made free throw, ULL's full-court shot at the buzzer fell short.

Ongwae led the team with 13 points. The Warhawks used a well-balanced attack as junior Jamaal Samuel scored nine, juniors Majok Deng and Justin Roberson put in eight, sophomore Nick Coppola netted seven and senior Marvin Williams and junor Mack Foster recorded six each. Williams grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

ULM Football's annual signing day luncheon set for February 4

The ULM football team will hold its annual Signing Day luncheon Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 11:30 a.m. at Bayou DeSiard Country Club, located at 3501 Forsythe Avenue in Monroe.

Warhawks logo

The program will feature comments on all of the Warhawk signees from head coach Todd Berry and his assistants. Fans will also be treated to video highlights of the new Warhawks as well as opportunities to meet the ULM coaching staff.

The event cost is $25 for each ULM Athletic Foundation member and $30 for non-ULMAF members; checks should be made to the ULM Athletic Foundation.

Seating is limited, and fans are encouraged to RSVP as soon as possible by contacting Bridget Lyon at 318-342-5360 or via email at blyon@ulm.edu. The deadline to RSVP is Friday, Jan. 30; for more information about the 2014 Signing Day event please call 318-342-5360.

Fans will be able to get full coverage of Signing Day 2014 on ulmwarhawks.com. Coverage includes up-to-the-minute Facebook/Twitter updates on each signee as their National Letter of Intent rolls off the fax machine and complete biographical information on each player will be available at www.ULMWarhawks.com.

Wickstrom named a top-10 fundraiser

Dr. Brian Wickstrom, ULM's athletic director, was named one of the top-10 fundraising ADs in college athletics by CollegeAD—a news and resource service for college athletic programs.

Dr. Brian Wickstrom


"I am humbled by the recognition tied to fundraising, but this recognition is earned by great staffs, critical donors who make an investment in student-athletes, and the relationships built throughout the communities," said Wickstrom. "I believe the positive progress taking place on campus plays a key role in any visibility nationally. Part of our success is that we find ULM alumni and other members of the community who want to be a part of the ULM tradition and growth."

According to the CollegeAd.org website, the organization polled sitting athletic directors and university presidents to compile the list of the top-10 fundraisers at the Division I level.

Division I is comprised of nearly 350 colleges and universities, and governed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

Wickstrom made the list among Athletic Directors from the University of Missouri; University of Mississippi; University of Arizona; Kansas State University; Texas Christian University; California State University-Long Beach; the University of Louisville; Utah State University; and the University of California-Los Angeles.

ULM President Dr. Nick J. Bruno


"Our top priority when seeking a new AD was to find an individual who would develop an effective fund raising process for ULM athletics," said ULM President, Dr. Nick J. Bruno.

"Dr. Wickstrom has achieved that goal. I congratulate him on the recognition and thank him for his efforts to advance ULM."

Wickstrom has led ULM athletics to one of its most successful periods since arriving. Wickstrom and his staff have worked tirelessly to acquire donations for various facility upgrades and new construction projects, many of which have already been completed.

Warhawk football gets new weight room

It's a new year, a new nutrition center, and a new weight room! Warhawk football shows off its new weight room on Facebook.

ULM's new weight room


For more Good News about Warhawk Athletics, visit ulmwarhawks.com!

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ULM Alumni Events Calendar

Football Signing Day
Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2015
More Info

Browse on the Bayou
Saturday, March 21, 2015
More Info

La Louisianne Crawfish Boil and Spring Football Game
Saturday, March 28, 2015

Wine over Water
Thursday, April 9, 2015
More Info

Warhawk Basketball
Ticket Info
Men's Schedule
Women's Schedule

Warhawk Baseball
Ticket Info

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