Excellence in Unclassified Staff Service
Dr. Duane Donald
Excellence in Service
Dr. Duane Donald
Coordinator of Special Projects/TRIO
When Duane Donald attended St. James High School in Vacherie, he was an athlete, an excellent student, and a member of Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA).
It was FBLA that lit the torch in him to serve.
During high school, Donald named this year the winner of the President’s Award for Excellence in Service to Unclassified Staff -- attended basketball camp at Southeastern and liked what he saw on campus. Little did he know it would one day become his “home away from home.”
“I was a decent player and was awarded a scholarship to play at Southeastern,” Donald said.
He graduated in 1990 with a degree in management and immediately enrolled in graduate school to earn his MBA, which he received from Southeastern in 1992. After graduation, the university hired him as an assistant basketball coach, where he worked until the banking community lured him away in 1994. Donald’s banking career lasted until 2001, when he decided to return home to Southeastern as an instructor of marketing.
Donald taught in the department until 2005, when he accepted the role of coordinator of special projects. In this current position, he is responsible for overseeing the federally funded TRIO program, which includes Upward Bound, Talent Search, Educational Opportunity Center, Veterans Upward Bound and Student Support Services. These programs target potential, first-generation college students and students from low-income backgrounds who have a need for academic support to pursue an education after high school.
Donald says his greatest accomplishment to date is completing his doctorate in May from UNO in Educational Leadership with a concentration in higher education administration.
“My family, my friends and my church members were all there,” he said. “It was awesome to be able to share that with the people who have been so supportive of me throughout the entire process.”
Donald has served his community, church and university, volunteering to work in various capacities for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Relay for Life, Slidell Youth Leadership Club, and Special Olympics Louisiana, where he has assisted every year for approximately 13 years.
"Duane’s dedication to our great institution, service and leadership can best be measured by his many accomplishments beyond his work duties,” said Eric Summers, director of Multicultural and International Student Affairs. “His can-do spirit grants him the admiration of his peers, colleagues and subordinates, as he is always willing to volunteer for philanthropic and outreach initiatives.”
Donald’s very definition of service comes from the motto of Alpha Phi Alpha, his college fraternity: “First of all, servants of all, we shall transcend all.’
“Service to me is making sure we identify the needs of our community and making sure those needs are fulfilled by people who are blessed and have the resources to provide for those needs,” Donald said. “The job that we do at TRIO and the programs that I oversee make it all worthwhile because of what we do on a daily basis. It’s very rewarding.”
Donald has served his university on numerous committees, including Rock n’ Roar, the Southeastern Athletic Committee, the Steering Committee for Southeastern NCAA Division I Athletics Certification. He chaired the SES Academic Counselor Search Committee, has also served as the advisor for the Southeastern Chapter of the American Marketing Association and is a founding member of the Southeastern African American Alumni Chapter, where he served as the chapter’s first president and helped raise $10,000 for an endowed scholarship.
“Duane has been a servant to all. He understands that you can only lead through service, and through service, Duane has led,” said fraternity brother James L. Anderson. “He is a fine gentleman, scholar, educator, and a leader of men.”
When asked which role at Southeastern has been his favorite, Donald said he could not choose just one.
“My whole experience from the time I was a student, an athlete, a coach and an employee has been great,” Donald said. “I have been blessed to make Southeastern my home.
“A lot of people come here, earn a degree and then leave,” he continued. “But I have been able to get my degree, remain in the Hammond area and make a good living for me and my family. It’s all been a very good experience. I can’t pick just one part it’s the whole package.”
And so is Donaldfamily man, friend, community member, employee, church member, boss and self-professed servant to all. He is the whole package.