Academic Hall Reopening with Fanfare at 2013 Homecoming Celebration



CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 14, 2013 – After two years of extensive work, the doors of the newly renovated Academic Hall, the centerpiece of Southeast Missouri State University, will open to the public during the University’s annual Homecoming celebration Oct. 21-26.

Highlights of the week will include the re-dedication ceremony of Academic Hall, Southeast’s signature administration building, as well as tours of the facility. This year’s Homecoming theme is “Honoring Tradition-Inspiring Success.”

The grand re-opening and re-dedication ribbon cutting ceremony of Academic Hall is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in Academic Auditorium. Free tours of Academic Hall will be available from 6:30-8 p.m. and students in period costumes will discuss the history of the building. Students, alumni and the public are invited to the grand re-opening. Music will be provided by Southeast’s Department of Music. “We are very pleased with what we’ve been able to accomplish,” said Kathy Mangels, vice president for finance and administration, while reflecting on the building’s reopening.

Academic Hall has been closed for the past two years while undergoing a $23.9 million major refurbishment and restoration project. During that time, the building’s iconic dome has been restored with a new copper surface, and extensive work has been done to restore the structure’s exterior. Two hundred single glazed windows along with the slate roof have been replaced. Exterior stone walls have been cleaned and waterproofed, and new entrance doors have been installed. The building’s historic corridors and stairwells have been refurbished. Modern engineering systems have been threaded around the structure’s historic spaces, thus preserving and enhancing their architectural integrity. The project also has included full replacement of the building’s mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection systems.

A major element of the renovation work is the implementation of a centralized student services area on the building’s lower level. This area brings together Student Financial Services, including Financial Aid and Student Accounts, with the Cashier’s Office adjacent to it. When students arrive at this area, they swipe their student ID in a card reader and are placed into a queue that can be viewed on three flat screen television monitors. At the east end of the hall is a reception desk for the services of the Registrar’s Office, Career Services and Academic Advising. Academic advising for students in the liberal arts, health and human services, University Studies, general studies and exploratory majors will emanate from this area. Southeast’s Human Resources office also will be located on the lower level’s west end. Located on the first floor will be the President’s Office, Provost’s Office, the University’s vice presidents, Office of Admissions and a Board of Regents Room, where the University’s governing board will hold future meetings. The Board of Regents Room features four columns previously buried in walls and a closet that have been restored with a decorative touch. A spacious tour room for prospective students and their families, located just inside the main front doors of the building, provides a welcoming space to students considering Southeast. Academic Hall Auditorium on the first floor of the building will be reopened and available for classroom use; competitions; speakers; and entertainment, special, student organization, public, and faculty and staff events. Curtains previously covering windows in the auditorium have been removed, allowing abundant natural light to fill this area. The building’s second floor will feature the Budget Office, offices of the controller and accounts payable, group study areas, classrooms upgraded with the latest technology and Southeast’s Department of Communication Studies offices. Offices relocated from Academic Hall during the building’s renovation will begin returning in late October. The relocation process will continue through January, Mangels said. Classes in the Department of Communication Studies will be held in Academic Hall classrooms beginning with the spring 2014 semester in January. In addition, a 1,950-square-foot mezzanine, offering a campus special event meeting place, has been built within the footprint of the dome, placing it between the building’s second floor and the dome. The mezzanine’s ceiling consists of a glass skylight offering a complete view of the dome’s interior and the historic chalked signatures added to the dome’s wooden structure. The mezzanine also features a small kitchen area and restrooms. Restricted access to the mezzanine is available via stairs and an elevator from the second floor. A spiral staircase is built upward from the mezzanine to a ringed walkway encircling the perimeter of the dome, offering views through the dome’s porthole-type windows. Kiefner Brothers Construction of Cape Girardeau provided general contracting services, along with 57 local vendors, suppliers and contractors that contributed to the project. The Lawrence Group of St. Louis served as the architectural consultant. Inaugurated on May 22, 1906, Academic Hall has stood at the center of the Southeast Missouri State campus for more than 100 years. The building has become the icon of the University and the architectural centerpiece of the historic campus. Until now, surprisingly few major architectural changes occurred to the building. While the historic elements of the original design were mostly maintained, the building infrastructure, in recent years, began showing signs of age. The original 1906 windows leaked air, contained lead paint and contributed to energy loss in the building. Pipes burst and leaked, causing disruption to the building occupants and physical damage to the building. The slate roof reached the end of its life, and its continued deterioration was impacting other building components such as the gutters. The original copper dome leaked and began to fail, despite valiant efforts to patch and repair it over the years. In September 2010, Academic Hall Auditorium was closed due to structural concerns with its aging structure. Structural connections in the balcony of the auditorium were stressed, prompting the Lawrence Group to close it as a precautionary measure. With the completed renovations and restorations, University officials say the fabric of the original building has been preserved and the newly renovated Academic Hall will serve as a backdrop for modern program needs for many years to come.

Other Homecoming Activities

Other highlights of Homecoming week will include the crowning of the Man and Woman of the Year, the Copper Dome Society and Merit Award Reception, the Homecoming parade and the Homecoming football game. Visit for a complete schedule of events. Below is a roundup of other Homecoming events.

Monday, Oct. 21

Homecoming week will launch at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Student Recreation Center-North with students competing in various events at Field Day. Interested students can call Joanna Shaver at (573) 651-2280.

The Spirit Rally led by cheerleaders, Sundancers, Rowdy, bands, athletic teams and the announcement of the Man and Woman of the Year candidates will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center-North. The event is free. Contact Gretchen Grojean at (573) 651-2282 for more information.

Tuesday, Oct. 22

The 2013 Homecoming Court will be recognized at the Man and Woman of the Year Recognition Dinner at 6 p.m. Oct. 22 in Kem Statuary Hall in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center located at 902 Broadway. The event is free. Parents of candidates are invited to attend. Contact Michele Irby at (573) 651-5120 for more information.

Wednesday, Oct. 23

Students will demonstrate their talents at the annual Talent Show at 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in the Show Me Center. Contact Joanna Shaver at (573) 651-2280 for more information.Thursday, Oct. 24

Highlighting the day’s events Oct. 24 will be the grand re-opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for Academic Hall from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Earlier in the day, the University’s Board of Regents will meet at 10:30 a.m. in the new Board of Regents Room in Academic Hall. Kenneth W. Dobbins, president of Southeast Missouri State University, will deliver his annual State of the University address for faculty and staff at 2 p.m. in Academic Hall Auditorium. A reception will follow, and Academic Hall will be open for faculty and staff self-guided tours from 3:30-5 p.m. Public tours will be available from 6:30-8 p.m.

The Redhawk volleyball team will play Eastern Kentucky in an Ohio Valley Conference game at 6 p.m. in the Houck Field House. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at (573) 651-2113 or at

Later in the evening, the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble will perform “Gypsy Romance” as part of the River Campus’ touring series at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 24 in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall. Directly from Budapest, Hungary, the Hungarian State Folk Ensemble is one of the best folklore dance ensembles in the world. Tickets are $33 and $39. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 N. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., by calling (573) 651-2265, or by visiting

Friday, Oct. 25

Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity will sponsor a “Meet and Greet” for Alpha Phi Alpha alumni and their guests at 5 p.m. Oct. 25 at The Library, 10 S. Spanish St. in downtown Cape Girardeau. Contact Terry Allen at (901) 219-2535 or, or Pernell Witherspoon at (314) 602-1908 or

Students receiving an endowed scholarship will have a chance to meet their scholarship donors at the Endowed Scholarship Reception from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Show Me Center meeting rooms. For more information, contact the Southeast Missouri University Foundation at (573) 651-2332.

The Copper Dome Reception is returning to Academic Hall this year, and Copper Dome Society members, alumni and friends are invited to attend the event honoring the 2013 Merit Award recipients. Since 1958, Alumni Merit Awards have been presented to Southeast graduates who have brought distinction to themselves and the University.

This year’s honorees are Cynthia Boren, ’75, of Alexandria, Va., deputy sports editor of The Washington Post; Dr. Bernard DuBray, ’69, of St. Peters, Mo., superintendent of the Fort Zumwalt School district in O’Fallon, Mo.; Dr. Julie Harper, ’91, of Birmingham, Ala., practicing dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and founding director of the American Acne and Rosacea Society; Rodney Hudson, ’71, of Syracuse, N.Y., an assistant professor with the Syracuse University Department of Drama; Dr. Randal Otto, ’77, of San Antonio, Texas, professor and chair of the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio; Jim Piatcheck, ’63, of Lakeland, Tenn., co-founder and chief executive officer of the Senior Advisory Group and the Professional Disturber as well as a Chartered Life Underwriter, a Chartered Financial Consultant and a Chartered Mutual Fund Counselor; and Dennis Kehm, ’65, of Festus, Mo., retired Circuit Judge, 23rd Judicial Circuit, Division 4, Jefferson County, Mo.

Receiving this year’s Faculty Merit Award at the dinner will be Dr. Michael Aide, professor of agriculture and chair of the Department of Agriculture at Southeast.

At the reception, historic preservation students will be in period costumes discussing the history of the building. A video featuring photographs of the building throughout the years will be shown on monitors throughout the building, and Kent Library’s Archives/Special Collections will provide a historic display. Hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served from 6-7 p.m. The ceremony will begin at 7 p.m., and will include the showing of Merit and Year in Review videos in Academic Auditorium. The event will conclude with dessert from 8:30-9 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person, and members of the Copper Dome Society will receive up to two complimentary tickets for family members. Parking for the reception will be available at the Show Me Center, and shuttle service will be provided throughout the evening to and from Academic Hall. For Copper Dome Society and Merit Award Reception tickets and more information, call the Southeast Missouri University Foundation at (573) 651-2332.

Fans can get their competitive spirit out at 6:30 p.m. at Houck Stadium when the Redhawk women’s soccer team plays an Ohio Valley Conference game against Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at (573) 651-2113 or at

Also at 6:30 p.m., the Redhawk volleyball team will play Morehead State in an Ohio Valley Conference game at Houck Field House. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at (573) 651-2113 or at

Alumni from Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity will socialize at 7:30 p.m. at Keller’s at the Isle Casino, located at 777 N. Main St. Appetizers and a cash bar will be available. For more information, contact Larry Eby at (573) 380-6418 or or visit

Saturday, Oct. 26

Saturday’s festivities will begin with the All Alumni Breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 26 in Kem Statuary Hall in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. All alumni, friends and their families are invited to attend the breakfast, where this year’s Distinguished Service Award recipients will be honored.

Cost of the breakfast is $10 per person. Reservations may be made by calling the Alumni Association at (573) 651-2259 or

Pi Kappa Alpha will hold an alumni tailgate at 8 a.m. at 112 Broadway at the corner of Spanish and Broadway. Breakfast and refreshments will be available. For more information, contact Larry Eby at (573) 380-6418 or or visit

Members, alumni and friends of the Xi Gamma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha will tailgate at 9 a.m. the corner of Broadway and Pacific streets. For more information, contact Terry Allen at (901) 219-2535 or or Pernell Witherspoon at (314) 602-1908 or

The annual Homecoming parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. at Capaha Park. Serving as parade marshals will be past presidents of Southeast Missouri State University, including Dr. Dale Nitzschke, Dr. Kala Stroup and Dr. Bill Stacy. The parade travels east on Broadway to Main and then south on Main.

The Homecoming Parade, which will feature decorated floats, marching bands, the Man and Woman of the Year candidates and a variety of other entries, is one of the largest in the region. Floats will depict popular culture, fads and inventions from various decades beginning with the 1920s. Contact Shaver for more information at (573) 651-2280.

Immediately following the parade, Delta Delta Delta sorority will hold an open house in the sorority’s house in Group Housing. All Tri-Delta alumni are invited to this free event. For more information, contact Tri-Delta Alumni Corresponding Secretary Mary Kay Owens at (618) 660-6158.

Also after the parade, the Vet Corp Pig Roast will take place in the west parking lot of the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. All Southeast alumni associated with the Southeast Vet Corps and their guests are invited. For more information, contact Thomas Meyer at (573) 270-4499 or

Children may also participate in the pre-game celebration. After the parade, parents can take their children to the free Kids’ Zone play area behind the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. Activities will include games and crafts, and will begin at 11 a.m. Kids’ Zone is sponsored by the Cape Girardeau Evening Optimist Club. The public and alumni are invited to take free, self-guided open house tours through Academic Hall and the newly renovated Magill Hall of Science from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Jane Stephens Honors Program and the Student Honors Council will host a free open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Honors House located at 603 N. Henderson. Contact Dr. Craig Roberts at (573) 651-2513 or for more information.

KRCU will host a free open house from 11 a.m. The public can visit with the staff and tour the KRCU studios in the Serena Building behind Academic Hall Auditorium. Also, help KRCU celebrate as Oct. 29 would have been former Southeast faculty member Herb Taylor’s 84th birthday. Celebrate Herb’s life and help students by supporting the Herb and Peggy Taylor Endowment for Excellence in Media Communications. Light refreshments will be served. Contact Alex Jackson at (573) 651-5070 for more information.

Numerous other Greek and student organizations will hold pre-game tailgates at 11 a.m. outside Houck Stadium on Bellevue and in the parking lots surrounding the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. Southeast students, alumni, staff, faculty and friends are invited. Several campus organizations, including fraternities and sororities, will participate. The tailgate area will feature food, beverages and live music. For more information, contact Alumni Relations at (573) 651-2259 or

The Alumni Association invites members of the class of 1963 to celebrate the 50-year reunion of their class with a luncheon at 11:30 a.m. in the Aleen Vogel Wehking Alumni Center. The cost is $15 per person. For more information, contact Alumni Relations at (573) 651-2259 or

The Redhawks will take on the Eastern Kentucky Colonels at 1 p.m. at Houck Stadium during the annual Homecoming football game. During halftime, the Man and Woman of the Year will be crowned. To purchase tickets, call (866) SEMO-TIK or visit

Join Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Goofy as they bring to life three classic fairy tales, “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” “Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales” will be performed at 3 and 6 p.m. in the Show Me Center. Tickets are $15, $23, $32 and VIP tickets are $50. Parking is $5 per vehicle. Tickets may be purchased by contacting the Show Me Center Box Office at (573) 651-5000.

Alumni who are at least 70 years old may attend the Diamond Club Reception at 4 p.m. in the Dempster Hall atrium. Cost of the event is $15. Appetizers and a cash bar also will be available. For more information, contact Alumni Relations at (573) 651-2259 or

Students will pull out their stepping shoes for the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show at 5 p.m. in the Donald C. Bedell Performance Hall at the River Campus. For ticket information or to purchase tickets, contact the River Campus Box Office at (573) 651-2265.

The Pi Kappa Alpha Dinner and Dance will start at 7 p.m. Current members will host the event for Pike alumni and guests. For more information, contact Trae Bertrand at or visit

A variety of Greek events will also take place during Homecoming Week. For more information on these events, visit

Sunday, Oct. 27

The Redhawk soccer team will take on Eastern Illinois in an Ohio Valley Conference game. The game will begin at 1 p.m. at Houck Stadium. Ticket prices vary and can be purchased at (573) 651-2113 or

Wednesday, Oct. 30

Events will come to a close Oct. 30 when students will have another opportunity to tour Academic Hall at noon during Common Hour. The President’s Office will sponsor an outdoor lunch of hotdogs and chips on the steps of Academic Hall, and students may tour the renovated building.