Southeast Spirit Week to Highlight SEMO Pride


Southeast Missouri State University will kick off a weeklong celebration of school pride Oct. 26-30 during the University’s 2020 Spirit Week.

Highlights of the week include Spirit Days, Thank A Giver (TAG) initiative, Man and Woman of the Year competition, the “War for the Wheel” NESTFLIX Watch Party and the Copper Dome Celebration, a virtual event honoring members of the Copper Dome Society, 2020 Alumni Award recipients and 2020 Friends of the University.

Spirit week is also about giving back.  In collaboration with the American Red Cross, there will be a Spirit Week Blood drive Oct. 21-22 to help supplement urgent shortages. The blood drive will be held from noon to 7 p.m. both days the Student Recreation Center east gym, located at 750 New Madrid St. in Cape Girardeau.

The blood drive will help address the urgent need for blood donations. As part of its screening, the American Red Cross is testing all blood, platelet and plasma donations for COVID-19 antibodies, providing donors insight into whether they have been exposed to this coronavirus. To schedule an appointment, visit

Throughout Spirit Week, the University will celebrate the generosity of Southeast alumni, parents, faculty and staff who have made so many opportunities possible for students with the Thank A Giver (TAG) Week initiative. Red tags with the words “Made possible by a donor” will appear around campus, placed by students in front of buildings, rooms and equipment, to bring awareness to how much donors make possible on campus. Donors will also be highlighted on Southeast’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn pages.

Other festivities for alumni include a Behind the Scenes video series presented by George Gasser, director of Alumni Relations, on the Southeast Alumni Association Facebook page throughout the month leading up to the Oct. 29 Copper Dome Celebration. Alumni can revisit some of their favorite places on campus and learn about new programs and facilities at Southeast.

Following is a breakdown of activities by day:

Monday, Oct. 26

Spirit Week kicks off full swing with Red Day, when students, staff, faculty and administrators are encouraged to wear their favorite red apparel to show off their Southeast pride.

A tie dye event will be held from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Normal Avenue between Academic Hall and Kent Library, at which students will receive a free SEMO Redhawks T-shirt to tie-dye in school colors.

A pumpkin decorating contest display will be held throughout the week beginning at noon, in the University Center’s third floor lobby. To participate in contest requires registration by Oct. 20.

Oct. 26 also marks the beginning of online voting for Man and Woman of the Year, which recognizes student leaders who have excelled academically while also serving the campus and community. Students can log into SE Link to cast their vote beginning at 12 a.m., and voting ends at 11:59 p.m. Oct. 27.

Tuesday, Oct. 27

Event organizers challenged offices and departments across campus earlier this month to transform and decorate their doors, windows and more with Southeast spirit. Winners will be announced Oct. 27 and special prizes will be awarded to the top three offices.

Wednesday Oct. 28

Wear Black Day offers the Southeast community another chance to demonstrate school pride when students, staff, faculty and administrators are encouraged to show off their best black apparel.

From noon to 4 p.m., Chalk It Up participants will cover the University Center and Normal Avenue sidewalks with chalk art, a new Southeast tradition. Those who wish to participate must register by Oct. 21. Details will be communicated to registered participants, and face coverings will be required.

On Thursday, Oct. 29

The fourth day of activities features two events – one virtual and one live – that focus on recognizing outstanding individuals in the Southeast community.

Members of the University’s Copper Dome Society, alumni, friends, students, faculty and staff are invited to A Copper Dome Celebration. During this virtual event the Alumni Association’s 2020 Alumni Merit Awards, Faculty Merit Award, Distinguished Young Alumni Award and Friends of the University will be presented.

“We’ve seen a lot of changes to how we are able to connect with one another in 2020, and our virtual Copper Dome Celebration event is something we’re very excited about,” said George Gasser, director of Alumni Relations. “This virtual format gives us the opportunity to spread the celebration to so many more of our alumni and friends, no matter where they might be.”

This year’s Alumni Merit Award recipients are:

  • Debra Reid, of Dearborn, Michigan, curator of agriculture and the environment at The Henry Ford Museum;
  • David Blakemore, of Campbell, Missouri, president of Blakemore Cotton & Grain, LLC;
  • Mirza Nadeem Zafar, of Chicago, division president for Chartwells at Compass Group USA;
  • and Roy Thomas, of St. Matthews, South Carolina, celebrated comic book writer for Marvel and DC Comics.

These awards have been presented annually since 1958 to Southeast alumni who have brought distinction to themselves and the University.

Receiving the Faculty Merit Award will be Dr. Michelle Brune, Southeast professor of interior design. The Faculty Merit Award is presented for excellence in teaching.

The Distinguished Young Alumni Award recipient is Jeremy Loenneke of Oxford, Mississippi, a 2008 Southeast graduate who, after earning his doctoral degree from The University of Oklahoma, now teaches physiology at The University of Mississippi and conducts research on skeletal muscle adaptations to exercise. The award was established in 2017 to honor recent graduates for their outstanding service to and support of the University.

Don and Gloria LaFerla of Joplin, Missouri, have been named Friends of the University. The award, which recognizes those who support and who are closely associated with the mission, purposes, plans and programs of the University, is the highest honor bestowed by the Southeast Missouri University Foundation. The award honors the LaFerlas’ long-time commitment to, philanthropy and generosity at the University.

Registration is required for the Copper Dome Celebration. Guests may log in as early as 5:15 p.m. and the event begins at 5:30 p.m.

The second recognition event starts at 7 p.m., and the entire campus community is invited to the announcement of the Man and Woman of the Year event which kicks off with a free comedy show featuring Orlando Baxter in Academic Hall Auditorium. Face coverings will be required, and social distancing guidelines will be in place. Due to capacity limits, patrons are encouraged to reserve their seats early.

After exploding onto the Boston community scene in 2005, Baxter quickly became a fan favorite and has been a finalist in the New York City Comedy Contest and the Boston Comedy festival, and has appeared on Gotham Live and Conan O’Brien. Baxter is a regular headliner at numerous comedy clubs across New England and performs all over the country.

Finalists and winners of Man and Woman of the Year will be announced at the end of the comedy show. Winners also will be recognized on the Southeast Missouri State Spirit Week Facebook page.

Friday, Oct. 30

The final day of activities begins with TGIFly Day, when campus community members are encouraged to demonstrate their Redhawk Spirit by dressing in their favorite Southeast gear.

That evening, the Southeast community is invited to a NESTFLIX Watch Party at Houck Stadium to cheer on the Redhawks as they battle Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in the “War for the Wheel.” The Southeast Marching Band will perform at 5 p.m., followed by a live-stream of the football game at 6 p.m., which is being played at Saluki Stadium in Carbondale, Illinois.

The Watch Party is part of NESTFLIX, a free movie series sponsored by Southeast Missouri Athletics and The Bank of Missouri. KFVS12 will televise the game on the KFVS12 primary channel. All NESTFLIX activities are free and open to the public.

Guests are welcome to sit in the stands, or in their own lawn chairs or blankets on the field. Social distancing must be maintained and face coverings are required when unable to observe social distancing, and at all times in the stadium concourse and restroom areas. Concessions will not be available. However, outside food and beverages are allowed, but no alcohol is permitted inside the stadium, and no food is allowed on the field — food must remain in the grandstands only.

For more information about 2020 Spirit Week, contact Campus Life and Event Services at (573) 651-2280 or visit