I am the department head of government and social science at Nicholls State University, Thibodaux.

It was former state Rep. Donald Ray Kennard who made it all possible. He provided the opportunity for my first job at Southeastern in Hammond.

I, during my tenure at LSU, used to hear about his conservatism and lack of empathy toward people of color. I am African-American. He, trust me, did more for me than many who shared my ethnicity. He will always be a man's man to me.

I was a graduate student working toward the attainment of the Ph.D. in sociology and an academic adviser to the athletic department under the direction of Kennard.

We have not had a conversation over the years, but I have always held him in the highest regard. I have attributed to him much of my success in many of my lectures over the years.

I will miss him dearly. I am proud to have had him in my life. It all would have been very different had he not been so giving.

James A. Butler Jr., Ph.D., LSU, 1983

university professor