Directed by award-winning LPB Senior Producer/Director Tika Laudun (Louisiana: A History), the documentary was a cooperative effort between LPB and LSU. The colorful story of LSU starts in 1860 in Pineville when the State Seminary of Learning was founded as a small military academy whose first superintendent was William Tecumseh Sherman, later infamous for the burning of Atlanta during the Civil War.
After the Civil War, the school struggled to survive with enrollment dropping to single digits. However, a merger with the Louisiana State Agricultural and Mechanical College orchestrated by President David Boyd allowed the college to expand and set up residence in downtown Baton Rouge on a 20-acre site that included Pentagon Barracks. Boyd was eventually fired and replaced by his younger brother Thomas. Two major events happened in 1924 when the campus moved its current location and Tiger Stadium was constructed.
The storied athletic tradition of LSU gained national prominence in 1908 when Doc Fenton led the football team to an undefeated season. Since then the football team won a national title in 1958 behind Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon and Bowl Championship Series titles in 2003 and 2007. The LSU Baseball team has six national titles, five under the leadership of Skip Bertman and one under Paul Mainieri and the Men’s and Woman’s Track teams have combined for 26 NCAA championships. The Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams have been to the Final Four a combined nine times and produced legendary figures like “Pistol” Pete Maravich, Bob Petit, Shaquille O’Neal and Seimone Augustus,
The Golden Band from Tiger Land has its own national championship. It became a major unit when Governor Huey Long hired Castro Carazo to run the band and demanded that it be expanded to 125 pieces.
The documentary also cites major events like the enrollment of the first female student in 1904 and the first black student in 1953 but it wasn’t until the 1960s that the campus was truly integrated with Kerry Pourciau’s election as Student Government Association President in 1972.
These are just some of the momentous events in LSU’s history featured in the documentary. It also features interviews with famous alumni and scholars.
The documentary was co-produced by LSU’s Ed Dodd and Lane Barry and co-written by Barry and C.E. Richard. LPB’s Keith Crews was the editor for the project with principal videography by Frank Bourgeois.
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