September 10, 2007

As the Taylor Board convened on LSU’s Baton Rouge campus for their quarterly Board Meeting and Dedication of Patrick F. Taylor Hall, the LSU community embraced the opportunity to display Tiger pride. While the Board members were conducting their business meetings, their spouses, with special guests Mrs. Joan Wharton and Mrs. Laura O’Keefe, were treated to a private tour of LSU. The many venues where they received an “inside look,” included:

FACES Lab                          Dr. Mary Manhein

Natural History Museum        Dr. Fred Sheldon

Hill Memorial Library             Dr. Paul Hoffman

Mike the Tiger’s Home         Mike VI

Mary H. Manhein, Director of LSU FACES Laboratory, engaged the group with many of her experiences helping to identify missing and unidentifiable people across the country. She fascinated everyone with her forensics information and described the work being conducted at the FACES Lab and the development of the one-of-a-kind unidentified/missing persons DNA database. Manhein has handled more than 600 forensic cases and is called on by law enforcement agencies all over the U.S. Manhein is a Fellow in the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and is the author of The Bone Lady: Life as a Forensic Anthropologist. Mrs. Opie Anderson said “I have seen her on the Discovery Channel and on other shows. It is great to meet her. I could have listened to her all day.”

Frederick H. Sheldon, Director of LSU’s Natural Science Museum, escorted the group behind the scenes to view the fourth largest bird collection in the United States. Founded in 1936, the museum’s first director, George H. Lowery, Jr., assembled a few study specimens of birds in a classroom in Audubon Hall. Since its move to Murphy J. Foster Hall in 1950, the museum has continued to expand and is currently one of the nation's largest natural history museums, with holdings of over 2.5 million specimens. All tour participants were entranced with the many animals, including the first Mike the Tiger mascot.

Paul E. Hoffman, Professor of History, provided a detailed background of how the University was founded and how it has evolved from both an educational and campus facility aspect. The Taylor spouses group was also briefed on the Hill Memorial Library, which houses many special collections, including the E. A. McIlhenny Natural History Collection, which features the great elephant folio of John James Audubon's Birds of America.

Of course no LSU tour would be complete without visiting Mike the Tiger. Unfortunately, the new Mike was not out to socialize, but his habitat was impressive to all. After receiving LSU Ag Center’s famous cookbooks as a souvenir, all convened for lunch at the Lod Cook Alumni Center. Taylor Board members, including Mrs. Phyllis Taylor, and spouses were then escorted on a special tour of the College of Engineering and Patrick F. Taylor Hall, and the Petroleum Engineering Well Site Facility.

Article by Mimi LaValle, LSU college of Engineering, 225-578-5706, mlavall@lsu.edu

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