Lucas honored at SMELA luncheon

Members of the Southern Miss Education Law Association honored Aubrey Lucas at an education law policy luncheon Oct. 22 in the Thad Cochran Center.

Lucas spoke about how local politics and agendas helped to shape the university’s development.

“There is one thing that really stands out, and is an important thing about us. And that is that our history is about change,” Lucas said.

The Southern Miss Education Law Association formed last year and has been inviting notable speakers to give lectures on education and the laws associated with it.

While Lucas’ speech was not about laws, SMELA wanted to learn more about how different policies affected the university’s development. Historical laws and landmark court decisions all played a part in the 100 year history of Southern Miss.

“He’s lived through those eras of desegregation, higher education and financing higher education and the policies,” said Thelma Roberson, advisor for SMELA and chair of the department of educational leadership and school counseling. “We consider him a living legend.”

“We like to see how education has changed,” said Rebekah Young, president of SMELA and doctoral student. “And if we hear something in some of these talks we go back and say ‘okay, are there any laws that maybe have affected this? Or could this impact practices.’”

SMELA usually hosts speakers who talk about law or education, with Lucas being a special case. “We thought, it’s homecoming week,” Young said. “Let’s hear a little about Southern Miss.”

This was the second luncheon SMELA has hosted this semester, with the first featuring Rebecca Woodrick, USM director of equal opportunity and affirmative action, discussing affirmative action. Mississippi House Representative Toby Barker will speak about state pre-k initiatives at a third luncheon Nov. 12.

“[SMELA] is targeted really to anyone [who] is interested in education,” Young said. “And how law might affect education, or vice versa.”

For more information on SMELA visit To register for an event, visit