President John Crain leads at Southeastern Louisiana University and says he cultivates an environment of well-rounded growth for all students.
Crain said that there is a lot about working in university administration that is political. He said he has to keep up with new laws and regulations regarding universities.
“Politics is all about working with people. A lot of what I do, as president and in the community, I have to work with elected officials and legislatures and others all the time,” said Crain.
Crain said that his parents, Lavon and Nina Crain, were involved in politics. He said his father passed away when he was 9 years old. Crain said, at the time of his death, his father was halfway through his term as Washington Parish tax assessor. Gov. John McKeithen asked his mother to finish out the term. When that term was up, she campaigned and won.
Crain said he had not planned on working in higher education. His original plan was to get his undergraduate degree in accounting and then continue on to law school. He had already been accepted into law school when he had an experience that caused him to change his career plan. He said while he was getting his master’s degree, the accounting department head suggested he teach a class to pass the CPA exam.
“I just kind of fell in love with teaching,” said Crain.
He said he finished his master’s degree and enrolled at University of Mississippi in the Ph.D. accountancy program.
“It’s the perfect example of how serendipitous life can be. Things happen and doors open that you didn’t even know were going to be there. You can make a choice that you didn’t know you were going to make,” said Crain.
Ranetta Marshall, Dr. Crain’s administrative assistant, said, “He’s a person of integrity, which makes it easy for those who work with him to respect him.”
Marshall said she has worked with Crain since 2005. She said he is a strong leader. She said that even when mistakes are made he is hands on in trying to find a solution.
“I think all of us have an obligation to try to make our communities the place we’d want to live in,” said Crain.
According to Southeastern.edu, Crain is on the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges, along with several other organizations. He said that he encourages students to be involved in service opportunities because it will build up the community and increase their own personal development.
“If I’m doing something, I give my all to that. So about the way I’ve been able to do my job as president, [I hope] people would see me as being dedicated to that role and doing my very best,” Crain said.
Dr. Crain said he aspires to present himself to the university and the students as dedicated, trustworthy and conscientious. He said he hopes that he is as knowledgeable and prepared, as he can be to do his job. He said that one way he has to be prepared is by being up to date on all emergencies and crises that affect Southeastern. He said he has researched a lot about the COVID-19 pandemic so he is able to “safeguard the campus community.”
Crain said that Southeastern Louisiana University is considered a POD or a point of distribution relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that when a vaccine is developed Southeastern will be a place that distributes it. However, as of now, there is no available vaccine.
Sam Domiano, vice president of accounting and finance, said that Crain is personable and down-to-earth. He said Dr. Crain really loves Southeastern.
In an interview for the presidency position, Domiano recalled Dr. Crain saying, “I don’t necessarily want to be president, I want to be president at Southeastern.”
He said Crain motivates his employees to exceed expectations.
“He has a laser focus on meeting the needs of our students,” said Domiano.
Crain said that his goal is for the students of Southeastern to leave the university with a well-rounded education. He said that he hopes each student receives a good education from Southeastern, but that it is more than just a curriculum.
“My goal would be that each student realizes their full potential… that they would reach their potential in terms of their personal development,” said Crain.
“That’s part of what the university is here for, it’s not just to teach students about their majors, but to give them an opportunity to grow as individuals, because that is what is going to be necessary for them to be successful and happy in life.”