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The Origins of the Almagest

July 27, 2017

With all that was happening at LSUS in 1967, there was a lot of information that needed to be presented to the students and the community. The school’s very own newspaper made sure this information was available to the public. The Almagest published its first paper on October 3 of 1967.

1967 Almagest StaffThe Almagest was introduced by four LSUS students. Russell Knighton was the Assistant Editor, Suzette Severs was the Editor-In-Chief, James Oliver was the Feature Editor and Tara O’Brien was the Columnist. They were overseen by Mrs. Evelyn Herring, an assistant professor of English at the university.

The first edition of The Almagest contained articles about the Bagatelle (the official name of the university’s yearbook), statistics on student enrollment, officer elections, an LSUS open house and other announcements that needed to be known by students.

The sole purpose of The Almagest was to keep the LSUS community, as well as the surrounding communities of Shreveport-Bossier, informed about the various activities and events that happen at LSUS. As years passed, many students joined the newspaper staff. Among them was Ms. Bess Maxwell.

“It was an absolute blast,” said Maxwell. “The staff were very close from day one and remain some of my dearest friends today. We spent all of our time during the week either in class or in the office. We took our jobs very seriously but we had a good time too.”

Maxwell was a part of The Almagest news team from Spring 1975 through Fall 1976. She went on to hold several positions related to news, including Program Director, Assistant News Director, Reporter, News Anchor and Assignment Editor.

“[The Almagest] taught me how to really cover the news and to write and interview in a way I could never have learned in class. Working on The Almagest was one of the best times of my life,” said Maxwell. “I went on to spend almost 30 years in news.”

Mary JarzabekEvery great organization must have an even better advisor. Ms. Mary Jarzabek, an LSUS graduate of 1975, went on to become the advisor of The Almagest. She has overseen the organization since 2010.

“I didn’t want to give up the world of live news and live information flow, but I also didn’t want to be in the thick of things, anymore. So, I thought the best way to do that would be teaching,” explained Jarzabek.

Jarzabek explained how The Almagest was originally a print newspaper, but, as print news died out, she helped the organization transition into a broadcast news source.

When those four students began working on the newspaper, it didn’t even have a name. They exhausted several options, until they finally settled for ‘The Almagest’. In Greek, the name translates to ‘great book.’ The paper has indeed lived up to its name.

To view a copy of the current Almagest, click here.

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