At halftime of Nicholls State University’s Homecoming football game against Houston Christian University, a king was crowned.
After all of the homecoming court was announced, the highly anticipated moment arrived.
In front of a near full home side, the king’s scepter was handed to Andrew Gilmer of Lockport, La.
Those around Gilmer noticed early on that he could not speak like other kids his age.
“When I was in kindergarten or first grade I couldn’t pronounce some sounds, so I went through speech therapy,” Gilmer said.
In high school, Gilmer had to decide on what he wanted to do in life. After careful consideration, it became clear that speech pathology was his future.
He credits one moment that assured him he was on the correct path.
“[After] I saw a child at a very young age and six months later I saw their progress, I fell in love with it.”
His interest in speech therapy has led Gilmer to a love of sign language.
“I love sign language,” Gilmer said. “I’ve been taking [sign language] classes with Stephanie Authement for the past two semesters and I’m big into sign language.”
Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has been an important part of Gilmer’s college experience. He credits the fraternity and his older fraternity brothers for helping him grow and introducing him to new opportunities.
“When I came into Sigma Alpha Epsilon, I looked up to the older guys who were brother figures. They exposed me to so many opportunities for my life,” Gilmer said. “ I got to work with the Upside Downs club, which works well with speech pathology.”
For those who are unfamiliar with Upside Downs, it is an organization devoted to helping the down syndrome community.
When talking about SAE, Gilmer was slightly emotional because he believes the fraternity made him the person he is today.
“In high school, I had a lot of people who weren’t friendly to me which is in the past, but I came into [college] with an open mind and found SAE then found some of my closest friends,” Gilmer said. “I am eternally grateful because I would not be where I am now without them. I don’t know where I would be without my friends, family, and girlfriend because of SAE.”