Mansel M. Mayeux Honorary Scholarship

Anna Dugas, Singleton, Angela S., Constant, David  |  6/1/2006 11:32:36 PM

Mansel M. Mayeux

The Mansel M Mayeux Scholarship honors Professor Mayeux who was a faculty member of the Agricultural Engineering Department at Louisiana State University from 1956 to 1983. The honorary scholarship was made possible through a generous donation from the Mayeux family in 1996 and by gifts from friends and colleagues.

Mansel M Mayeux was born on August 20, 1920 in Avoyelles Parish Louisiana. He experienced many adversities during his early years including the flood of 1927 and the great economic depression. But adversities did not quell his determination and desire to succeed in life and he graduated valedictorian from Moreauville High School in 1938.

Mansel entered LSU in 1940 but before he could graduate, the United State became involved in World War II. Mansel entered active duty in April 1943 and after brief training, he was promoted to First Lieutenant and sent to the European theater. On October 6, 1944, he was wounded by a shell fragment. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal from the U.S. and the Croix de Guerre Medal with Silver Star from France. After recovery from the injury, Mansel returned to his unit where he remained to the war’s end. He was recalled to active duty in 1961 for a year and finally retired in 1973 with the rank of Colonel.

On September 1, 1946 Mansel married Elinor Angelica Bordelon. He re-entered ALSU for the fall semester in 1946 and graduated in January 1947. After working at a dehydration plant at Cheneyville for several months and teaching veterans at Avoyelles High School, he accepted a position as an Extension Engineer with LSU on March 15, 1948. His duties were to assist farmers with their machinery problems during a time when mechanization was expanding rapidly.

The introduction of the combine, cotton picker, corn picker, sugarcane harvester and the sugarcane loader all made this an exciting time for an agricultural engineer. Further changes in cultural practices for farmers added to the excitement with flame cultivation, chemical weed control, liquid fertilizer, and anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. All these changes created a need for training farmers and farm hands. After five years with the Cooperative Extension Service, Mansel became the Chief Inspector for the Anhydrous Ammonia Commission. The regulatory work was not as fulfilling as teaching so in 1956 he accepted a teaching and research position in the Agricultural Engineering Department at LSU.

Early in his academic career, Mansel spent much of his research time developing sugarcane machinery. The sugarcane industry had switched from hand-harvest to machine-harvest but planting by hand remained. His ideas for mechanical planting became a reality: he developed a semi-mechanical sugarcane planter. Today, most of the sugarcane in Louisiana is planted mechanically.

After the sugarcane planter was developed, Mansel switched his research to soybean harvesting and to machinery for double-cropping wheat and soybeans. He pioneered work in developing continuous grain moisture monitoring and for determining the optimum combine cylinder speed for proper crop harvesting.

During the energy crunch in the 1970s, Mansel’s work involved redesigning facilities for drying rice and soybeans. He conducted research on using solar energy for drying grain. The high cost of solar panels prevented wide-spread use of this technology but the basic information obtained by his efforts can be used in the future, when needed. During this same energy shortage, Mansel was involved in exploring the use of biofuels such as ethanol and mixtures of soybean oil and diesel fuel, both of which are used today in environmentally sensitive areas.

Mansel’s teaching was diverse. His first assignment was to teach courses on shop and on the selection, care and operation of farm tractors. When machinery was need for demonstrations and hands-on experiences, Mansel let his friends in the machinery industry know of the need and they supplied with him diesel engines, tractors, and other equipment without charge. He, later, taught a course on the operation and management of a farm equipment dealership. His accumulated notes for this course were published as a text entitled, "Retailing Farm and Light Industrial Equipment," Mansel used this book in teaching for many years more and it was widely adopted at many other land-grant universities for similar courses.

Another of Mansel’s specialties was hydraulics. The use of hydraulics on farm machinery became common practice during Mansel’s career. He foresaw the need for this technology and included hydraulics in the Machine Design course that he taught to seniors and graduate students.

The experience Mansel obtained while employed by the Anhydrous Ammonia Commission was invaluable when the need arose for a hose and valve testing facility in Louisiana. Mansel fulfilled this need by establishing a testing facility in the Agricultural Engineering Department at LSU. Eight other places in the U.S. tested valves but hose testing was done only by LSU. This testing facility was operated and provided a valuable service to the industry until Mansel’s retirement from LSU in 1983 when Underwriters Laboratory took over the testing work.

Mansel’s interest in safety with valves, hoses, and machinery resulted in his appointment as chairman of the safety committee for the LSU Agricultural Center, an assignment he held even after he retired. Since retirement in 1983, Mansel has kept busy with consulting work having to do primarily with safety.

Mansel Mayeux devoted his life to improving conditions on the farm and to making life on the farm much easier than it was when he was growing up. He worked not only at the farm level but also at the machinery dealer’s level and at the machinery manufacturer’s level to develop new and improved machines that were safer, more efficient and easier to use. He continues these efforts today with particular emphasis on safety. The Mayeux scholarship is to honor and pay tribute to the many accomplishments made by Mansel M. Mayeux during his tenure at LSU.

Mansel and Elinor currently reside in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. They have three sons, three daughters-in-law and three grandchildren.

The Mansel M. Mayeux Honorary Scholarship is given annually (February) to an outstanding student that is enrolled full-time.  Selection is based on a minimum GPA of 2.5 and financial need.  The student must demonstrate financial need for this scholarship.  Contact your undergraduate advisor for an application.

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