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WELCOME to the Team

“Bryan’s advancement career has spanned more than 37 years, and he is well-positioned to continue building a national-caliber advancement enterprise at LSU.” – Robert M. Stuart Jr., chairperson of the LSU Foundation Board of Directors

J. Bryan Benchoff will join the team July 17 as president and CEO of the LSU Foundation and LSU vice president of institutional advancement. He has served as vice president of university advancement for Ohio University and president and CEO of the Ohio University Foundation for nearly six years. “Bryan has a proven record in a role that we will replicate at LSU with great success. We are eyeing a $1.2 billion-plus capital campaign, and Bryan’s leadership will serve to link philanthropy with research, education and outreach at every level,” said F. King Alexander, LSU president. “His vision and strategic execution will bring us to the level of philanthropic support necessary to fuel LSU’s ability to provide more competitive scholarships for high-achieving students and to reinvest in our exceptional faculty.” As LSU’s chief advancement officer, Benchoff will lead the campus through a successful campaign and beyond. Among his core responsibilities will be serving on Alexander’s cabinet and advising him and other senior institutional leaders concerning philanthropic initiatives and opportunities; providing executive leadership for the LSU Foundation; and maintaining collaborative, supportive relationships with the heads of other LSU campus entities engaged in philanthropic activities. Benchoff will report to Alexander for strategic philanthropic leadership and oversight, and to the Foundation Board as its president and CEO for executive leadership, management and operations. “Bryan is a dynamic, experienced leader with the expertise to successfully guide LSU’s advancement enterprise and inspire confidence among the university’s supporters,” said Robert M. Stuart Jr., chairperson of the LSU Foundation Board of Directors. “Bryan’s advancement career has spanned more than 37 years, and he is well-positioned to continue building a national-caliber advancement enterprise at LSU.” Benchoff said, “First and foremost, I thank President Alexander, Foundation Chair Rob Stuart, the search committee, and the numerous volunteers and staff who participated in the search process for selecting me to serve in this role. It will be my honor and privilege to serve LSU in this capacity. My wife, Karen, and I are grateful for this wonderful opportunity and are excited to join the LSU and Baton Rouge communities. My highly positive perceptions of LSU were validated at every step of the search process. The commitment demonstrated by all for what lies ahead is impressive and inspiring. LSU is an institution with a clear and unified vision for the future. I am proud LSU has selected me to be a part of the team that will help make this vision a reality.”




Understanding Crises Thank You Poncho the Survivor Way of Life Welcome Home


A New Chapter Our Own More than a Call Center Vibrant Life

SUPPORTS STUDENTS 25 26 28 30 32 33 36


Homegrown Happy-Go-Lucky Leading to Serve


Number 52 Fighter Fueling the Future Lifetime Achievement



Thinking Differently Bootstraps No Scientist Works Alone STEM-Possible



ABOUT THE COVER Emily Roemer, graphic design junior, was overflowing with cover design ideas to introduce this issue’s theme, “greatness and grit.” She decided to stick with one that was a bit outside of the box: ants. “The parallel between ants and human society is why I chose to go with this theme. Ants have the ability to solve complex issues and to modify their behavior when something goes wrong. I think that is what Baton Rouge and LSU have displayed in the past year—strength through adversity. My illustration shows the ants working together and moving toward one goal. I wanted that to symbolize our community.” Emily, a Shreveport, La., native, has always been interested in graphic design, but she didn’t realize until college that she could make a career out of it. She transferred to LSU her freshman year and changed her major from political science to graphic design, two of the best decisions she’s ever made. Now, she knows that she’s found her passion and is taking it all in. “Half of my 35,763 photos on my phone are of different packaging I see at the grocery store, or an awesome menu from a restaurant I went to recently. Graphic design is all around us, and I love it!” After graduation, Emily will fulfill her dream of moving to New York, where she hopes to land a graphic design job or internship. To the donors of the College of Art & Design, she says, “Thank you for believing in us and believing in art!”


SUMMER AND FALL 2017 EDITOR Jennie Gutierrez


ART DIRECTOR Ashley Motsinger

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dawn Jenkins Julie Thomas


LSU is one of the foundations of Baton Rouge’s vibrant life. For a guy who didn’t even attend LSU, the difference between giving to LSU and other colleges, including my alma maters, is that you get to reap the rewards by seeing it come along and develop with your own eyes.” - Charles Lamar Vibrant Life, Page 22

PHOTOGRAPHY Andrea Barbier

PRINTING Progress Printing

TO SHARE FEEDBACK, PLEASE CONTACT: Sara Whittaker Senior Director of Communications and Marketing 225-578-8164 /lsufoundation @lsu_foundation





Board of Directors

Deborah A. Elam’s groundbreaking career began right here at LSU, where she received a bachelor’s in sociology in 1984. As she was earning her Master of Public Administration at Southern University, she was recruited by General Electric to intern in the Washington, D.C., area, and began her full-time employment within the corporation’s human resources department just one week after graduation. “I was very much willing to take the hard jobs, the tough assignments, and to do them well. I was also willing to be mobile, which is important. In the course of my GE career, I relocated a total of seven times,” Elam, a New Orleans native, remembered. “In 2006, I was appointed as chief diversity officer of the company, making me the first African American in GE’s 100-plus year history to reach that level.” In 2013, Elam was promoted as the president of the GE Foundation, serving a dual role and leading the corporation’s diversity and philanthropy efforts, two areas she finds to be intrinsically linked. Initiatives under her leadership included Developing Health U.S., which offers financial support and volunteer partnerships to nonprofit community health centers, thereby increasing healthcare access across the country. Having recently retired after a 30-year career with GE, Elam is now using her passion and talents on the LSU Foundation Board of Directors to ensure that education is accessible, affordable and relevant. She calls LSU the “bellwether” for Louisiana. “I think it’s important to recognize organizations, institutions and people who have positively impacted your life,” Elam shared, continuing, “I hope to share my experiences around effective philanthropy, diversity and leadership to find how, in a time where dollars are precious and budgets are tight everywhere, do we maximize dollars for maximum impact?” Elam was recognized as one of The Network Journal ’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business, and she has received the Enhancing Perceptions in Culture Award by the White House Project and the National Urban League’s Women of Power Award, to name just a few of her honors.



Robert M. Stuart Jr. | Baton Rouge, La. Chairperson of the Board & Director

Mark K. Anderson | Monroe, La. J. Herbert Boydstun | Baton Rouge, La. Robert H. Crosby III | New Orleans, La. Laura L. Dauzat | Marksville, La. Deborah A. Elam | New Orleans, La. William T. Firesheets II | Baton Rouge, La. Beau Fournet | Dallas, Texas T. Cass Gaiennie | Shreveport, La. Immediate Past Chairperson of the Board Frank W. “Billy” Harrison III | Houston, Texas Roger W. Jenkins | El Dorado, Ark. Gary L. Laborde | New Orleans, La.

Clarence P. Cazalot Jr. | Houston, Texas Chairperson-Elect of the Board & Director Dan Layzell | Baton Rouge, La. Interim President and CEO & Ex Officio Director William L. Silvia Jr. | Baton Rouge, La. Corporate Secretary & Ex Officio Director D. Martin Phillips | Houston, Texas Corporate Treasurer & Director

Charles A. Landry | Baton Rouge, La. David B. Means III | Mansfield, La. Dr. Mary T. Neal | Bellaire, Texas Roger H. Ogden | New Orleans, La. Sean E. Reilly | Baton Rouge, La. John F. Shackelford III | Bonita, La. Jeffrey N. Springmeyer | Houston, Texas Sue W. Turner | Baton Rouge, La. Rick Wolfert | Greensboro, Ga.

EX OFFICIO F. King Alexander LSU President




Cindy and Lee Bloch in the LSU Foundation Center for Philanthropy


LSU Foundation Membership

Lee (Business, ’74 and ’79) and Cindy (Agriculture, ’83) Bloch became members of the LSU Foundation to “provide stability” for their alma mater. “Being an LSU Foundation member shows a commitment to the university. It allows us to make people aware of the urgency and the need that LSU has for support,” Cindy shared. Lee attended the University of Mississippi before receiving his bachelor’s in accounting and master’s in finance at LSU. He worked for what is now the Louisiana State Mineral and Energy Board, then started his own business, Bloch, Briggs & Associates, Inc., in 1982. Lee’s current practice involves managing marsh and timberland, with an emphasis on minerals, ecology and hunting rights.



He has served as an expert witness in several of the state’s high profile cases involving oil and gas, including the 8g litigation, the settlement of which helps to fund education. “Louisiana has more natural resources than most places in the country,” Lee said. “And yet we don’t develop our chief resource, which is our people. Education is the only way to do that.” A Louisiana Tech University alumna, Cindy became a Tiger after visiting the LSU campus to take the LSAT. She wound up staying, earning her master’s in home economics and working for LSU for the next 33 years. Prior to her retirement in 2016, she was a team member of the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Cooperative

Extension Service, transitioning to Undergraduate Admissions and then Information Technology Services. She also served as a temporary instructor within the School of Human Ecology. “You can’t take LSU for granted. People have to continue to support it,” Cindy said. “We do a lot of wonderful things here at LSU, and it takes a lot of money, a lot of resources and a lot of people.” The Blochs have a professorship in business law and will establish two more professorships through their planned gift to LSU. Their daughter, Courtney, graduated from the LSU E. J. Ourso College of Business in 2014.




The events of summer 2016 placed Baton Rouge in the international spotlight, as the community grappled with the social and political implications of the Alton Sterling shooting and the devastating effects of the August flooding. Dean Jerry Ceppos of the Manship School of Mass Communication— witnessing the crises’ impact on the school’s students, faculty, staff and alumni—directed philanthropic dollars toward research focusing on local perception and discussion.



were literally and figuratively close to home. Of course, the signature of our school is teaching and research at the intersection of media and public affairs. The summer’s crises certainly fit well with that description,” Ceppos said. “We told professors that we could increase support for research if they had ideas about the summer of 2016, ideas they couldn’t have planned for earlier.” Through the Ralph S. Izard Race & Media Studies Fund, Assistant Professor Dr. Diane Francis, Visiting Instructor Dr. Shaniece Bickham and Nia Mason, a doctoral student, co-launched a research project called “Fostering community resilience: The role of source credibility of media, academic, and government organizations among college students in Baton Rouge, La.” The study examines which sources of information students at LSU and Southern University perceive as credible. “Through this research project, people in Louisiana can gain a better understanding of how universities, government agencies and the media communicate to young people, especially students, during times of tragedies and crises. Universities, for example, can use the knowledge gained from this study to better disseminate crises information to their students,” explained Francis and Bickham. The Create Lab, a senior capstone course in which students complete a digital communications plan for a real-world client, dedicated the spring 2017 semester to Dialogue on Race Louisiana. The Create Lab students provided DORLA, a sixpart educational series on how to discuss race in a positive way, with the tools, branding, strategy and content for internal and external communication via its website and social media. “DORLA is a really empowering system,” said Dr. Lance Porter, who leads the Create Lab and is the Mary P. Poindexter Professor. “The very nature of what DORLA does lends itself to social media. We thought of the initial idea: How do we take what DORLA does so well and put that in place on social media to make a difference here in Baton Rouge?” Dr. Diane Francis, Dr. Shaniece Bickham and Nia Mason



The Scripps Howard Race and Media Fund supported the “Manship School Community Resilience Study” within the Public Policy Research Lab, the university’s survey research center housed in the Manship School. The survey explores how community members process, respond to and reflect upon crises. Over the course of one month, 100 callers interviewed approximately 1,000 Louisianans, collecting data for analysis and a public report. “We are learning how far our community has come in terms of flood recovery, as well as how much remains to be done,” said Dr. Michael Henderson, assistant professor and PPRL director. “We are also learning that the historical divisions in how we think about race and racial issues persist and where the common ground is, the roots of healing and positive discourse to help the community address these issues.” Combining a focus on public affairs, a commitment to diversity and a digital media initiative, the Manship School of Mass Communication prepares all students to become professional communicators who are ready to navigate and succeed within the ever-changing media landscape.

Top: Dr. Lance Porter and Create Lab students collaborate in the Social Media Analysis and Creation Lab, a technologyfueled work and research space designed for the study and development of the future of mass communication. The SMAC Lab is equipped to analyze digital participation and measure sentiment on any topic through a listening center and unique social media panel. Bottom: Dr. Michael Henderson




n August 2016, Tigers immediately stepped forward to help each other and the entire community when the Baton Rouge area was hit with catastrophic flooding. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends responded selflessly however they could, showing just how strong your Tiger spirit is. Your service and generosity reflected one of the many qualities that makes LSU so special—we are a family, and when our family is in need, we show up to help.

Here are just a few of the ways that you made a difference: • You gave more than $245,000 to the Student Disaster Relief Fund and campus-wide Employee Assistance Funds. During a time of unimaginable need, your selfless giving supported many of our students, faculty and staff who were directly impacted. • You gave more than $30,000 in cash and supplies to stock the LSU Food Pantry, making sure our students, faculty and staff in need didn’t have to worry about how to feed themselves and their families. • You volunteered at shelters. Our own Carl Maddox Field House became a Medical Special Needs Shelter for Louisianans who are homebound, chronically ill or have disabilities. We provided expert care for nearly 500 people who had no other place to go. • You stepped forward to help us rescue and care for the many displaced pets and impacted wildlife, giving more than $162,000 to support the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine’s disaster response efforts. Thank you for setting an example of compassion, for giving generously to help Tigers you’ve never even met, and for joining together to make a difference.

“ Texas A&M Student Body Executive Vice President Dan Rosenfield (right) and Student Body President Hannah Wimberly (center) present LSU Student Government Presidential Press Secretary Jayce Genco (left) with $50,000, fundraised by the Aggie community to help students, faculty and staff members affected by the flooding.



We cannot thank the Texas A&M fans and student body enough for their outpouring of support and generosity during one of the most trying times in our community. I will never forget the thunderous applause of the 12th Man when I was presented with the donation under the lights of Kyle Field on Thanksgiving Day." - LSU Student Government 2016-17 Presidential Press Secretary Jayce Genco

PONCHO THE SURVIVOR After days of standing in chest-deep water in the midst of the August 2016 flood, a one-month-old baby bull was found in a ditch, close to death. No one knew to whom he belonged, how he ended up there or where his mother was. A local family rescued him, named him Poncho and brought him to Lamar-Dixon Expo Center in Gonzales, La., where LSU School of Veterinary Medicine teams were administering care to displaced animals.


oncho was suffering tremendously. His prognosis was questionable, and his will to live seemed nonexistent. His symptoms included dehydration, anorexia, a septic tendon sheath, depression, lethargy, corneal ulcers in both eyes, scrapes and small abrasions all over his body, and severe skin damage on all four legs. “In the midst of all the loss, I just decided that Poncho had to survive,” said Assistant Professor of Community Practice Nancy Welborn, DVM. “He never gave up. He was this one little piece of positivity in the midst of all this sadness. He made everyone who met him smile. He was my light during a very trying and difficult time.” Poncho was transferred to the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital, where he would have access to the most board-certified veterinarians under one roof in Louisiana. There, Poncho received medical services for more than two months, impressing everyone with his patience and acceptance throughout his treatments. When he was ready, his rescuers brought him home as the newest member of their family. “The best part about working with Poncho was all the different clinical services that got involved,” said Assistant Professor of Food Animal Health Maintenance Clare Scully, DVM. “This experience reaffirms to me how our hospital is truly ‘One Health.’ No one ever said, ‘It’s just a bull.’ No one ever said, ‘No.’ Everyone just pitched in to do whatever it took to help him.” Poncho was just one of the many animals affected by the flood. Generous support from donors made it possible for the LSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital and the Louisiana State Animal Response Team to rescue and provide medical care to those animals in need. Top: Poncho receives IV fluids, electrolytes, electro-acupuncture and laser therapy administered by the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine team. Bottom: Poncho shows his Tiger spirit. Left: Poncho took chlorhexidine baths in a whirlpool to clean his wounds, prevent infection and increase blood flow to hasten the healing process. He seemed to enjoy his “spa” treatment.



Way of Life Honey Brake, a premier hunting lodge in Jonesville, La., that is also the largest wetlands restoration project in North America, is giving new life to the Louisiana 4-H Youth Development program with a $1 million investment to permanently fund educational trips and camps.

Honey Brake is Louisiana’s premier duck and waterfowl hunting lodge.


perated by the LSU AgCenter, Louisiana 4-H serves more than 200,000 youth in all 64 of Louisiana’s parishes, offering hands-on projects in health, science, agriculture and citizenship. “The Honey Brake donation is one for the history books—it’s the largest donation Louisiana 4-H Youth Development has ever received,” said Dr. Janet Fox, department head of the program. “But more than a donation, Honey Brake offers a critical partnership that will impact countless children and



young adults through positive youth development programs that promote life skills.” Honey Brake, a 20,000-acre property located on the Larto Lake bank and tributaries, provides yearround outdoor experiences for the avid outdoorsman. The lodge stepped up to host the annual Louisiana 4-H Guns and Gumbo fundraiser after the original site became flooded. The event was an eye-opener for CEO Drew Keeth and representative Tack Robinson, who realized the affinity between the groups and saw an opportunity to support and promote Louisiana 4-H.

Top Left: 4-H’ers in the Advanced Marsh Maneuvers Camp head out into the marsh at dawn. Directing the canoe at right is Hilton Waits, 4-H agent in Vermilion Parish, who assisted with the camp. Photo by Mark G. Shirley Top Right: Kaitlyn W., 11 years old, of Bossier Parish participates in the Louisiana 4-H State Shooting Sports competition. Photo by Brandy Orlando Near Left: Terry Barker, an elementary education major at LSU of Alexandria, gives students a closer look at insects found during a scavenger hunt at the Grant Walker 4-H Educational Center’s Youth Wetlands Week. Photo by Brandy Orlando

“I felt like 4-H was the right group of kids. There isn’t a learning curve; we’re not trying to expose them to the outdoors. They live in rural America and are part of an organization that is fostering them to become better citizens,” Robinson shared. “These kids are tomorrow’s leaders. They are aspiring farmers, foresters and engineers. That’s the heartbeat of what this country is about.” Conservation is an important piece of Honey Brake’s mission. Keeth is a member of the College of the Coast & Environment Advisory Council, and Robinson shared his

commitment to engaging Honey Brake in providing opportunities for youth to enjoy and learn to appreciate and respect the environment. “Conservation is fundamentally just leaving it better than how you found it. That requires a dedicated practice of improving and enhancing it. 4-H is, in its own way, a conservation initiative. It’s a human conservation initiative,” Robinson said. “The program will help to keep this American way of life alive and well.” Robinson hopes to give the Louisiana 4-H more exposure through “Honey Brake Experience,” an outdoor

television series airing on Pursuit, and the lodge’s relationships with outdoor recreation product manufacturers and associations. The Louisiana 4-H Foundation and Honey Brake look forward to partnering on future initiatives, including shooting sports competitions and training camps, youth wetlands education programs, wildlife photography and outdoor skill television shows.



WELCOME The Burden Foundation, continuing the Burden family legacy at LSU, has dedicated $1 million to the construction of the Welcome Center for Burden Museum & Gardens. The Welcome Center will serve as the gateway to and unification of the entire 440-acre property, which includes the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens, LSU Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens. The center will increase visibility and accessibility for visitors and make way for an expansion of the property’s successful programming, lifelong learning opportunities and nature spaces in the heart of Baton Rouge.



This Welcome Center will make a very positive impact on the property, the visitor experience and the community. The Welcome Center is the starting point for visitors to learn about all that the property offers, the history of the property and the Burden family, so that they can get the most out of their experience here.� - Jeff Kuehny, director of the LSU AgCenter Botanic Gardens




he Burden property, one of the largest gifts in LSU’s history, was donated to LSU by siblings Ione Burden, Steele Burden and William Pike Burden Jr. They established the Burden Foundation to ensure that the property would forever remain a green space; LSU would maintain the Rural Life Museum and Windrush Gardens as Steele envisioned it, and the rest of the property would be used by LSU for agricultural research, extension and outreach. The Welcome Center marks the beginning of a multi-phase master plan for the remaining undeveloped land. The Burden Foundation’s gift laid the groundwork for Burden Museum & Gardens’ capital campaign for the $4.5 million project. Burden Foundation President Bob Hawthorne explained the significance of the project. “The vision that the Burden family developed with LSU for the property is very unique. The large wooded areas and open fields are conducive to not only agricultural and horticultural research, but in educating our increasingly urban population in things of nature. A number of folks just want to tour the property and experience a more rural area—being right in the middle of a city is huge! The Welcome Center will be a place where groups can check in, meet, learn and get directions.” In addition to providing visitors with a history and comprehensive guide throughout their journey of the property, classroom and conference space within the center will accommodate and better integrate property staff, LSU AgCenter and other LSU faculty, and research and educational programs. The Welcome Center will also house the LSU AgCenter East Baton Rouge Extension Service agents, who provide programming such as family classes on nutrition and health, parenting and financial literacy; 4-H programs that teach young people citizenship, leadership and life skills; and expert-level agricultural and horticultural training. “The Burden Foundation has a very special interest in what we do and is very supportive of our programming,” Kuehny said. “We work together very closely to make sure that the Burden family would be proud of the property, but also that the Baton Rouge community can cherish it, too.” Burden Museum & Gardens, located at I-10 and Essen Lane, is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admittance onto the property is free; admission is charged for entrance into the LSU Rural Life Museum, Windrush Gardens and some events.




A New Chapter

After a decade of inactivity, with the exception of its popular annual Book Bazaar, Friends of the LSU Libraries is launching a major revitalization and membership drive.


nne West, chairperson of both the Book Bazaar and its yearround complementary program, the Book Barn, said the revival will reestablish the group’s position as an essential bridge between the community and the university’s libraries. “Friends of the LSU Libraries fills a specific niche. We are the university’s representatives of books and learning,” West said. “We hope that LSU and Baton Rouge will respond and be as excited as we are to have the chance to support the university and its libraries once again.” Established in 1962, Friends fundraises and acquires a wide variety of materials, from historical print editions to educational e-book packages, for the campus libraries. The group also hosts workshops to educate the public on the history, production, organization and care of books and provides assistance and low-priced materials to under-resourced school and classroom libraries. “We want to help people acquire books and knowledge that isn't always available to them and offer programs to enrich their lives and their families,” West shared. “We see ourselves as a way to make sure that everyone in our community realizes this gem is in their midst and that they, along with our usual students and scholars, are able to make use of these resources.” Proceeds from the spring Book Bazaar fund an endowment, currently valued at $2.2 million, that supports LSU library acquisitions and services. With more than 70,000 print, audio, digital and Braille books priced as low

Anne West, chairperson of Friends of the LSU Libraries’ Book Bazaar and Book Barn, holds The natural and civil history of the French dominions in North and South America by Thomas Jefferys (1760), acquired for Hill Memorial Library by Friends.

as 25 cents, the Book Bazaar attracts book lovers and collectors from near and far. The 2017 Book Bazaar was the most successful in more than a decade. The Book Barn, located at 3555 River Road, is open year-round for visitors to donate, browse and buy

inexpensive textbooks, reference books and leisure reading. Those interested in joining Friends can do so by visiting the link below.



OUR OWN Mark and Rebecca Hefter, who moved south together to attend LSU, call giving to Louisiana’s flagship university a “reflex reaction” to the warm reception they enjoyed as students. That reflex inspired them to pledge a $1 million unrestricted, endowed estate gift to the College of Humanities & Social Sciences.




either one of us had a lot of money when we were that age, and a lot of college experiences were foreclosed to us because of that,” Mark said, sharing, “I feel like we have a family back there who had no reason to be interested in us, strange people from out of town, but made us feel welcome and like one of their own. I’ll always be grateful for that.” When they first arrived on campus, the Hefters didn’t anticipate, given the large size of the university, receiving one-on-one attention or having so many experiences catered to their interests. “There was no conversation that they wouldn’t take time to have with you,” Rebecca said. “I think taking such good care of us allowed us to take a breath and believe that we could make it.” Today, Mark (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’77 and ’79; Law, ‘82) is

the associate vice president of the American Technion Society, which provides support for the TechnionIsreael Institute of Technology. Rebecca (Humanities & Social Sciences, ‘77 and ‘85), principal and founder of Creative Communication Strategies, is a communications consultant and an executive coach who works with clients worldwide. “The communication professors made sure that you knew how to do your research, find the best possible resources and, of course, write about the issue you were making recommendations for. Every single bit of that has transferred to being a consultant,” Rebecca said. “I’ve had so many different professions within my career,” Mark added. “I think a lot of what I learned as an English major at LSU was how to deal with change and realize when doing the same-old, same-old isn’t going to work anymore. You have to innovate.”

The Hefters’ continued relationship with the college throughout the years cemented their confidence that the Mark and Rebecca Hefter Endowed Fund will be used in the best interests of future Tigers. “The college has done a really good job of letting us know not only what the needs are but how they’re using the money. We get videos, which are just delightful, about what the students are doing or how they’re using additional funds. That just makes us trust them all the more.” The College of Humanities & Social Sciences offers a diverse curriculum that gives students a foundational base of analytical reasoning, communication and critical thinking skills for an edge in future studies or careers.



More than a Call Center Ajaratu “Koko” Cole is a petroleum engineering junior who dreams of owning her own oil company someday. She is minoring in chemistry and geology, president of the African Student Organization, regional coordinator for Geaux BIG Baton Rouge and a member of several engineering societies and other student organizations. She also just concluded her third year as a student caller at the LSU Foundation Call Center.


want to make a huge impact on LSU and leave a legacy here,” Cole, who recently secured a pledge with a corporate matching gift totaling $4,000, explained. “It’s amazing for me to be a part of this. It’s touching.” The LSU Foundation Call Center is fully staffed by current LSU students like Cole. Student callers reach out to LSU alumni and friends to talk about their LSU experiences and share what the university is like now. Through these one-on-one conversations, student callers aim to discover where a Tiger’s passion lies on campus and to connect him or her with a fund in support of that area. “It is more than a call center. It’s not just about fundraising; it’s about building relationships. There’s a lot of mentorship, and a lot of the skills student callers learn here can be incorporated into other aspects of our lives,” Cole said.



The Call Center’s results are twofold: donors find a personal, meaningful way to impact LSU, and the students gain an understanding and appreciation of philanthropy on campus. Cole knows that the donors she spoke with on the phone were investing in her future. Her goals always in mind, Cole seized the opportunity to seek advice from successful engineers on calls whenever she could. She’s even stayed in touch with a few. “I’m able to speak to women who succeeded in a maledominated career. They tell me to never give up, even though I’ll always have to fight twice as hard. Hearing that gives me a pep in my step and motivates me. It lets me know that all of this will be worth it at the end of the day,” Cole shared.


Coast to Coast The LSU experience is one our alumni remember forever. This year, Tigers from 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico invested in LSU through our studentstaffed call center so that we can invest in programs that give all students the opportunity to graduate with both a stellar education and the preparation for lifelong success. Every dollar given enhances LSU’s direct investments in our students, faculty, staff and the communities we serve. These generous Tiger families reflect the spirit of community for which LSU is known.

“After hearing all of the programs that are supported by the LSU Parent Fund, I was happy to donate. It felt like more of an investment than a donation. My son moved from the state of Maryland to become a part of the LSU community and has thrived partly due to these programs … I can’t imagine there is one student who hasn’t benefited from the great programs supported by this group!” - Dara Jones, Tiger parent in Annapolis, Md.

Top State Contributors Number of Call Center Gifts 1 - 10

26 - 50

101 - 150

11 - 25

51 - 100


Louisiana - 2,456 donations Texas - 859 donations Mississippi - 163 donations





e f i L

For Charles and Carole Lamar, philanthropy is an obligation, a privilege and a joy. Their investment in LSU stems from a deep commitment to enhancing the Baton Rouge community and the quality of life for citizens across the state. The impact of the Lamars’ generosity to LSU is exemplified in the LSU Rural Life Museum, Manship School of Mass Communication, College of Music & Dramatic Arts, LSU Museum of Art, Pennington Biomedical Research Center and several other areas of campus.




here are some really outstanding colleges at LSU,” Carole said. “It’s a lot of fun to see how they’re growing and the good leadership that they have, and to know that we had a little something to do with it.” Carole, a Natchez, Miss., native, is a third-generation Tiger “raised on LSU.” Her grandfather served as a county agent for the LSU AgCenter’s Louisiana Cooperative Extension Service; her father earned his bachelor’s in chemical engineering. After earning a bachelor’s in fine arts, she worked in print media advertising before rounding out her career in sales at WBRZTV. Charles was born and raised in Baton Rouge. He attended Harvard University, Tufts University and Boston University Law School, respectively. After a few years at a local law firm, he joined his family at Lamar Advertising as general counsel. “What makes working with the Charles cites his cousin and mentor, the late Kevin Reilly Lamars so satisfying is that they Sr., former executive officer of Lamar Advertising, politician and philanthropist, as an inspiration for his own dedication deeply understand LSU. Their to philanthropy. Two of the first gifts Charles made to LSU funding of a visiting scholar were in collaboration with Kevin and family, funding a program was a strategic way to renovation of Swine Palace (now the Reilly Theatre) and the Reilly Center for Media & Public Affairs at the Manship get new voices and new ideas School of Mass Communication. The family members into the school. They have now involved in the gifts are not LSU graduates, but they value doubled the program so that LSU’s importance to their community. we can hire a postdoc and Charles and Carole established the Charles Lamar Family Foundation in 2000 with primary areas of interest in PreKa professional almost every 12 education, water resources and animal welfare, Carole’s year, giving us a depth that passion. She was actively involved with the transformation very few mass communication of the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Shelter into the Companion Animal Alliance, a nonprofit city shelter that programs have.” will soon build a state-of-the-art facility on LSU’s campus. – Dean Jerry Ceppos, Carole said that there is no comparison to the happiness she Manship School of Mass Communication feels after making a gift. “My family really didn’t have the resources to be philanthropic on this kind of level, but they always taught me about the importance of giving and helping people out when you can,” Carole shared. “Philanthropy gives meaning to my life. It’s the most rewarding feeling to know that you have affected something that will make a difference in someone’s life.”

The late Steve Buttry, the first Lamar Visiting Scholar and a former director of Student Media at the Manship School of Mass Communication, accepts the Online News Association’s Rich Jaroslovsky Founder Award. Photo by Anya Semenoff, Online News Association / The LSU Museum of Art’s permanent collection, titled “Art in Louisiana: Views into the Collection,” was reinstalled in 2016 with support by the Lamars. / Rulamán Vargas Quesada, recipient of the Lamar Family Scholarship, performs within the first violin section of the Costa Rica Philharmonic Orchestra. Photo by Tomas Solana Donato




Homegrown When Rupert Breland, a chemical engineering junior, received an announcement that he had been awarded a scholarship, he was perplexed—he hadn’t applied for any scholarships. As he scanned the letter, he saw two familiar names: Dr. Christopher M. and Julie M. Foret, whose daughter he grew up with in Washington Parish. “To receive a scholarship from a donor that I know means that they can see how it’s helped me and that I’ve put it to good use. Rather than a one-time connection, we have a lifetime connection,” Breland shared. “It’s a great honor.” Christopher (University College, ’90) and Julie (Business, ’91) crafted a gift that continues the pipeline between their parish and LSU and allows them to witness the fruits of their investment. The Dr. Christopher M. and Julie M. Foret Scholarship is for a graduate of Washington Parish high schools enrolled in University College, chosen by the scholarship selection committee. The gift continues the Foret family’s generosity to University College: Christopher’s parents, Dr. Gerald and Gayle Foret, have two endowed scholarships. “My dad moved to Washington Parish 48 years ago, established a solo practice in medicine, worked hard and was very successful. The people of Washington Parish are responsible for that,” Christopher said. “To give something back to their kids, to help LSU continue to get the best and brightest from Washington Parish, is really a win for everyone.”

The Forets caught up with Breland at the 2017 University College Spring Awards Reception. They learned that Breland’s father retired early following a heart attack and his family lost their home in a flood. With Breland’s younger brother attending college next year, Breland became a residential assistant in a campus residence hall to alleviate the family’s financial stress. “We didn’t know about the trials that Roo’s family has had. That’s not something you talk about at a tailgate party,” Christopher said. “To see our philanthropy in action is wonderful. When you make a posthumous gift, you can’t enjoy it. We couldn’t be happier or prouder of Roo.” Breland is earning 16 hours each semester so he can graduate in four years, one year earlier than many engineering majors, and plans to continue his education in graduate school. Dr. Christopher and Julie Foret with their first scholarship recipient, Rupert Breland



“In ROTC, financial assistance means these young patriots can reach their full potential as cadets without letting their academics wane. We offer our gratitude for the benevolence of our fellow citizens and promise that, through these acts of kindness, we will continue to produce the very best future military leaders.” – Lt. Col. William D. Magee, commander of the LSU Air Force ROTC

The LSU Army and Air Force ROTC programs are part of the College of Humanities & Social Sciences’ Departments of Military Science and Aerospace Studies, respectively. Both programs aim to produce the highest quality officers, responsible citizens and outstanding leaders by combining academics and service.





atthew and Terrie Mandina are honoring Matthew’s father, the late Lt. Col. Sidney Mandina, and his great military service with an endowed scholarship at the alma mater he loved so dearly. The Lt. Col. Sidney R. Mandina Endowed Scholarship will be given to full-time undergraduate ROTC participants. “I think that my dad would be very proud of this scholarship and a little bit embarrassed, knowing him,” Matthew shared. “I don’t think he ever imagined that he would be recognized in this fashion, because he was a very humble person. People with scholarships in their names were highly affluent, and he never would have thought that he could get there.” Lt. Col. Mandina grew up during the Great Depression in Shreveport, La. His mother was a first-generation Italian American; his father, an Italian immigrant, was a self-made carpenter and businessman who obtained one of the first contracts to lay the sewer system in Shreveport. They persevered, made ends meet and pushed their two sons to attend college in pursuit of a brighter future. After earning his bachelor’s in engineering at LSU, Lt. Col. Mandina was called to active duty. As a B-25 pilot in the Army Air Corps, he flew 70 combat missions over the China-Burma-India Theatre in World War II, earning the Distinguished Flying Cross. After the war and a subsequent U.S. Air Force career, he worked as an engineer on major projects such as NASA’s Apollo program, an antiballistic missile system and U.S. Department of the Navy ships. Matthew described his father as “happy-go-lucky.” “He loved music, especially zydeco. He was a big Cajun and would run around doing his fake Cajun accent. He was a family guy. He enjoyed flirting, to my mom’s dismay,” Matthew remembered with a laugh. “When things got stressful, he would become a jokester, telling little quips to keep things light.” Even in his final months, Lt. Col. Mandina kept an eye on his Tigers, watching games on television and reading local newspaper articles that his cousin would mail to his home in St. Augustine, Fla. Matthew, who participated in the Air Force ROTC at University of Maryland on a scholarship, said that he learned the importance of serving one’s country and having an attitude of gratitude from his father. He hopes that the recipients of this memorial scholarship will share those same values.

Lt. Col. Sidney Mandina




Hans and Donna Sternberg’s historic leadership gift to the Roger Hadfield Ogden Honors College will strengthen the college’s ability to attract, retain and provide an exceptional experience to exceedingly talented students. Their donation—the college’s largest one-time scholarship gift and its largest endowed scholarship—continues the Sternbergs’ longstanding philanthropic support within the Baton Rouge community.



Goudchaux’s, circa 1948, on Main Street in Baton Rouge


o family has been involved philanthropically with the Honors College as long as the Sternberg family,” said Ogden Honors Dean Jonathan Earle, adding, “This gift from Hans and Donna will help LSU Honors students for many, many years to come.” Hans and Donna are committed to excellence in education. Hans graduated magna cum laude from Princeton University; Donna graduated cum laude from the University of Texas. Donna was also a member of Phi Kappa Beta and an advocate for bringing the honor society to LSU. They met then-chancellor of LSU Cecil Grady Taylor, who connected the couple to a group of professors who were working on an honors program. They continued to support the program, ultimately leading to the Board of Regents (of which Donna was a member) approving its transformation into a college in 1992. “LSU is such a positive influence on the community,” Hans shared. “We’re very good on the athletics side; I think we need to be very good on the academic level also. Raising the level of academia is fundamental to the purpose of the university.” The Sternberg family has a long history as business and civic leaders in Baton Rouge. In 1936, Hans’ father, Erich Sternberg, smuggled $24,000 out of Nazi Germany and came to Baton Rouge. He bought the small apparel shop Goudchaux’s and worked to expand the business. By 1989, Goudchaux’s had merged with Maison Blanche to become the largest family-owned department store chain in America, with 24 stores

and more than 8,000 employees. Erich’s wife, Lea, endowed the Erich and Lea Sternberg Honors Professorship, which still supports faculty to this day. “Baton Rouge was so welcoming, encouraging and supportive of the Sternberg family,” Donna shared. “We wanted to give back, and now we are in a position to do it.” In 1992, Hans sold Goudchaux’s/Maison Blanche but maintained the insurance division. Then, the Sternberg family sold Starmount Life Insurance in 2016, while Hans and Donna began a new venture, Highflyer Human Resources. When they’re not running the business together, they enjoy spending time with their four children and nine grandchildren. In recognition of their most recent gift, the French House Grand Salon, which qualified the building for its designation on the National Register of Historic Places, will be renamed in honor of Hans and Donna.

Goudchaux’s was recognized by Ripley’s Believe It or Not in 1986 as the world’s longest department store.



Joe Reid (Engineering, ’51), former Fighting Tiger, NFL linebacker and accomplished petroleum engineer, continues to make his mark at LSU through philanthropy.




Top: Joe Reid, far right, celebrates the Los Angeles Rams' victory over the Cleveland Browns at the 1951 National Football League Championship, as shown on the front page of the Los Angeles Times sports section. Photo by Art Rogers Bottom: Kim and Joe Reid

oe and his wife, Kim, support the Colleges of Engineering and Science and have endowed scholarships within both. They enjoy staying in touch with their scholarship recipients through letters and inviting those in the Houston area to visit at their home. “I hope I have a legacy. I like those words. When I was in school, there was a graduate in Shreveport in the oil business. He had a scholarship of sorts, and I’d get $25 a semester. I thought, ‘How nice of him. If I get to that point, maybe I can do something to add a little joy to spending money,’” Reid remembered. “I started slow, and I tried to build it up to a healthy sum.” Originally from Meridian, Miss., Joe enjoyed the football recruiting process. He was recruited by a number of universities in the Southeast, but LSU was a “done deal” when the football coach assured him that even if he didn’t make the team, he would still receive an education. In addition to his shining role on the football field, Joe was also student body president and a member of the ROTC program and several campus organizations. Athletic trainer Dr. Marty Broussard, LSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, was Joe’s mentor throughout his college years and afterward. Two of the Reids’ endowed campus oaks are in Marty’s honor, and a third tree honors his friend Joe Dean, former LSU athletic director. The dynamic between Joe and his scholarship recipients reminds Kim of Joe and Marty’s relationship. “They want to learn,” Kim said. “Joe talks to them like a dad. Through his stories, it’s like he is saying, ‘Hey, you’re like me. You want to learn, you want to move forward in your life, to put yourself onto a stage.’ That means a lot to these students.” The Los Angeles Rams drafted Joe, and he played for the team in its 1951 National Football League Championship win over the Cleveland Browns. He transitioned into business, which he considers now to be “the best thing that ever happened to me.” He earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School and launched a career in the oil and gas industry, ultimately serving as president and CEO of Superior Oil before his retirement. “You strive to rise to the challenges, and when you measure up, it does satisfy a competitive craving,” Joe shared.





yan Smith’s lifelong dream was to be a petroleum engineer like his grandfather, Donald W. Clayton. His inquisitive nature was perfectly suited for the field. “He had a passion for innovation and exploring. He wanted to know how things worked,” his parents, Robin and Gethyn Smith, remembered. “He would take TVs and computers apart and put them back together again, just to see how they operated.” Ryan was an LSU fan at an early age. In middle school, he participated in science and engineering fair competitions on LSU’s campus. As an LSU student, Ryan attended every football game, telling Gethyn that the first four notes of the Tiger Band’s pregame “Touchdown for LSU” song stirred a feeling of excitement in his blood. During his time at LSU, Ryan was a proud member of Phi Kappa Psi, the Block and Bridle Club and the Power Lifting Team, and he participated in intramural sports. Ryan graduated in 2010 with a degree in petroleum engineering, then moved back to Shreveport, his hometown, to work as a reservoir engineer at Coutret & Associates Inc. At 26, Ryan was diagnosed with a rare



cancer. He stayed dedicated to his career, continuing to work on earning his professional licensure and MBA. “He was positive, and he was a fighter,” Gethyn said. “He would say it was OK to think about giving up, it was OK to want to give up, but no matter how much you want to, you never, ever give up.” When Ryan’s battle ended in 2014, longtime family friend Keith Evans (Engineering, ’80) led a grassroots campaign to fundraise an endowed petroleum engineering scholarship in Ryan’s name. The result was a remarkable testament to the Shreveport community’s affinity for Ryan and his family. The endowment will soon make its first distribution. “It was a way for us to rally around Robin and Gethyn, to show our love and support for them, and to do something constructive that would honor Ryan’s memory with something that Ryan loved,” Evans said. Ryan’s parents describe him as “selfless,” having “never met a stranger” and always “encouraging of others.” They know that he would be proud to help students reach their dreams through a scholarship in his name at his favorite place, LSU.

Fueling the Future “You would think that if there was to be an energy law center anywhere, that it should be here at LSU.” - Mark Boudreaux

Blake Hudson leads an environmental law class, a core part of the Energy Law Center curriculum. Hudson is interim director of the John P. Laborde Energy Law Center, Burlington Resources Professor of Environmental Law and Edward J. Womac Jr. Professor of Energy Law.




ark (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’80; Law, ’84) and Lisa (Human Sciences & Education, ’82) Boudreaux were among the first to support the John P. Laborde Energy Law Center, which they felt was a belated addition to Louisiana’s flagship university. “You would think that if there was to be an energy law center anywhere, that it should be here at LSU,” Mark shared. “We thought it was overdue for Louisiana to play its role.” Mark made the most of his LSU law degree in various public and government affairs positions for nearly 30 years. Prior to retiring, he served as the senior director for federal relations in ExxonMobil’s Washington, D.C., office. Taking advantage of the corporation’s 3:1 match program, the Boudreauxs established an endowed scholarship for internships and externships at the center. Mark serves as a special advisor to the Energy Law Center, sits on the Laborde Energy Law Advisory Council and teaches “Lawyering & the Legislative Process” during LSU Law Apprenticeship Week. “There aren’t many law schools that teach congressional procedure or legislative drafting. Lawyers are not very often trained in drafting legislation and understanding how a policymaker thinks,” Mark said. “It’s fun to show the students that you don’t really need to practice law. Your law degree gives you the opportunity to do lots of different things.” The Energy Law Center offers an energy law and policy certification, as well as joint degree programs that allow students to connect energy law with a relevant, interesting curriculum. The center facilitates internships and externships for students; field trips to energy production and related facilities; and relationship-building with companies, policymakers, organizations and stakeholders who are focused on legal and policy issues affecting the

Mark and Lisa Boudreaux



Bobby and Beth Reeves

energy sector. The center’s well-rounded approach produces client-ready law professionals who can tackle the dynamic energy industry. “I think we’re in a cautiously optimistic period for the future of oil and gas development in the U.S. and a time of reasonable regulation and growth in our industry. I hope that students graduating from the law school with an energy law certificate are well-positioned for that time,” said Bobby Reeves (Business, ’78; Law ’82). Bobby and wife Beth (Art & Design, ’81) also have an endowed scholarship at the center. Bobby always wanted to be an energy lawyer—he even did his sixth grade career report on the profession. He began his legal career doing oil and gas litigation at Onebane Law Firm in Lafayette, La., for 12 years. Now, he is the executive vice president, law and chief administrative officer for Anadarko Petroleum

Corp., responsible for legal, government relations, human resources, information technology, administrative and health, safety and environmental functions. “I came from a comfortable family, but not one that could afford to pay for seven or eight years of college. I had to borrow money and take out student loans to come to law school,” Bobby said. “I wanted to make sure that those who have the dream like I did will have that opportunity.”

The Energy Law Center was established in August 2012 by a historic $2 million endowment, including a support fund and a double endowed chair, by John P. Laborde, a New Orleans civic leader and Louisiana energy sector leader.



Lifetime Achievement


n 1980, LSU Department of Finance instructor Bucky Kilbourne (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’72) was the treasurer of National Convenience Stores and interviewing financial analyst candidates. One candidate, Wes Jablonski (Business, ’76), was warned that the headhunter had been unable to fill the position for six months. But an item on Jablonski’s résumé caught the eye of Kilbourne, a fourth-generation Tiger: Jablonski was an LSU graduate. He got the job. After NCS, the pair worked together at Church’s Chicken and Brock Hotel Corp. (now CEC Enterprises), forming a bond that has lasted nearly four decades. “He’s someone who I felt close to because he was the first person I ever hired, and he had done so well,” Kilbourne shared. “I really felt like he was a blessing to me. He was a wonderful person to work with.” In February 2017, Jablonski paid tribute to his mentor and friend with a special gift. He surprised Kilbourne during one of his classes to announce that he had established the Lewis “Bucky” Kilbourne Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate finance student, covering the full cost of tuition. Kilbourne, whose wife, Martha, was also in attendance, was shocked. “It was great to see him when he walked in the classroom. I was truly amazed, just stunned. I sat there and said, ‘He’s talking about me? He’s doing this for me?’” Kilbourne remembered. Through conversations about giving to the E. J. Ourso College of Business, Jablonski knew that he wanted to benefit a deserving student and honor someone who had made a difference in his life, someone who is still living and can truly celebrate the gift. He hopes fellow alumni will be inspired to give back in a similar way. “Everybody gets help along the way. Nobody does it on their own. You need to remember those people and honor them if you can,” Jablonski said. “It’s a lifetime achievement. He has impacted a lot of people’s lives; I’m just the one who is giving LSU a chance to do this.”



Top: Wes Jablonski surprises Bucky Kilbourne in class to announce the Lewis “Bucky” Kilbourne Scholarship. Bottom: Bucky Kilbourne and Wes Jablonski Photos by Aaron Hogan


winery and bodega in Mendoza

Buenos Aires on Argentina’s Independence Day

Universidad Nacional de Córdoba

n peak of a untain Andes Mo

the hiking in ns untai Andes Mo

Thinking Differently


rittany Marshall’s life-changing study abroad experience inspired Betty and David Laxton to make similar opportunities possible by creating an endowed fund for the E. J. Ourso College of Business and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. Marshall, a junior in English who is a first-generation college student, told the Laxtons about her five-week trip to Córdoba, Argentina, made possible by a scholarship. Before the trip, Marshall had never been out of the country. “I had been studying Spanish since elementary school, yet I still wasn’t mastering the subject,” Brittany shared. “When a professor told me that the best—and only—way to become proficient in speaking Spanish was to immerse myself in the culture, I knew I both wanted and needed to travel abroad.” “If you could have seen the difference in Brittany when she came back—she was a new person. She matured,” Betty (Arts and Sciences, ’71) said. “It was such a broadening and wonderfully empowering experience for her to do that on her own. We felt like there needed to be more opportunities for students like this.” The Laxtons are passionate that, as in Brittany’s case, the most powerful educational experiences take place outside

of the classroom. The Betty and David Laxton Endowment for Student Achievement in Business and the Humanities gives the deans the latitude to award scholarships to fulltime students seeking extraordinary opportunities, ensuring that future Tigers will be provided for in ways that may be unforeseeable today. “There needs to be some flexibility. If a student has a nontraditional funding request, and the dean sees that it will broaden the student’s vision and capabilities, that approval can be made on the fly without worrying if the request meets more specific endowment requirements,” David (Arts and Sciences, ’71; Business, ’76) explained. The Laxtons believe that the measurement of LSU’s success lies in its graduates, whose passions they are proud to support. Betty and David want to encourage fellow alumni to join them in committing to LSU for the long haul and to “think differently” about how to give back to the university.



Days in D.C. 6 a.m.

Morning run around the Washington, D.C., monuments

9 a.m.

Internship in Congressman Garret Graves’ office

6 a.m.

12 p.m.

Catch up on the news

3 p.m.

ASPCA event at the Capitol!

6 p.m.

Jazz in the Garden at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden 9 a.m.

12 p.m.




L 3 p.m.

SU was the only university with which Joanie Lyons, a political communication senior from the Denver area, “fell in love,” and it’s the only place she applied to attend. Last year, when Lyons learned that she had received the Paul S. Gravel Federal Intern Scholarship, the timing was crucial—her father had been laid off, and she was taking out loans to make ends meet. The scholarship covered her rent in Washington, D.C., while she interned in Congressman Garret Graves’ office. The summer opened Lyons’ eyes to the role she could play within the U.S. government, and she made plans for her future.“I’ll be getting my master’s in science in urban development and management at Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands,” Joanie shared, adding, “I really want to learn more about infrastructure, development and spacial planning, specifically related to transit initiatives. I plan on working with the U.S. Department of Transportation, most likely in Washington, D.C., and my end goal is to be secretary of the USDOT.” Paul Gravel, former executive director of the Louisiana Public Facilities Authority and

“ 6 p.m.

The relevancy and impact of the Paul S. Gravel Federal Intern Scholarship can be summed up in the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall: ‘None of us got to where we are by solely pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps.’”

executive director of federal affairs at LSU, is remembered as a public servant who devotedly created internship opportunities for students interested in the democratic process. The Paul S. Gravel Federal Intern Scholarship was funded by his colleagues, family and friends to continue his legacy of inspiring students. Manship Chair in Journalism Bob Mann serves as the point of contact for applicants to the scholarship, which is awarded through the Division of Student Affairs to an LSU student who will participate in an unpaid or underpaid policy or legislative internship in Washington, D.C. Paul’s wife, Jan, explained, “This scholarship can change and inform the trajectory of a beneficiary’s life. The first recipient, Aly Neel, had only briefly traveled once out of Louisiana. After her D.C. internships, she went on to work and live in Turkey, returned to attend Princeton for a master’s in public affairs and is now working as a Luce Scholar in Myanmar.” “The relevancy and impact of the Paul S. Gravel Federal Intern Scholarship can be summed up in the words of Justice Thurgood Marshall: ‘None of us got to where we are by solely pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps,’” said 2010 recipient Carlton Miller. “I am 27 years old, an attorney and the policy advisor for Gov. John Bel Edwards. I have come to recognize the importance of opportunity. I would not be in my position had it not been for opportunities afforded by Mr. and Mrs. Paul S. Gravel.” Jan sees the fund as “an investment in the future,” describing it as “an example of how tremendous impact can happen with a small investment of dollars to ignite a student's passion.”

- Carlton Miller, 2010 recipient



No Scientist Works Alone Tyrslai Williams, an organic chemistry PhD candidate, is studying the design, synthesis and evaluation of BODIPY-peptide conjugates for the detection of cancer cells in the early stages of colorectal disease. With aid from the Dr. Charles E. Coates Memorial Fund, which supports research and travel for chemistry, physics and chemical engineering graduate students, Williams traveled to Nanjing, China, in July 2016 to present her research at the International Conference on Porphyrins and Phthalocyanines.


’m a firm believer that, on the graduate level, if you can teach it, you know it,” Williams said. “When you go to a specialized conference like the ICPP, you are speaking with others who may be able to give you new ideas. We ricochet ideas off of one another. I can come home, work on those things that I’ve learned and try to develop a better platform for my research.” In March 2017, descendants of late LSU Audubon Sugar School Dean Charles E. Coates joined faculty and staff to celebrate the family’s contributions to the university at an event sponsored by the Colleges of Science and Engineering and the Graduate School, highlighting the recent donation of a restored plantation desk once belonging to Coates. At the event, the Coates family heard from Coates Fund beneficiaries, including Williams.



“These scholars are going to be members of a wonderful, factoriented community. They will be able to talk across national and cultural boundaries,” Dr. Susan Spiller, granddaughter of Coates, said. “No scientist works Top: PhD candidate and Dr. Charles E. Coates Memorial Fund beneficiary Tyrslai Williams. Photo by Jennie Gutierrez alone; we’re all building Bottom: Jane Spiller, Judi Dorfi, Susan Spiller and Charles H. Coates upon each other’s Jr. pose with a portrait of their grandfather, Dr. Charles E. Coates, in knowledge. It’s very, very Choppin Hall. Photo by Vickie Tate Thornton important that they be able to go to meetings on an international scale Sugar School, he was recognized globally and communicate with each other.” for his sugar chemistry research. The After studying at Johns Hopkins Dr. Charles E. Coates Memorial Fund University, Coates joined the LSU faculty was created by Coates’ nephew, George in 1893. He transformed a former Hunter Coates, whom Dean Coates and blacksmith shop into a laboratory and his wife supported throughout George’s sparked a new era of chemistry education education at LSU. at LSU; he also became the first LSU football coach. As dean of the Audubon



athryn Cahalan and Allyson Morthland, mathematics seniors in LSU’s GeauxTeach Math and Science program, spent three weeks as summer interns at the Martin-Luther-Schule in Marburg, Germany, observing the school’s alternative approach to education—without knowing a lick of German. “This trip was very eye opening. It was interesting to see how another country's school system worked and how it was so different from ours,” said Cahalan, of Austin, Texas. The Martin-Luther Schule, a public school for grades five through 13, shifts classroom activity from teacher-centered instruction to studentcentered projects. A normal school day at Martin Luther spans only five hours, with 20- to 30-minute breaks between classes. Students are taught only one or two subjects a day, and there is no dress code for students or teachers and no standardized testing. “You would think it would be hard for students to retain what they learned with just a few hours of class dedicated to a subject each week, but their system works for them,” said Cahalan, adding, “The students are actually taught more advanced mathematical concepts earlier than we are in the U.S., and the learning environment is much more relaxed." Pat Bodin, LSU mathematics graduate, former chief information officer for ExxonMobil and member of the College of Science Dean’s Circle Executive Committee, has given generously over the years to support GeauxTeach, which allows students to pursue an undergraduate degree in biology, chemistry, mathematics or physics and earn secondary teaching certification without taking additional hours. “I know how critical STEM skills are to economic growth in Louisiana and the U.S. As a nation, we are not graduating enough students to fill available jobs in these fields,” Bodin shared. “Growing a STEM-capable workforce starts with elementary and secondary education, and we need strong math and science teachers to stimulate and encourage our youth.” Cahalan and Morthland shared what they learned with their GeauxTeach classmates, as they prepare for field teaching experiences in middle and high schools throughout the Baton Rouge metro area.

Right: Kathryn Cahalan and Allyson Morthland visited the Mathematikum, a science museum in Giessen, Germany, three times throughout the summer. They met with Mathematikum Public Relations Officer Lisa Peter and Director Albrecht Beutelspacher, shown here at the Pi-by-the-Foot exhibit.

Top: Kathryn Cahalan and Allyson Morthland visit the Trevi Foundation in Rome, Italy. Bottom: Allyson Morthland and Kathryn Cahalan teach at the Martin-Luther-Schule in Marburg, Germany.



A Letter From


“It is the grit that makes one great— the combination of education, talent, skill and ingenuity that allows an LSU graduate to take an obstacle and make it into an opportunity.”

It’s difficult to put a name to the qualities that separate LSU students, alumni and friends from those of other universities. It’s not just the quality of our academics, though we excel in everything from our #1-ranked landscape architecture program to our internationally regarded physics and astronomy department, which recently helped to prove Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. And it’s not just our strong sense of community, though our students do provide more than 70,000 hours of community service annually to the Baton Rouge area alone. It’s not just the overwhelming excitement of nights cheering on our student-athletes in Tiger Stadium, Alex Box or the Maravich Assembly Center, or the 600 companies and 10,000 jobs our business incubator has generated. What sets us apart is the unique ability to work a problem, to continue fighting toward a goal even when faced with challenges. It is the grit that makes one great—the combination of education, talent, skill and ingenuity that allows an LSU graduate to take an obstacle and make it into an opportunity. Tigers know these when we see them, and we don’t shy away from tackling them head-on. And that’s why our graduates go on to such great success. It’s what makes an LSU degree such a competitive credential, and it’s why our worldwide network of alumni is truly capable of changing the world. This perseverance is reflected by the fact that LSU ranks 5th in the SEC and 14th among flagships for moving students up an entire income quintile after graduation. In other words, LSU is where students still go to change their lives and make their dreams come true. We do this by remaining true to our mission of research, education and outreach and by serving our students and our state. Today’s world produces unforeseen challenges around every corner. With an LSU degree and our Tiger spirit to back them up, I’m confident that our students are prepared to not only take these challenges on, but develop creative solutions that help others live a better life, too. Sincerely,

F. King Alexander LSU President



WOMEN Making History AT LSU



In honor of Women’s History Month in March, the LSU Colleges of Science and Engineering celebrated the contributions of female faculty with several exciting activities, including a screening of the 20th Century Fox movie “Hidden Figures” followed by a panel presentation featuring noted LSU scientists, educators and advocates for women and girls. Hundreds of K-12 students and members of the campus and local community participated. Panelists shared how they overcame obstacles on their paths to personal and professional success. As a part of the event’s promotion, LSU created a series of academic trading cards featuring outstanding female faculty members in science and engineering. Each card includes a hand-illustrated portrait of the faculty member and information such as the professor’s hometown, classes taught at LSU and research focus, plus her advice to aspiring students. The cards also reference, which provides information about LSU degree programs in various STEM disciplines. The trading cards are the first in a series that highlights star faculty, showcasing LSU’s scholarly and teaching talent.


To learn more about these women making history at LSU, visit the companion website, womenshistory.php. To receive a sheet of the trading cards, please write to us at





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Research Works

As a proud NASA Space-Grant University, LSU reaches for the stars with our commitment to discovery. From challenging students to detect gamma rays in lightning strikes to helping to prove Einstein’s theory of relativity, LSU is both globally competitive and universally driven.

To learn more about LSU’s explorations into the final frontier, visit

Exploring Worlds LSU alumnus and Baton Rouge native Keith Comeaux served as test conductor, team chief and flight director for NASA’s Mars Curiosity launch, eight-month flight and landing on the Red Planet.

Discovering New Origins An experiment led by LSU Chemistry Professor John Pojman was aboard the historic flight by Blue Origin, a program established by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to develop an enduring human presence in space. LSU was one of three universities selected to have an experiment aboard this year’s flight.

Confirming Universal Theories Signals from two merging black holes, each about 30 times the mass of our sun, lying 1.3 billion lightyears away, were detected by a group of Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, or LIGO, scientists, including researchers from LSU. This discovery has confirmed Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity.



Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2017  

Cornerstone is the LSU Foundation's semiannual magazine spotlighting the impact of philanthropic investments at LSU.