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The LSU Alumnus of the Year designation is the highest honor awarded to a distinguished graduate of LSU by the association. The first award was conferred in 1966; the Young Alumnus of the Year Award was established in 1999 to recognize alumni under the age of 40 who have attained professional prominence early in their careers. Including the 2019 inductees, the LSU Alumni Association has recognized 301 individuals representing a cross-section of LSU graduates.
Gary R. Wooley, founder and president of Wooley and Associates, Inc., is involved in campus activities both philanthropically and in advisory capacities. He has established three professorships and ten fellowships in the College of Engineering, was instrumental in the capital campaign for Patrick F. Taylor Hall, served on the Engineering Dean’s Advisory Council for more than thirty years, and is a generous supporter of the LSU Alumni Association and Tiger Athletic Foundation.
Jessica A. Harthcock was seventeen when she was paralyzed from the chest down from a sports-related injury. Thrust instantly into the medical system, she experienced first-hand the gaps in quality care for patients with neurological conditions and vowed to create a service to solve the problems she experienced. Today Harthcock is CEO of Utilize Health, a $2 million company she built from the ground up to guide patients through the health care system with positive outcomes and cost savings.
Kurt B. Davis, executive vice president of affiliate relations at ViacomCBS, is responsible for the day-to-day operations between CBS and hundreds of CBS affiliates across the nation. Previously, he served as vice president for news services, overseeing CBS Newspath, the CBS news satellite newsgathering organization. Davis spent much of his thirty-plus-year career in a variety of markets across the country, serving as executive news editor at KENS-TV in San Antonio, Texas, prior to joining CBS News.
K. Renee Horton is the NASA Space Launch System Quality Engineer at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. She has served as president of the National Society of
Black Physicists (NSBP), is a member of the International Union of Pure, Applied Physics Women in Physics Working Group and serves on several advisory boards dedicated to
inclusion in physics. She received the Black Engineer of the Year Trailblazer Award in 2011 and in 2017 was named a NSBP Fellow.
Lewis T. May is an associate principal and urban design director of Page Southernland Page, a multidisciplinary architecture and engineering firm with offices in the U.S. and abroad. Lewis May, one of America’s leading planners, urban designers, and landscape architects, five-decade career has earned him nearly 200 international awards of excellence for his global design practice. His urban design portfolio includes projects in Europe, Asia, Africa, Europe, the Far East, Arabia, and throughout the Americas.
Stephen J. Scalise, U.S. House of Representatives Republican Whip and representative for Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District 1, was elected to Congress after serving in the Louisiana State Legislature from 1996-2008. A senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee and a steadfast defender of Louisiana’s coast, Scalise led the effort in the House to pass the RESTORE act, which was enacted in 2012. He graduated from LSU in 1989 with a bachelor’s degree in computer science.
The LSU Alumni Association Hall of Distinction recognizes alumni who have distinguished themselves and LSU through their careers, their personal and civic accomplishments, their volunteer activities, and their loyalty to their alma mater.
Included in the Hall of Distinction award ceremony is the bestowal of the prestigious Alumnus of the Year Award. One individual is singled-out not only for their distinguished accomplishments, but also for their loyalty and generosity to the University and the LSU Alumni Association.
The LSU Alumni Association, formerly known as the LSU Alumni Federation, began recognizing distinguished alumni in 1966, when The Alumnus of the Year Award was bestowed upon military hero Major Roy J. Young.
Tradition continued until 1981, when the Hall of Distinction was created to recognize and honor more alumni and other outstanding individuals who have made significant contributions to society and whose achievements have brought credit and distinction to LSU.
In 1984, a selection committee was created and included four representatives of the Association along with four representatives, whose names remain anonymous, serves as a staggered three-year term and is charged with the task of reviewing hundreds of nominations and casting votes for the top candidates. The final candidates are reviewed and voted on by the Honors and Awards Committee and presented for final approval to the board of directors of the LSU Alumni Association.
The LSU Alumni Association began accepting nominations for its Young Alumnus of the Year award in 1999. The award is specifically for alumni under the age of 40 who have attained prominence early-on through their efforts in commerce, industry, technology, agriculture, engineering, the arts, the sciences, education, government, and other worthy endeavors.
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