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 2021 inductees, the LSU Alumni Association has recognized 319 individuals representing a cross-section of LSU graduates.
Louis Minsky, a partner in Minsky & Carver Medical Center Concierge Medicine for Personal Wellness, is board certified by the American Board of Family Practice. He is chief of staff at the Baton Rouge General Medical Center, medical director of clinical informatics of the General Health System, and an assistant professor at the LSU Medical Center. He was chief deputy coroner for East Baton Rouge Parish from 2005-2012 and currently serves on the board of the Louisiana Health Care Quality Forum, as East Baton Rouge Medical Officer for the Mayor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness and is currently serving on the Mayor's Covid-19 Task Force. He is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, American Medical Association, American College of Physician Executives, Louisiana State Medical Society, and East Baton Rouge Parish Medical Society. Minsky has been a member and officer of the LSU Alumni Association Board of Directors since 1994 and is a major donor to the Alumni Fund, the Lod Cook Alumni Center, The Cook Hotel, and the Andonie Museum. In addition, he has served for many years as the official doctor on Traveling Tigers sports trips. Minsky earned his bachelor's degree in microbiology in 1981 and his M.D. from the LSU School of Medicine in 1985.
Nicole Hilton, founding partner and design architect at Cole Hil, is the first African American female graduate of the LSU School of Architecture to become a licensed architect. She established the architectural firm in 2014 with her partner, Tony Hilton. In addition to her architectural design expertise, Hilton advocates for design excellence and diversity and inclusion within the design profession. She served on the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Georgia board in 2016 and is a member of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) Atlanta Chapter. She mentors through the AIA/ NOMA mentorship program and periodically participates in architecture school design reviews at Kennesaw State University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and LSU. Hilton earned a bachelor’s degree in architecture in 2007.
Todd Schexnayder is senior vice president and human resources director at Fidelity Bank. He joined Fidelity in 2015, after he retired as senior vice president of human resources at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. He was previously senior vice president of human resources at Pan-American Life Insurance Company. Schexnayder is active in numerous community and professional organizations and serves his alma mater through involvement with the LSU National Diversity Advisory Board, the A.P. Tureaud, Sr. Black Alumni Chapter, and the College of Humanities & Social Sciences Advisory Council. He was a member of the Manship School of Mass Communication Alumni Executive Board, serving as president from 2006-2009. Schexnayder earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in 1981.
In 1982, Greg Hamer and his wife, Brenda, created B&G Food Enterprises, when they received a franchise from Taco Bell to operate a restaurant in Morgan City, La. Today, B&G operates more than 150 restaurants in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas. B&G is the largest Taco Bell Franchisee in Louisiana and maintains corporate headquarters in Morgan City, La. Hamer’s outstanding business and civic leadership has earned Greg and B&G a spot in the LRA Hall of Fame; national coverage in Entrepreneur magazine; recognition as Louisiana Humanitarian of the Year in Louisiana Living magazine, as Community Foundation of Acadiana-St. Mary Affiliate Philanthropist of the Year, and as St. Mary Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year. He was inducted into the Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction in 2014 and B&G was recognized in LSU 100: Fastest Growing Tiger Businesses. That philosophy of service and commitment is shared with the LSU family. Greg is a member of the E.J. Ourso College of Business Dean's Advisory Council, serves on the Tiger Athletic Foundation Board of Directors, and is an active member of the LSU Alumni Association. The Brenda and Gregory Hamer Sr. Endowed Scholarship support students in the College of Business. Top-level Association donors for many years, a recent gift from the Hamers increases their support of the Alumni Fund to promote the overall mission and vision of the Association through the initiatives of the organization's strategic plan - Your Front Door to the Future. Hamer earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1968.
Mark Grant, television director of CBS Sports/CBS Sports Network, directs NFL, college football and basketball, golf, and tennis events. He joined CBS in 1998 after serving first as association director then as director of television at ESPN. He started his career as master control operator, producer, and director at Cablevision of Baton Rouge. One of the first directors of 3D television sports broadcasts, Grant is a three-time Emmy Award winner with CBS Sports and a three-time ACE Award winner, the cable industry’s highest award. He earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism in 1981 and was inducted into the LSU Manship School of Mass Communication Hall of Fame in 2003.
The late Henry Gremillion earned an undergraduate degree from the College of Arts & Sciences in 1973 and graduated from the LSU School of Dentistry in 1977. He was the school’s first graduate to be named dean and was recognized nationally as a dedicated educator who worked tirelessly for his students, as evidenced by his Summer Enrichment Program initiative, created to diversify dentistry by identifying poor and minority students and preparing them to be competitive in applying to dental school and to succeed when they were accepted. His most visible achievement as dean was the completion, in 2018, of the $31 million Allen A. Copping, DDS, Advanced Clinical Care and Research Building. Named for the former dental school dean, LSU Medical Center chancellor, and LSU System president, it was the first addition to the campus since its founding in 1968. Dr. Gremillion passed away on May 18, 2020.
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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