Southeastern faculty, staff receive top awards at university's fall convocation
Monday, August 17, 2015
by: Rene Abadie
EXCELLENCE RECOGNIZED - Southeastern Louisiana University opened the 2015-16 academic year Friday (Aug. 14) with its fall convocation that included presentation of the President’s Awards for Excellence, the university’s highest honor for faculty and staff. Receiving the President’s Awards for Excellence were, from left, Music Instructor Philip Schuessler, Artistic Activity; Director of Safety and Hazardous Materials Management Camille Moniotte, Unclassified Staff Service; Associate Professor of Nursing Kristin Whitty, Faculty Service; Professor Paula Varnado-Sullivan, Teaching; and Biology Professor Kyle R. Piller, Research.
HAMMOND – Southeastern Louisiana University opened the 2015-16 academic year
Friday (Aug. 14) with its fall convocation that included presentation of the President’s
Awards for Excellence, the university’s highest honor for faculty and staff.
The event, held in the Student Union Grand Ballroom, also included recognition of professors who were elevated to emeritus status, remarks by Southeastern President John L. Crain, recognition of donors and service awards to faculty and staff who have worked at the university for 25, 30, 35, 40 and 45 years.
Receiving the President’s Awards for Excellence were Music Instructor Philip Schuessler, Artistic Activity; Biology Professor Kyle R. Piller, Research; Psychology Professor Paula Varnado-Sullivan, Teaching; Associate Professor of Nursing Kristin Whitty, Faculty Service; and Director of Safety and Hazardous Materials Management Camille Moniotte, Unclassified Staff Service.
Schuessler was honored for his prolific portfolio of compositions, commissioned music, and music publications. He joined with other members and former members this past year to produce and perform in a new album entitled “Embers – Music for Saxophone with Piano and Electronics.”
An ichthyologist, or fish expert, Piller was recognized for maintaining a broad research program that involves collaborations with other researchers, locally, regionally and internationally. He holds a strong record of publications and grants, including his most recent one, a National Science Foundation research grant of $607,000, one of the highest grants to an individual at Southeastern. He is known for including both undergraduate and graduate students in his research.
Sullivan previously worked in a hospital-setting before coming to Southeastern to teach a variety of undergraduate and graduate psychology. She is credited with developing the university’s Research Incubator for Psychology Students to help facilitate their undergraduate research studies. She serves as graduate coordinator for the department and has chaired 23 thesis committees.
Whitty was recognized for her service during Hurricane Katrina when she volunteered to work in a Baton Rouge temporary hospital taking care of hurricane victims. She became trained in courses for the American Red Cross and now serves on the board of the Capital West Chapter and as chair of the chapter’s fund raising program. She has completed courses offered by Homeland Security and incorporated those principles in a disaster-related course in nursing. She also serves on the Louisiana Emergency Response Network as a representative of the Louisiana State Board of Nursing and volunteers with other non-profit organizations.
Moniotte has successfully led and supervised a broad range of activities designed to make the campus safe, including the annual Occupational Risk Management Safety Audits. Her service activities also go beyond the university. She contributes to the community by training science teachers from Livingston and Tangipahoa parishes on hazardous waste and lab safety; working with the Tangipahoa Parish Emergency Group for hurricanes; and serving as the chairperson of the Hammond Safe Communities Committee that was instrumental in obtaining the Safe Communities Award from the National Safety Council for the City of Hammond.