Southeastern honors Elsie Burkhalter with Golden Ambassador Award
Contact: Rene Abadie
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Long time north shore educator Elsie Burkhalter of Slidell was honored by Southeastern Louisiana University with the Golden Ambassador Award, which recognizes outstanding service, achievement and/or humanitarian efforts.
HAMMOND – Longtime north shore educator Elsie Burkhalter of Slidell was honored by Southeastern Louisiana University Tuesday (March 29) with the University’s Golden Ambassador Award.
The award is presented to individuals in recognition of “outstanding service, achievement and/or humanitarian efforts.” First awarded in 1996 to the late Louisiana Sen. John Hainkel, the Golden Ambassador Award has only been presented to eight other individuals.
Southeastern President John Crain recognized Burkhalter upon her departure from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. He cited “years of selfless service on behalf of all students. Her decisions and her focus are always based on what’s best for the students.”
Burkhalter served 18 years on the Board of Supervisors, two of those years as chair of the board. She was the first African American female to serve in that capacity. She is president of the St. Tammany Federation of Teachers and School Employees, a position she has held since the union received its charter in 1979. She has also served as vice president of the American Federation of Teachers, the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, and the Louisiana AFL-CIO.
Crain also noted Burkhalter’s public service, having served on the Slidell City Council and as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention for the past six conventions.
Burkhalter was also presented a pendant based on the design of Southeastern’s official ring. An alumna of Southeastern, having earned her master’s in education there, she is only the second person to receive the specially designed jewelry, the other being fellow alumna Robin Roberts of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Last year Burkhalter was recognized by the College of Education and Human Development as its distinguished alumnus of the year.
Fellow UL System Board member Andre Coudrain read a letter from Board Chairman Winfred Sibille commending Burkhalter for her exceptional and longstanding service to the Board, to the University of Louisiana System, and – before that – the Board of Trustees for State Colleges and Universities.
In his letter, Sibille said: “It is your love of and dedication to students that truly defines your service to this Board. You reminded us that we should always consider what is best for Louisiana’s students in our work as Board members and we saw this in action through the personal attention you bestowed on the many student leaders who served.”
Sibille also noted Burkhalter’s role in serving on seven search committees for presidents for University of Louisiana System institutions and for representing the system on the Louisiana Postsecondary Education Review Committee in 2009.