Southeastern Alumni Association honors distinguished graduates
Contact: Rene Abadie
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1) SOUTHEASTERN ALUMNI HONORED – At the annual Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Awards Evening held Friday (Nov. 4), U.S. Navy Commander Stan W. Fornea, the first chaplain to the White House, was named the 2011 Alumnus of the Year, while WDSU-TV anchor Randy Rousseau was cited as the first Young Alumnus of the Year. Pictured at the event are, from left, President John L. Crain, Rousseau, Fornea, Alumni Association Director Kathy Pittman, and Alumni Association President Gayle Neal.
2) SOUTHEASTERN ALUMNI ASSOCIATION HONORS – Several awards were presented at the Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Awards Evening held Friday (Nov. 4). Recognized were, from left, Billy Ladner of Slidell with the Distinguished Service Award; Patsy Causey of Hammond with the Director’s Diamond Award; and Charles Dykes, a member of the School of Nursing faculty, with the L.E. Chandler Award for his involvement with students. Also pictured is Kathy Pittman, right, director of the Alumni Association.
HAMMOND – A U.S. Navy chaplain who served under both presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama was honored by the Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Association Friday (Nov. 5) as the university’s 2011 Alumnus of the Year.
Navy Commander Stan W. Fornea, a native of Bogalusa and 1979 Southeastern graduate, told the audience that the shaping of his life began at Southeastern.
“This school started in me a love for study and the pursuit of learning,” said Fornea, the first chaplain ever assigned to the White House military office. “That education has helped shape me and broadened me by enlarging my own frame of reference. It reinforced for me the philosophy of life as a journey.”
Fornea is an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church of the United States. After receiving his degree from Southeastern in history and social studies, he earned a Master of Divinity Degree from New Orleans Theological Seminary, a Master of Theology Degree from Duke University, and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Vanderbilt University.
He joined the military after 12 years of parish ministry work in Mississippi and Texas. Among various assignments, he served as deputy command chaplain for multi-national forces at Camp Liberty and the International Zone in Baghdad.
In other awards, Randi Rousseau, reporter and morning anchor for WDSU-TV in New Orleans, was recognized as the university’s first Young Alumnus of the Year, presented to an individual under 35 who has distinguished him or herself in their careers.
A native of Ponchatoula and 2005 graduate, Rousseau said she was drawn to Southeastern after first attending a large university where she was a “small fish in a really big pond.”
“I wanted to dive in and get as much experience as quickly as possible,” she said. “I credit Southeastern and the opportunities I got at the Southeastern Channel for giving me an excellent understanding of the field I was about to enter.”
Alumnus Billy Ladner of Slidell was honored with the Distinguished Service Award. An All- American in both football and baseball while at Southeastern, Ladner was recognized for his assistance in helping to organize the Slidell Chapter of the Alumni Association and for serving as president of the Southeastern Former Football Players Chapter.
Charles Dykes, a member of the School of Nursing faculty since 1994, received the L.E. Chandler Award, awarded annually to one who has assisted students in their efforts and accomplishments in extracurricular activities.
The Director’s Diamond Award, presented to an individual who has been of great assistance to the Alumni Association, was given to former Vice President for Student Affairs Patsy Causey. Causey was honored for her work with the Golden Lions, retirees who remain active with the university, and as a founding member of PRIDE (Positive Role-models Involved in the Development of Excellence), a mentoring organization for the Lady Lions basketball team.