Southeastern honors Alumnus of the Year

Tuesday, October 21, 2014 Alumni Awards 2014
by: Rene Abadie

ALUMNI AWARDS - At the Alumni Awards Evening, Craig Huss, far right, retired vice president with the agricultural firm Archer Daniels Midland, was honored with the Alumnus of the Year Award. Also recognized at the event as the Young Alumnus of the Year was James "Jay" Prather III of Ponchatoula, second from left, a 2005 graduate with a degree in biology. Congratulating them are President John L. Crain and Alumni Association Director Kathy Pittman.

HAMMOND – Craig Huss, retired vice president with the agricultural firm Archer Daniels Midland, was honored with Southeastern Louisiana University's Alumnus of the Year Award Friday (Oct. 17) during the university's Homecoming Week.

The Decatur, Ill., native was recruited to attend Southeastern on a basketball scholarship, earning his bachelor's degree in business administration in 1974 and an MBA two years later. While at Southeastern he earned four-year letterman status as a forward and center and served as a graduate assistant basketball coach while in graduate school.

Huss worked 37 years with ADM, starting as a grain elevator manager before being named to his first vice presidential position in 1997. In 2011 until his retirement earlier this year, he was senior vice president, chief risk officer and a member of ADM's five-member Executive Committee.

The company employs more than 31,000 people worldwide and is ranked 27th on the Fortune 500 list. Huss continues to serve on several corporate boards, including Chiquita Brands International, the Kalama Export Company and AC Toepfer International, a German-based trading company with 37 offices around the world.

"Basketball brought me to Southeastern, and my first visit to the campus was in March 1970 on a beautiful spring day," he said at the banquet honoring him and other alumni and friends of the university. "Coach (E.W.) Foy recruited me, and I did have some initial reservations because Southeastern was 750 miles from Decatur. But once I got here, I really loved it.

"We had some pretty good teams back then," said Huss, a member of the Lions' 1972-73 squad that won the Gulf States Conference Championship. "I learned from Coach Foy the need to be organized and what passion and perseverance bring to the game and to life. Later, when I was working, I found out that all those classes I took at Southeastern worked to help me further my career."

Also recognized at the event was James "Jay" Prather III of Ponchatoula, a 2005 graduate with a degree in biology. He was a founding partner of the environmental consulting firm Krebs, LaSalle, Lemieux Environmental. Now called ELOS Environmental and based in Hammond, the company provides consulting services covering numerous sectors of the environmental industry, including wetland delineation and permitting services. Projects he has worked on include preliminary planning on the post-Katrina expansion of U.S. Highway 11, the development of Lakeshore estates in St. Tammany Parish, and numerous upgrades to the hurricane protection network in Plaquemines Parish.

A native of Killian in Livingston Parish, Prather has served on the Lillian Town Council and helped obtain grant funding to upgrade the municipal water system and established crisis backup systems to provide drinking water to the town.

Other awards presented included:

President's Loyal Lion Award – Mayson Foster, outgoing mayor of the city of Hammond;

Director's Diamond Award – David Danel of Hammond, former Alumni Association president and board member, who helped build the Alumni Center;

L.E. Chandler Award – Brendan Daigle, Multicultural and International Affairs and the Student Food Pantry;

Distinguished Service Award – Sigma Tau Gama Fraternity, celebrating its 75th anniversary this year, and the New Orleans Alumni Chapter, celebrating its 50th anniversary. The fraternity served as sponsor of Homecoming 2014.

Friendship Oak Awards – Delta Tau Delta on the occasion of the 45th anniversary; Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity on their 75th anniversary; Sigma Tau Gamma, New Orleans Chapter, on their 50th anniversary; the School of Nursing on its 50th anniversary; and the Yellow Jackets on their 85th anniversary.



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