Southeastern Alumni Association honors distinguished graduates from academic colleges

Monday, September 25, 2017
by: Tonya Lowentritt

     HAMMOND – The Southeastern Louisiana University Alumni Association will honor a distinguished alumnus from each of the university’s five colleges at its annual Alumni Awards Evening scheduled Oct. 6 as part of Homecoming Week festivities.
     This year’s honorees are A.J. Bodker, College of Education; Barbara Forrest, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Eugene R. London Jr., College of Science and Technology; Monica Nijoka, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; and Robert Yarborough, College of Business.
     Executive Director of Alumni Relations Michelle Biggs said the award recognizes graduates with unique accomplishments on a national or international level who continue to utilize their degree from Southeastern to the fullest. A limited number of tickets for the 7 p.m. event are available by calling the Alumni Association at 1-800-SLU-ALUM. More information about this and other Southeastern Homecoming Week activities can be found online at
     Bodker is a 1952 graduate with a degree in elementary education. A lifelong citizen of Ponchatoula, Bodker was a teacher and principal at Ponchatoula High School for more than 35 years. After his retirement, he became a supervisor of student teachers. Bodker has served on the North Oaks Health System’s Board of Commissioners for 12 years and now volunteers his time on the newly established North Oaks Foundation Board.
     A 1974 graduate with a degree in English and a current professor of philosophy at Southeastern, Forrest is the co-author with Paul R. Gross of “Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design,” which details the political and religious aims of the intelligent design creationist movement. She has authored and co-authored numerous articles in both academic and popular publications. In 2005, Forrest served as an expert witness for the plaintiffs in the first legal case involving intelligent design, which resulted in a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs. She is a recipient of Southeastern’s President Award for Excellence in Research, one of the university’s highest honors for faculty and staff.
     A 1984 graduate with a degree in computer science, London serves as the president of Systems Integration / Modeling & Simulation, Inc., and is a resident of Tullahoma, Tenn. His leadership placed SIM&S on the path toward $50 million in annual receipts. London has been recognized as Tullahoma Citizen of the Year, is the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Citizen Award, and the city of Lucedale, Miss., awarded him the Key to the City for his efforts in Mississippi during the post-Katrina rebuild. An avid supporter of youth advancing their education, he is committed to providing mentoring and intern opportunities for students interested in STEM centric fields. He also rewards academic achievement through his investment in a scholarship honoring his mother, the Doris A London Memorial Scholarship.
     Njoka, chief nursing officer of Baton Rouge General Hospital, is a 1977 graduate of Southeastern with a degree in nursing. Previously she served as chief nursing officer at the NeuroMedical Center in Baton Rouge. She has been honored by the Louisiana State Nursing Association (LSNA) as Nurse Administrator of the Year and as a Woman of Achievement by the Zonta Club. During her time at Baton Rouge General, she led the hospital to three consecutive LSNA Hospital of the Year awards.
     CEO and co-owner of Manda Fine Meats, Yarborough is a 1974 Southeastern graduate with a degree in marketing. He is the president of the Louisiana Grocers Manufacturers Representatives Association, serves on the board of directors for Business First Bank, and has served on the boards of the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank and Greater Baton Rouge Boys and Girls Club. He was named Business Hall of Fame Laureate in 2017 by “Baton Rouge Business Report” and received the “Mama Marion” Award from the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society for service to the Baton Rouge community.

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