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Service Award winners to be recognized at Homecoming

This year has been dedicated to looking back at 150 years of LSU, as well as looking ahead, to the future of the university. For the sesquicentennial year, the university wanted to find a way to acknowledge students, faculty, staff and alumni who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the community, making a positive difference.

This year has been dedicated to looking back at 150 years of LSU, as well as looking ahead, to the future of the university. For the sesquicentennial year, the university wanted to find a way to acknowledge students, faculty, staff and alumni who demonstrate an extraordinary commitment to the community, making a positive difference.

The answer is the Chancellor's Sesquicentennial Service Award, which seeks to honor individuals or groups who have gone beyond the scope of their job or organization requirements to contribute their time and talents to LSU and/or the community in ways that benefit the common good.

Nominations for the award were accepted through April, and 10 winners were selected. The winners had to be full or part-time students, or retired faculty and staff members and alumni. The performed service had to be on a volunteer basis and could have been completed on- or off-campus.

Winners were selected based on various criteria such as activity, commitment, impact, initiative, need and spirit of service. Award winners have been invited to participate in Homecoming and LSU Day activities, Saturday, Nov. 13. They will be recognized at the LSU game Saturday night.

The award recipients are Claire Biggs, Pinki Diwan, Del H. Dugas, Focusing on College and Unlimited Success, LSU Community Playground Project, W. Henson Moore, Melissa Blaise Seanard, Jan Shoemaker, William and Christel Slaughter and Annette Zacharia.

The following is a look at five of the winners. The first five were highlighted in part one of this story.

Del H. Dugas

As a chemical engineering alumnae, Dugas has continued to serve and support the College of Engineering's diversity efforts for more than 20 years. She has been recognized as a community leader, serving on the executive boards for non-profit organizations and volunteering with a number of various community organizations.

She has been a member of the Baton Rouge Speech and Hearing Foundation since 1999, serving as Finance Committee chair, Executive Board treasurer, volunteer activist and president of the board and executive committee.

Since 2001, she has served in various leadership positions with Quota International of Baton Rouge, becoming the face of community service for members of the organization. Within Quota, she coordinated ongoing service projects, researched and initiated new projects. For Quota, she has also served as the chair of volunteers, first vice president for the executive board, co-chair of the 55th open door tour fundraiser, 2nd vice president for the executive board and chair of the executive service and nomination committees.

Dugas has volunteered her time in Baton Rouge public schools as a Career Day spokesperson, junior achievement consultant and a science fair judge. Through her work with the College of Engineering, her service expands beyond Baton Rouge.

She currently serves on the LSU Engineering Diversity Advisory board as the chair of the Programs Committee. She is on the ExxonMobil Scholar's Program Advisory Board, serving as the mentor coordinator for the program.

Focusing on College and Unlimited Success

FOCUS involves local high school students and LSU students in the Honors College, in a summer seminar modeled after the college experience.

In 2004, LSU honors students were hoping to address the needs of East Baton Rouge Public School System in the form of arts and humanities, but also by providing information about the value of college, how to apply, scholarship information and study skills. To address these needs, they founded an official student organization known as FOCUS—Focusing on College and Unlimited Success.

FOCUS has the mission "to expand the opportunities for high-achieving, at-risk high school students by providing them with programs in the arts and humanities, while also offering leadership development and service-learning experiences for LSU Honors College students."

Since then, a summer seminar has been held each year to accomplish these goals. The seminar is created to simulate a college experience as the FOCUS leaders, all LSU students, lead daily classes in music, philosophy, art, theatre, creative writing, dance and cooking.

The students, recruited from Baton Rouge high schools, choose a focus area and attend additional seminars on their focus in order to develop a final project. The students also take a college preparatory course and attend a college fair. At the end of FOCUS, the students present their final projects.

FOCUS is entirely student-run. The LSU students plan the entire curriculum and coordinate an annual fundraiser. In the future, FOCUS hopes to have a 100 percent rate of participants attend college.

W. Henson Moore

W. Henson Moore is being recognized for his work as the chair of Forever LSU: The Campaign for Louisiana State University.

Since 2006, Moore has served as the chair of Forever LSU: The Campaign for Louisiana State University. He serves as the primary volunteer spokesperson supporting LSU's campuses including Louisiana State University Agriculture and Mechanical College, the Paul M. Herbert Law Center and the LSU Ag Center.

He has also led the operations of the campaign, including managing the Forever LSU Campaign Cabinet and steering committees, collaborating with volunteers on fund raising efforts and monitoring volunteer activities, and coordinating and attending campaign events or meetings with volunteers and staff as needed.

During his role as campaign chair, Forever LSU received the largest corporate gift in history, the largest individual gift to LSU, the groundbreaking of a new Business Education Complex and LSU reached the Top Tier of U.S. News and World Report rankings.

In previous years, Moore served as president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association. He currently serves on the board of United States Enrichment Corporation, is a member of the New York stock exchange, is on the Board of Domtar Corporation and serves on the Advisory Board of Proudfoot Consulting.

As a former member of Congress, he served as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy and served as Deputy Chief of Staff for President George H. W. Bush.

Moore said he has been working on a book, covering his family history and service to LSU. He started service work in high school through key club and student government.

"By service to others you gain self-respect and a true picture of what life is really about," Moore said. "One must give back, and I strongly feel all LSU graduates should give what they can to this institution which has given so much to us."

Melissa Blaise Seanard

In 2009, Seanard proposed the first eco-friendly football season at LSU. As a student, she coordinated the event and managed groups of volunteers to arrive at the stadium during and after the football games to implement the new recycling program.

Since then, the recycling tonnage on football game days has increased by more than 50 percent, compared to the 2008 season.

In the summer of 2009, Seanard received a grant to design and construct an organic vegetable garden for Bethel Colony South, a religious-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program for men in the Indian Village Community of New Orleans, which was affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Earlier this year, a group of architecture students from LSU and the men from Bethel Colony used Seanard's program to educate local residents on the benefits of organic gardening, rainwater harvesting and composting.

As a result of her stadium recycling efforts and the community garden, Seanard was awarded the United States Green Building Council's Young Leader's Award. She is currently attending graduate school, looking to receive a dual master's degree in science in sustainable design and architecture in urban design.

"By helping to better the recycling efforts on football game days, I hope that it will encourage the university to continue these efforts during athletic events to show that at LSU, we care about our campus's future," Seanard said.

William & Christel Slaughter

Together, William and Christel have served and volunteered for a number of organizations, boards and advisory councils including the Alzheimer Services Board, the Dean's Advisory Council, the Metro YMCA Board and the City Club of Baton Rouge Board.

They have also served on Advance Baton Rouge, as Council Members for Audubon Elementary School, Baton Rouge Ballet, Baton Rouge Green, the Baton Rouge Symphony and the Baton Rouge Area Chamber of Commerce.

William and Christel have served on the East Baton Rouge City-Parish Citizens Task Force; the Steering Committee for the Community Cultural Initiative; the Community Fund for the Arts; the Diocesan Finance Council of Baton Rouge; the Task Force on Health, Human Services; and Buildings for the Baton Rouge Horizon Plan.

They have donated their time and consulting services to several community organizations, including the Council for a Better Louisiana, Junior League, the Neighborhood Resource Center Project, the Arts Council, Louisiana Arts and Science Center, Baton Rouge Area Foundation VISIONS, Boy Scouts of America and the LSU Foundation.

Christel started in service during her high school years, volunteering with HeadStart classrooms and working with children affected by Down's Syndrome.

"There is a great feeling in knowing you, in some way, made a positive difference in an organization or an individual," William said. "I am fortunate to have been given so many opportunities to serve."