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Diversity, General Information, Honors & Awards, Student Spotlight

LSU Black Male Leadership Initiative Recognizes Fellows and Supporters at Ceremony

05/22/2012 11:28 AM

BATON ROUGE – The Black Male Leadership Initiative, or BMLI, recently held a ceremony recognizing new fellows, program completers and graduating fellows, as well as donors who participated in the BMLI “Power of 50” fund aimed at raising $50,000 for the BMLI program and the Bennett-Pourciau Student Award.


The program recognized Tyrus Thomas Inc., represented by LSU alumna Sevetri Wilson, at the “Determination” level, the highest level of giving. LSU alumnus Todd Schexnayder, senior vice president of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, was recognized at the “Inspiration” level.


“The BMLI Recognition Ceremony was a wonderful opportunity for the BMLI staff; the Office of Equity Diversity and Community Outreach, or EDCO; and the Office of Multicultural Affairs to celebrate the accomplishments of those LSU juniors completing the BMLI Fellows Program and to recognize those LSU partners, community advocates and donors who have supported the BMLI Fellows and the Fellows Program,” said Marco Barker, assistant to the vice provost and director of educational equity for EDCO. “The African proverb, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’ translates perfectly in higher education – it takes a community of university faculty and staff and external support to impact the lives of black college males. The recognition ceremony is not only an institutional event, but it is a community event.”


The new cohort of fellows included Davon Austin, a chemical engineering major from Houma; Christopher Baron-Hyppolite, a civil engineering major from Bushkill, Pa.; Nicholas Belson, an electrical engineering major from Lafayette; Jordan Biagas, a mechanical engineering major from Prairieville; Kristian Black, a biology major from Shreveport; Michael Carpenter, a sports administration major from Baton Rouge; Mark Cooper, a kinesiology major from Shreveport; Justin Garibaldi, a studio art major from Slidell; DeQuinten Glenn, a kinesiology major from Baton Rouge; Trevon Goins-Williams, an environmental engineering major from Baton Rouge; Lekan Kassim, a chemical engineering from Houston; Travoll Payne, a biochemistry major from Jacksonville, Ark.; Ricky Richard, a kinesiology major from Lake Charles; and Paul Turner, an accounting major from Monroe.


“We are extremely excited about the new class of BMLI Fellows starting this fall. The incoming fellows include students from different backgrounds, geographic regions in- and out-of-state, majors, levels of involvement and academic prowess. Having a dynamic and diverse group of students facilitates interesting conversations and tends to have an overall positive impact on the entire group. The new cohort of fellows will join the existing sophomores who are already doing outstanding work and who will enter their second and final year in the program beginning in the fall,” said Barker.


The BMLI program completers included Brylon Crier, a finance major from Albany; Joseph Hollins, a business management major from Baton Rouge; Joshua Hollins, a mass communication major from Baton Rouge; A’ Trey-U Jones, a management major from Tickfaw; and Isaiah Woodson, a chemical engineering major from Richmond, Va.


Senior fellows graduating from LSU in 2012 included Brian Carrington, a civil engineering major from Birmingham, Ala.; Da’John Dickerson, an information systems & decision sciences major from Kentwood; Herbert Dennis, an education major from Vacherie; Jared Roussel, a mechanical engineering major from South Vacherie; Johnny Williams, an electrical engineering major from New Iberia; Phillip Thomas, an electrical engineering major from Port Allen; and Taylor James-Lightner, a chemical engineering major from Little Rock, Ark.


The BMLI Fellows Program is a retention and leadership development program established by the LSU Office of Equity, Diversity & Community Outreach and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. For more information, or to support BMLI, contact Barker at 225-578-5736 or Chaunda Allen at 225-578-4339, by email at or visit the BMLI website at

LSU Media Relations