LSU Recognizes 1,672 Graduates at December Commencement
BATON ROUGE – LSU recognized 1,672 graduates at the university’s 279th commencement exercises on campus Friday, Dec. 14. There is no main ceremony for December commencement, so each college held separate ceremonies to recognize their own individual students.
The 1,672 graduates included 1,333 bachelor’s degrees, 259 master’s and professional degrees and 80 doctoral degrees. The graduates represented 53 Louisiana parishes, 33 states and 42 foreign countries. The percentage of total graduates was split almost evenly with 51.14 percent men and 48.86 percent women. Among the undergraduates, 49.14 percent of the graduates were men and 50.86 percent were women, and they ranged in age from 20 to 62. Among the graduate students, 59 percent of the graduates were men and 41 percent were women, and they ranged in age from 22 to 74.
With each college holding their own ceremonies for fall commencement, some had keynote speakers, including:
- College of Human Sciences & Education: Andre J. Champagne, alumnus and founder of Hollywood Trucks LLC;
- College of Science: Maj. Gen. Jasper A. Welch, distinguished alumnus;
- Manship School of Mass Communication: Dan Borné, president of the Louisiana Chemical Association, alumnus, adjunct faculty member and public address announcer at Tiger Stadium and at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center;
- College of Agriculture: William Jenkins, interim president of the LSU System and interim chancellor of LSU; and
- College of Art & Design: Alkis Tsolakis, dean designate, College of Art & Design.
During the College of Engineering ceremony, a Doctor of Humane Letters honorary degree was awarded to Ed Steimel.
Steimel, a native of Baton Rouge, was the founding executive director of the Public Affairs Research Council, or PAR, a private, nonprofit research organization that studies governmental policy issues and publicizes findings and recommendations. Steimel and PAR were motivating forces for a constitutional convention that led to the adoption of a new Louisiana constitution in 1973. He later served as the executive director of the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, or LABI, which has helped to enact more than 50 pieces of education reform legislation.
Additionally, Steimel has been a tireless fundraiser for LSU, serving as development director for the College of Engineering. During his tenure, the college secured more than 50 scholarship funds, 106 professorships and 15 chairs. Each year, thanks to his generosity, the college awards the Ed Steimel Staff Excellence Award to an outstanding employee.
The LSU Honors College graduated 16 students. Two of these students graduated with Upper Division Honors Distinction and two with College Honors Distinction, which also includes Upper Division Honors, for participating in a specific honors program and successfully completing and defending an undergraduate thesis.
There were 103 honor graduates recognized during the ceremonies for having high GPAs and received magna cum laude, summa cum laude and cum laude honors. Also included among the honor graduates were 13 University Medal recipients who graduated with the highest grade point average in the class. These 13 students were also recognized at a special ceremony in the Recital Hall of the School of Music Building on Thursday, Dec. 13.
This semester, four graduates were awarded the LSU Distinguished Communicator Award. These students earned this honor by meeting high standards set by faculty in various colleges and by the LSU Communication across the Curriculum program. The students earned high grade-point averages in communication-intensive courses – based on written, spoken, visual and technological communication – and have built digital portfolios, displayed as public websites, that include their communication projects from courses, internships, leadership roles and public service.
Degree candidates who took part in ROTC programs were recognized for being commissioned into the U.S. military during a ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Dalton J. Woods Auditorium in the Energy, Coast & Environment Building. Five LSU students were commissioned as second lieutenants from the LSU Army ROTC program, and three LSU students were commissioned from Southern University’s Navy ROTC program.
Some noteworthy students who graduated this December include the following:
- Ryan Orgera, who earned a Ph.D. in environmental geography, was the recipient of the National Sea Grant College Program’s Dean John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship;
- Erica Livi, who earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Humanities & Social Sciences, is fluent in four languages and is learning two others. She has accepted a position in Switzerland after graduation as an assistant/interpreter at a financial company;
- Brothers Russell Collins, who earned a degree in interdisciplinary studies, and Garrett Collins, who earned a degree in kinesiology;
- Natalie Denby, daughter of Regents Associate Commissioner for Academic Affairs Karen Denby, earned dual degrees in microbiology and philosophy; and
- Former LSU and professional basketball player Stanley Roberts earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of Human Sciences & Education.
In addition to Roberts, some other notable student athletes who graduated include:
- Football: Kevin Minter, Russell Shepard, Josh Dworaczyk, Chancy Aghayere, Eric Alexander, and Patrick Lonergan;
- Track: Ade Alleyne-Forte, 2012 Olympic Bronze Medalist (4x400 Relay for Trinidad), five-time All-American, SEC Champion; Rebecca Alexander, two-time NCAA Champion, five-time All-American, four-time SEC Champion (400M);
- Men's Tennis: Neal Skupski, four-time All-American; and
- Softball: Ashley Langoni and Heidi Pizer, who helped led LSU to 2012 Women's College World Series.
For more information on LSU commencement, visit www.lsu.edu/commencement.