LSU Black Alumni to Honor New Legends
BATON ROUGE – Baton Rouge attorney Leo C. Hamilton and LSU academic counselor Gwen E. Snearl will be honored by the A. P. Tureaud Sr. Black Alumni Chapter as 2013 LSU Legends at the annual LSU Legends Forum Friday, Nov. 22, from 7-9 p.m. at the LSU African American Cultural Center, located at 3 Union Square, Raphael Semmes Road.
The forum will include a panel discussion on the topic, “Stand Your Ground Laws in Louisiana,” which will examine how the law operates in Louisiana. Forum panelists will be attorneys Afi Patterson of Baton Rouge and James Williams of New Orleans, along with Louisiana State Rep. Pat Smith of Baton Rouge.
The event is free and open to the public, and will be preceded by the chapter’s annual general body meeting at 6 p.m.
Hamilton, a 1973 graduate of LSU and a 1977 graduate of the LSU Law School, is an ardent supporter of LSU. A charter member of the original LSU Alumni Association A. P. Tureaud Alumni Chapter established in 1989, Hamilton served as the first vice-president and president-elect. While serving as the chapter’s president in 1990, he helped to establish the first endowed scholarship effort. Hamilton helped significantly in the reconstitution effort of today’s chapter. He served on the 2013 Reunion Celebration Executive Planning Committee and formerly served on the Tiger Athletic Foundation.
As a partner in the law firm of Breazeale, Sachse, and Wilson, LLP, Hamilton is well known in professional and civic associations. He practices in the areas of labor and employment law, administrative law, constitutional law and governmental relations. He currently represents the City of Alexandria and the Parish of Pointe Coupee, and is general counsel for the Louisiana Community and Technical College System.
Hamilton was the first African American to serve as president of the Baton Rouge Bar Association and is currently president of the Louisiana Bar Foundation. He chairs the Louisiana State Bar Association Bill of Rights Section and is a member of the LSBA Bench Bar Committee; American Bar Association; Federal Bar Association; Louis A. Martinet Legal Society; American Association of Bar Presidents; House of Delegates of the LSBA; ABA; Louisiana State Law Institute; National Bar Association; and Louisiana Public Defender Board. He holds membership in Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Society and the Phi Delta Phi Legal Fraternity.
In the community, he is a member of the Big River Economic and Agricultural Development Alliance, alumnus of Leadership Baton Rouge and Leadership Louisiana, past president of American Red Cross, a member of Council for A Better Louisiana Regional Advisory Board and charter member of the River City Jazz Coalition.
Snearl’s contributions to minority affairs at LSU are legendary. She was the first person to hold the office of Minority Student Coordinator and was a visionary for all that could be accomplished in diversity and inclusion in educational institutions, especially for African Americans. She established Genesis, a mentoring and tutoring program for minority students by minority students; Harambe, a welcoming and celebration program for new African American students, as well as programming for the LSU African American Cultural Center that included Jazz Night, Poetry Night and tailgating.
Snearl coordinated the Martin Luther King Day Program at LSU, bringing national speakers to the campus such as Cornell West, Bernice King, Nikki Giovanni, Susan Taylor, Michael Dyson, and many others.
In 1996, the Robing Ceremony was born. Snearl and Tayarikwa Salaam developed the program to honor and celebrate the achievements of African-American students graduating from LSU. The Robing Ceremony recognizes the successful passage of these students through LSU into the community. To date, more than 1,500 graduating seniors have participated in the 15 previous ceremonies. It is no surprise that the ceremony continues to be an event that is eagerly anticipated by the entire community.
In 1993, Snearl was honored as an inductee in the National Women’s Hall of Fame. As one admirer states, “Snearl forever changed the way we here at LSU celebrate African and African-American achievement.”