Lifetime Achievement

Bucky Kilbourne and Wes Jablonski; Photo by Aaron Hogan

Bucky Kilbourne and Wes JablonskiPhoto by Aaron Hogan

October 26, 2017

BATON ROUGE - In 1980, LSU Department of Finance instructor Bucky Kilbourne (Humanities & Social Sciences, ’72) was the treasurer of National Convenience Stores and interviewing financial analyst candidates. One candidate, Wes Jablonski (Business, ’76), was warned that the headhunter had been unable to fill the position for six months.

But an item on Jablonski’s résumé caught the eye of Kilbourne, a fourth-generation Tiger: Jablonski was an LSU graduate. He got the job. After NCS, the pair worked together at Church’s Chicken and Brock Hotel Corp. (now CEC Enterprises), forming a bond that has lasted nearly four decades.

“He’s someone who I felt close to because he was the first person I ever hired, and he had done so well,” Kilbourne shared. “I really felt like he was a blessing to me. He was a wonderful person to work with.”

In February 2017, Jablonski paid tribute to his mentor and friend with a special gift. He surprised Kilbourne during one of his classes to announce that he had established the Lewis “Bucky” Kilbourne Scholarship. The scholarship will be awarded to a full-time undergraduate finance student, covering the full cost of tuition. Kilbourne, whose wife, Martha, was also in attendance, was shocked.

“It was great to see him when he walked in the classroom. I was truly amazed, just stunned. I sat there and said, ‘He’s talking about me? He’s doing this for me?’” Kilbourne remembered.

Through conversations about giving to the E. J. Ourso College of Business, Jablonski knew that he wanted to benefit a deserving student and honor someone who had made a difference in his life, someone who is still living and can truly celebrate the gift. He hopes fellow alumni will be inspired to give back in a similar way.

“Everybody gets help along the way. Nobody does it on their own. You need to remember those people and honor them if you can,” Jablonski said. “It’s a lifetime achievement. He has impacted a lot of people’s lives; I’m just the one who is giving LSU a chance to do this.”

Originally published by the LSU Foundation in Cornerstone Summer and Fall 2017.


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Contact: Angela McBride

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