McNeese Alumni Association

Alumni Awards

The Alumni Association sponsors various awards that recognize excellence:
  • The Distinguished Alumnus Award is the highest honor that an alumnus can receive. This award recognizes those individuals who have distinguished themselves in their field of endeavor and in doing so have brought recognition to their alma mater. This is presented only in those year's in which a candidate is deemed worthy. See below for past recipients.
  • The Distinguished Service Award is presented to an alumnus who has provided continued and outstanding service to the university and to the alumni association.
  • The Distinguished Faculty Award is presented during Spring Commencement to a full-time professor who is recognized for outstanding accomplishments in the areas of teaching, research and community and campus service. The award carries a $1,500 cash stipend. A committee consisting of a representative from each university college, library, research services and alumni association review the candidates that have been nominated from the 22 academic departments. This committee selects the recipient.
  • The Most Valuable Women's Track Award is presented during the Spring Sports Banquet.

Distinguished Alumnus Recipients


2016 - Carlin G. Conner ('91)

Director, President and CEO of SemGroup and chairman of the board of directors, president, and CEO of the wholly owned subsidiary, Rose Rock Midstream, L.P., a master limited partnership engaged in transportation and storage of petroleum products with a combined market capitalization of $2.39 billion.


2016 - G. Janelle Frost ('92)

Director, President, and Chief Executive Officer of AMERISAFE, Inc., a specialty provider of workers’ compensation insurance for employers engaged in hazardous industries, whose home office is in DeRidder, LA, and whose market capitalization is in excess of one billion dollars.


2016 - Tommy L. Marks ('77)

Director for Army Small Business Programs, serving as the Army’s lead for small business policy, goals and procedures, representing the Secretary of the Army at congressional committees and hearings.  Recipient of the Legion of Merit and Bronze Star.


2015 - Jeffrey A. Miller ('86)

Presented in recognition of his leadership as President, Director, and Chief Health, Safety and Environment Officer of Halliburton Company, one of the world’s largest providers of products and services to the energy industries, with more than 70,000 employees in over 80 countries. The company is ranked in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 list.


2014 - R. Robert Noland

Recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane letters from McNeese, inductee of McNeese Athletes Hall of Honor, area philanthropist, businessman, rancher, and community volunteer.  His generosity has funded the Noland Alumni Pavilion, Noland Family SkyRanch, MSU Rodeo program, football field, and endowments for students scholarships and faculty development.


2013 - Dr. Timothy A. DeRouen ('67)

Recognized for his international oral health research; developed and currently directing internationally renowned research training for dental faculty; Principal Investigator for $45.7 million in research grants at the University of Washington; and will serve as President of the American Association for Dental Research.


2012 - J. Douglas Thornton ('80)

A dynamic force in Louisiana’s tourism and sports industry who spearheaded and supervised the $85 million rebuilding of New Orleans Superdome after Hurricane Katrina and who continues to manage professional sports venues and events nationwide.

2011 - Larry Garner ('61)

Is a member of the National Athletic Trainers Hall of Fame and served as head athletic trainer for two Super Bowl World Championship teams, the Seoul Olympic Games, and the FIFA World Cup Venue in Dallas. 

2010 - Grant T. Cardone ('81)

An international sales expert, motivational speaker and New York Times Best-Selling Author. He has written three books, traveled the world presenting seminars, created three multimillion-dollar companies and recently launched a virtual training site that is revolutionizing how organizations train, motivate and educate their employees.

2009 - Michael A. "Mike" Creel ('75)

President, chief executive officer and a director of Enterprise Products Partners LP of Houston, Texas. He oversees one of the largest publicly traded partnerships with an equity market capitalization of $12 billion, assets of $19 billion and is ranked 89th on Barron's 2009 list of the 500 top-performing companies.

2008 - Dr. Samuel "Sam" Andrews ('73)

Dr. Andrews served on the LSU pancreatic transplant team. He has done extensive research in the field of endocrinology, which led to his co-authoring the best-selling Sugar Busters series of diet books.

2007 - John Warner Smith ('76)

Smith was appointed Secretary of the Louisiana Department of Labor by Governor Blanco in 2004. He then went on to serve as the chief executive officer of Education's Next Horizon, a non-profit whose goal is to reform public education in Louisiana.

2006 - Phil D. Conway ('77)

Conway served as President of JPMorganChase, Houston and Market Manager for the Houston Private Bank. He is Managing Director and Head of Capital Advisory in the United States, Continental Europe and the Middle East for JPMorgan Private Bank.

2005 - William A. "Bill" Oliver ('71)

Oliver began his career with BellSouth in 1973 as an engineer, served as BellSouth's Operations Manager for the Republican National Convention, was Vice president for Regulatory and Governmental Affairs and is now AT&T Louisiana President.

2004 - Rebecca Brown Roberts ('73)

Roberts is president of Chevron Pipe Line Company which transports crude oil, petroleum products, chemicals, natural gas and natural gas liquids. She formerly served as president of Global Power Generation division of ChevronTexas.

2002 - Dr. Mark Ottenweller ('72, '74)

Ottenweller served for eighteen years as the Director for Africa HOPE Worldwide and now serves the organization as the Global HIV/AIDS Coordinator. He has been the co-ordinator of World AIDS Day Campaigns and serves on the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.

2001 - R.C. Slocum ('68, '70)

Slocum served as head football coach at Texas A&M from 1989-2002 and he is the winningest coach in the school's history. He serves as President of the American Football Coaches Foundation and is special advisor to the Texas A&M president.

2000 - Brigadier General Joe Taylor, Jr. ('74, '83)

A veteran of Desert Storm, Taylor has received the Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, and Bronze Star. He served in the Pentagon as the deputy chief of legislative liaison in the Office of the Secretary of the U.S. Army.

1999—Robert F. Nash (‘71)

Nash spent three decades gaining extensive global experience in the oil and gas service industry. He was Vice president of Emerging Markets for Halliburton Energy Services and served on the senior executive management team and executive leadership team.

1998—Dr. Sheryl Abshire (‘72, 76, 88)

In 1992 Abshire was the first teacher inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. In 2002 she received the Christa McAuliffe Award from the National Education Association. She serves on various state, national and international technology leadership boards.

1997—Joe Dumars (‘85)

Dumars is President of Basketball Operations for the Detroit Pistons’. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame recognizing his 2 national championships as a player and his gold medal in the 1994 FIBA World Championship.

1996—Andre Dubus (‘58)

An American short story writer, essayist, and autobiographer Dubus was recognized as one of the best American short-story writers of the 20th century. His work has been featured in The New Yorker, Time, People , Horizon, Publisher’s Weekly and the New York Times.

1995—William J. Dore (‘65, ‘66)

Dore founded Global Industries, Ltd. and served as CEO and Chairman from 1973-2007. He is past president of the Association of Diving Contractors and served on the Board of Directors of the National Ocean Industries Assc. Dore received the Horatio Alger Award and remains active with the organization.

1994—Richard Ieyoub (‘68)

Ieyoub served as Attorney General for the state of Louisiana from 1992-2004. He alsoserved as president of the Board of Directors of the National District Attorney’s Association and on the Board of Regents of the National College of District Attorneys.

1993—Carlos Perez (‘62)

Perez was the first Mexican citizen to attend MSU on a tennis scholarship. He retired as director of the largest manufacturer of dairy products in Central America and owned 3 food and container companies that controlled 90% of the Central American market.

1991—R.L. “Bubba” Nelson (‘64)

Nelson founded Allwaste Services of Texas with one employee and one truck. He grew the company into Allwaste, Inc. which was ranked #2 on Forbes magazine’s list of best managed companies with revenue under $350 million.

1990—Judge Earl Veron (‘58)

Judge Veron was appointed to the federal bench in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter. He also served with distinction as a 14th Judicial District judge where he presided over the trial of the alleged ringleader of the Dixie Mafia.

1989—Bessie Jean Kearns (‘57)

A Fulbright Professor and Distinguished Scholar, Kearns was appointed by President Reagan to the International Food and Agricultural Development Board. Her work in the fields of agriculture and human development has improved the quality of life for the world’s developing nations.

1988—Kenneth S. Sweeney (‘50)

Sweeney was recognized for his leadership and integrity while serving McNeese for over 30 years. He first coached the three time national championship rodeo teams, managed research at the McNeese farm and then served as Vice-president of Student and Administrative Affairs.

1986—Dr. Cecil C. Vaughn (‘54)

Vaughn led pioneering research in cardiovascular medicine and artificial heart transplant surgery. He performed the first Jarvak7 artificial heart transplant and is a renown author and educator in his field.

1984—Dr. John R. Royer (‘54)

A successful plastic and reconstructive surgeon, Royer served as president of both the Florida Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons and of the Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery Section of the Southern Medical Association.

1983—William “Bill” Gossett (‘53)

Gossett served with unselfish dedication and guidance as the director of Alumni Affairs at McNeese for two decades. During this time he led the campaign to fund and build the William Gray Stream Alumni Center.

McNeese Alumni Association

600 E. McNeese Street Lake Charles, LA  70607