State Rep. Julie Stokes has been selected as the recipient of the 2017 University of New Orleans Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award. The UNO International Alumni Association will present Stokes with its highest honor at the Distinguished Alumni Gala, which will take place on Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the National WWII Museum’s United States Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center.
Stokes is a Certified Public Accountant and a small business owner. Since 2013 she has represented District 79 in the Louisiana House of Representatives. She earned her bachelor’s degree in accounting and graduated magna cum laude from UNO in 1992.
“I was deeply moved to learn that I had been selected,” Stokes said. “The award is something that I’ve been aware of ever since I graduated from UNO, and it’s such an honor to be among the many accomplished alumni who have received it. I feel so blessed, and I appreciate it so much.”
Stokes, a native of Kenner and graduate of East Jefferson High School, is a first-generation college graduate. She attended UNO on a full academic scholarship. After graduating from the University, she began work at a Big Four accounting firm and passed the CPA exam on her first attempt. She is co-owner and chief financial officer of Stokes & Associates, Inc., a Metairie-based consulting firm specializing in vocational rehabilitation and life care planning.
“Julie is the perfect choice to receive this honor because she embodies so many of the characteristics of a University of New Orleans graduate: determination to succeed, tenacity, integrity, resilience and an ability to bring people together for a common cause,” President John Nicklow said. “Along with her many friends, supporters and colleagues, we are looking forward to celebrating Julie and her accomplishments.”
Stokes is actively involved with the Jefferson Chamber of Commerce, the University of New Orleans International Alumni Association and the Louisiana Society of CPAs. She is the chairman of the Sales Tax Streamlining & Modernization Commission. She is also vice chair of the Legislative Audit Advisory Committee and serves as one of only two interim members on the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. Nationally, she serves on the executive committee of the National Conference of State Legislators.
Stokes is the 34th honoree to receive the Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni Award. Previous recipients include New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation President and CEO Mark Romig, engineer and executive Roy Glapion, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand, television news executive Kim Bondy, Gambit Communications Chairman Clancy DuBos and former Lieutenant Governor Melinda Schwegmann. The honoree is selected by a committee of former award recipients. The Distinguished Alumni Gala will also recognize a distinguished alumnus or alumna from each of the University’s four academic colleges.
“I believe so strongly in UNO,” Stokes said. “And I believe that, for so many students in the greater New Orleans area, UNO has been that bridge to the middle class—to success and to their dreams. UNO certainly changed the trajectory of my life.”
The gala is a celebration of the University’s contributions to New Orleans and the region. Its venue is a testament to UNO’s lasting impact on the community—the National WWII Museum was conceived in UNO’s history department by professors Stephen Ambrose and Nick Mueller, the museum’s former president and CEO.
Proceeds from the Distinguished Alumni Gala will support student scholarships, as well as the UNO Alumni Association’s programming to ensure student success and alumni engagement.