Wednesday, April 23, 2014
University of New Orleans Honors Student Leaders
(form left) Leadership Cabinet members Luis Murillo and Whitney Marshall serve as
hosts of the 2014 Leadership Ceremony.
UNO Student Government President Brandan Bonds gives the opening address at the 2014
Interim Provost Dr. Rich Hansen delivers opening remarks
Attendees watch a video presentation created by student leader, Jordan Fontenot, that
illustrates some of the many activities that took place over the past year.
Brandan Bonds, Student Government president, receives the University's Edgar E. Burks
Memorial Award from Kevin Graves, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. The Edgar E.
Burks Memorial Award is the most prestigious award on campus given to student leaders.
Leadership Cabinet members celebrate a successful evening at the UC Ballroom.
UNO student Kelsey Matthews received the "2014 University Funded Organization of the
Year Award" on behalf of the UNO Ambassadors.
Student leaders were honored Tuesday at the University of New Orleans, where the Office
of Student Involvement and Leadership handed out key awards at an annual leadership
"To those who will be graduating in a few weeks, we thank you for your contribution
to UNO," undergraduate student Whitney Marshall said on behalf of the University's
Leadership Cabinet, which helps to develop leaders all over campus. "As you walk across
that stage, we want you to realize what a difference you made at your alma mater though
your campus involvement. And to those who will be returning, we hope you remain involved
and we hope you have a great summer."
The Thirtieth Annual Leadership Recognition Ceremony at UNO was designed to recognize
student leaders who have demonstrated leadership, commitment and success throughout
the year, said Dale O'Neill, director of Student Involvement and Leadership. The evening
recognized more than 140 student leaders from various organizations and departments
and honored the University's most outstanding student leaders with the Student Leader
for Community Service Award, Outstanding Event of the Year Award, Organization President
of the Year Award, Advisor of the Year Award, Organization of the Year Award, Ambassador
Scholarship Recipients and, the Edgar E. Burks Memorial, the most prestigious student
leadership award on campus.
Marshall, who served this year as recognition chair for the University Student Leadership
Cabinet, and Luis Murillo, another member of the Leadership Cabinet, served as hosts
of the event, which is designed to "honor outstanding student leaders at UNO – those
who have dedicated their time and energy to improve the quality of campus life," Murillo
UNO Student Government President Brandan Bonds gave the events opening address while
Interim Provost Dr. Rich Hansen delivered opening remarks before all those present
watched a video presentation created by student leader, Jordan Fontenot, that illustrated
some of the many activities that took place over the past year.
Edgar E. Burks Memorial Award
The Edgar E. Burks Memorial Award is the leadership award presented by Student Affairs
and Enrollment Management, said Kevin Graves, dean of the College of Liberal Arts.
Students are nominated for this prestigious award by faculty and administration. A
selection committee then reviews all nominations based on leadership ability, contribution
to the campus and the community, the quality of the nomination letters and GPA.
"The committee members expressed their difficulty in selecting the recipient of this
year's Burks Award because of the quality of the student leaders who were nominated,"
said Graves. "We had an overwhelming number of nominees this year for this prestigious
Seven nominees included: Brandan Bonds, Cory Lang, Kelsey Matthews, Tesla Medina Berrios,
Emily Srofe, and Edie Tally. Each received a certificate.
"When our Burks Award Winner first arrived at UNO, he had a simple plan in mind: wanting
to leave this university better than what it was," said Graves. "The experiences that
he has had in event planning, leadership and student development has allowed him to
obtain real-world experience that can be utilized in any career.
"He is an undergraduate student, who is currently a member of the Student Government,
serving as President, and a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, serving as
House Manager and Standards Chairman," the dean continued. "In past years, he has
served on the UNO Ambassadors, UNO Leadership Cabinet, UNO Orientation Leaders, and
Krewe Leaders for Privateer Camp. Using the leadership skills he has gained, he hopes
that he has inspired students to do all that they can to make a difference in the
community around them, be it great or small, for the good of this institution, and
the world as a whole."
Brandan Bonds, Student Government president, received the University's Edgar E. Burks
Memorial Award, the most prestigious award on campus given to student leaders.
Student Leader for Community Service Award
The Student Leader for Community Service Award recognizes a student leader who has
demonstrated outstanding volunteerism in the community. Students who were nominated
for this award, include: Katelynn Breaux, Amber Jones, Megan Mazzochette, and Catherine
In presenting the award, Dean Graves said that the recipient has been involved within
her church community since she was 13 and began teaching CCD classes at Our Lady of
Prompt Stuccor in eighth grade.
"Not only is she extremely involved in the community, but she still manages to be
a full time student, a member of Sigma Kappa Sorority, and have a job," Graves said.
The 2014 Student Leader for Community Service is Katelynn Breaux.
Outstanding Event of the Year Award
The Outstanding Event of the Year Award was established to recognize the most defining
event of the year and to highlight organizations which have helped to create a higher
standard for student life at the university.
This year's nominees included: Big Gay Talent Show, UNITY; Mardi Gras Speed Networking
Event, Society of Women Engineers (UNOSWE); Paper Lantern Night, Vietnamese American
Student Association; Swampball, UNO Ambassadors; Watermelon Bust, Lambda Chi Alpha;
Rent-A-Puppy, Transfer Student Organization; and Batting Out Breast Cancer, Zeta Tau
"The purpose of our 2014 award winning event was to get dogs and puppies from local
animal shelters to get some loving from UNO Students," said Dean Graves. "...Over
100 students participated in this event by either renting puppies to play with or
buying treats to give them. This event raised over $300 for their organization."
The 2014 Outstanding Event of the Year is Rent-A-Puppy sponsored by the Transfer Student
Organization President of the Year Award
The Organization President of the Year Award was created at the request of student
leaders, with the intent of recognizing an organization president's outstanding service.
This year's nominees include: Yesenia Bodden, American Hotel and Lodging Association;
Tristen Kade, UNITY-UNO; Tara Pence, Sigma Kappa;Kelsey Matthews,Ambassadors; Amber
J Brooks, Secular Student Alliance; Jamie Blanch, Transfer Student Organization; Shaniqua
Casey, Service Coalition; Garrett Stapp, Lambda Chi Alpha; Edgar Avila Jr.,Theta Xi;
and Bailli Fontenot, Zeta Tau Alpha.
"This award recipient leads by example in order to encourage her organization to be
involved and to represent the university in a positive light," said Dean Graves. "This
individual is intricately involved in many of the decisions made about events, procedures,
and other important pieces of her organization, including considering what is best
for general members and the future of the organization."
The 2014 Organization President of the Year is Kelsey Matthews.
Advisor of the Year Award
"Advisors play an essential role in the success of our student organizations," said
Shaniqua Casey, a student leader who presented the award. "They serve as mentors,
team builders, conflict mediators, reflective agents, motivators and educators. These
advisors continually support us and challenge us to grow."
This year's nominees included: Michael Hoffshire,UNITY-UNO; Malay Ghose Hajra, Engineers
Without Borders; Marco Perez, Lambda Chi Alpha; Christy Heaton, Vietnamese American
Student Association; Karen Trundle Lundy, International Student Organization; and
Caleigh Keith, Transfer Student Organization.
"This award recipient has been an outstanding advisor to his organization, by providing
guidance, advice, and leadership to the members," said Casey in presenting the award.
"He has helped out in many difficult situations, giving the gift of his fraternal
expertise to their highly active chapter, and helping members to realize and reach
their full potential."
The 2014 Advisor of the Year is Marco Perez, general manager of Lakefront Arena and
advisor to the UNO chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. Perez is a proud alumnus
of UNO and Lambda Chi.
Organization of the Year Award
The 140-plus student organizations on campus truly enhance the spirit and sense of
community at UNO, said Dean Graves.
"We have professional, social, diversity-oriented, political, honorary, service, activist
and special interest organizations," he said. "With an array of organizations, all
students have the opportunity to join a group that reflects their interests."
This year's nominees included: Sigma Kappa, UNITY-UNO, Ambassadors, Vietnamese American
Student Association, Delta Zeta, College of Business Executive Council (CBEC), Lambda
Chi Alpha, International Student Organization, and Transfer Student Organization.
Two outstanding organizations showed exceeding work, said Graves. One is University
funded and the other is a registered student organization.
"This University Funded Organization of the Year helps promote a strong and positive
image by representing the University of New Orleans to the campus, community, and
beyond. They also serve the UNO community by providing current students with scholarship
opportunities," Graves said.
The 2014 University Funded Organization of the Year is the UNO Ambassadors.
"The Chartered Student Organization of the Year has a purpose to enlighten their members
as well as the UNO student body and its surrounding communities about the rich Vietnamese
culture and traditions," said Graves. "They do this through hosting cultural events
on campus, as well as participating in cultural events around New Orleans."
The 2014 Chartered Student Organization of the Year is the Vietnamese Asian Student
Association, one of the largest student organizations on campus.