Toast to Leadership Banquet honors campus leaders
Lamar University students, faculty and staff gathered May 3 in the University Reception Center of the Mary and John Gray Library to celebrate the 33rd annual Toast to Leadership.
The event is the combination of a reception to welcome newly elected student leaders and a banquet to recognize campus leaders who devote their time and energies to the university throughout the year.
This year’s recipient of the Bess Gentry Award is Dana Guy, Port Arthur senior. Guy is an engineering student and a Lamar Ambassador. The Bess Gentry Award was established in 1985 to honor Gentry, the first dean of women at Lamar State College of Technology, and to recognize notable senior women based on leadership, character, service to the university and community, and above average scholarship. During her tenure at Lamar, Gentry founded Alpha Lambda Delta, the Association of the Women Students, the Cap and Gown Senior Honor Society, the Panhellenic Association and national sorority system and the Physical Education Professionals.
The 2012 Ann Shaw Award went to Garret Duhon, Lumberton junior. Duhon is an engineering student and former president of Pi Kappa Alpha and the Greek Council. The Ann Shaw Award was developed by Lamar alumni to honor Shaw for her leadership and contributions to the university and student life as well as to recognize student leadership. Shaw served as dean of student development, and assistant dean of women. During her 25 years at Lamar, Shaw coordinated many student life programs and events, many of which have become deeply rooted in Lamar tradition.
Luis Lopez, Beaumont senior, received the C. Robert Kemble Award. Lopez is a member of Phi Iota Alpha multi-cultural fraternity. Established in 1981, the C. Robert Kemble award pays tribute to Kemble, the university’s eighth president and first chancellor, for his example and standards of excellence, as well as honor other outstanding senior men. The award is based on the recipient’s leadership, character, contribution to the community and above average scholarship.
The Dr. Melvin F. Brust Advisor of the Year award went to two recipients: Kumar Das, associate professor of mathematics and advisor of Bangladesh Student Association, and Antionette Mays, administrative assistant in the office of alumni affairs and advisor of Bruised But Not Broken support group for victims of violence.
Gary Brice, instructor of mathematics, was honored as faculty member of the year.
Valarie Black, assistant director of student organizations, was honored as staff member of the year.
Student Advising and Retention Services (STARS) was awarded the Outstanding Community Service Award for the third consecutive year. The STARS department donated the largest number of non-perishable food items for the 15th annual food drive during the Fall 2011 semester.
Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity earned Outstanding Community Service Award for student organizations. PKA is the student organization that donated the largest number of items to the food drive.
Student Organization of the Year awards went to the Bangladesh Association in the mutual interest category, The Rotaract Club of Lamar University in the service category and the Honors Student Association in the professional/departmental category.
The Most Improved Student organization is Bruised But Not Broken.
Andrew Greenberg, current Student Government president and Rockwall senior, introduced President-elect Quentin Jiles, Houston senior, to attendees at the banquet. Jiles has been a member of the Student Government Association since his freshman year. He is a member of Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, and the president of the Lamar chapter of the NAACP. Jiles said part of his mission as new SGA president is to make sure that the student voice is heard.
“Today embarks the start of a new journey where all of our voices will be heard,” Jiles said. “It’s a core belief of mine that no student should feel excluded or not welcomed to anything that our university has to offer.”
Lenier LaVergne III, Missouri City junior, was elected SGA vice-president, and Charity Obeide, Missouri City sophomore, was elected secretary and treasurer.