LSU College of Agriculture honors alumni, faculty, students at awards ceremony

Tobie Blanchard  |  4/9/2019 4:34:26 PM

(04/09/19) BATON ROUGE, La. —The LSU College of Agriculture recognized outstanding alumni, faculty and students at its Awards and Recognition ceremony on April 5 at The Club at LSU Union Square.

Outstanding Alumni awards were presented to Luke LaBorde, former President of Willis Group North Carolina and current instructor in the LSU School of Renewable Natural Resources, and Julie Richard, a rice, crawfish and soybean farmer who farms 4,000 acres near Kaplan.

Laborde has three degrees from LSU. He earned his doctorate after retirement.

“One of the greatest experiences of my life is to work with our students. They inspire me every day,” Laborde said.

Richard also has three degrees from LSU. She earned her doctorate in 2009. Before joining her husband, Christian, on their farm near Kaplan, Richard worked for Louisiana Farm Bureau where she oversaw the leadership development for Young Farmers and Ranchers and Farm Women.

“You never know where you are going to end up, but LSU means the world to me and set me up to do anything I wanted to do,” Richard said.

Andrew Alvis and Matthew Braud, owners of Sustainable Harvesters, a Houston-based aquaponics lettuce company, received the Early Career Alumni Award. The agricultural business graduates said they learned a lot at LSU that helped them with their business.

“People thought we were crazy when started, so to see our hard work get honored at this university mean so much to us,” Alvis said.

Three students were recognized.

Maddie Easley, a senior in agriculture and extension education from Walker, received the Gerald and Norma Dill Outstanding Senior Award.

Kristin Stair, an associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Extension Education and Evaluation, called Easley a phenomenal student.

“She is motivated and driven about agricultural education, and I know she be a great teacher,” Stair said.

Katie Costanza, a junior from Gonzales double majoring in animal sciences and natural resource ecology and management, received the KC Toups Memorial Les Voyageur Award for her service to the organization.

Costanza will service as president of the Les Voyageurs next year and said the organization has given her a huge purpose and involvement on campus.

Teddy Garcia-Aroca, a graduate student in plant pathology and crop physiology, received the Ray and Dorothy Young Endowed Assistantship in Louisiana Row Crop Integrated Pest Management.

Two faculty members in the School of Renewable Natural Resources were named to professorships. Mike Kaller was named the George William Barineau Professor and Sabina Taylor was named the Weaver Brothers Distinguished Professor.

The Agriculture Student Association recognized Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) as the Club of the Year. Marianna Morrison and Tylan Jolivette accepted the award for MANRRS. Don Ator, research associate in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness and advisor to the Agribusiness Club, was chosen as the Advisor of the Year.

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The LSU College of Agriculture Awards and Recognition ceremony honored outstanding alumni, faculty and students on April 5 at The Club at LSU Union Square. Award recipients included Luke Laborde, Mike Kaller, Katie Costanza, Matthew Braud, Sabrina Taylor, Andrew Alvis, Maddie Easley, Marianna Morrison, Tylan Jolivette, Teddy Garcia-Aroca, Julie Richard and Don Ator. Photo by Tobie Blanchard/LSU AgCenter

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