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ֱ̲ Alumni Association presents awards at annual Good Morning Gala

Published October 30, 2023

Beard

CAPTION: ֱ̲ Alumni Association President Joseph Beard addresses the crowd at the annual Good Morning Gala brunch as part of Homecoming Week 2023.


MONROE, LA – ֱ̲ presented their 2023 alumni awards on Saturday, October 28, during the annual Good Morning Gala at Bayou Pointe Event Center during Homecoming festivities.

The annual brunch honors recipients of the prestigious Golden Arrow Award, Rising Young Alumni Award, and Best on the Bayou Award. This year also featured a rare awarding of the George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award, which had not been presented since 2015.

The Rising Young Alumni Award recognizes professional or personal achievement before the age of 40, which includes service to ֱ̲ and the community, and reflects ֱ̲’s values of excellence, integrity, service, and diversity and is presented to someone who demonstrates emerging and unique success in their chosen career, community organizations, and philanthropic endeavors and demonstrates commitment to ֱ̲ and the Alumni Association and continued investment for future involvement with ֱ̲.

Hamm

2023 Rising Young Alumni Award winner Rebecca Hamm with President Berry.

The 2023 Rising Young Alumni Award was presented to Dr. Rebecca G. Hamm. During her time as a student at ֱ̲, Hamm was active and engaged, leaving an indelible mark on campus life. Rebecca received her Bachelor’s degree in Radiologic Technology from ֱ̲ in 2013 and attained a Master of Education in 2014, also from ֱ̲. She recently achieved a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Louisiana Tech University earlier in 2023. Hamm is currently an Associate Professor of Radiologic Technology at ֱ̲ and has also worked as a radiologic technologist in local hospitals since her graduation. According to the Alumni Association, “her unwavering commitment to education, her dedication to her field, and her enduring love for her alma mater make her a truly deserving recipient of this prestigious honor.”

The Golden Arrow Award recognizes outstanding service to ֱ̲ and the community which reflects ֱ̲’s values of excellence, integrity, service, and diversity and is presented to someone who distinguishes themselves through professional achievement in local, state, or national affairs and demonstrates outstanding and continuing service to the University and the Alumni Association by giving of their time, talents, and resources over a period of no less than five years.

Mitchell

2023 Golden Arrow Award winner Patrick Mitchell with President Berry.

The 2023 Golden Arrow Award was presented to Patrick Mitchell. During his time at ֱ̲, Patrick’s commitment to excellence was evident in his extensive involvement. As a three-year letterman and the 1982 football team captain, he showcased exceptional leadership and sportsmanship on the field. Mitchell was an Honors graduate from ֱ̲ when he received his bachelor’s degree in 1982, which he followed with a master’s degree in 1983. Mitchell has been a longtime supporter of ֱ̲ Athletics, serving as chairman of the football search committee in 2015 and founding the P-40 Squad, an organization dedicated to assisting ֱ̲ athletes secure NIL deals. In his professional life, Mitchell has coached at various schools and had a successful tenure as a pharmaceutical sales representative. In 2002, he founded St. Joseph Hospice, eventually evolving it in The Carpenter Health Network, spanning across six states and encompassing over 50 healthcare facilities.

The Best on the Bayou Award recognizes a ֱ̲ employee for continuous support to the Alumni Association. The recipient of this award must distinguish themselves on campus as an Alumni Association advocate, and promote and demonstrate outstanding and continuing service to the University and the Alumni Association by giving of their time, talents, and resources over a period of time.

Rhodes

2023 Best on the Bayou Award winner Melissa Rhodes with President Berry.

The 2023 Best on the Bayou Award was presented to Melissa Rhodes. Rhodes currently serves as the Assistant Director of Institutional Research within the office of Institutional Effectiveness. Rhodes received a Bachelor of Business Administration from ֱ̲ in 1995. She has had several roles at ֱ̲ since 2014 including Financial Aid Processor and Associate Director of Financial Aid Operation. She has served as part of the Women Take Flight mentoring program, a member of the Staff Senate, and on the Campus Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Melissa is also involved in her community, serving with the Northeast Union Fire District, Crestview Baptist Church, Union Parish Chamber of Commerce, and the 4-H Advisory Board.

The George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes distinguished, long-term professional achievement, leadership, and service to ֱ̲ and the recipient’s community. The award takes into consideration the recipient’s lifetime focus on ֱ̲’s values such as excellence, integrity, service, and diversity. This award may not be given out every year and is reserved for alumni who have dedicated themselves to ֱ̲ and the community over the course of their life.

The 2023 George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award was posthumously presented to Charles “Freeman” Stamper. Mr. Stamper passed away on October 22, 2023. The award was accepted by his close friend Barry Delcambre.

Delcambre

Barry Delcambre (left) accepted The George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement award on behalf of his friend, the late Charles "Freeman" Stamper.

Charles “Freeman” Stamper received his Bachelor of Science in Secretarial Science/Office Administration from ֱ̲, then known as Northeast Louisiana State College as a top honor graduate in the School of Business in 1968. After graduating from his beloved university, Freeman enlisted in the US Army where he obtained the rank of E5 Specialist and was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Freeman went on to become a pillar in the ֱ̲ community. He was a Lifetime Member of the Alumni Association and has been recognized as one of the lead donors in the initial SOAR Capital Campaign. He is a member of the Tower Society of the Kitty DeGree Bell Tower Honor Roll as well as the George T. Walker Society. In 2022, Freeman received the Warhawk Ambassador Award. Freeman has been recognized by ֱ̲ President Berry as the newest Hall of Distinction honoree, which is presented to an individual, couple, company or foundation who has honored ֱ̲ through an exceptional lifetime of distinction and/or exemplary service to, support for, or promotion of the University.

Freeman could often be seen on campus attending athletic events, VAPA concerts and performances, ֱ̲ Foundation events and just about every Alumni Association event. The Alumni Association is deeply saddened by his passing.

About the ֱ̲ Alumni Association Awards

Recipients are nominated by alumni and community members and the Awards Selection Committee reviews submissions, discusses, and selects the award winners. All names are removed from the nominations so that nominees are judged on their accomplishments and involvement. The only exception is the George T. Walker Lifetime Achievement Award.