Nicholls Alumni Federation honors diverse group

THIBODAUX – The Nicholls State University Alumni Federation recently conducted its annual Awards for Excellence reception, honoring those who have contributed the most to the university and the alumni federation.

Pictured from left are Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, university president; Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., a 1979 graduate of the Nicholls College of Business Administration; Deborah Raziano, director of alumni affairs; and Herbie Kimble, president of the alumni federation.

The James Lynn Powell Award, the highest honor awarded to a Nicholls alumnus or alumna, was presented to Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., a 1979 graduate of the Nicholls College of Business Administration. Known internationally as an entrepreneur and one of this region’s most generous philanthropists, Cenac is a longtime member of the advisory board for the College of Business Administration, and for the past eight years he has served on the Nicholls Foundation Board of Directors. Cenac’s philanthropy extends beyond the Nicholls campus and includes the Terrebonne Association for Retarded Citizens, the Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence, the Terrebonne Partnership in Education and the Terrebonne Arts and Humanities Council.

The Marie Fletcher Distinguished Service Award, the only alumni federation honor that carries with it a cash stipend, was presented to Chef Randy Cheramie of the John Folse Culinary Institute. After a distinguished career as owner of Randolph’s, a well-known restaurant in south Louisiana, Cheramie brought his experience as a chef, actor, singer and raconteur to Nicholls.

Two honorees received the Ramon J. Labat Award – presented to former or current civil service employees who have shown exceptional professionalism. Winners include Kathy Guidry, administrative coordinator 3 in the College of Nursing and Allied Health, who has worked at Nicholls for nearly 20 years, and Wendy Toloudis, administrative assistant 4 in the Office of Academic Affairs, who began her Nicholls career in 1991.

Jim Gueydan, retired colonel in the United States Air Force and longtime Nicholls supporter, was named honorary alumnus this year. Gueydan endowed a Nicholls scholarship in 1998 in honor of a family member, after which he joined the Nicholls Foundation, endowed a second scholarship and became a consistent supporter and attendee at almost all Nicholls functions: social, cultural, academic and athletic.

A final award, the Corporate Mark of Honor, was presented to Motivatit Seafood for its consistent support of Nicholls functions as well as its commitment to making the raw oyster a safe product for human consumption. The company was founded in 1971 by members of the Voisin family, who have been involved in the seafood industry since their ancestors arrived from France in 1770.