A total of 1,786 degrees were awarded during the UL Lafayette’s 161st Commencement ceremonies Friday at the Cajundome and Convention Center.
The director of the Center for Louisiana Studies at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is the 2005 Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Humanist of the Year.
Dr. Carl Brasseaux’s work exploring the history and culture of southwest Louisiana has established him as one of the world’s preeminent experts on the1754 Acadian Diaspora and the state’s French colonial heritage, said Michael Sartisky, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities director.
“Dr. Brasseaux has authored, edited or co-edited more than 30 volumes, including books that are seminal research tools for anyone interested in Louisiana history and the Acadian-French experience in North America,” Sartisky said.
Brasseaux serves as director of UL Lafayette’s Center for Cultural and Eco-tourism and is editor of Louisiana History, the scholarly journal of the Louisiana Historical Association. He is a 1995 recipient of the UL Lafayette Foundation’s Distinguished Professor Award and, in 2000, received the National Educational Telecommunications Association’s Best Documentary Award for Against the Tide: The Story of the Cajun People of Louisiana.
“Dr. Brasseaux is an outstanding historian, scholar and writer who has that rare ability to bring the lessons of history to the public in such an engaging way that helps us all better understand our collective pasts and its relation to the present,” Sartisky said. “Louisiana is fortunate to have a scholar of his abilities.”
The Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities will present its Humanist of the Year Award during ceremonies May 10 at the Governor’s Mansion in Baton Rouge.
Other award recipients include Thomas Jaques, retired director of the Louisiana State Library, Award for Lifetime Contribution; Sharlene Algaier, a third-grade teacher at Woodlake Elementary School in Mandeville, Humanities Teacher of the Year; the Louisiana State University Press, the Chair’s Award for Institutional Support; One Big Self: Prisoners of Louisiana, by Deborah Luster of Monroe, Humanities Book of the Year; and Jack Bedell of Monroe, Martha Hodnett of Thibodaux, Linda LeBlanc of Jennings, Dr. Helen Clare Taylor of Shreveport and Dr. Cheryl Ware, Lake Charles, who will all receive Special Humanities Awards.
“These annual awards are an important way to recognize outstanding people who contribute so much to the education, life and culture of our people,” said Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco. “Dr. Brasseaux and other recipients of this year’s awards demonstrate their dedication to this state every day through their work and their lives.”