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University recognizes its 2019 Outstanding Alumni

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association has recognized a body language expert, an educator and a businessman, and the head of a Louisiana state agency as its 2019 Outstanding Alumni.

The Outstanding Alumni Award is the highest honor UL Lafayette gives to a former student. It is presented for professional and personal achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the University. Graduates and former students who attended no less than 10 years ago are eligible to receive this award.

The honorees received their awards during a reception that was held Thursday, Oct. 31, at the UL Lafayette Alumni Center. They will be recognized during the second quarter of the Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns Homecoming game vs. the Texas State Bobcats on Saturday at Cajun Field.

Nationally-renowned body language expert Jan Latiolais Hargrave is the author of the books “Let Me See Your Body Talk,” “Freeway of Love,” “Judge the Jury,” “Strictly Business Body Language,” and “Poker Face.”

She has shared her expertise with media outlets, including NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, Fox Television, the Steve Harvey Show, the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, People, In Touch Weekly, Us Weekly, Life & Style, First for Women and The Forensic Examiner.

Hargrave consults with corporations and governmental agencies, including Merrill Lynch, Starbucks, ESPN, Chase Manhattan Bank, NASA, Bank of America, IBM, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The Boeing Corporation, the Johns Hopkins Space Telescope Institute, MD Anderson Cancer Center, BlackRock Investments and the Tony Robbins Leadership Academy.

She frequently advises the United States military and foreign governments regarding witness preparation, jury selection and interrogation tactics.

Hargrave received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education, and a specialist degree in education with an emphasis on business psychology, from the University. She is CEO of Jan Hargrave & Associates, a Houston-based consulting firm. Hargrave is an adjunct professor at the University of Houston, and MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Dr. John “Jackie” Peck earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in computer science from the University. He also earned the first PhD it ever awarded, in mathematics and computer science.

Peck taught at his alma mater before joining Clemson University as an assistant professor of mathematical sciences. He was the first computer scientist in the department. At Clemson, he founded the Division of Information Systems Development. The division developed database/data communication systems for the federal government and the South Carolina state government.

In 1975, Peck founded the computer science department at Clemson, and was its first faculty member. He was interim department head in 1985 and 2000. Peck published numerous research papers and was principal investigator on grants and contracts that totaled over $15 million. 

He co-founded the Clemson Apparel Research Laboratory, which conducted advanced manufacturing research and development for the Defense Logistics Agency. 

Peck founded several companies developing computer applications for industry, including Foxfire Technologies Corporation. He is president and CEO of FastFetch Corporation, which designs, develops and implements order fulfillment solutions for the logistics industry. As a result of his innovations, he has been granted 13 domestic and international patents, and has two patents pending. 

Dr. Shawn Wilson was appointed secretary of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development by Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards in January 2016 after over 15 years of executive service at DOTD. As secretary, Dr. Wilson has advocated for new revenue, worked to maximize federal dollars available to Louisiana, and advanced a comprehensive transportation policy.

Under his leadership, DOTD has been awarded over $2 billion in infrastructure investment. It secured and obligated nearly $150 million in federal funds for I-10 widening from I-49 to New Orleans, and to improve traffic conditions along a section of I-10 near Baton Rouge. A total of $183 million is being used for projects such as widening I-10 from I-49 to the Atchafalaya Basin, and for two completed interchanges on I-49 South. DOTD plans to award a contract for $150 million for the Ambassador Caffery Interchange.

Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University, where he was SGA president and vice president, and residence hall director. He is former president of the UL Lafayette Alumni Association. He earned a master’s degree in public administration and a PhD in public policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University.

Photo caption: UL Lafayette has recognized Dr. Shawn Wilson, Jan Latiolais Hargrave and Dr. John “Jackie” Peck, as its 2019 Outstanding Alumni. The Outstanding Alumni Award, the highest honor UL Lafayette gives to a former student, is presented for professional and personal achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the University. Doug Dugas / University of Louisiana at Lafayette