LSU, TAF Honor Student-Athletes at Annual Gala

Winners of the Wally Pontiff Jr. Award
Winners of the Wally Pontiff Jr. Award
RaeLynn Roussel
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Michael Bonnette (@LSUBonnette)
Assoc. Athletic Director/Communications

BATON ROUGE – LSU honored 153 student-athletes for their achievement in the classroom during the 2012-13 academic year as the school held the annual Tiger Athletic Foundation Academic Excellence Gala at the Maravich Center.

The TAF Academic Excellence Gala is held each year as a way to honor those LSU student-athletes who have had success in the classroom, community and in competition.

“We, in the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes are very proud of our young men and women,” Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Executive Director of the Cox Communications Academic Center for Student-Athletes Kenneth Miles said. “The Academic Gala represents scholarship in action. It is our signature event to highlight the academic and community engagement of our student-athletes.

“We aspire to be the premier provider of transformative student-athlete support services thus we must celebrate and affirm the collective efforts of the fruits of our labor.”

A total of 152 LSU student-athletes earned a spot on the Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll in 2012-13, while 153 student-athletes were distinguished as recipients of the Director’s Cup Award for Academic Excellence.

For a student-athlete to be recognized as a scholar-athlete at the gala, they must meet the criteria in one of the following categories: SEC Academic Honor Roll, LSU Director’s Cup Award for Academic Excellence, or inducted into the National College Athlete Honor Society (Chi Alpha Sigma).

The Director’s Cup Award for Academic Excellence recognizes student-athletes who have earned a 3.0 or higher grade point average over the past year. For the 2012-2013 academic year, 153 student-athletes at LSU met this criteria.

There were also 27 student-athletes recognized new members of Chi Alpha Sigma, the National College Athlete Honor Society.  Student-athletes who have maintained a 3.4 or higher cumulative grade point average by the time they have reached at least junior academic status, are of good moral character, have earned a letter in their sport and have been endorsed by their coach are eligible for this honor.

In addition to its academic success, LSU student-athletes combined to contribute over 4,475 hours of community service with the softball team leading the way with 507 of these hours. As a result, the softball team earned the community service cup. The softball team also hosted an event – Strikeout Ovarian Cancer – along with the Geaux Teal Ovarian Cancer Walk that raised over $17,000.

Rheagan Courville, the 2013 NCAA champion in the vault and the all-around runner-up, earned the TAF Female Athlete of the Year, while Damar Forbes from the track and field team was named the TAF Male Athlete of the Year. Forbes swept the SEC Outdoor and NCAA Outdoor titles in the long jump in 2013, while also claiming All-America honors as part of LSU’s 4x-100 meter relay team. 

Sheila Boykin from the women’s basketball team claimed the “Eye of the Tiger” Award, which goes to the person who has overcome great adversity with perseverance, dedication and determination.

Lainie Fleming, a four-time member of the Scholastic All-America team in gymnastics, was named the TAF Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year, while Sean McMullen from the LSU baseball team was the recipient of the TAF Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

The gymnastics and softball team shared the Tiger Cup Award, which goes to the team that combined to be the most productive in the areas of on-field success, academic accomplishment and community service participation.

The recipient of the Tiger Cup is determined by combining a team’s final conference and national ranking on the field with its cumulative grade-point average and community service hours accumulated off the field during the previous academic year.

Laura Carleton was honored with the Bengal Belles Academic Excellence Award, while six Tigers - Alexandra Boulet (3.989 gpa in mathematics), Philip Dempsey (4.0 gpa in biological science), Lainie Fleming (3.948 gpa in microbiology), Audrey Lawson (3.91 gpa in kinesiology), Mikayda Mills (3.9 gpa in political science), Dylan Supak (4.0 in kinesiology) - received the Wally Pontiff Award. The Wally Pontiff Award goes to those student-athletes who are in their third year at LSU and have a 3.9 cumulative grade point average or better.
The men’s tennis team with a combined 3.0569 grade point average and the women’s tennis team with a 3.2816 grade point average were recognized for having the highest grade point average of all LSU athletic squads.

Other honors handed out at the gala included:  men’s basketball coach and former Tiger standout Johnny Jones (alumnus of the year), Jodi Calloway of the women’s soccer team (female volunteer of the year), and football’s Lamin Barrow (male volunteer of the year). Calloway accumulated 130 hours of community service, while Barrow contributed 199 hours of his time in the community in 2012-13.





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