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Benefactors Dinner honors supporters

Walpoles inducted into Hall of Distinguished Alumni

J.N. and Ruth (O’Neal) Walpole were honored with the Tower Medallion and inducted into the University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

The Louisiana Tech University Foundation honored University supporters with its annual Benefactors Dinner Thursday at the Davison Athletic Complex.

Alumni and friends joined students, faculty, and staff to celebrate the year’s accomplishments and recognize two Tower Medallion winners and the recipient of the University Foundation Professorship Award. As a thank you to supporters, Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice made a presentation focused on students and their success in unparalleled experiences in the classroom, laboratories, and campus activities.

“Tonight’s benefactors have been generous in their giving,” said Louisiana Tech President Dr. Les Guice. “This year, their gifts have totaled almost $19 million. These members of the Tech family are changing our city, state, and nation – one graduate at a time.”

The Evening of Gratitude and Celebration of Leadership focused attention on the good that resulted in the past year from giving to the University Foundation. Student and faculty achievement in the classroom and beyond held the spotlight, and students were able to express their personal thanks to donors who made programs and facilities possible.

Nursing professor Dr. Tara Haskins, the Lincoln General-Glenwood Endowed Professor, was the recipient of the University Foundation Professorship Award.

“These individuals inspire all of us at Louisiana Tech,” Guice said. “Their commitment to this institution is one of the major reasons Tech has been able to out-perform other institutions across the state and nation. Our benefactors have supported us in many ways – through encouragement, participation, and advocacy – and for that we are incredibly grateful.”

J.N. and Ruth (O’Neal) Walpole were honored with the Tower Medallion and inducted into the University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni. The couple own Walpole Tire and Service and are well known as community servants.

J.N. earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, while Ruth earned a bachelor’s in math education in 1949. Ruth taught math and coached at Sarepta High while J.N. served in the U.S. Army. The couple married in 1951 and opened Walpole Tire and Service in 1956. The Sibley residents are the parents of four Tech graduates and have 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

The Tower Medallion honors Louisiana Tech alumni who have distinguished themselves by exceptional achievement, community service, and humanitarian activities. The award recognizes those exceptional individuals who have brought honor to themselves and the University, and provides permanent recognition in the Hall of Distinguished Alumni.

Biomedical engineering major Jaekira Falcon of New Orleans presents a balloon of thanks to Tech President Dr. Les Guice.

“The success of our graduates is one of the greatest indicators of the strength of Louisiana Tech,” said Brooks Hull, vice president for University Advancement. “The Walpoles are committed to Lincoln Parish and our University. They remain committed to our local business community and economic development in our city, parish, and region.”

Nursing professor Dr. Tara Haskins, the Lincoln General-Glenwood Endowed Professor, was the recipient of the University Foundation Professorship Award. This award is given to a faculty member who has excelled in teaching, research, and service to the campus community. The award comes with a $2,000 stipend and a plaque.

Haskins joined the Division of Nursing in 2011 and currently teaches nursing fundamentals and the neurological/psychosocial nursing class. This year, she was one of only 17 nursing professionals nationwide to be named to the 2018 Rural Health Fellows program by the National Rural Health Association (NRHA).

The NRHA described the Rural Health Fellows program as a “year-long, intensive program aimed at developing leaders who can articulate a clear and compelling vision for rural America.”

Haskins also provides consultation through Louisiana Tech for the Bienville Parish School Board School Health program, which recently incorporated tele-health to serve the healthcare needs of students, teachers, staff, and families of Bienville Parish. Since her doctoral work, her interests have focused on rural healthcare, rural culture, and rural communities.

“Each of the individuals we honored at the Benefactors Dinner exemplify the Tenets of Tech,” Hull said. “Their leadership, loyalty, and vision for our University’s future inspire those of us who work and study at Louisiana Tech each day.”

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