Eight outstanding graduates to be honored at UL-Lafayette commencement Friday _lowres

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette Alumni Association’s Outstanding Graduates will be honored during Fall 2014 Commencement ceremonies on Friday. The Outstanding Graduates, one from each of eight academic colleges, are flanked by Margaret Trahan, president of the UL Lafayette Alumni Association Executive Board, and Joseph Savoie, University president. They are, from left: Taylor McCaulley, College of Liberal Arts; Merlin Dartez Jr., Ray P. Authement College of Sciences; Emma Trahan, College of General Studies; Austen Catlin, College of Engineering; Garrett Darbonne, College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions; Nicholas Lott, College of the Arts; Alexandra Dardar, B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration; and April Begnaud, College of Education.

The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Alumni Association has announced the eight students to be honored as the outstanding graduate of their respective colleges during fall 2014 commencement ceremonies Friday.

The deans from the eight academic colleges nominate a student for the honor based on leadership, scholarship and service. The Alumni Association’s selection committee interviews the nominees and selects an overall outstanding graduate. The winners will be recognized during the general assembly at 11 a.m. Friday at the Cajundome.

The fall 2014 outstanding graduates are listed below by college:

College of the Arts: Nicholas Lott, an architectural studies major who has a 3.663 cumulative grade point average. Lott earned a competitive internship with Eskew, Dumez and Ripple, a New Orleans-based multi-disciplinary architectural firm. Before enrolling at UL-Lafayette, he was a Marine/Navy hospital corpsman for four years. He is the son of Dr. Hulon Lott Jr. and Noel Lott, of Baton Rouge.

B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration: Alexandra Dardar, an accounting major with a 3.89 GPA. She’s volunteered in numerous community projects and plans to pursue a master’s in business administration at UL-Lafayette. She is the daughter of Clayton and Susan Dardar, of Abbeville.

College of Education: April Begnaud, an elementary education major with a 4.0 GPA, is the daughter of Paul and Cheryl Lemelle, of Lafayette. After graduation, Begnaud wants to teach elementary students and plans to pursue a master’s degree in gifted education or mathematics education. She was recognized by the Black Faculty and Staff Association as Outstanding Female Graduate in the College of Education.

College of Engineering: Austen Catlin, a petroleum engineering major with a 3.7 GPA. She is the daughter of Mike and Judy Catlin, of Mountain Home, Arkansas. After graduation, Catlin will work as a drilling engineer for Chevron in Bakersfield, California. She has interned at Chevron and Halliburton Energy Services. This academic year, she served as vice president of Pi Epsilon Tau Petroleum Engineering Honor Society.

College of General Studies: Emma Trahan is a general studies major with a concentration in arts and humanities and a 3.72 GPA. Trahan’s community service work involved Miles Perret Cancer Services’ Games of Acadiana and the Down Syndrome Association of Acadiana’s Buddy Walk. She is the daughter of David and Suzette Trahan, of Abbeville.

College of Liberal Arts: Taylor McCaulley is an English major with a 4.0 GPA. She plans to pursue a master of arts in theological studies at Notre Dame Seminary and Graduate School of Theology in New Orleans. Her goal is to become a Christian counselor and writer, or to enter the Sister Servants of the Eternal Word, a religious community in Irondale, Alabama. She is the daughter of Randy and Melinda McCaulley, of Ville Platte.

College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions: Garrett Darbonne is a nursing major with a 3.6 GPA. Darbonne founded the UL-Lafayette chapter of the American Assembly for Men in Nursing and is its president. He served in other leadership roles, including Student Government Association, Student Leadership Council and the dean’s advisory council. He’s volunteered in the community and also participated in a mission trip in Kingston, Jamaica, to work with the Catholic Missionaries of the Poor. He is the son of Arlene and Don Darbonne, of Scott.

Ray P. Authement College of Sciences: Merlin Dartez Jr. is a chemistry major with a 3.6 GPA. At UL-Lafayette, Dartez earned American Chemical Society certification and a minor in mathematics. His work already has been published in two prestigious chemistry journals, and he has visited more than 15 schools in the area to promote the sciences to younger students. He is the son of Helen and Merlin J. Dartez Sr., of Crowley.