The LSU Women’s Center has announced the recipients of its sixth annual Esprit de Femme awards, to be presented March 16 during Women’s History Month.
This year’s Esprit de Femme award recipients are Kris Cangelosi, Carolyn Carter Collins, Beth Courtney, Ava Dejoie, Dawn Harris, Gerri Hobdy, Tina Holland, Sylvia Weatherspoon and Micah Fincher.
Cangelosi has a bachelor's degree in dance from LSU. She is the founder of the Cangelosi Dance Project and currently is co-chair for Dancing for Big Buddy, which raises awareness to fund educational programs for underserved children.
Collins has served as associate vice chancellor and dean emeritus for LSU and serves as a college consultant and college planning expert. At LSU, she was the founder of the Summer Scholars, Black Faculty and Staff Caucus, and the LSU Parents Association and Parents weekend.
Courtney has been president and CEO of Louisiana Public Broadcasting since 1985. She has a bachelor's degree in history and speech and master's degree in European history and government from LSU and an honorary doctorate from Southeastern Louisiana University.
Dejoie is executive director of the Louisiana Workforce Commission, appointed by Gov. John Bel Edwards in January 2016. She has served as vice president of the Welfare to Work Partners (New Orleans) and as the business liaison for the Louisiana Department of Education.
Harris has worked in the credit union industry for 34 years, holding positions from teller to chief executive officer. She has spoken on a variety of topics within her range of experience from strategy to disaster recovery and has facilitated group discussions on a variety of topics.
Hobdy is the director of community relations for the Baton Rouge Community College principal consultant of Pleroma LLC. Previously, she was partnership relations and director of grantmaking for the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.
Holland has been president of Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University since 2014. She is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate and served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. She holds a Ph.D. in higher education from Indiana State University.
Weatherspoon is a longtime news anchor for WBRZ with more than 30 years of experience. She is the founder of the Sylvia’s Toys for Christmas project, works with elementary school children on kindness projects and is an active community volunteer.
Fincher volunteers with Lift Louisiana, which advocates for greater health care access for Louisiana women, and with Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Inc. He is a longtime supporter of Sexual Trauma Awareness & Response. He joined its board in 2016 and is president of its New Orleans Regional Council.
The Esprit de Femme awards were established in 2009 to acknowledge a person who made exceptional efforts toward the advancement of women in Louisiana, a news release said. Recipients are honored for contributions to the arts, education, health care, business and industry, charity and civic engagement.
This year is the third that the Esprit de Femme Student Leadership Award will be presented, given to LSU students who exemplify the ideals and principals of the Esprit de Femme awards. Recipients of the student leadership award, who will be selected in February, receive financial support toward their academic pursuits.
The Esprit de Femme Awards Sunrise Celebration will be held March 16 at L’Auberge Casino Hotel, beginning at 8 a.m. with a networking coffee and jewelry pull. All proceeds support the LSU Women’s Center’s mission and initiatives. Online registration, tickets, tables, sponsorships and honorees recognitions are available at lsufoundation.org/edf.