Producer Jon Landau to address UNO grads

Academy Award-winning movie producer Jon Landau will be the principal speaker at the University of New Orleans’ spring graduation, where he will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

The ceremony will be held May 13 at the Lakefront Arena.

Landau was one of the producers of “Titanic” and “Avatar,” two of the highest-grossing films in history.

He earned his first producing credit on the teen comedy “Campus Man” in 1987, followed by “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” which he co-produced, in 1989. In 1990, he produced Warren Beatty’s “Dick Tracy.”

He formerly served as executive vice president of feature productions at 20th Century Fox, where he supervised production on many films, including “Die Hard 2” and “Home Alone” in 1990. He also produced its sequel, “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” in 1992, as well as “The Last of the Mohicans” in 1992, “Mrs. Doubtfire” in 1993 and “Waiting to Exhale” in 1995.

In 1998, Landau and partner James Cameron won the Academy Award for best picture for “Titanic.” They also took home the Golden Globe for best dramatic motion picture for “Titanic” and again in 2010 for “Avatar.”

LSU medical students win awards for research

LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans medical students have won awards for their research, school officials announced.

Students in the class of 2018 at the School of Medicine presented their award-winning research at recent American Federation for Medical Research Southern Section and Southern Society for Clinical Investigation meetings in New Orleans.

Their projects included studying the effects of acute Adderall administration on heart rate and evaluating the efficacy of a spinal injury classification system with the LSU Health New Orleans Department of Neurosurgery.

The students also investigated the risk of vascular disease in children born with congenital heart defects, which suggests that these patients may develop atherosclerosis earlier in life even if their heart defects are repaired.

Christopher McKinnie and Jonas Miller each won the Student Research Award from the Southern Section of the American Federation for Medical Research/Southern Society for Clinical Investigation.

Trey Schwartzenburg and Elizabeth Owers each received the Trainee Travel Award from the Southern Society for Pediatric Research/American Pediatrics Association.

Loyola University grad gets writing award

Loyola University graduate Catherine Lacey has received the Whiting Award, given annually to 10 emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, drama and poetry. The $50,000 award honors early accomplishment.

Recipients of the 2016 Whiting Award were honored Thursday at a ceremony at the New-York Historical Society, where poet and Pulitzer Prize finalist Elizabeth Alexander, author of “The Light of the World,” delivered the keynote address.

An excerpt from the latest work of each winner is available on

Lacey, a Mississippi native, received a bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola in 2007 and has a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. Her first novel, “Nobody Is Ever Missing,” published in 2014 by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, received much acclaim. Her writing has appeared in The Believer, The Atlantic and The Paris Review Daily.

Lacey was the recipient of a 2012 NYFA Artists’ Fellowship in Fiction Writing and was named a Granta New Voice in 2014. Her upcoming novel, “The End of Uncertainty,” and a currently untitled short story collection will be published by FSG. She lives in Brooklyn.

In receiving the Whiting Award, Lacey joins notable contemporary writers such as David Foster Wallace, Jeffrey Eugenides, Tobias Wolff, Suzan-Lori Parks, Alice McDermott and Jonathan Franzen.