The LSU Board of Supervisors unanimously awarded Boyd professorships to Willis Delony, LSU Virginia Martin Howard professor of piano and jazz studies, and Gabriela González, LSU professor of physics, on May 31.

The designation of Boyd professor is LSU’s highest and most prestigious academic rank and is only awarded to faculty who have achieved national and international recognition for outstanding research, teaching or creative achievements.

“Dr. Gabriela González and Dr. Willis Delony have achieved inspirational heights in their respective careers, and we are proud to count them among both the LSU family and the incredibly prestigious community of Boyd professors,” said LSU President F. King Alexander. “It is both an honor and a privilege to recognize two faculty members who so perfectly represent the broad spectrum of LSU expertise with the most prestigious title we have to offer.”

Delony earned his doctor of musical arts degree from LSU in piano performance in 1985. After a career away from LSU, he returned in 2000 as professor of piano and jazz studies and, for a short time, served as interim director of the School of Music. He has appeared extensively as an orchestral soloist, classical recitalist and jazz artist collaborating with a host of artistic legends from around the world. In addition to his live performances, Delony has produced nine commercially released recordings as well as a multitude of musical arrangements, most notably for the jazz vocal quintet Five by Design and the Boston Pops Orchestra. He is well-known locally for his performances in the LSU School of Music’s Hot Summer Nights, Cool Jazz summer concert series.

González received a degree in physics at the University of Córdoba, then attended Syracuse University, where she earned her doctorate. Joining LSU in 2001, González, who is now a tenured professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is a member of the National Academic of Sciences, a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was recently named the 2019 SEC Professor of the Year. She is best-known for her work with the LIGO, the research collaboration that produced the first direct observation of gravitational waves, resulting in the 2017 Nobel Prize in physics. She has been continuously funded by the National Science Foundation for her work on instrument development and data analysis in the field of gravitational wave research.

Chronologically Gifted hear Bergeron

Chris Bergeron told her family's story May 15 at the monthly luncheon of the Chronologically Gifted and Talented held at Broadmoor Presbyterian Church's Naylor Hall.

From the time she could sing, Bergeron said she and her six siblings performed for their family and friends. The first song she remembers singing was "Frère Jacques." Most of the songs were sung in French, as she was reared in Thibodeaux by her French-speaking mother. Each year, songs were added to their repertoire.

Bergeron sang one song from each decade for the group. Mike Wascom accompanied on the electronic piano. Songs included “On the Bridge of Avignon,” songs leading up to and after World War II and “Qué Será, Será.” She concluded with “You Are My Sunshine.”

She dedicated the program to Emily Jane McCune, with whom she taught elementary school. The Rev. Barrett Ingram said the invocation. Von Claybon catered the meal and Annabelle Armstrong presided, assisted by Marion Forbes, Pat Robertson and Cathy McRae.

DNA searches topic for Livingston Historical

Mitch Pratt spoke on "Finding Killers and other Long Lost Relatives" to the Edward Livingston Historical Association on May 16 at the Livingston Parish Library.

Pratt related analysis and results from DNA tests in searching for relatives, especially in adoptions and in solving criminal cases. In searching DNA, he said first matches are with people who have common ancestors. Then you can develop your family tree and search all family trees of close matches to find a common ancestor.

Finding serial killers involves the same methods of using data sets to find a match. DNA of crimes is uploaded to a database and traced back using the same technique involved in finding ancestors in genealogy. Pratt said 60 cases have been solved using DNA. The oldest case solved was 52 years old.

Dr. Ron Coe and Dr. William 'Beau' Clark will speak June 20 on the Louisiana heroin epidemic and the overuse of opioids.

Wildlife Collectors honors WWII veteran

Former Army Capt. Jimmy Fried, who served in Gen. George Patton’s army at the Battle of the Bulge in World War II, was guest of honor when the Louisiana Wildlife Collectors and Carvers Guild met May 29 at the Piccadilly Cafeteria in Metairie.

Fried earned a Purple Heart for his wound in that battle and received other metals and citations. Fried volunteers one day a week at the National WWII Museum and will be 100 years old in December.

Kiwanis holds training for presidents

The LAMISSTENN Kiwanis training for the 2019-2020 presidents of Divisions 8E, 8W and 13 was held on June 1 at Neighbors Federal Credit Union in Baton Rouge.

Trainer and past International President Nettles Brown led the morning session. Red Stick President Gary LaBauve from Neighbors provided amenities for the meeting. Division 8W Lt. Gov. Morgan Watson provided doughnuts. David Sherman from Ambrosia Bakery provided strawberry cake. Buzzy Heroman, owner of Billy Heroman's Flowers, sent her staff to decorate the tables.

Dignitaries included LAMISSTENN Gov.-elect Bruce Hammatt, past Gov. and membership Chairman Gary Graham and Region V Trustee-elect Michele Crosby.

Yellow fever topic for Canary Islanders

Maegan Smith, collections manager at Vermilionville in Lafayette, spoke at the June 1 meeting of the Canary Islanders Heritage Society about the devastating plagues and final eradication of the mosquito-born disease known as yellow fever.

For information about the Canary Islanders Heritage Society of Louisiana, visit canaryislanders.org or email president@canaryislanders.org.

Affiliated Blind hold June 1 meeting

The Baton Rouge Chapter of Affiliated Blind of Louisiana met June 1 in the Baton Rouge General Mid City conference room.

Affiliated Blind of Louisiana is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing special services and training to Louisiana’s visually impaired, blind and deaf-blind populations at their training center in Lafayette. The Baton Rouge Chapter also helps with monetary donations to the center in Lafayette. The ABL mission is to educate, support and mentor those with vision and hearing problems. Ferral Domingue is chapter president.

ABL’s Baton Rouge chapter along with the American Council of the Blind and the National Federation of the Blind will make bag lunches for the homeless on June 22 at The St. Vincent de Paul dining room. All members are encouraged to participate.


Compiled by Advocate staff writer George Morris. The “Community” column runs every Tuesday and Friday in The Advocate. Items should be submitted to “Community,” Advocate eatplaylive section, P.O. Box 588, Baton Rouge, LA70821, or emailed to people@theadvocate.com. Events should be submitted in a timely fashion. By submitting photos to The Advocate, you agree that they can be published in any of The Advocate’s print or digital publications.


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