Southeastern Louisiana University’s Alumni Association recently recognized distinguished alumni and volunteers at its Awards Evening, held during Homecoming Week.

Alumnus of the year was Billy Kennedy, head basketball coach of the Texas A&M Aggies. Zac and Cari Caramonta, owners of Hammond’s Gnarly Barley craft beer production company, were honored as Young Alumni of the Year.

Winners of the 2016 Alumnus of the Year included Rob Dugas, vice president and chief procurement officer for Chick-Fil-A, College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Gino Marino, owner of Gino’s Restaurant in Baton Rouge, College of Business; Barbara Hebert, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center-Hope House, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Rep. J. Rogers Pope, former superintendent of Livingston Parish Public Schools and current Louisiana District 71 Representative, College of Education; and Lucas Watkins, founder of Southland Forestry Services, Krebs, LaSalle and Lemieux and Elos Environmental, College of Science and Technology.

Special awards presented included the Loyal Lion Award to the late Gayle Neal; the Kathy L. Pittman Distinguished Service Award to George Ibert, of Ibert’s Jewelry; the L.E. Chandler Award to Amber Narro, associate professor of communication; the Director’s Diamond Award to Pat Walsh, retired from the office of retired Judge Jimmy Kuhn; and the Friendship Oak Award to Robby Turner, a 1989 graduate from Baton Rouge, for his efforts during August flooding.