Jerry Ceppos, dean of LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication and its William B. Dickinson distinguished professor, has been named a fellow of the Society of Professional Journalists.

The honor is awarded for extraordinary contributions to the profession. Ceppos, who previously worked for the San Jose Mercury News and its owner, Knight Ridder Inc., for 33 years, was recognized as an advocate for the industry, from educating students on journalism ethics to fighting for diversity in the newsroom and recognizing ways in which technology was changing the field of journalism.

Dr. Jon M. Fletcher, assistant professor in veterinary clinical sciences at LSU, has been awarded the LSU Alumni Association Rising Faculty Research Award for 2016. The award recognizes faculty at the rank of assistant professor who have outstanding records of scholarship and published research.

Fletcher’s research focuses on the prevention and management of obesity and diabetes mellitus in cats, with a specific emphasis on nontraditional or alternative treatments and preventive strategies. His small animal endocrine and metabolic disease laboratory was recently awarded funding from the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine Foundation for a research fellowship.

The ExxonMobil Chemical Co. Baton Rouge Polyolefins Plant won an American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Annual Safety Award.

This marks the 10th year the plant has won the award.

The ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Chemical Plant and ExxonMobil Baton Rouge Plastics Plant won Elite Gold Safety Awards, recognizing facilities with safety performance in the top one percentile.

Edge Communications Inc. has received two 2016 Communicator Awards of Distinction from The Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts. The awards were for work for the Acadian Home Builders Association, including the Parade of Homes guidebook and a T-shirt design for the Courir Charité, a charity run.


Ashley Gary Higginbotham, instructional interventionist at Breaux Bridge Elementary School in Breaux Bridge, has been appointed to the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana for a four-year term by the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The nine-member constitutionally created commission reviews allegations of judicial misconduct and presents recommendations to the state Supreme Court.

Higginbotham was selected by the Louisiana District Judges Association as a citizen member of the commission.


Stephen G. Romig, an advisory director and former managing director of the tax services department for LaPorte CPAs & Business Advisors in Metairie, received the 2015 Public Service Award from the American Institute of CPAs.

Romig was recognized for his volunteer work at the Harry Tompson Center in New Orleans, coordinating services for the homeless and at the Good Shepherd School in New Orleans, where he has tutored at-risk children and helped them with test preparation.

Dr. Kevin Darr of Covington Orthopedic has been board certified by the American Academy of Regenerative Medicine.

He was also recertified in orthopedic surgery, orthopedic sports medicine and musculoskeletal ultrasound.


U.S. Department of Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker presented three Louisiana firms with the President’s “E” Award for Exports at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. They are Diesel Specialists LLC in Baton Rouge; DSC Dredge LLC in Reserve; and the Louisiana Gulf Coast Oil Exposition in Lafayette.

The awards recognize significant contributions to the expansion of U.S. exports.

The U.S. Green Building Council Louisiana Chapter presented its 2016 Community Champion Award to Jefferson Parish Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng as an advocate for better water management and greener building practices; the Community Championship Team Award to Sterling University Housing, a multifamily development and construction company, for its commitment to LEED Gold Certification or higher on its building projects; the Innovation Champions Award to Trash to Treasure, a student organization at Tulane University, for using proceeds from collecting discarded furniture and dorm décor to benefit nonprofits; the Operational Excellence Champion Award to Byron Patterson, director of physical plant services at Southeastern Louisiana University, for his dedication to campus energy efficiency; and the first Legacy Award to Chris Bankston, an architect with Gasaway Gasaway Bankston in Hammond, for his instrumental contributions to the formation of the chapter.