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Contact: Christine Payton May 16, 2008
(337) 482-6397, payton@louisiana.edu
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette will honor eight Outstanding Graduates during Spring 2008 commencement exercises May 24.

These eight students will be recognized during Graduate School commencement at 5:30 p.m. in the Cajundome. The UL Lafayette Alumni Association will name one of the students as its Spring 2008 Outstanding Graduate during the ceremony. Deans of the university's eight academic colleges nominate the honorees.


Matthew CouvillonWith a perfect 4.0 grade point average, Matthew Couvillon of Abbeville is the Spring 2008 College of the Arts Outstanding Graduate.

He is the son of Brent and Lisa Hollier and Jude and Jessica Couvillon and is a Performing Arts/Dance major.

Couvillon has been on the Dean’s List each semester and was the Department of Performing Arts’ representative for the Student Showcase in the Dean’s 2006-2007 College of the Arts Annual Report.

That same year, he was awarded the Marc Breaux Endowed Scholarship for Dance based on his interest in choreography as well as his academic excellence. A year later, Couvillon received the L. Hill Bonin Jr. Memorial Scholarship through the Performing Arts Society of Acadiana. This scholarship allowed him to attend the School at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts where he studied jazz and musical theater dance with some of the world’s top dancers and choreographers. He was one of 25 students across the country to participate in this program.

Currently, Couvillon is a finalist for the American Theatre Wing’s SpringboardNYC program, which is an intensive on-sight training program for 35 students interested in furthering their musical theater training as well as learning how to translate academic training into a professional career.

He also may participate in the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation’s Observation Program, which offers students the opportunity to observe the work of master directors and choreographers as they create new productions on Broadway, off-Broadway as well as in leading regional theaters.

At UL Lafayette, Couvillon is a member of Chi Tau Epsilon, an honor society for Performing Arts students with a concentration in dance. He is also a member of the American College Dance Festival Association and has attended Festival for the past three years.

His community service includes working with the Lafayette Parish Sheriff’s Youth Academy. In 2004 and 2005, Couvillon helped more than 100 at-risk children as a dance instructor/choreographer on “Theatre in the Streets” program.

He’s also served as choreographer for Kaplan High School’s and Forked Island/E. Broussard’s Beta Clubs. In addition, he choreographed several productions for Vermilion Players, a summer musical theater program designed for high school actors from Vermilion Parish.

He is currently choreographing Carousel for St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Lafayette.

For the past four years, Couvillon has participated in “State of La Danse” at UL Lafayette and also “An Evening of Dance.” He is working on the 2008 production of “An Evening of Dance” as both a performer and choreographer. Last summer, he choreographed UL Lafayette’s production of Grease and also played the role of Danny.

Upon graduation, Couvillon plans to pursue a career in both dance and choreography. He would like to dance and choreograph for the Broadway stage. His future plans include returning to school for an advanced degree in choreography. He plans to continue working with elementary and high school students.


Brennan CastilleBrennan Castille, son of Jim and Lisa Castille of Lafayette, is this semester’s Outstanding Graduate from the B.I. Moody III College of Business Administration.

Castille, an accounting major, has a 3.83 grade point average and has been on the Dean’s List throughout college.

He is the recipient of several scholarships including the UL Lafayette Foundation scholarship, the Accounting Department scholarship, TOPS Performance Award, and the UL Lafayette Alumni Association Endowed scholarship.

Castille is also a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Blue Key Honor Society, UL Lafayette Student Discipline committee, Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, Honors Business Society, Phi Beta Delta International Honor Society and the UL Lafayette Honors Program.

He’s been active on campus serving on the Student Government Association as a College of Business Senator. He’s also on the Rules Committee, the Parking and Transit Committee and the Appropriations Committee.

Castille is a member of Beta Alpha Psi, Association of Future Alumni, Student Alumni Ambassadors and the College of Business Student Advisory Council.

His community service activities include working as event coordinator of the Lafayette Children’s Shelter and volunteering with the UL Lafayette Alumni Association. In addition, he has worked with Toys for Tots, Marquis de Lafayette, United Way of Acadiana, Food for Families, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Festival International and Faith House. On campus, Castille is a tutor for Accounting 201 and 202 and was a Royal Duke of Krewe of Roux.

In addition to his involvement in college and extra-curricular activities, he has also held a job since high school. He first worked at Red Lerille’s and now works with his family at New Century Fabricators.

After graduation, Castille plans to immediately pursue his MBA at UL Lafayette. Afterwards, he plans to sit for the CPA exam. With both an MBA and being a CPA, Castille hopes to help his family’s business grow and prosper.


Jenna LachneyJenna Lachney, a 4.0 grade point average student, is the 2008 Outstanding Graduate from the College of Education. She is a double major in Art Education and Sociology.

Lachney, the daughter of Roger and Marguerite Lachney of Mansura, is the recipient of numerous scholarships including the UL Lafayette Valedictorian scholarship, the Blue Key Honors scholarship, the UL Lafayette Academic scholarship, the Student Government Association Scholarship, the UL System Sally Clausen scholarship and the UL Lafayette Alumni Association’s Endowed scholarship.

Her numerous honors and awards reflect her interest in philanthropy and service. For example, she was the recipient of the Corporation for National and Community Service Education Award in 2005 and 2006. Lachney was honored by AmeriCorps, as well as Kappa Delta Pi, for numerous hours of service. Also, she received the College of Education Outstanding Senior Award in 2007 and received the Outstanding Student Government Association Award of Merit in 2007.

She has been active in both university and community activities as evident from honors and awards she’s received. At the university level, Lachney co-founded the UL Lafayette Chapter of the National Art Education Association and served as vice president from 2006 – 2007. As a member of Kappa Delta Pi, she served as president, webmaster, secretary and chaired various supply and toy drives.

Lachney represented the College of Education as a senator in the Student Government last year and this year and has participated in numerous other service activities including Up Til Dawn for St. Jude Hospital, Best Buddies and the Student Orientation Staff.

Her service to the community reflects her interest in art and her concern for the needy. Of particular note, Lachney is co-creator and current administrator of ServOp, a web-based organization responsible for procurement of goods from various sources and the delivery of goods to organizations that need them. In association with the creation of an Acadiana Outreach mural, Lachney has taught classes and workshops to clients of the center and guided and assisted in the production of the outdoor mosaic on Second Street in Lafayette.

Following graduation, Lachney is pursuing graduate studies and research in Sociocultural and International Development Education Studies at Florida State University. She later wants to pursue a Ph.D. in Educational Sociology. She would like to further investigate world education systems, multiculturalism in America, social inequalities and the policies of education.


Megan RomanMegan Roman, a mechanical engineering student with a 3.87 grade point average, is this semester’s Outstanding Graduate for the College of Engineering.

Roman, daughter of Pete and Cece Roman of Lafayette, has been on the Dean’s List each semester and is a member of several societies including Alpha Lambda Delta, Tau Beta Pi and Pi Tau Sigma.

She’s the recipient of numerous scholarships including the UL Lafayette Centennial scholarship, the TOPS Honors scholarship, the Cameron scholarship, the Halliburton scholarship, an SGA scholarship and the UL Lafayette Alumni Association Endowed scholarship. In 2007, she was named an Outstanding Emerging Student by the LES.

Roman is president of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, SGA president for Engineering, president of the Society of Women Engineers and is a member of the Louisiana Engineering Society, the UL Lafayette Baja team, the Association of Future Alumni, ROTARCT, Society of Automotive Engineers, Dean’s Advisory board and the Mechanical Engineering Advisory board.

Her community service includes volunteering with Festival International, Festival Acadiens, Race for the Cure, Children’s Shelter, Special Olympics and MathCounts. She also aided in hurricane relief.

During the summer and winter intersessions, Roman interned with Intralox in New Orleans. Following graduation, she plans to continue to work with Intralox and pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering at the University of New Orleans.


Betty Joy HebertBetty Joy Hebert, daughter of Betty and Jody Hebert of Arnaudville, is the College of General Studies Outstanding Graduate for Spring 2008.

Hebert is a General Studies with a concentration in Applied Science. She has a 3.53 grade point average and has been on the Dean’s List throughout college.

She’s been the recipient of several scholarships including the UL Lafayette Valedictorian scholarship, the Academic Excellence scholarship, the TOPS Performance award, the Lattie Pate Whitehead Nursing scholarship, the Acadiana Works scholarship, Woodman of the World scholarship, the Chamber of Commerce scholarship and a Wal-Mart sponsored scholarship.

Hebert is an active member of Delta Delta Delta where she received the scholastic award for maintaining a 3.5 or better GPA. She’s served as chapter secretary with Delta Delta Delta and participated in Yell Like Hell, Kick-off parties and Homecoming parades.

She was also a member of the National League for Nursing from 2004-2007. She’s volunteered with the “Kicks Butt” campaign on campus and St. Jude Research Hospital. She’s also tutored local elementary school students was a volunteer face painter for Arnaudville Elementary Spring Fest.

During her first three years at UL Lafayette, Hebert was a nursing student and interned at Dauterive Hospital in New Iberia and Doctor’s Hospital in Opelousas. She also worked at J. Michael Morrow Memorial Nursing Home.
Hebert’s has already taken the Praxis II in Elementary Content Knowledge and Praxis II in Biology. She plans on working as a teacher while earning her certification. She will apply for Graduate School in 2009 to pursue a master’s degree in counselor education.


Josephine McKelvyJosephine McKelvy, a 4.0 student, is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Liberal Arts for the Spring 2008 semester.

She is the wife of Markus McKelvy and mother of Cordelia McKelvy of Lafayette. She is the daughter of Gine and Jack Ngo of Lafayette.

McKelvy, a sociology major, has been on the Dean’s List each semester and has been recognized at the Honors Convocation for three years.

She was inducted into Phi Kappa Phi in 2007 and made a presentation at the Phi Alpha Theta regional meeting this year. McKelvy has received the TOPS Performance Award throughout college along with a transfer scholarship.

She is a member of the Sociological Society and the Women Organizing Women organization where she is treasurer. She’s prepared display cases for Dupre Library commemorating Louisiana Women, the UL Lafayette’s Women’s Studies minor as well as the Women Organizing Women organization.

McKelvy has participated in the organization of “Justice for Spikes” – a domestic violence discussion panel in honor of Keosha Spikes and Tonya Majors.

Her community service includes serving as a judge for the regional Science Fair, helped with the Midsouth Sociological Association Conference and helped to start a UL Lafayette Chapter of Alpha Kappa Delta – an honor society for Sociology.

Following graduation, she plans to eventually pursue a master’s and Ph.D. degree in Sociology. She plans to work in civil services until then.


Lindsey DeesLindsey Dees, daughter of Ray and Babs Dees of New Iberia, is the Outstanding Graduate from the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions for the Spring 2008 semester.

Dees is a nursing student with a 2.7 grade point average. She has been on the Dean’s List for five semesters and received the Student Government Association scholarship in 2004.

In 2006, she was named SGA “Member of the Year.” In addition, she was one of 25 students selected nationwide to represent the College of Nursing and Allied Health Professions as a professional student nurse extern at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center last summer. She received 400 hours of didactic and clinical practice in oncology nursing.

Dees is a certified Arthritis Foundation aquatics instructor.

After graduation, Dees plans to work as a clinical nurse in Lake Charles. She plans to return to college to pursue a master’s degree at UL Lafayette to become a nurse practitioner.


Jared LeBlancJared LeBlanc, son of Brad and Cherrie LeBlanc of Lafayette, is the Outstanding Graduate for the College of Sciences for the Spring 2008 semester.

LeBlanc is a physics major with a 3.98 grade point average. He has been on the Dean’s List throughout college and is an active Honors student.

He is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Pi Sigma, Tau Beta Pi and Alpha Lambda Delta honor societies. He is currently cross-enrolled with Graduate School and has completed a year of undergraduate research at the Louisiana Accelerator Center on 3D imaging of extremely thin standards and biosamples using STIM (scanning transmission ion microscopy) data.

In addition to his work in physics, LeBlanc has excelled at other disciplines as well. He’s taken Music Theory and French and Francophone Film courses and won the UL Lafayette Departmental Solo Piano Competition in both the Spring 2003 and Spring 2004 semesters. He also was awarded third place in the UL Lafayette Concerto Competition in 2003.

Following a five-week French immersion program at Université Sainte-Anne in Nova Scotia, Canada, LeBlanc spent the Fall 2007 semester studying at the Université de Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, France.

He enjoys working with languages. In addition to English and French, LeBlanc is learning other languages. In particular, he can communicate in American Sign Language, Arabic and Spanish.

He’s been involved in a number of activities on campus. He was president of the Society of Physics Students and founding secretary and later vice president of the UL Lafayette Triathletes. He represented the College of Sciences in the Student Government Association as a senator.

LeBlanc has performed in the student production of the play “The Exonerated” and the musical “Godspell.” He’s also performed with the UL Lafayette Orchestra and the Wind Ensemble.

In the community, he has been active with several Christian groups. He traveled to General Cepeda, Mexico, with others from the Newman Catholic Student Center and has volunteered to work at the Emmanuel Baptist Church’s Music Day Camp. He was a worship leader for the Family Life Christian Fellowship.

LeBlanc also worked for the Science Olympiad and participated in Engineering Day at UL Lafayette.

At present he is taking graduate courses in nuclear physics and biomathematics. He intends to pursue a Ph.D. in either medical physics or biophysics.


Document last revised Monday, May 19, 2008 1:31 PM

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