Pinnacle Entertainment Honors 6 McNeese State University Professors for Classroom Excellence

$30,000 awarded to recipients of Pinnacle Excellence Awards

LAKE CHARLES, La. - L'Auberge du Lac Casino Resort, an award winning luxury Texas Hill Country-themed resort in Lake Charles, La., in conjunction with parent company Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc., recently honored six professors from McNeese State University with Pinnacle Excellence Awards.

L'Auberge Regional Vice President and General Manager Larry Lepinski and McNeese State University President Dr. Robert Hebert presented the educators with checks totaling $30,000 during an awards ceremony held March 24 at the William Gray Stream Memorial Alumni Center in Lake Charles.

The 2008 Pinnacle Excellence Award winners are Dr. Dustin Hebert and Dr. Brett Welch, College of Education (co-winners); Dr. Seung Hwan Kim, College of Business; Amy Bufford, College of Nursing; Dr. Jay Comeaux, College of Science; Dr. John Griffith, College of Engineering and Engineering Technology; and Dr. Derek Blakely, College of Liberal Arts. Each winner received a $5,000 check and a commemorative award statue.

The Pinnacle Excellence Awards were established in 2003, prior to L'Auberge opening, as part of a partnership between Pinnacle and McNeese to recognize outstanding faculty achievement.

 "We congratulate these Pinnacle Excellence Award winners for their academic contributions in a wide array of disciplines," Mr. Lepinski said. "Higher education is vital to the economy, culture and vibrancy of Southwest Louisiana, and we're pleased to recognize McNeese and its faculty for their outstanding work."

"We deeply appreciate Pinnacle Entertainment and L'Auberge for their ongoing commitment to supporting improved student learning and academic success at McNeese State University," Dr. Robert Hebert, McNeese president, said.

Recipients are chosen by a committee comprised of fellow educators and administrators. Each of the winners submitted a proposal to the committee for consideration, outlining how the award money would be used to enhance educational programs. To be eligible for the awards, nominees also needed to receive positive performance evaluations from their students.

"We are proud to support McNeese in its commitment to academic excellence," said Lepinski. "An educated workforce is crucial to bolstering the tourism and hospitality industry as we work together to establish Southwest Louisiana as the premier resort destination on the gulf coast."