McNeese professors receive 2014 Pinnacle Excellence Awards - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

McNeese professors receive 2014 Pinnacle Excellence Awards

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(Source: Anne Robicheaux/KPLC) (Source: Anne Robicheaux/KPLC)
LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) -

Six professors representing each college of study at McNeese State University were honored at a Monday ceremony where each received a 2014 Pinnacle Excellence Award.

McNeese President Dr. Philip Williams opened the ceremony, which was held at the Stream Alumni Center.

"We deeply appreciate Pinnacle Entertainment for its ongoing commitment to McNeese, our professors and our community. These awards recognize excellence and innovation in the classroom and inspire new ideas that benefit student learning," said Williams in a news release.

Presenting the awards were Dr. Jeanne Daboval, McNeese Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, and Keith Henson, Senior Vice President and General Manager at L'Auberge Casino Resort.

Award recipients are as follows: Christa Bell, instructor of communication with the College of Liberal Arts; Dr. William Dees, professor of biological science with the College of Science; Dr. Zhuang Li, associate professor of mechanical engineering; Dr. Tracy Scott-McLemore, associate professor of education professions and director of the Ann Rosteet Hurley Center for Economic Education at McNeese; Dr. Hyunju Shin, assistant professor of marketing with the College of Business; and Dr. Veronica Woodard, assistant professor of nursing with the College of Nursing.

Each recipient received a $5,000 stipend and a commemorative glass trophy. They also presented proposals for research projects that aim to enhance the learning environment at McNeese and further the university's five-year strategic plan.

Dr. Li, who is receiving a Pinnacle award for the second time in three years, said, "My work is only meaningful if I serve my students and the community better."

Henson also voiced his gratitude toward McNeese: "It's amazing to me (that) we've now done this for 11 years, (and) ... There are few things in my career and my job that are more gratifying than this, because we get to see where the money goes, and we get to see the fruits of your labor," he said. 

Henson also said that Pinnacle has over 15,000 team members nationwide, including 2,200 in the Lake Charles area. Henson said that over 550 of those 2,200 are either McNeese students or McNeese graduates.

"We depend upon McNeese for our talent pool. We depend upon McNeese for the expertise, and while we love to come and support all of the sports and the football and all of the fun items, we know that academics is where we get the expertise that continues to help run our facility," said Henson. "We appreciate what you do, we respect what you do, and we want to continue to be great partners at McNeese."

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