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BATON ROUGE – LSU alumnus Adren O. Wilson was named Public Allies’ fourth national CEO on Thursday, Sept. 4, a position that will support the nonprofit’s mission to advance new leadership communities, nonprofits and civic participation.
Wilson – a native of rural Louisiana – has held several leadership positions as an organizer, advocate, administrator and reformer working to lift individuals, families and communities out of poverty.
“I understand the importance of the American dream, the hope it affords every citizen, and the critical need for leadership and advocacy to make its promise a reality for all,” he said. “I am honored and excited to lead Public Allies in its mission of preparing a new generation of leaders for social change.”
Most recently, Wilson led workforce development and community college retention efforts as Gulf Coast regional director for Single Stop USA. In addition, he has developed transformational leaders for public schools as executive director of New Leaders Greater New Orleans; worked to end persistent poverty in the South by leading the Equity and Inclusion Campaign; and trained thousands of young leaders to advocate for and serve the needs of vulnerable youth as national director of youth and student leadership at The Children’s Defense Fund.
From 2004-08, Wilson served both Democratic and Republican governors as assistant secretary with the Louisiana Department of Social Services, where he led the Office of Family Support, which employed 3,000 people in providing services to families in need, including in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. He also served as executive director of the Louisiana Children’s Cabinet and initiated policy reforms such as the passage of the first state-level Earned Income Tax Credit in the South.
Wilson has Bachelor of Arts degrees in history and political science from LSU. He also holds a Master in Public Administration degree from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and a doctorate in public policy from the Nelson Mandela School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Southern University.
Public Allies’ mission is to advance new leaders to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. Its signature AmeriCorps program recruits diverse young adults with a passion to make a difference and provides them paid, full-time, nonprofit apprenticeships and rigorous leadership development to turn that passion into a career working for community and social change. Since 1992, more than 5,600 Allies have completed the program, and more than 85 percent have continued careers in the nonprofit and public sectors. Public Allies is headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis. and operates in 23 communities across the country. Wilson will be based in Public Allies’ Washington, D.C. office.
For more information about Public Allies, visit www.publicallies.org/.
A.P. TUREAUD, SR., BLACK ALUMNI CHAPTER, LSU ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
LSU LEGENDS SELECTION CRITERIA
Those eligible for LSU Legends must satisfy the following criteria:
- The candidate must be a former student, alumnus, faculty member, administrator, or affiliate organization of LSU;
- Has achieved noteworthy accomplishments in engagement of African-American students, faculty/staff, alumni, and community at-large with LSU;
- Has been associated with LSU for 20 or more years;
- The candidate must be or have been a financially contributing supporter of the A. P. Tureaud, Sr., Black Alumni Chapter (or former A. P. Tureaud Chapter of the LSU Alumni Association);
- The candidate has been recognized by his/her peers for a high level of achievement in his/her field and made significant contributions to that field at the state, national, and/or international levels;
- The candidate has to have demonstrated leadership, character, and service by sharing his/her expertise at the community, state, or national initiatives.
To nominate a party, please submit a written narrative statement and supporting materials. The written submission should include the following:
(1) The name of the nominee
(2) Contact information for the nominee
(3) Narrative statement explaining why the nominee should receive the award. (It is recommended that the statement not exceed 200 words. You may attach additional documents to support your nominee to the extent needed. Self-nominations are permitted.)
Send your nomination today to:
Shaun Mena at firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to: Shaun Mena, Social and Special Events Chair, A. P. Tureaud, Sr., Black Alumni Chapter, P. O. Box 80132, Baton Rouge, LA; 70898-0132
Nominations must be postmarked no later than: Friday, September 12, 2014
Lettsworth, Louisiana, in Point Coupee Parish, has a population of less than half of the undergraduates currently enrolled in the LSU College of Music & Dramatic Arts. Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, Kennedy Center Honoree, and six-time Grammy winner George “Buddy” Guy is a Lettsworth native whose hands have made him one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time. For a brief period, those hands helped to repair things that were broken at LSU.
At 19, Guy took a job with what eventually became known as the LSU Office of Facility Services; at the time he could not have enrolled at the university due to his race. Guy worked here from 1955 to 1957, the outset of the Black Civil Rights Movement under Jim Crow laws.
In 1953, two years prior to Guy working on campus, and one year before the landmark Brown v. the Board of Education decision, A. P. Tureaud, Jr. was admitted to LSU, under court order, as our first African American undergraduate.
“It was the beginning of the worst experience I ever had,” recalls Tureaud. “I was totally rejected by the adults, the faculty, and the students.”
Tureaud remembers being harassed, ostracized, and kept awake all night with loud music and repeated banging on his dorm walls. He says this prevented him from studying and, at times, even sleeping. He resigned in less than a semester to pursue his education in more welcoming environs. It would be 11 years before another African American would be called an LSU undergraduate.
Even with all of the acrimony during this period on campus, Buddy Guy graciously recalls working for LSU. Of quitting the maintenance team to follow his dreams of playing guitar in Chicago, a burgeoning blues hub, Guy quotes his foreman as saying, “You can always have your job back, Buddy, if things don’t work out up there.”
But, “work out” things did as Guy quickly established himself as one of Chicago’s greatest bluesmen and a hero to multiple generations of guitarists from Eric Clapton, who inducted him into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 along with B.B. King, to Keith Richards to John Mayer. Seven years later, in December 2012, he was inducted into the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts along with David Letterman, Dustin Hoffman, and Led Zepplin.
At the induction ceremony, Kennedy Center Chairman David Rubenstein remarked of the bluesman, “Buddy Guy is a titan of the blues and has been a tremendous influence on virtually everyone who has picked up an electric guitar in the last half century.”
Though he hasn’t worked on campus for more than 50 years, LSU, through the College of Music & Dramatic Arts, is proudly bestowing an honorary doctorate to one of our own, George “Buddy” Guy, a true Louisiana musical legend.
As Renee Boutte Myer accepted her homecoming crown, she smiled and waved to a silent audience who stared back at her with dropped jaws.
Myer stepped into civil rights history in a pair of high heels when she became the University’s first African-American homecoming queen.
What separates Myer’s experience from other famous civil rights examples is that it did not happen in the distant past. She was crowned in 1991 – only 22 years ago, the same year many 2014 graduating seniors were born.