Honors College Advisory Council
The LSU Honors College Advisory Council is made up of distinguished community leaders who care greatly about the mission of the Honors College. Advisory Council members serve as confidential advisors to the Dean, promote the recruitment of top students, network for alumni and financial support, and generally serve as ambassadors for the College and the University on a local, state and national level.
Elaine Abell is President of the Board of Directors for Fountain Memorial Funeral Home and Cemetery. She is also an attorney in private practice. Additionally, Abell is a member of the IBERIABANK board and serves on the Board of Directors for the Community Foundation of Acadiana, Women's Foundation of Acadiana, Citizens Advisory Committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization, Lafayette Metropolitan Expressway Commission and the LSU Research and Technology Foundation.
Abell is a graduate of both Louisiana State University and the Louisiana State University Law Center. She was also a member of the LSU Board of Supervisors from 1988 to 1994, serving one year as chairman.
James A. Brown
James Brown, an attorney with Liskow & Lewis in New Orleans, graduated from LSU’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1981 and LSU Law School in 1984. A lover of music, Brown minored in music while attending LSU as an aspiring violinist. Also while at LSU, Brown was an active member of the Honors College, completing a thesis in political science focused on the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
At Liskow & Lewis, Brown heads up the Commercial Litigation Section as well as the Professional Liability Practice Group. He is a member of the firm’s Board of Directors and serves as the firm’s Loss Prevention Partner. His practice focuses on complex litigation, including banking and contract disputes, professional liability litigation, and Education law.
Jason R. El Koubi
Jason El Koubi serves as LED's assistant secretary, managing initiatives and programs related to business intelligence, state economic competitiveness, community development, small business development, emergency response and recovery, and entertainment industry development.
Prior to his appointment as assistant secretary, El Koubi served as LED's director of state economic competitiveness. In that role, he pursued opportunities to enhance Louisiana's business climate and led development of the state's long-term economic growth strategy. Before joining LED, he served as policy director of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, or BRAC. At BRAC, he directed policy and research operations and played an integral role in transforming BRAC into one of the leading regional economic development organizations in the nation. Under his leadership, BRAC's policy research team won the top economic development research award in the nation for two consecutive years. Prior to graduate school, he practiced environmental engineering for two years with the Baton Rouge office of Trinity Consultants.
Jason graduated from LSU in Biological Engineering and received his M.S. degree in Public Policy from the London School of Economics.
Greg Guidry is Executive Vice President Europe Upstream of Shell Oil. In this capacity, he has conducted Shell’s exploration and production activities in Europe. His responsibility also extends to overseeing global functioning for Production in Shell’s global upstream activities.
Guidry began his career with Shell Oil in the U.S. 30 years ago. While at Shell, he has adopted the roles of Exploration, Development and Asset Manager in the Gulf of Mexico, and Planning and Strategy Manager for Shell’s US upstream business. In 2007, Guidry moved to Calgary to accept the role of Shell’s Canada Vice President of Production, managing the integration team to realign Shell EP operations in North America with the addition of Shell Canada’s assets. Guidry has a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He is also a registered professional Petroleum Engineer in the State of Louisiana.
James C. Gulotta, Jr. "Jay"
James Gulotta, an attorney with Stone Pigman since 1976, is chair of the Litigation Section and the Toxic Torts/Products Liability practice group. He is admitted to practice before the United State Supreme Court, the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, and all state and federal courts in Louisiana.
A lifelong resident of Louisiana, Gulotta earned his law degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1976, where he was Associate Editor of the Tulane Law Review from 1975 until 1976, and was named to the Order of the Coif. In 1973, Gulotta received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from Louisiana State University, where he was admitted to Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi. Gulotta also was an active member of the Honors College while attending LSU, where he cultivated a love of ancient civilizations and great works of literature. His hobbies include travel, history, and philosophy. He is married to attorney Susan Talley.
R. Brian Haymon
R. Brian Haymon, a native of Baton Rouge, received his bachelor’s degree from UT Austin in 1982. He graduated from LSU Law School in 1985 and moved to San Diego, where he practiced law until 1991. Haymon then returned to Baton Rouge to join his family’s business, Petroleum Service Corporation. In 2004, the company was acquired by SGS of Geneva, Switzerland. Haymon currently serves as CEO of SGS Petroleum Service Corporation and is a member of the Regional Operations Council of SGS North America.
Haymon’s support of higher education began in 1986, when he was invited to join the College of Liberal Arts Advisory Council at UT Austin. After completing his stint at UT Austin, he met incoming Chancellor Mark Emmert in 1999, who asked Haymon to chair the search committee that led to the hiring of LSU Honors College Dean Nancy Clark. Haymon also helped lead the revitalization of the Honors College Advisory Council, which he continues to chair. In addition, Haymon serves on the Executive Committee of the Louisiana Flagship Coalition and the boards of the Capital Area United Way and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. Haymon is married to Barbara Haymon, and they have two teenage children. He loves to spend time outdoors hunting, fishing, playing golf, and hiking in Montana.
Elizabeth Joyce, a native of Shreveport, attended Louisiana State University, where she received both her undergraduate and law degree. She is married to William Joyce and currently resides in Shreveport.
Andy Kopplin is Deputy Mayor and Chief Administrative Officer for the City of New Orleans. Among other duties, he oversees the day-to-day operational functions of City Hall. Kopplin traces his roots to Teach For America, where he most recently served as senior advisor to the Founder & CEO. Prior to Teach For America, Kopplin served for more than two years as founding executive director of the Louisiana Recovery Authority (LRA). Before heading the LRA, Kopplin was chief of staff to two consecutive Louisiana governors, Democrat Kathleen Babineaux Blanco and Republican M.J. "Mike" Foster, Jr.
Kopplin holds a bachelor’s from Rice University and a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. He was also a 1986 Harry S. Truman Scholarship winner.
LeRoy Lambert is leading maritime lawyer and President of Charles Taylor's New York P&I operations. He previously worked at Healy & Baillie, where he was a partner until it combined with Blank Rome in 2006.
Lambert received his undergraduate degree in philosophy from Louisiana State University in 1976. He attended post-graduate studies at the University of Tubingen, in Tubingen, Germany from 1976 to ‘78, and received his law degree from Tulane University School of Law in 1983. Additionally, Lambert is admitted to the Bar in the States of New York, New Jersey and Louisiana (non-resident). He also practiced maritime law at Healy & Baillie.
Kevin Langley is a Baton Rouge native and a graduate of Louisiana State University. He is CEO and co-owner of Ellis Construction, which was once recognized as one of the nation’s fastest-growing companies. Langley is chair elect Entrepreneurs’ Association, a nonprofit group representing small-business owners in 42 countries.
He is married to Donna Langley and has three children.
Melinda Mangham is a life-long educator, working for over forty years teaching English and advising middle and high school students throughout Louisiana. Melinda started her teaching career at Robert E. Lee High School in Baton Rouge and later taught at Episcopal HS, Airline HS, Glen Oaks HS, Valley Park HS and St. James Episcopal Day School in Baton Rouge before moving to Lafayette where she taught at Lafayette HS until retiring in 2009. Melinda currently heads up Mangham Academic Planning Strategy where she continues to advise students and help them in their academic careers.
Her list of professional awards and affiliations attests to her active involvement in the community, especially in the area of education. She currently sits on the Ascension Episcopal School Board of Trustees and the Hospice of Acadiana Board of Directors. Melinda also chairs the Dolly Parton Imagination Library committee for the United Way of Acadiana. She has been named an Outstanding Educator by the University of Miami, Texas A&M, MIT, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, a White House Distinguished Teacher twice, and received the Coca-Cola Educator of Distinction Award.
Melinda is a proud LSU graduate and was married to the late Mickey Mangham. Her daughter, Elizabeth Mangham lives in Baton Rouge and is president of Southern Strategies Management Consulting Group.
Cathleen May was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She attended Memorial High School, where she currently teaches Studio Art Advanced Placement and Art History Advanced Placement. May attended Louisiana State University where she met her husband, Alvin Hamilton May. They both graduated in 1967 and married in 1968.
The Mays have two children, Cynthia May Mabry and Lewis Yancey May. While at LSU, Cynthia May was an active student in the Honors College and recently received her Law Degree from University of Houston. Lewis May earned a degree in Environmental Engineering from Tulane.
Kay Medlin was born in Shreveport, Louisiana, and is a Partner with Bradley Murchison Kelly and Shea Law Firm. Medlin is an active member of the Shreveport Bar Association, Louisiana State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Federal Energy Bar Association. In addition, she also served as a member of the Louisiana Mineral Law Institute from 1984 to 1987 and from 1991 to 1994. From 1989 to 1992, she served as vice president and general counsel of Arkla Energy Marketing, Inc. and as general counsel of Louisiana Intrastate Gas Company.
Medlin attended Louisiana State University, where she received a Bachelor of Arts in 1974 and a Juris Doctor in 1977. She is an approved mediator and arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association Energy Panel. Her practice areas include natural resources and public utility law, commercial litigation, and mediation.
Roger Hadfield "Field" Ogden II, MD
Dr. Ogden is an orthopedic surgeon in New Orleans, specializing in foot and ankle surgery. Field received his undergraduate degree from Harvard and his orthopedic training at Louisiana State University Medical School.
He currently serves as a clinical assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at both LSU and Tulane universities and is the Chief of Orthopedic Surgery at Ochsner Baptist Medical Center.
Field is married to Michelle Ogden and they have one daughter, 2 year old Mignon Ogden.
Sally Perry has served as Executive Director of The New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA) Institute since 1998. Perry led the completion of The NOCCA Institute’s $24 million capital campaign and supervised the construction of NOCCA’s state-of-the-art facility in the historic Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods of New Orleans. Since the opening of the campus in 2000, she has focused The NOCCA Institute on an extensive expansion of programs and services provided to NOCCA’s faculty, staff, students, alumni and the community at large.
Her current and past affiliations include the Louisiana Partnership for the Arts, New Orleans Jazz Orchestra, the Greater New Orleans Youth Orchestra, Contemporary Arts Center, Superintendent’s Task Force for Arts Education and the LSU School of Music Dean’s Select Committee for Excellence. Sally received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Music from Louisiana State University and is a graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute of Greater New Orleans, Inc.
Sean Pfifer, a Columbus, Mississippi native, graduated from Louisiana State University with a BS in Computer Engineering in 1998. While at LSU, Pfifer was named College of Engineering Outstanding Junior and Senior. Upon graduating, he began his professional career as a technical architect with Ciber and C3i, becoming a leading expert in data management for Life Sciences sales force automation systems.
Pfifer currently works as a consulting sales manager with Oracle Health Sciences, North America in New Jersey. He is married to Beena Pfifer.
Ed is Chairman of The Shobe Financial Group, with over 40 years experience in the financial services industry. He is a Certified Financial Planner™ practitioner and Chartered Life Underwriter, a Registered Representative with Raymond James Financial Services, and a licensed Life, Health, Accident, and Variable Annuity agent. Ed serves as the Chairman of The EDSA Group, Inc., a national licensor and provider of financial education programs.
Ed is a graduate of the University of Tennessee with advanced coursework in Economics and Finance.
J. Keith Short
J. Keith Short is IBERIABANK’s Executive Vice President and President of the Collier and Lee County markets in Naples, Florida. As President, he is responsible for the bank's retail and private banking activities. Keith has been with IBERIABANK for over 12 years. He most recently served as President of the Baton Rouge market.
Keith earned a finance degree from Louisiana State University and a Masters in business administration from Loyola University. While at LSU, Keith took Honors courses through the Honors Division. He also graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at SMU (Dallas, Texas). Keith has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the Capital Area United Way, Board and Executive Committee of the Istrouma Boy Scouts, Board and Past Chair of the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge, and LSU Honors College Advisory Council. He now serves on the Greater Naples Chamber of Commerce Board and the Children’s Museum of Naples Board. Keith resides in Naples with his wife and three children.
Larry is an attorney with Liskow and Lewis in Lafayette Louisiana. His extensive experience in energy litigation cases covers each of the major substantive areas affecting the oil and gas industry for the past 25 years. He also has broad experience litigating issues involving regulatory rulings and orders of the Department of Conservation.
Prior to his law career, Simon served in the U.S. Army Reserve for six years and attended the U.S. Army Intelligence School at Ft. Holabird. Additionally, Simon also received a theology degree from the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. Over the years, he has been appointed to numerous key legal committees by the Louisiana Supreme Court. He is also the past president of the American Inn of Court of Acadiana. Simon currently serves on the Board of Governors for the Louisiana State Bar Association.
C. Stewart Slack
Stewart Slack is a partner in SLACK Alost Development. He has been involved in numerous professional organizations, including the American Institute of Architects, the Louisiana Architects Association, the International Facility Management Association, and the Building Owners and Managers Association. He has also been involved in the LSU Health Sciences Center Foundation in Shreveport. Additionally, Slack served as a board member of Business First Bank.
A proud member of a four-generation LSU family, Slack received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from LSU in 1979. Slack's grandfather, J. Stewart Slack, served on the LSU Board of Supervisors from 1942 to 1956. He was also chairman from 1952 to 1954. Slack, a well-known and dedicated community activist, has also had a lifelong commitment to Louisiana State University. He served on the Board of Supervisors from 2000-2006, as well as continues to participate in the Advisory Council. Slack and his wife Kathryn reside in Dallas, Texas.
Deborah Sternberg is the Senior Vice President of Starmount Life Insurance Company here in Baton Rouge. Coming from the PR/Media Relations field, Deborah has worked with Goodman Media International, CBS News and the White House Office of Media Affairs.
Sternberg is a graduate of Columbia University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and graduated magna cum laude.
Sternberg lives in Baton Rouge with her husband Michael and two sons.
Roland M. Toups
Roland M. Toups is chairman and chief executive officer of Turner Industries Group, L.L.C. Toups is a graduate of Georgia Institute of Technology, where he received both a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1960 and a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1961. At the outset of his career, Toups served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, where he worked in the development of the U.S. Space Program and Defense Systems. He has also worked for Ethyl Corporation, serving as project manager of a Hydrocarbon Expansion Project at the company’s Baton Rouge plant. Toups has served as chairman of numerous organizations, including the Louisiana State Board of Regents, the Greater Baton Rouge Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club of Baton Rouge. He also chaired the Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System, Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Our Lady of the Lake Foundation, and Our Lady of Mercy Church Pastoral Council.
Among Toups’ passions is education, and Toups is especially passionate about the Honors College. A major aspect of his campaign for the preservation of the College is the modernization of the residence halls, in which he played a key role.
Toups is married to the former Kathryn (“Kay”) Beasley and together they have two children, Stephen M. Toups and Suzanne T. Adler. He also has six grandchildren: Matthew, Stephanie, Kathryn, Shelby, Allison and Roland II.
R. Patrick Vance
R. Patrick Vance is a partner and chair of the Jones Walker New Orleans Business & Commercial Litigation Practice Group. His practice focuses primarily on business litigation, creditors' rights litigation, and bankruptcy. Among his other accomplishments, Vance currently serves on the board of directors of the American College of Bankruptcy. He is also President of the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation, President of the New Orleans Bar Association, Vice President Elect of the National Bankruptcy Conference, and Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Vance attended Louisiana State University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in 1970. While at LSU, Vance actively participated in the Honors Division, which served as a foundation for his future legal career. As an undergraduate, Vance also received the highest honors, including a Phi Beta Kappa Faculty Group Award and a Juris Doctor from Paul M. Hebert Law Center in 1975. He was also a member of the Louisiana Law Review from 1973 through 1975, a Danforth Fellowship Finalist, and he attended St. Joseph College Seminary. Vance is married to the honorable Judge Sarah Vance. In his free time, he enjoys riding his bicycle.
Anita Warner is an attorney specializing in creditors’ rights, default, and bankruptcy. She has served as in-house counsel with Hibernia National Bank, Capital One, Washington Mutual Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank.
Warner earned her BA, MS and JD from Louisiana State University. While at LSU, Warner participated in the then-fledgling Honors program, where she became devoted to the continuation and improvement of education. Currently located in Dallas, Anita works in Chase’s residential mortgage business. Warner has been an active member of the Honors Advisory Council since it was first started back in the 1990s.
Since 2001, Patrick Widhalm has served as the Executive Director at the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts – a unique state-supported, residential school for high-ability, high-achieving 10th through 12th grade students that has valued a liberal arts core to support a specialized curriculum. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in piano performance and prior administrative appointments include the Conservatory of Music at Capital University (Columbus, Ohio) and founding Dean of Arts and Academics at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Arts and Humanities (Greenville, South Carolina). Dr. Widhalm served for six years as vice-chair for education on the Louisiana Partnership for the Arts Board of Directors, and liaison for the state’s affiliation with the Kennedy Center Arts Education Network. He led the Louisiana team selected to participate in the 2008 Education Leaders Institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. In October 2009, he received the Louisiana Culture Award for “Education Innovator” and this year was selected for participation in “Leadership Louisiana.” Growing up in Nebraska, Pat credits public school music programs for a personal and career path that has been satisfying and rewarding. He is married to Betsy Allums Widhalm, from Shreveport who is also a musician with a mid-life career change into law. They have two daughters; one a Public Defender in Natchitoches Parish and the other a librarian in Austin, Texas.
Charles Wood, MD
Dr. Charles Wood received undergraduate degrees in microbiology and psychology at Louisiana State University and continued on to medical school at the LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport, where he graduated as valedictorian. He completed a residency in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, where he served as chief resident. He is a graduate of the School of Breast Oncology, and completed a prostate brachytherapy fellowship at the Seattle Prostate Institute. A native of Baton Rouge, Dr. Wood has been with Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center since 2007.
While attending LSU, Dr. Wood was an active member of the then-fledgling Honors College, receiving Sophomore Honors Distinction. Dr. Wood enjoys running, reading, and attending LSU sporting events. He has two sons, Briggs and Bowen.