LSU College of Science Hall of Distinction Honorees


The LSU College of Science’s Hall of Distinction recognizes individuals who have distinguished themselves in their endless pursuit of excellence and fervent dedication to scientific leadership. Through their extraordinary achievements, outstanding characters, and commitments to their communities, the college’s honorees have established lasting legacies of excellence in their individual fields. When appropriate, the college will also recognize an industry partner who has made a transformational investment or is engaged in a dynamic conversation with the potential of high-value to LSU and to our college.

Join us as we recognize the exceptional accomplishments of the College of Science’s 2024 Hall of Distinction honorees.

Diola Bagayoko, PhD - Chancellor’s Fellow and SU System Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Physics 

Bagayoko's headshot

Dr. Diola Bagayoko, a distinguished alumnus of LSU's Department of Physics & Astronomy, is a Professor Emeritus at Southern University. Since joining Southern's faculty in 1984, Bagayoko has excelled in the research field of condensed matter and has become a nationally recognized figure in teaching and mentoring across STEM disciplines.

In 1990, Bagayoko founded the Timbuktu Academy, which has offered financial aid, research programs, advising, and mentoring to over 2300 undergraduate students in STEM fields. It also provides outreach programs like ACT/SAT workshops, career presentations, and summer programs for middle and high school students. The initiative has received support from various organizations, including NSF, the Louisiana Board of Regents, Office of Naval Research, NASA, NIST, Louisiana Space Consortium, Exxon-Mobil, Siemens Foundation, Hewlett Packard, and Southern University. The academy's notable success led to its replication across STEM units at Southern University and throughout Louisiana via initiatives like the NSF-funded Louis Stokes Louisiana Alliance for Minority Participation (LS-LAMP) and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Undergraduate Programs, deeply impacting underrepresented student participation in STEM education.

Bagayoko also played a critical role in establishing the Joint Faculty Appointment Program (JFAP) in 1996, initiated by the Board of Regents to foster collaboration between the state’s Historically Black and majority White Colleges and Universities. The LSU-Southern JFAP program was the first in the state and is now the longest-lasting, largely thanks to Bagayoko's oversight and effort.

Bagayoko’s dedication and impact have earned him numerous awards. In 1993, he received the Louisiana Governor's Award for Excellence in Educational Reform and the Southern University System's Presidential Faculty Excellence Award. In 1996, he was a member of the first group of recipients of the U.S. Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring, and in 2002, his Timbuktu Academy received the same award. In 2010, he received the Mentor Award for Lifetime Achievement from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Dr. Diola Bagayoko Video

Alfred Gardner, PhD - Emeritus Curator of Mammals, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution

Gardner's headshot

Dr. Alfred Gardner earned his PhD in Zoology (with a minor in Paleontology) from LSU in 1970, marking the beginning of a distinguished career as Curator of North American Mammals at the National Museum of Natural History. He maintains close ties to LSU through his support as a donor to the Museum of Natural Science (MNS).

Gardner's doctoral research, conducted from 1965 to 1970 under the mentorship of Dr. George Lowery, the founder of LSU's MNS, focused on marsupials across the Americas. This research significantly bolstered the global reputation of the MNS as a crucial hub for biodiversity science. Gardner's fieldwork in Peru, Costa Rica, Panama, Mexico, and other regions added nearly 4000 specimens to the MNS collections, including mammals and birds, solidifying his status as a foundational figure in mammalogy and establishing the MNS as a widely recognized resource for biodiversity researchers worldwide.

His extensive scientific contributions, including over 180 published papers, the description of two new genera and 20 species of mammals, and substantial revisions to numerous taxa, have profoundly impacted animal classification and our understanding of mammalian diversity. One of his major achievements, Volume 1 of The Mammals of South America published in 2008, is a comprehensive resource detailing nearly 400 species with identification keys, distribution maps, and natural history narratives. This monumental publication is still used by LSU students and remains a vital reference, inspiring further research and nurturing a passion for mammalogy among aspiring scholars.

Gardner's retirement in 2018 marked the culmination of a remarkable career spanning seven decades, covering research across two continents and addressing various aspects of mammal taxonomy. Yet, he remains an active and respected member of the mammal research community, still contributing significantly to scientific literature. Gardner's enduring legacy lies not only in his scientific contributions but also in his mentorship of young mammalogists, shaping the future of biodiversity research.

Dr. Alfred Gardner video

William Stickle, PhD - Emeritus Professor, LSU Department of Biological Sciences

Dr. Stickle's headshot

Dr. William B. Stickle, Jr. is a pillar of dedication and excellence at LSU, with a legacy marked by an unwavering commitment to mentorship, scholarly achievements, and philanthropy within the College of Science.

His academic journey began with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Slippery Rock State College in 1965, followed by a Master of Science in Zoology from the University of South Dakota in 1967, and a PhD from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, in 1970. Since joining LSU in 1972, Stickle has held various academic roles and currently serves as an emeritus professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, demonstrating over 50 years of dedication to academia and scientific progress. Renowned for his enthusiastic mentorship, Stickle has guided numerous graduate and undergraduate students at LSU, profoundly impacting their academic and professional paths. He has been pivotal in encouraging student participation in national associations and conferences, fostering networking opportunities, and strengthening their connections within the scientific community.

Stickle’s expertise in organismic physiology and environmental stressors has led to significant contributions to the field of environmental physiology of marine fauna, with over 100 publications in top journals and successful grant funding from esteemed agencies like the National Science Foundation, Sea Grant, National Geographic Society, and the Mineral Management Service. Beyond academia, Stickle's passion for marine biology is evident through his establishment of the highly regarded LSU Marine Biology in Alaska Program. Overseeing this summer program is truly Stickle's legacy, providing invaluable academic experiences to hundreds of LSU students for nearly two decades. The program covers a range of marine biology topics through lectures, field courses, and interactions with local experts based in Juneau, Alaska. Participants also enjoy visits to key sites like the Alaska State Museum, NOAA lab, salmon hatcheries, glaciers, and a whale-watching cruise. Stickle has gone above and beyond to ensure the success of the program, establishing the Marine Biology Travel Fund to provide financial support to students.

Stickle's continued generosity and support for the College of Science extend to his membership on the Executive Committee, as well as contributions to essential programs and initiatives within the Department of Biological Sciences and the Museum of Natural Science. These actions reflect his commitment to shaping LSU's future in science education and fostering a culture of excellence.

Dr. William B. Stickle video

Shell - 2024 Industry Champion

Shell logo

Shell is a global group of energy and petrochemical companies, employing over 103,000 people and operating in more than 70 countries. Utilizing advanced technologies and taking an innovative approach, Shell seeks to help the world build a sustainable energy future.

Shell's partnership with LSU advances the university's Scholarship First Agenda by creating solutions that are essential to the future of energy within Louisiana and throughout the nation. Together, LSU and Shell aim to pioneer energy-related collaboration, focusing on areas such as hydrogen and carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), coastal studies, and low carbon fuels.

Throughout this longstanding partnership, Shell has invested a total of $60 million in LSU, with the latest contribution of $27.5 million marking the university’s largest gift ever from a for-profit corporation and its largest philanthropic investment in energy-related initiatives. Shell's investment in the Our Lady of the Lake Health Interdisciplinary Science Building will facilitate the construction of a cutting-edge academic and research facility, spanning four stories and nearly 150,000 square feet. This building will serve as a nexus for collaboration among LSU faculty and students across various scientific disciplines, enhancing research capabilities and fostering industry partnerships. The new science building will address significant educational and lab space needs within the College of Science, alleviating over half of the current gap and meeting the growing demand for academic resources driven by enrollment growth and increased instructional requirements.

Shell video

 Past Honorees