Shared Vision and Leadership

The 2016 “Distinguished Alumni Gala” was the culmination of a weeklong schedule of events entitled “Making History: A Celebration of University of New Orleans Leadership,” which included the formal investiture of the university’s seventh leader, President John W. Nicklow. The gala was a major civic event to strengthen community engagement and pride in UNO and prominently celebrate the university’s important contributions to the city and region.

The gala’s venue was a testament to UNO’s lasting impact on the community – the National World War II Museum was conceived in UNO’s history department by professors Stephen Ambrose and Nick Mueller, the latter of whom currently serves as the museum’s president and CEO. Barbara Johnson served as Event Chair and Norman Robinson served as Emcee. Both UNO President John Nicklow and Nick Mueller spoke at the gala.

Mark Romig was bestowed with the UNO International Alumni Association’s top honor as the Homer L. Hitt Distinguished Alumni honoree. Clancy DuBos and U.S. Judge Jay Zainey introduced Romig with brief personal remarks.

Additional college honorees were: College of Business Administration, Rick Gratia; College of Engineering, Joe Becker; College of Liberal Arts, Education and Human Development, Melissa Ehlinger and Donna W. Joseph; College of Science, J.  Michael Fitzpatrick; and Interdisciplinary Studies, Gerard Williams.

Entertainment was provided by the University of New Orleans Jazz Band and the National World War II Museum Victory Belles.

The silent auction featured popular experience packages, including a ride in the Krewe of Pygmalion, budding broadcast “Kids on Camera” with WWL-TV, a coaching session with former UNO baseball coach Ron Maestri, fishing with Sheriff Newell Normand, an exclusive National World War II Museum Behind the Lines experience, vacation packages and more.

The Distinguished Alumni Gala hosted approximately 500 patrons and raised more than $300,000 for student scholarships and alumni engagement.


What: “University of New Orleans Distinguished Alumni Gala,” benefiting UNO student scholarships and alumni engagement
When: Thursday, November 3
Where: The National World War II Museum


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