In all, a total of 203 LSU student-athletes were recognized at the gala for their performance in the classroom during the 2005 academic year, each having been named a recipient of the LSU Director's Cup, the SEC Academic Honor Roll, or both.
The women's golf team posted the highest grade point average of all the women's teams at LSU, with a 3.332 cumulative grade point average a year ago. The men's tennis team recorded a combined grade point average of 3.225 to rank first among all men's teams on campus.
Five student-athletes were named recipients of the 2006 Wally Pontiff, Jr., Academic Excellence Award. Kevin Dessauer from the men's tennis team, Julie Nuemann from women's soccer, James Presley from track and field along with Niswanger and Saucier were all recognized as winners of the Wally Pontiff, Jr., Academic Excellence Award.
Dessauer, a junior from New Orleans, has a 4.0 grade point average in kinesiology; Neuman, a junior from Baton Rouge, has a 3.910 GPA in biological sciences; Presley, from Baton Rouge, has a 3.915 GPA in biological engineering; Niswanger, from Monroe, La., finished his college career with a 4.0 GPA in pre-med; and Saucier, a junior from Gig Harbor, Wash., has a 3.925 GPA in kinesiology.
Brandon Bass, now a member of the NBA's New Orleans Hornets, was named the Tiger Athletic Foundation Male Athlete of the Year, while Seimone Augustus and April Burkholder shared the TAF Female Athlete of the Year Award.
Other awards handed out on Sunday included: Frank Polozola and Miriam Farr-Segar as the 2006 LSU Distinguished Alumnus of the Year; Brian Cheramie and Richard Sturlese as the 2006 TAF Hall of Distinction inductees; and Beau Sylvester as the 2006 Augie Cross Memorial Award recipient.
2006 LSU Academic Excellence Gala Awards
Men's Team Academic Excellence Award: Men's Tennis
Women's Team Academic Excellence Award: Women's Golf
TAF Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Rudy Niswanger (football)
TAF Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Hali Saucier (diving)
Wally Pontiff, Jr., Academic Excellence Award: Niswanger
Kevin Dessauer (men's tennis)
Julie Neumann (soccer)
James Presley (track and field)
TAF Male Athlete of the Year: Brandon Bass (men's basketball)
TAF Female Athlete of the Year: Seimone Augustus (women's basketball)
April Burkholder (gymnastics)
LSU Distinguished Alumni of the Year: Frank Polozola
Augie Cross Memorial Award: Beau Sylvester
TAF Hall of Distinction Inductees: Brian Cheramie