The two highest service and leadership awards conferred at Loyola Marymount University, the Ignatian and Marian awards, have been given to Alfredo Hernandez and Brooke Duplantier.
The Ignatian Award is a tradition shared by many Jesuit educational institutions. While each school chooses its own criteria and may offer the award to students, alumni, or even members of the greater community, the varying forms of the award are united by their function of recognizing outstanding service in the Jesuit tradition. LMU’s Ignatian Award is given annually to the male Presidential Citation awardee who has been selected by a committee of faculty and administrators for selfless service, ethical leadership, and academic excellence.
The Marian Award is a tradition unique to LMU overseen by members of the Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary, the sisters affiliated with LMU through the merger with Marymount College. This award has evolved to complement the Ignatian Award by recognizing the female Presidential Citation awardee who has held true to the Marian ideals by proving herself a model of service, leadership, and academic achievement.
Hernandez is a University Honors Program and First To Go student with a major in political science and a minor in economics. He has 3.98 GPA and has received several academic awards, such as the 2018 American Political Science Association’s Ralph Bunche Summer Institute Scholar award, a five-week program at Duke University that prepares minority students for graduate work in political science, where his research focused on the intersectionality of shaming and its consequences on poor minorities in the USA; and the 2018 Global Policy Institute Hansard Society Scholars Fellowship, which took him to London to study at the London School of Economics and Political Science, while in an internship at the UK parliament.
He has been student assistant to three professors who have nothing but the highest praise for him, is a member of MAGIS service organization, is ASLMU’s Attorney General since 2018, and the editor-in-chief of the Honors Program journal Attic Salt since 2016.
Hernandez intends to pursue a Ph.D. in political philosophy after graduation. As one of his professors said, “Alfredo is among the best all-around undergraduate students I have ever taught. He makes an outstanding selection as the Ignatian award recipient and will certainly bring credit to the university in the years to come.” In all his actions, Hernandez is the epitome of the ideals of the Ignatian award.
Duplantier is also a University Honors Program student with an English and political science double major and a GPA of 3.97. Through academic excellence, ethical leadership, and selfless service to her community, she embodies the spirit of the Marian award.
As president of LMU’s Oxfam America and Sursum Corda vice president for social justice, she has raised awareness of social justice issues on campus, particularly around food justice. Her passion around food justice concerns led her to adapt her political science major to learn about food policies. In fact, her political science honors thesis explores the impact of immigration policies on restaurants in the United States.
Her selfless, quiet service earned her the CSJ Center for Reconciliation and Justice’s Hidden Heroes award in 2018. For Duplantier, “a commitment to social justice is a commitment to use [her] knowledge and passion to fill a need in [her]community.” She believes “a commitment to social justice is a lifelong pursuit of hard work [recognizing] her responsibility to use [her] education to this end.”
She came to LMU because she felt that it would make her a more well-rounded person. She now leaves the university to pursue a master’s degree in food studies with a commitment to social justice and community that will guide her in an authentic, purposeful life. According to one of her professors, “Brooke is quietly confident. She is a leader, but she is also a listener. Through enthusiasm, dedication, planning, and organization, Brooke makes things happen — and happen very successfully. She embodies the mission of LMU.” Duplantier reflects the ideals of the Marian award.
This story first appeared in an edition of LMU This Week.