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Alumni Association honors Cossé, Lejeune

By Nicole Koster
On October 30, 2012

As part of Homecoming week, the Alumni Association held its annual Alumni Awards Evening in Twelve Oaks to honor esteemed graduates.
The 2012 Alumnus of the Year award was given to Murphy Oil President and CEO Steven Cossé on Friday, Oct. 26. John Lejeune Jr. was given the Young Alumnus of the Year award. Lejeune owns four businesses and is only 33 years old. The Distinguished Service Award went to the Honorable James E. Kuhn, who is a member of the Louisiana First Circuit Court of Appeal.
"This is a great honor.  It's something that really means a lot to me, and I will forever be grateful for this award," Cossé said.
Cossé, who currently resides in Arkansas, also sits on the board of directors for the Share Foundation, which is stationed in El Dorado, Ark. They offer hospice care, medical care to uninsured workers and education to youth on the dangers of drug use. After graduation in 1972, he landed a job as an accountant for Murphy Oil and has been with the company for more than 40 years.
"Southeastern really gave me a jump in my career. In fact my first job hired me solely because I went to Southeastern," Cossé said. "When I started here as a freshmen though, I really didn't know what I wanted to do, but I knew what I didn't want to do."
Cossé's advice to current students struggling with their career path is simple: follow your heart.
"Major in something you actually like, and something you can put to use right after you graduate," Cossé said.
Lejeune, from Bogalusa, graduated in 2002 with a degree in business management, but throughout his academic career he was building up his own businesses while still attending classes. When he was eleven years old he became the disc jockey at a local skating rink, and his entrepreneurship shined through. All throughout high school, he played local dances, fairs and parties, and when he came to Southeastern he learned a wealth of information that would catapult his businesses to the next level.
"I questioned myself, 'Am I really going to do this the rest of my life?' and I saw that I was making more money than most of my peers," Lejeune said. "So I thought 'Why not? I'm going to keep going with it.' In between classes I would run out and book events, but I didn't get to party as much as my friends did in college. Over the weekends I would drive home and DJ events. But the hard work has paid off now."
Now, Lejeune successfully owns and operates Rock-It Productions, Big Screen Ventures and two Snap Fitness franchises. He has also appeared on VH1's "Tough Love: New Orleans" reality series and has made a few appearances on HBO's "Treme" series.
"Even though I was already working, I wanted to finish college because I knew it would help my business, and my future businesses," Lejeune said.
Scholarships were presented to President of Student Government Association Branden Summers, Miss Southeastern 2013 Reneé Picou and a handful of seniors with GPA's of 3.0 or higher.  President John L. Crain also presented the first ever Loyal Lion award to Dennis James for his volunteer service to Southeastern.
"It's through the dedication and hard work of our faculty and staff, and ongoing commitment of so many alumni, friends and supporters that we continue to successfully serve our students," said Crain. "Over the years Dennis has remained a tireless supporter of Southeastern. He literally never says no when asked to serve, instead he always replies, 'Anything I can do to help Southeastern.'"

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