As Lander University continues to celebrate its Sesquicentennial—the 150th anniversary of the institution’s founding in 1872—President Richard Cosentino and members of the Board of Trustees used Lander’s Spring Commencement Exercises as an opportunity to recognize one individual whose career has spanned one-third of the school’s history. Former Vice President for Student Affairs Randy Bouknight, praised for his loyalty and devotion to Lander, was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters on Wednesday, May 4.
“Yours has been a life of exemplary service to Lander University’s students, alumni, faculty and staff,” said Don Lloyd, vice chair of Lander’s Board of Trustees, “and for a half-century, you have given generously of your time and talents to enrich the lives of those around you.”
Bouknight began his service to Lander University in 1972, after finishing his graduate studies at the Northwestern State University of Louisiana. He was initially hired to serve as the assistant dean of students, and dean of men. Two years later, he was promoted by President Larry Jackson to dean of students. In 1979, Jackson promoted Bouknight once again—this time to Vice President of Student Affairs, a position he held until 2018.
“Over the course of your unprecedented tenure, you touched the lives of tens of thousands of Lander’s students,” Lloyd said, “helping to shape them into leaders of the workplace, their communities and our world.”
Bouknight’s hooding was a testament to that unprecedented tenure. Following the conferral of his degree, Bouknight was greeted by a standing ovation from all those in attendance—some of whom were Lander alumni he has known personally for decades.
Many of those same friends, along with members of Bouknight’s family, joined him for a reception following the ceremony, hosted by President Cosentino, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Boyd Yarbrough and other Lander University officials.
“Very few people in our University’s history—in any university’s history—have a record of service as long as Randy Bouknight’s,” Cosentino said. “It is only right that we now honor Randy for his dedication to Lander with the highest degree awarded by our University.”
Bouknight’s service to Lander isn’t finished, though. Since his retirement in 2018, he has continued to serve as a special gift officer for University Advancement. His unique blend of community and alumni relations—and his lifelong friendships and connections—give him the chance to assist alumni and friends of Lander to make an impact through their financial support of the institution, and the advancement of the University’s vision.
“Your extraordinary leadership and commitment has helped drive Lander University’s development and success over the last 50 years,” said Don Scott, chair of the Board of Trustees. “To quote your colleagues, ‘You have played a significant role in who we are, what we stand for, and what makes us unique—and we are all the better for it.’”