Capital city communicator

Sharon Weston Broome

Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles recognizing alumni receiving distinguished service awards in September 2019.

Sharon Weston Broome is CEO of Baton Rouge

After college, Sharon Weston Broome relocated to Louisiana with her parents, planning to return to her hometown of Chicago once they were settled. But, she fell in love with the friendly people and great cuisine of the Pelican State and stayed. Today, she’s the mayor-president of the capital city of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rough Parish.

The 1978 mass communications major worked in several spots in the communications industry. She eventually ran for the Metro Council and won. Following her service on the Metro Council, she was elected to the state legislature – serving in both the House of Representatives and the State Senate, eventually becoming the first woman to hold the position of Pro Tempore in both bodies. While in the legislature, Broome was a reporter for the ABC affiliate, WBRZ-TV. She went on to teach mass communications at area colleges.

Upon being elected mayor-president of Baton Rouge, Broome convened a 300-member diverse transition team to discuss the city’s most pressing needs: flood recovery, community-police relations, economic development and more. From the team’s feedback, Broome’s administration took action, addressing many critical issues in her first 100 days in office.

Broome continues to win praise from constituents and fellow politicians.

“Sharon has been in the position to influence positively the lives of many needy people in our community and she has done so with humility and compassion,” says former State Senator and current Louisiana Commissioner of Administration Jay Dardenne.

She and her husband, Marvin Broome, have three children. They are grandparents to three.

The Sharon Weston Broome file

• Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish since Jan. 2, 2017. First woman elected leader of Louisiana’s capital city.

• Former Louisiana State Senator and State Representative; first woman to hold pro tempore positions in the house and senate.

• Recognized for service and leadership by Louisiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Louisiana Health Freedom Coalition, American Heart Association, Every Child Matters and Morehouse College.

• Recent awards: National Urban League Hiram Reeves Award for Achievement; Essence Magazine African American Women Mayors Honoree for Power Women’s Issue; New Venture Theatre Awards 2018 Humanitarian Award; Women’s Council of Greater Baton Rouge Louisiana Women in History Honoree.

• Former reporter for WBRZ-TV in Baton Rouge and mass communications adjunct instructor at numerous colleges.

• Holds a master’s from Regent University, Virginia Beach, 1984; and a bachelor’s from UWL, 1978.

Six to receive distinguished alumni awards

Alumni from the past four decades have earned top awards bestowed by the UWL Alumni Association. They’re being honored for distinguished service and successful careers.

The alumni will return to campus in fall to speak with students and participate in a panel at 2 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in the Great Hall, Cleary Alumni & Friends Center. An Alumni Awards Brunch and Ceremony is planned for 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, in The Bluffs Room, UWL Student Union. Tickets are $25 per person and can be ordered through the Alumni Association at 608.785.8489. Check out the Alumni Association calendar of events.

The awards and honorees include:

The Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumni Award

Recognizes outstanding achievement of alumni who have brought honor and distinction to the university. Long-time administrator Maurice O. Graff instituted the honor in 1977.

Sharon Weston Broome, ’78

• Respected politician. Former Louisiana State Senator and State Representative; first woman to hold pro tempore positions in both. Currently, Mayor-President of the City of Baton Rouge and East Baton Rouge Parish.

• Bachelor’s in mass communications.

Lynda Kohler, ’83

• Admired advocate for families and children in southeastern Wisconsin. Currently, president and CEO of SHARP Literacy Inc. in Milwaukee.

• Bachelor’s in recreation leadership.

Rada Distinguished Alumni Award

Recognizes alumni who have graduated within the last 20 years, achieved professional distinction and taken part in humanitarian activities. Professor emeritus Ron Rada and his wife, Jane, created the award in 2002.

Sulaimon “Wale” Elegbede, ’05

• Esteemed business and servant leader. Founding board member of La Crosse Interfaith Shoulder to Shoulder Network to curb growing anti-Muslim sentiment. Currently, head of the Project Management Office and senior project manager for Center for Regenerative Medicine at Mayo Clinic.

• Bachelor’s of information systems.

Corey Sjoquist, ’96 & ’03

• Influential college admissions counselor in the state of Wisconsin. Currently, director of the UWL Admissions Office, where he has worked since 1996.

• Bachelor’s in mass communications; master’s in college student development and administration.

Parker Distinguished Multicultural Alumni Award

Recognizes outstanding alumni who have contributed significantly to the improvement of multicultural understanding on the campus and in their careers. History Professor Emeritus James Parker initiated the award in 1997.

Angela Kellogg, ’92

• Renowned student services administrator; advocate for diversity and inclusion. Currently, senior academic planner for the Office of Student Success at UW System Administration.

• Master’s in college student personnel.

Burt and Norma Altman Teacher Education Award

Honors and recognizes outstanding educators and the significant contributions they make to children and communities. Professor Emeritus Burt Altman and his wife, Norma, long-time supporters of teacher education, created the award in 2015.

Pamela Kalafut, ’77

• Prestigious high school teacher, mentor and student activities director at Hinsdale, Illinois, Central High School for 34 years. Currently, retired and serves as a substitute teacher with the Avery Coonley School in Downers Grove, Illinois.

• Bachelor’s in art education.