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Released: 12/08/2003

LSU Alexandria will present its first four-year degrees during commencement exercises on Thursday, Dec. 18 at 10 a.m. More than 100 students are slated to receive diplomas. The ceremony will take place in the Physical Education Building on campus. The Honorable Charlie DeWitt, Speaker of the Louisiana State House of Representatives who was instrumental in securing the change in status for the university, will present the school’s first four-year commencement address. <p>Speaker DeWitt is a 20-year veteran of the House of Representatives. He was first elected to the house in 1979 and was last reelected in 1999. During his tenure, DeWitt has served in several leadership positions including Chairman of the House Labor and Industrial Relations Committee and Capital Outlay Committee and as vice chair of the Natural Resources Committee. He has also served on the three key committees which address the budget and financing of state government. </p><p>For the past four years, DeWitt has served as the House floor leader for Governor </p><p> Mike Foster, personally overseeing the governor’s reform initiatives. Speaker DeWitt </p><p> played a key role in passage of workforce development, tort reform and the governor’s legislation to improve all levels of education. </p><p>The key responsibilities and duties of the Speaker include appointing all standing committees and committee chairs, presiding over floor session, overseeing House offices, appointing members to state commissions and task forces, approving travel requests and serving as a member of the Revenue Estimating Conference, the State Bond Commission, and the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget. </p><p>A community activist, Speaker DeWitt serves on the Advisory Board of the Alexandria Area Child Protection Agency, Law Advisory Board of LSU Alexandria, and the Community/ Technical College and Adult Education Task Force. </p><p>His contributions to his community and the state have been recognized by several organizations. He is the recipient of the Rapides Parish Children’s Advocacy Award and the Outstanding Leadership Award on Health Care Issues by CHRISTUS </p><p> St. Frances Cabrini Hospital. He also received the Legislator of the Year Award from Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. </p>