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Released: 04/07/1999

<p> Brenda Gale Lauret Cook of Pineville was honored Wednesday night for her outstanding work in the classroom and her excellent teaching ability. Ms. Cook, associate professor of nursing, was presented LSUA&acute;s Bolton Award for Teaching Excellence which is the university&acute;s highest faculty honor. </p><p> Ms. Cook has been a member of the LSUA nursing faculty for more than 28 years. She also completed a distinguished career in the Louisiana Army National Guard retiring in 1996 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. </p><p> When asked what it meant to her to receive this award, Ms. Cook used an insightful quote. "Confucius says &acute;Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life,&acute;" Ms. Cook said. "Over 90 percent of the time I feel that way...I enjoy my work, I really do." She particularly likes working with the people at LSUA. </p><p> "LSUA is my home," she said. "I like the people and I especially enjoy working with the students...they&acute;re motivated people." The nursing students also enjoy learning from Ms. Cook according to the many student letters of support from her nomination packet. "Teachers like Ms. Cook are a credit to the profession and to the faculty of LSUA," wrote one student. </p><p> "I think to demonstrate true teaching excellence one must be able to combine professionalism, high ethics, and true caring about the students you teach...I find Ms. Cook to demonstrate these qualities on a consistent basis," wrote another. </p><p> Most evident in Ms. Cook&acute;s recommendations were the recurring expressions of her as an excellent teacher, mentor and friend to her students and colleagues. The words "character" and "integrity" are mentioned again and again throughout the letters. </p><p> Ms. Cook is also widely respected by her colleagues in the Division of Nursing. "She freely exemplifies expertise in the classroom, division, university and community," said Wanda Guidry, head, division of nursing. "She has been a mentor for many faculty and a role model for the students. She has a broad vision of the whole, yet remarkably maintains a centralized focus on the student," Ms. Guidry said. </p><p> A graduate of Northwestern State University, Ms. Cook earned her bachelor&acute;s degree in 1969. She continued her education by earning a master&acute;s in education from LSU in 1974 and her master&acute;s in nursing from Texas Women&acute;s University in 1985. She is active on numerous divisional and campus-wide committees including Academic Standards and Review and Long-Range Planning, both for which she serves as chairman. </p><p> "I feel like it&acute;s a real honor and privilege that people think enough of me to honor me this way," Ms. Cook said. "I am happy to be part of a quality faculty that provides excellent education at reasonable cost to the student." </p><p> Ms. Cook is a single parent of two sons, Brandon, 16, and Chris, 17. She is a soccer mom who enjoys making crafts, especially woodworking, jewelry and t-shirts. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Lauret of Pineville. </p><p> The Bolton Award for Teaching Excellence was first presented nine years ago. It is named in memory of Mrs. James C. Bolton and was funded by an endowment established by her estate. The selection is based primarily on classroom teaching ability, but university service, community involvement, and scholarship in a particular field are considered as well. </p><p> Ms. Cook was presented a plaque and a $1,000 cash award from Dr. Randy Stovall, vice chancellor for academic affairs at LSUA. The presentation banquet was held at Tunk&acute;s Cypress Inn Restaurant. </p>