BATON ROUGE – During the E. J. Ourso College of Business
graduation ceremony on Friday, May 13, LSU Senior and Student Government
President Andrew Mahtook received the second annual Sean O’Keefe Leadership
Award. President F. King Alexander presented the $10,000 cash award to Mahtook,
a finance major from Lafayette, La.
The Sean O’Keefe Leadership Award
was created by LSU donors who recognized the leadership in former LSU
Chancellor Sean O’Keefe during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The
award is designed to recognize and reward the outstanding LSU undergraduate
student leader who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in the past and
possesses the character, capability, vision and motivation to be a leader in
“It is such an honor to even be
considered for an award like this,” Mahtook said. “I could not be in this position without the
help of my family and friends. They have truly shown me what it means to be a
The Sean O’Keefe Leadership award
is an annual award of $10,000 to be used at the discretion of the
recipient. The nominees were selected from the elected presidential posts from
various student leadership positions. Criteria for the award also included a
cumulative grade point average of at least a 2.75.
Nominees submitted two essays – a biographical
summary of their leadership positions with any relevant activities in their
life since high school graduation and an essay on the subject, “My Leadership
Philosophy,” which articulates the nominee’s leadership principles and how the
candidate has tried to live up to those ideals.
In his leadership philosophy essay,
Mahtook defined one of the main tenants of leadership, “I belief that
leadership is fluid and ever-changing. Leadership development should never end,
and the critical examination of our own actions should be the driving force
behind our growth. I am constantly looking back on how I handled certain
situations and asking for the insight of others on how I can improve. I have
also tried to surround myself with great leaders and to imitate those practices
that I look up to.”
Mahtook has maintained a 3.94 GPA
at LSU, while also serving as the Student Body President. He has been on the
President’s Honor Roll five times, and he won the Thomas Arkle Clark
Scholar-Leader of the Year award given by Phi Eta Sigma nationally.
Mahtook is also the IFC Greek Man
of the Year and was recently inducted into the Tiger Twelve. Tiger Twelve is
given to 12 student leaders who represent the LSU Commitment to Community.
A five-member selection panel made
up of members of the business and LSU communities conducted personal interviews
with each nominee to get to know them better and learn more about each
nominee’s past and future leadership experience.
About Sean O’Keefe
O’Keefe is a longtime public administrator, national
security expert and aerospace industry executive who has served in several top
leadership positions in the U.S. government, higher education and
O’Keefe is the former chairman of the board and chief
executive officer of Airbus Group Inc. Immediately prior to joining Airbus,
O’Keefe served as a vice president of the General Electric Company, following
his service as chancellor of LSU.
O’Keefe has been credited for establishing the
university’s first campus-wide fundraising campaign “Forever LSU Campaign,” raising
$798 million. He became popular among students for interacting with them,
especially during periodic “Chats with the Chancellor” across the campus
throughout the semesters and because of his encouraging emails.
O’Keefe led LSU
during its response to Hurricane Katrina in August and September 2005, when the
campus was transformed into what has been called “the largest acute-care field
hospital established in a contingency in the nation’s history.”
On four separate occasions, O’Keefe served as a
presidential appointee. Prior to leading LSU, he was administrator of NASA.
Earlier, he was deputy assistant to the president and deputy director of the
Office of Management and Budget at the White House. He also served as secretary
of the Navy, following service as comptroller and CFO of the Defense
O’Keefe began his career after graduate studies at the
Maxwell School of Syracuse University as a member of the inaugural class of the
Presidential Management Fellowship program, and later joined the U.S. Senate
Appropriations Committee staff. Between public service appointments,
O’Keefe has held faculty posts at LSU, Penn State University and the Maxwell
School, where he served as director of the National Security Studies Program
and as Louis A. Bantle Chair of Business and Government.
In 1993, President Bush and Secretary Cheney presented
O’Keefe with the Distinguished Public Service Award. He was the 1999 faculty
recipient of the Syracuse University Chancellor’s Award for Public Service;
recipient of the Department of Navy’s Public Service Award in December 2000 and
has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from several prestigious
educational institutions. In March 2003 and 2004, he was recognized and honored
by Irish America Magazine as one of the Top 100 Irish Americans.