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In memory of Donna T. Auzenne - first African American female graduate in Petroleum Engineering

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In memory of Donna T. Auzenne - first African American female graduate in Petroleum Engineering
Tue, 04/27/2021 - 8:58am

Donna T. Auzenne, a 1981 Petroleum Engineering graduate, was a trailblazer in her field. Not only was she the first African American female to graduate in petroleum engineering from UL Lafayette, but Donna also carved a place for herself in a largely male-dominated industry, working her way up to Water Flood Optimization Team Leader with Chevron North America Exploration and Production Company and paving the way for the next generation of female engineers. Throughout an impressive career in petroleum engineering, Donna inspired and mentored countless women in her industry through her involvement in the community with the hope of cultivating a new outlook for the potential of women in STEM careers.

Sadly, Donna passed away suddenly in July of 2020. She is survived by her husband, Mr. Lou Hebert, who has chosen to commemorate his wife’s legacy in the field of engineering by establishing a fund in support of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at UL Lafayette. This is so fitting since SWE’s mission is to empower women to achieve their full potential in careers as engineers and leaders, expand the image of the engineering and technology professions as a positive force in improving the quality of life, and demonstrate the value of diversity and inclusion.

Lou describes his wife as a humble, determined trailblazer.

"I met my wife Donna in 1990. She had already been employed at UNOCAL for several years and had established several firsts for women in the oil and gas industry, including serving as the first Offshore Drilling Superintendent on a drilling rig. As her partner in life for 30 years, I saw her continue to establish herself, holding several different positions, including Onshore Asset Manager for UNOCAL and Team Leader in Chevron's Technology Division. She knew that she was paving the way for women in the oil and gas industry and yet remained incredibly humble. She sought no accolades for herself. Her mind was set on doing the job to the best of her ability; she believed that doing so would accomplish more for the women that would follow her into the industry."

The College of Engineering is honored by Lou’s generosity and commitment to student success. "We are honored by this gift and thank Lou for his support of the Society of Women Engineers. It is so fitting because this fund, while permanently memorializing Donna, will also serve as a catalyst toward achieving the College’s goal of increasing and prioritizing diversity within the College of Engineering," Dean Ahmed Khattab stated. "Several groups, including women, remain underrepresented in the field of engineering. We are committed to honoring Donna’s work in expanding and increasing opportunities for our female students, who will soon become our community’s problem-solvers."

Donna’s legacy will live on permanently through this endowed fund, as well as through the stories and efforts of her husband and the countless friends and loved ones who share daily the ways in which her life inspired and impacted them. Lou established the Donna T. Auzenne Memorial Fund for the Society of Women Engineers to permanently highlight his wife’s significance among women in STEM.

"I could not have had a better partner in life through our 30 years together. It was truly my honor to support her in her career. I miss her greatly and it is my hope that this memorial fund established in her name helps to affirm her legacy with the University she loved and in the industry to which she dedicated her career."

Click here to make a gift to this fund. Additional gifts to this fund support the organization’s activities and expenses, including exciting opportunities for engineering students such as community outreach to middle and high school age students, travel to conferences and job fairs, and professional development and training.