ALEXANDRIA, La. (WNTZ) – At the 2023 Opening of Court ceremony of the 9th Judicial District Court in Rapides Parish, the Alexandria Bar Association honored Beth Whittington, the Acting Dean of the College of Social Sciences at LSUA, with the Debbie Smith Award. This prestigious award, annually presented to a non-lawyer, celebrates individuals who have significantly contributed to promoting the understanding of the rule of law, fostering respect for the judiciary, inspiring civic responsibility, and enhancing good governance.

The 2023 Opening of Court Ceremony was presided over by the Hon. Greg Beard, Chief Judge of the 9th JDC, and officiated by Sam Spurgeon, President of the Alexandria Bar Association.

Beth Whittington has been guiding students at LSUA since 1994. As the long-serving Chair of the LSUA Department of Criminal Justice, she has been instrumental in leading hundreds of students toward successful careers in criminal justice. Her dedication transcends the classroom, extending to a formal internship program with the district court where students gain invaluable “real-world” experience by observing court proceedings.

Allie Nowlin, the Criminal Staff Attorney of the 9th Judicial District Court and a member of the Alexandria Bar Association, eloquently highlighted Whittington’s remarkable contributions during the award announcement. Nowlin noted, “Through my interactions with Ms. Beth and her students, I see why her students love her and how much she is preparing her students for their careers. Her students are knowledgeable about the court system and are eager to learn and see more. It is clear Ms. Beth has taught them the fundamentals of the justice system. She cares about her students and is completely invested in their success.” Nowlin praised Whittington’s unwavering commitment to her students’ success, emphasizing her role in shaping competent graduates who are well-prepared to embark on their careers.

Whittington’s approach to education, characterized by a blend of experiential guidance and firm accountability, has significantly elevated the quality of criminal justice graduates from LSUA. Her efforts have not only enriched the lives of her students but have also left a lasting impact on the community, fostering a deeper appreciation for the rule of law and civic responsibility.