Alumni honored at Homecoming on the Hill

Mon, 04/23/2012 - 9:45am
Fr. Salmi presents awards to alumni Dr. John Lemoine and Jessica Baker.

MOBILE, Ala. – Spring Hill College alumni Dr. John E. Lemoine, class of 1962, and Jessica Baker, class of 2008, were honored at a President’s Society brunch on April 22 as part of the college’s Homecoming on the Hill festivities.

Lemoine received the Gautrelet Award, established in honor of Rev. Francis Gautrelet, S.J., the first Jesuit president of Spring Hill College. The award recognizes an individual of high integrity who has demonstrated outstanding professional achievement. 

A native of Cottonport, La., Lemoine, earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from Spring Hill in 1962.  He went on to receive his medical degree from the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in 1966 and completed his residency with Family Medicine Charity Hospital of Louisiana.  He served as a resident physician during the Vietnam War and as a captain in the United States Army Medical Corps.  In 1970 he was assigned as the post surgeon at Pine Bluff Arsenal Army installation in Jefferson County, Ark., where he received the Army Commendation Medal for his exemplary leadership and was promoted to Major. 

For 39 years Lemoine practiced family medicine in Bunkie, La. He served as CEO and chairman of the Louisiana Medical Mutual Insurance Company from 1997-2007, and he continues to serve the organization as a board member. LAMMICO is a medical professional liability insurance company, which is owned and directed by practicing physicians. Lemoine is a member of the National Association of Corporate Directors and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry, serving on both the Civil Justice Reform Council and the Health Care Task Force.  He has been a member of the Louisiana State Medical Society, the Avoyelles Parish Medical Society, the American Medical Association, and the American College of Physician Executives.

Baker was the recipient of the Karopczyc Award. Named after Lt. Stephen E. Karopczyc, Class of 1965, a Medal of Honor recipient killed in service during the Vietnam War, the Karopczyc Award recognizes a young alumnus for outstanding service to the college or community.

During her four years at Spring Hill, Baker actively volunteered through Albert S. Foley, S.J. Community Service Center with multiple programs, including Fast Forward, USA Children’s and Women’s Hospital, and Focus First.  She traveled to Belize City in 2007 through Spring Hill’s International Service Immersion Program.  She returned to Belize again in 2008 with a group traveling to southern Belize. Both trips heavily influenced her decision to enter into a volunteer program upon graduation. 

In 2008 she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in pre-health and moved to Washington, D.C., with plans to enter medical school after a year of volunteering. She spent the next year working as an AmeriCorps volunteer at Christ House, a medical haven for men and women who are too sick to be in a shelter and not sick enough to be in a hospital.  Baker found the experience at Christ House to be life changing.  She applied for the international program of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps and was offered a placement in Belize City working at St. John’s College. She spent her first year in Belize City working as a high school science teacher, and in her second year she worked with the junior college as a theology teacher and the division’s campus minister.

Jessica fell in love with teaching while in Belize and returned to the United States in 2011 to continue that path.  She is now a biology teacher and director of mission and identity at Ursuline Academy in New Orleans.