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Loyola University New Orleans Presents 2015 Integritas Vitae Award

Loyola press release - December 9, 2015

Loyola University New Orleans presents one of its highest honors next week to Tidewater Inc. executive John P. Laborde, H ’96. The Integritas Vitae Award 2015 will be presented at the university’s annual 1912 Society Dinner, to be held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10 at the Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans, 123 Roosevelt Way.

The Integritas Vitae Award is presented annually to an individual who exemplifies the qualities Loyola seeks to instill in its students, such as high moral character and a commitment to selfless service done without expecting rewards or public recognition. The award also recognizes honesty, integrity, justice and the preservation of human dignity. The 1912 Society Dinner traditionally honors the year’s Integritas Vitae Award recipient, as well as new inductees into the Society of St. Ignatius.

“At Loyola University New Orleans, we educate our students to be ‘men and women for others,’ citizens of the world with great minds, loving and compassionate hearts, strong morals, an openness to growth and a passion for social justice,” said Loyola president Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J. “The Integritas Vitae Award recognizes individuals who for years have shined a light through their good works and selfless service. We are pleased to honor John P. Laborde, who has done so much for our city, the state and the world.”

A native of Marksville, La., John P. Laborde is past chairman, chairman emeritus, president and chief executive of Tidewater Inc., which he co-founded in 1956 and developed into the largest offshore oil and gas vessel owning and operating company in the world and also largest gas compression company in the United States. Considered a pioneer in the offshore drilling industry, Laborde is a visionary man and visionary leader who has used his many skills, gifts, contributions and talents to better the City of New Orleans, the State of Louisiana and the world.

The son of educators, Laborde holds a special place with Loyola University, where he served 12 years on Loyola’s Board of Trustees (1981-1992), and for served as board vice-chair for three years, (1989-1991). In 1996, Loyola New Orleans honored Laborde and his older brother, Alden, with honorary doctorates of humane letters at the university’s 85th annual commencement ceremony. The event marked the first time a university honored two brothers simultaneously with honorary doctorates of humane letters.

“St. Ignatius believed that ‘love consists in sharing all one has, all one is, with those one loves. Love ought to show itself in deeds more than in words,” said Fr. Gregg Grovenburg, S.J., Loyola University Minister for Faith Formation and Sacraments. “Mr. Laborde demonstrates in his life a Jesuit trait and value of living his ‘faith in action’ ― a faith which is rooted in service.”

Among Laborde’s many contributions to the development of Loyola University New Orleans is “Iggy,” the statue of St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, which stands in the Peace Quad at the center of campus, reminding students daily of the Ignatian tenets, including “service to others,” a principle on which Loyola New Orleans is founded. In his writings, St. Ignatius Loyola emphasized an “openness to growth,” sharing one’s gifts and talents, and a commitment to education of the whole person―mind, body, soul.

Born one of five children to a devout Catholic family, Laborde has for decades served numerous Catholic causes and the greater New Orleans community with humility, leadership and distinction. Laborde’s faith is the guiding force and foundation for his service, and he combines a spirit of selfless leadership, integrity and deep family values.

In December 2013, the Catholic Foundation of the Archdiocese of New Orleans honored Laborde with the Pope John Paul II Award, presented annually to a layperson or permanent Deacon who resides in the Archdiocese of New Orleans and exhibits inspirational examples of Christian stewardship. Criteria for nomination include: outstanding record of volunteer service, high moral character, exemplary values and hands-on ministry.

In accepting the award, Laborde spoke of his love of family, church and country, and encouraged the audience to aspire to a life of service and commitment to values. Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond of New Orleans spoke of Laborde’s humility and generosity.

“John Laborde has been a role model for all ages, giving of his time, talent and resources to improve the quality of life for the people of our city,” said Anne Milling, 2004 Pope John Paul II Award recipient and a former Loyola Board of Trustees member. “He has been a joy to work with, especially with the many social services of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.”