The University of Louisiana Alumni Association will honor oil executive Kenneth Blanchard Sr. and transplant surgeon Dr. J. Keith Melancon as Outstanding Alumni for 2011. The presentation will coordinate with Homecoming week beginning Oct. 8.

Kenneth Blanchard Sr. retired from Superior Energy Services Inc. in December 2010. During his time with the oilfield service and manufacturing firm, Blanchard served as executive vice president in 1995, chief operating officer in 2002 and president in 2004. He served in the dual role until his retirement in 2010 and remains a senior advisor to the company.

Blanchard began his oilfield career in 1974 working in sales and marketing for TRW Mission Manufacturing Co. In 1979, he was appointed regional sales manager for the southwest United States. After four years in that capacity, he became the general manager of Rebstock Drilling Company and held that position until 1984 when the company was sold.

A native of New Iberia, Blanchard attended Catholic High School where he played football. He was awarded a scholarship to attend UL and played football for Ragin’ Cajuns for three years.  He was a member of the 1970 team that competed in the Grantland Rice Bowl.

Upon completion of a Business Administration degree, Blanchard coached and taught briefly at Our Lady Fatima in Lafayette and Catholic High School in New Iberia.

He has served the community in various capacities, including on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Acadiana and the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. He has also worked with the Miles Perret Center, is a member of the Alex de Tocqueville Society and the Patriot Circle of the National World War II Museum.

As a proud member of Louisiana’s Alumni, Blanchard is also active in the Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Fund, the “S” club and the Gridiron Alumni Association. He and his wife Jane are the parents of three sons, Butch and Bradley and their deceased son Benjamin and parents to two daughters, Beth married to Jeremy and Becca married to Charlie. They are very proud grandparents of Camille, Benjamin, Clara Jan, Lila Jane and McKay.

Dr. Joseph Keith Melancon earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisiana in 1982 and then studied at Tulane Medical School where he completed a research fellowship. He went on to work in a transplant surgery fellowship at the University of Minnesota under the direction of Dr. David E.R. Sutherland.

After completing fellowship training, Melancon was recruited by John Hopkins Hospital. He worked as the director of Pancreas and Kidney Transplantation and as the director of Clinical Transplantation Research. He was also the surgical director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation while at John Hopkins Hospital.

In 2008, Melancon was recruited to Georgetown University Hospital as the director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplantation. He is also the director of the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at Washington Hospital Center and director of Pediatric Kidney Transplantation at the Children’s National Medical Center.

In the past three years, Melancon pioneered new and innovative ways of kidney transplantation at Georgetown University Hospital. Last year, he pioneered a 14-patient transplant for which he was featured on NBC Nightly News.  He performed the first ABO incompatible kidney transplant, the first HLA-incompatible kidney transplant and the first paired kidney exchange in the Washington D.C. area.  He was also the first in the Washington D.C. area to use single-port, live-donor kidney retrieval making Georgetown University Hospital one of the few centers nationwide to use this procedure.  His work has been featured on the Discovery Health Channel in a televised episode titled “Surgery Saved My Life,” a series that documented a successful triple kidney transplant.

He spoke at Black History Month in 2010.

Melancon and his wife Lisa are the proud parents of four sons, Joseph, Jonathan, Joshua and Jonah.

The Outstanding Alumni Award is the highest honor bestowed upon a former student by the Alumni Association. It recognizes outstanding professional and personal achievements that have brought honor and distinction to the university. To be eligible for this award, one must be a UL graduate or former student having attended no less than 10 years ago.

Both Blanchard and Melancon will be honored during a reception on Friday, Oct. 14 and will ride in the Homecoming parade on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 10 a.m.

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