For Claude Bouchard of the University’s Pennington Biomedical Research Center, there are not many more awards left to be won.
“In the fields of obesity and exercise science, I have received all the honors and awards that one can aspire to,” Bouchard said.
Now, Bouchard can add one of the University’s most prestigious awards to that list.
The LSU Board of Supervisors named Bouchard an LSU Boyd Professor earlier this month. To be awarded a Boyd Professorship, a faculty member must be recognized on both national and international stages.
“It is clearly a restricted circle and a very prestigious one. It means a great deal to me,” Bouchard said. “Given the number of people [who] have had the chance of being recognized this way in history, it is particularly important and dear to me.”
Bouchard specializes in studying the genetic differences related to obesity and human variability.
“It is an exciting field because there is no limit,” he said.
Bouchard has been at Pennington for 17 years. For the first 11 years, Bouchard served as the research center’s executive director. He has devoted the past six years to scientific research.
Before Pennington, Bouchard was involved with Université Laval in Québec City, Canada, for about 30 years.
In 1962, he received his bachelor’s degree from Université Laval. He then went on to the University of Oregon to earn his master’s degree. Bouchard received his doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin, after which he conducted postgraduate research in Germany and postdoctoral research in Montreal.
Bouchard was the president of both the Obesity Society and the International Association for the Study of Obesity. He has also been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from universities in the United States, Europe and Canada.
Bouchard has trained roughly 25 doctoral students and around 40 post-doctoral fellows.
“[My students] are largely responsible for the little success that I have achieved and the recognition I get because they were doing the work,” Bouchard said. “They made a big difference.”
Bouchard said he reminds students to stay mentally engaged at all times because training is not a one-time experience.
Bouchard also insists students be passionate about the studies they are pursuing. Passion is the key to success, he says.
“If you are lucky enough to feel that passion, you are going to have a fantastic life,” Bouchard said.
In a news release, LSU President F. King Alexander congratulated Bouchard on becoming the University’s 73rd Boyd Professor and the fourth from Pennington.
“We are honored to count Dr. Bouchard, one of the world’s preeminent experts in the field of exercise science, among LSU’s faculty,” Alexander said in the release. “It is our great privilege to bestow upon him the title of Boyd Professor — LSU’s most elite honorific — in acknowledgement of his expertise within the global obesity research community.”