Baylor Alumnus Receives French Order of ChivalryDec. 6, 2010
Baylor University alumnus Gabriel Lugo will receive the Medaille Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques (Knight of the Order of Academic Palms) Dec. 18 at 2 p.m. at the Meadows Museum at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Lugo is being awarded the Order of Chivalry of France for his major contributions to French national education and culture at the Alliance Française in Dallas and Cincinnati.
"Knighthood is not something that anyone ever expects, but I am deeply honored to receive recognition from the French government for my nonprofit work," Lugo said.
The Alliance Française de Dallas (AFD) is a non-profit, cultural and learning center dedicated to the study of the French language, cultural exchange and friendship between Americans and all French-speaking people. Lugo was made Honorary President of the AFD in 2009 after serving for several years as its president; he is also President at Charles Taylor Risk Consulting, the risk management unit of London-based Charles Taylor Consulting.
As President of the AFD, Lugo obtained grants, organized and led an attorney exchange program between members of the Houston Bar Association and the Bar Association of Le Mans, and oversaw a period of growth for the organization. The French language school offers classes, at all levels, year round and is one of the few places in the Southwest where individuals can take the Test d'Evaluation de Français, which assesses level of fluency for individuals who are not native French speakers.
"I feel that this honor is recognition that [AFD] has reached a new level and that we can now begin to look at ways to achieve the success attained in New York, Miami, Chicago, Houston and elsewhere," he said.
The French Minister of Education decides on nominations and promotions of the prestigious Medaille, one of the world's oldest orders of chivalry.
"I have always considered the Alliance Française a bridge between cultures--an organization that provides an opportunity to celebrate the long-standing friendship between the U.S. and France," Lugo said.
He became interested in the French language and culture while working for a French company in Houston and later in Paris. Lugo actually took his first French course at the Alliance Française in Houston.
"I think that most everyone could benefit from learning at least one foreign language whether it is French or some other language," Lugo said. "There is much we can
learn from others by speaking in their language."