The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts (LSMSA) honored its founder and first executive director, Dr. Robert A. Alost, by presenting his family with an honorary LSMSA diploma and announcing that the school’s gymnasium is being renamed for him at the school’s 36th Commencement Ceremony. LSMSA was the brainchild of Dr. Alost, who spent three years researching and dreaming before opening its doors in 1983 and graduating its first class in 1985.
“The unique community and advanced curriculum designed by Dr. Alost are what make LSMSA truly special,” said current LSMSA Executive Director Dr. Steve Horton. “Because of his dream, thoughtful, creative students from across Louisiana are able to access the state’s most rigorous preparation for college and the workforce when they attend LSMSA.”
Dr. Alost served as the executive director of LSMSA until 1986 when he was named president of Northwestern State University (NSU), where he would remain for ten years. Because LSMSA is located on NSU’s campus, Dr. Alost was able to keep an eye on his beloved school, which he continued to do until his death in April.
“This season has been a difficult one at LSMSA, and the loss of our visionary founder feels very heavy,” said Director of Academic Services Dr. Kristi Pope Key. “But as our tradition-rich community faces unprecedented challenges, it’s wonderful to remember that we can draw comfort and encouragement from the vision and dedication of those who wrestled this school into being nearly forty years ago.”
Port Allen native Rhett Hart (’85), a member of LSMSA’s first graduating class, fondly remembers Dr. Alost’s interview with him.
“Dr. Alost changed my life considerably for the better — academically, physically, mentally, and emotionally,” said Hart, currently a financial services professional in Dallas. “He thought I was fulfilling his dream, but instead, he was fulfilling a dream that I didn’t even know could exist.”
When the state reaches Phase 4 and health and safety guidelines permit, LSMSA will hold a formal dedication ceremony to rename the gym the Robert A. Alost Gymnasium.