FAU Honors 2016 Talon Award Recipients

Florida Atlantic University recently hosted its annual Talon Leadership Awards ceremony as part of Homecoming 2016.

From left to right, Monica Escaleras, Ph.D.; Océane Boulais; Robert “Skipp” Orr; FAU President John Kelly; Joan Joyce; and Danielle Leitch, secretary of the FAU Alumni Association Board of Directors.


By brittany-sullivan | 10/31/2016

Florida Atlantic University recently hosted its annual Talon Leadership Awards ceremony as part of Homecoming 2016. Since its creation in 1997, the Talon Awards have recognized outstanding leaders from the community, as well as FAU alumni, faculty and student body constituencies. Co-sponsored by the FAU Alumni Association (FAUAA) and FAU Student Government, the ceremony and reception took place at the Marleen & Harold Forkas Alumni Center on FAU’s Boca Raton campus.

“The Talon Awards give us the opportunity to thank the people who have made an extraordinary impact on the university,” said FAU President John Kelly. “I am extremely grateful for each one of these four individuals and the contributions they’ve made to the FAU community.”

Honored at this year’s ceremony were Joan Joyce, FAU women’s softball coach with the President’s Talon Award; Robert “Skipp” Orr ’76, former U.S. ambassador, with the Alumni Talon Award; Monica Escaleras, Ph.D., associate professor in FAU’s College of Business, with the Faculty Talon Award; and Océane Boulais, an undergraduate student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, with the Student Talon Award.

Joyce was named FAU’s head softball coach in 1994 after concluding a playing career that spanned parts of four decades in numerous sports. From 1996 to 2014, Joyce was the head coach of the FAU women’s golf team. Outside of FAU, Joyce has been involved both as a coach and as a player at the highest levels of softball. Her coaching experience includes a four-year stint in the women’s professional softball ranks, winning the World Series in each of those seasons. She also coached and played softball with many of the nation’s top collegiate coaches. A member of the National Amateur Softball Hall of Fame, Joyce holds a career pitching record of 753 wins and 42 losses. Joyce has been inducted into 11 halls of fame.

Orr was confirmed by the Senate as U.S. executive director with rank of ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in September 2010. In July 2013, he became dean of the ADB board and he served as ambassador to the ADB until 2016. From 2002 until 2007 he was president of Boeing Japan. Prior to joining Boeing, Orr was vice president and director of European Affairs for Motorola based in Brussels. During his time there he held various senior-level posts with Motorola in Japan. He successfully led the negotiations that opened the cellular phone market in Japan. Orr’s book, “The Emergence of Japan’s Foreign Aid Power,” won the 1991 Ohira Prize for best book on the Asia Pacific.

Escaleras teaches macroeconomics, as well as money and banking at FAU, and was recognized for her role in the creation of the Business and Economics Polling Initiative (BEPI) in the College of Business at FAU. Escaleras serves in the South Florida Culture Platform Steering Committee and supervises graduate students’ research projects. This year, she also received the FAU Alumni Association Degree of Difference award and was a finalist for the FAU Distinguished Teacher of the Year award. Escaleras’ scholarship focuses on natural disasters and political economy, with her research published in numerous journals, including the Journal of Public Economics; Canadian Journal of Economics; Public Choice; and Southern Economics Journal.  

Boulais is currently working toward a degree an electrical engineering, most recently spending a semester abroad as a part of the GREEN program in Iceland. She has been involved as an officer, and in some cases, a founding member of organizations such as the Engineering Student Council, the Council of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry, Global Medical Brigades, Society of Women Engineers, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Branch, and the Resident Student Association. Boulais recently was named the chief technology evangelist for the Machine Perception and Cognitive Robotics Laboratory in the FAU Behavioral Sciences Department, and is interning with NBC Universal as a developmental operations engineering intern. She created FAU’s first IEEE Power and Energy Society Chapter, an organization for students who are passionate about energy.

For more information about the Talon Awards and the FAU Alumni Association, call 1-888-FAU-ALUM (328-2586) or visit www.faualumni.org.

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