“I was very honored when I learned of my selection as the 2018 Alumnus of the Year. I am so fortunate to be able to stay associated with Brother Martin as a member of the Board of Directors and see all of the great work being accomplished by the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and the school. Out of all my accomplishments both personally and professionally, one of the things I am most proud of is that I am a Brother Martin Crusader.” Joseph J. “Joe” Caruso, Jr.
On Sunday, March 4, 2018, alumni, family, and friends of Brother Martin High School joined together for the 2018 Senator Allen J. Ellender Alumnus of the Year Ceremony honoring Mr. Joseph J. Caruso ’79. Mr. Caruso is currently an Executive Vice President and Chief Audit Executive with IBERIABANK Corporation in New Orleans. He was presented with the award at an annual luncheon at the J. W. Marriott by Brother Martin High School President John Devlin and Executive Vice President Greg Rando ’77. Devlin reflected, “Here is a man in whom we are particularly proud. A man our students can model their lives after. A man who has lived a life in faith-filled, loving devotion to family and friends, success in his chosen profession, a strong love for the school, and an appreciation for the formation his teachers- Brothers and lay partners- provided him with when he was a Crusader.”
Caruso was also joined by his wife of 32 years, Erin Vezina Caruso, along with numerous friends and family. In celebration of this prestigious honor, Caruso, along with previous recipients of the Ellender Award, celebrated a gentlemen’s breakfast, a Mass in the James B. Branton Chapel by Fr. Paul Hart ’70 and Bishop Robert Muench ‘60 CJ, and a cocktail reception at the home of Karen and 2011 Alumnus of Year Chuck Stall '76.
Caruso can be described as a “Man of Faith in Action” because of his devotion to his faith, family, profession, and alma mater. This Crusader alumnus, who was involved in Band and NJROTC at Brother Martin, has filled his life with service to others and continues to carry out the charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart and their lay partners in mission. Caruso adds that it’s the “charism which makes it possible for an average kid who grew up in a barely middle-class home with hard-working parents who operated a po- boy shop in Central City to be standing here accepting such an honor.” In his remarks, he commented that he felt blessed by God and does not take one day for granted. He thanked his wife, Erin, for her support and for being his biggest fan along with his Class of 1979 classmates.
During the luncheon, Caruso also quoted our school’s namesake, Bro. Martin Hernandez, S.C. who said, “We are not here to teach boys how to make a living, but how to make a life.”
He summed up his appreciation for having the privilege of witnessing firsthand the Brothers and their lay partners’ great work at Brother Martin High School.
Thank you to the Caruso’s, family, friends, Class of 1979, and school administration who were all in attendance at the 2018 Senator Allen J. Ellender Alumnus of the Year weekend.
The Senator Allen J. Ellender Alumnus of the Year award is presented annually by the Board of Directors of Brother Martin High School to an alumnus selected for contributions to his profession and for his religious, civic, business, educational, and community involvement.
About Joseph J. “Joe” Caruso, Jr. ’79:
Joe is currently the Executive Vice President and Chief Audit Executive with IBERIABANK Corporation in New Orleans. He is a member of the Senior Leadership team of this $28 billion regional bank holding company and is responsible for providing advice and counsel on risk management and internal controls to the Board of Directors’ Audit Committee, Senior Management, and various bank committees. He reports functionally to the Board of Directors’ Audit Committee. Joe possesses an extensive compliance background in banking, finance, trust, enterprise risk management and governance.
Prior to joining IBERIABANK Corporation in 2011, Joe served as Senior Vice President and Regional Audit Director for Capital One Bank (formerly Hibernia National Bank) for twenty-four years. He also spent three years as a Senior Auditor with Grant Thornton, Certified Public Accountants.
Joe is a Louisiana Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Fiduciary & Investment Risk Specialist. He is affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Louisiana Society of Certified Public Accountants, The Fiduciary and Investment Risk Management Association and the Institute of Internal Auditors – New Orleans Chapter.
After graduating from Brother Martin High School in 1979, Joe attended the University of Holy Cross, where he received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting.
Joe is the recipient of the 2016 Cor Et Mentem Award from the University of Holy Cross for service to the university and community. In 2011, he received the Servus Fidelis Award, the Willwoods Community honor for dedication and service to the entity’s ministries. He was honored in 2001 with the Charles Keller Memorial Award, United Way’s highest honor for distinguished volunteer service and commitment to the community. He was also named the 1998 Alumnus of the Year for the University of Holy Cross.
Joe is a member of the Brother Martin High School Board of Directors. He serves as Co-Chair of the Brother Martin Phase III Capital Campaign, Chairman of the Brother Martin Prayer Breakfast Committee and a member of the President’s Dinner Committee.
Joe is a former board member of the St. Aloysius Century Foundation and previously served on the Phase II Capital Campaign, Alumni Giving and the Class of 1979 reunion committees.
Joe is also a member of the Board of Trustees for Willwoods Community as Chairman of the Finance Committee, the Board of Trustees of Notre Dame Seminary and a member of the Community Impact Committee for United Way of Southeast Louisiana where he serves as Co-Chair of the Audit Committee.