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Northwestern State University

Northwestern State University of Louisiana is a four-year public university primarily situated in Natchitoches, Louisiana, United States, with a nursing campus in Shreveport and general campuses in Leesville/Fort Polk and Alexandria.



444 Caspari St
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White Purple

College History


Northwestern State University stands on ground that has been dedicated to learning for well over a hundred years. Prior to the American Civil War, a portion of the present campus was the property of the Bullard family of Natchitoches. As early as 1856, the Bullard mansion was in use as a convent by the Religious Society of the Sacred Heart. The following year a school building was erected at the convent and in 1884 the town and parish of Natchitoches purchased the property. Three of the four great white columns that once supported the east gable of the mansion still stand on �The Hill� and serve as the unofficial symbols of the university. The campus, developed upon rolling hills and high river bottomland, is acknowledged to be one of the most spacious and attractive in the South. The natural beauty of the site drew people to it even in prehistoric times. Long the home of a major Indian tribe for which it was named, the French fortified Natchitoches in 1714 as an outpost of their New World Empire facing Spanish Texas to the west. In 1884, the Louisiana State Legislature by Act 51 created the Louisiana State Normal School for the preparation of teachers. Shortly thereafter, a freshman member of the Louisiana House of Representatives, Leopold Caspari of Natchitoches, offered the convent site as a campus for the school with the anticipated approval of the citizens of Natchitoches. The offer was accepted, and from 1885 to 1918 the Normal School offered two years of study for the training of teachers. Baccalaureate programs were inaugurated, and the Louisiana Constitution of 1921, changed the name of the school to Louisiana State Normal College. The resources and curricula of "Normal" grew steadily to meet the increasingly diverse requirements of Louisiana�s expanding population. In 1944, the institution�s excellent service in its broader role was accorded formal recognition by Act 326 of the Legislature, which changed its name to Northwestern State College of Louisiana. Northwestern State maintained and strengthened its long tradition of leadership in public service and academic endeavor and became, in 1954, the first college under the jurisdiction of the Louisiana State Board of Education to offer the Master�s degree. The Specialist in Education degree was first offered in 1966 and the Doctor of Philosophy in Education degrees were authorized in 1967. On June 18, 1970, Governor John J. McKeithen signed a legislative act that brought the old campus its greatest distinction, changing its title to Northwestern State University of Louisiana. In 1980, the old campus quadrangle where the columns stand was entered into the National Register of Historic Places under the title �Normal Hill Historic District.� Although primarily a regional institution, Northwestern State also offers an opportunity for education at satellite locations, including Leesville, Shreveport, and Alexandria. In addition to academics, these centers are also developing student life programs. The Nursing Education Center, located in Shreveport, provides the educational environment for nursing majors enrolled in clinical courses as well as general education courses. The Center houses departments administering masters, baccalaureate and associate degree programs. The campus includes state-of-the-art academic facilities, office space for faculty and staff, a bookstore, and facilities for activities and organizations. Excerpt from University Student Handbook A.A. Fredericks was president of NSU from 1934-1941. He was later a member of the Louisiana State Senate and the private secretary on two occasions to Governor Earl Kemp Long. Fredericks obtained his teaching credentials from Northwestern Normal in 1912. The A.A. Fredericks Auditorium on campus commemorates his memory. Eugene P. Watson of Natchitoches, for whom the NSU library is named, was head librarian and professor of library science from 1940 until his death in 1964. He founded Alpha Beta Alpha, the national library science fraternity. The group held its first biennial convention on the NSU campus in 1952. The centennial history of NSU (1884�1984) was published by the NSU Press in 1985 by the historian Marietta LeBreton, who taught forty-five years at the institution, from 1963 until her sudden death in 2009.

College Specialty


Northwestern State University is a responsive, student-oriented institution that is committed to the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. The University maintains as its highest priority excellence in teaching in graduate and undergraduate programs. Northwestern State University prepares its students to become productive members of society and promotes economic development and improvements in the quality of life of the citizens in its region.



Tommy G. Armstrong (born 1941), Class of 1967, real estate developer and retired politician in Shreveport Robert W. Bates (born 1941), agent of the United States Secret Service from 1965 to 1976; commercial horticultural nurseryman in Forest Hill in Rapides Parish Jesse L. Boucher (1912�2004), Class of 1935, real estate developer and former mayor of Springhill, Louisiana Thomas "Bud" Brady (1938-2011, Class of 1962), member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from La Salle Parish from 1976 to 1988; radio personality, real estate appraiser Henry Burns, bakery owner and Republican member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Bossier Parish, obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in upper elementary education from Northwestern State. Robert DeBlieux (1933�2010), was an historical preservationist who developed the Natchitoches Historic District and served as mayor from 1976�1980 Virginia deGravelles, Louisiana Republican national committeewoman from 1964�1968, began her studies at Northwestern State in 1931 but graduated from Louisiana State University. Joe Delaney, NFL running back for the Kansas City Chiefs and 1981 Rookie of the Year, who died in 1983 attempting to rescue three children from drowning. Historian Henry C. Dethloff, author of more than two dozen books on American business, the space program, agriculture, petroleum drilling, and the history of Texas A&M University obtained his Master of Arts degree from Northwestern State in 1960. Former Louisiana Lieutenant Governor and Education Superintendent William J. "Bill" Dodd graduated from then Louisiana Normal in 1934, the year that A.A. Fredericks became the president. Everett Doerge (1935�1998) and his wife, Jean McGlothlin Doerge, graduated from NSU. Each has served as a state representative from Webster Parish and were formerly on the faculty of Minden High School. Lindsey Evans, model, known for being in the music video Blurred Lines James R. Fannin, a Louisiana state representative from Jackson, Bienville, Ouachita, and Winn parishes, began his studies at NSU in agriculture education but graduated in that same field from Louisiana Tech University. Dan Flores, a Natchitoches native and an historian of the American West, received his Master of Arts degree from NSU prior to 1980. Paul Lee Foshee, Sr., retired crop duster, served in both houses of the Louisiana legislature, the House from 1960�1964 and the state Senate from 1972�1976. John B. Fournet, the Speaker of the Louisiana House during the Huey Pierce Long, Jr., impeachment case of 1929 and later lieutenant governor and associate and Chief Justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court, received his teaching degree from Northwestern State in 1915. Another Northwestern State alumnus is former Elections Commissioner and convicted felon Jerry Marston Fowler, a Coushatta native. A.A. Fredericks, former NSU president and a state senator, procured his teaching credentials from NSU in 1912. The A.A. Fredericks Auditorium is named in his honor. NSU alumnus Dennis Freeman (1940�2007) served as mayor of nearby Logansport from 1984 until his death. He was credit with securing a new bridge over the Sabine River to connect Louisiana and Texas Robert Harling (born 1960), movie screenwriter, producer and director. T. H. Harris, the Louisiana state education superintendent from 1908�1940, studied at NSU but received his bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Former State Senator Donald G. Kelly is an NSU alumnus. He then procured his law degree from LSU. Bobby Hebert, Current New Orleans radio personality and former NFL Quarterback for the New Orleans Saints and the Atlanta Falcons. Donald Gray Horton (1945-2013), Demons football player and long-term president of the NSU Athletic Association, practiced law in Coushatta, half-owner of The Famous Natchitoches Louisiana Meat Pie Company Carolyn Huntoon, scientist with NASA and the first woman director of the Johnson Space Center, received her undergraduate degree from NSU in 1962 Theodore "Ted" Jones, Louisiana lawyer, lobbyist, and political appointee graduated from NSU in 1960 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. He is an inductee of the NSU "Long Purple Line of Distinguished Alumni". Still another political figure who graduated from NSU is State Senator Gerald Long, a Republican member of the Long political dynasty. U.S. Representative and State Senator Speedy O. Long (1928�2006) graduated with his bachelors degree in history from NSU in 1951. He later procured his law degree from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Mr. Long was inducted posthumously into Northwestern State University's "Long Purple Line" on October 24, 2008. Northwestern State University established The Long Purple Line in 1990 to provide recognition and appreciation to former N.S.U. students whose career accomplishments or service to their fellow man have enhanced the reputation of the university. Michael McConathy, point guard for NSU, best known for appearing on ESPN's Top Ten Plays Billy McCormack, Southern Baptist pastor in Shreveport, and one of four national directors of the Christian Coalition of America, received bachelor's and master's degrees from NSU. Garnie W. McGinty, Louisiana historian graduated from NSU and served as NSU president on a one-year interim basis. Most of his career was at Louisiana Tech University. Louisiana State Senator Joe McPherson, who has represents Rapides Parish from 1984�1996 and again since 2000, graduated from NSU. Harry Middleton, famed outdoor writer. Newt V. Mills, U.S. representative from Louisiana's 5th congressional district from 1937 to 1943, studied professional education at NSU and taught in Morehouse Parish from 1921 to 1932. Randy Moffett, president of the University of Louisiana System (ULS) and formerly president of Southeastern Louisiana University received his master's degree from Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Sammy Joe Odom (1941�2001), a football star at NSU in 1962 and 1963, later played with the Houston Oilers. At the time of his death, he was the administrator of the De Soto Parish Police Jury. He was among the 100 Top Football Players at NSU, as announced in July 2007 as part of the centennial celebration of the football team. Ed Orgeron played football at Northwestern State University after transferring from Louisiana State University in 1978. He later went on to be on coaching staffs at Northwestern State University, McNeese State University, University of Arkansas, University of Miami, Nicholls State University, Syracuse University, The University of Southern California, The University of Mississippi, and the New Orleans Saints. As of 2009 he is the Assistant Head Coach and Defensive Line Coach for the Tennessee Volunteers and also serves as the recruiting co-ordinator. Morgan D. Peoples, the Louisiana historian who co-authored with Michal Kurtz a definitive study of Governor Earl Kemp Long, received his Bachelor of Arts degree from NSU, and later taught for twenty years at Louisiana Tech University. Joe R. Salter, former Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Sabine Parish and current lobbyist for the state Department of Education, graduated from NSU in 1965 and later procured a master's degree from the institution. Joe Sampite (1931-2012) graduated in 1959 with a bachelor's degree in business education. He was the mayor of Natchitoches from 1980 to 2000. W. Ray Scott, another NSU graduate, served as mayor of Natchitoches from 1960�1976 and worked to procure university status and expanded facilities for the institution. Eddy Shell (1937�2008) was a founding faculty member of Bossier Parish Community College and served on the Bossier Parish Police Jury from 1992 until his death of cancer. He pursued graduate studies at Northwestern State. Jane H. Smith is the first woman to have served as a principal, school superintendent, and a member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Bossier Parish. A Sabine Parish native, she received bachelor's and master's degrees in education from NSU. Kenneth Michael "Mike" Smith, a former state senator (1996�2008) graduated from NSU in agribusiness in 1970. He is co-owner of P.K. Smith Motors in Winnfield.7] Victor T. "Vic" Stelly (born 1941), former Republican state representative from Calcasieu Parish and author of the Stelly Plan, received his Bachelor of Science in education from NSU in 1962.8] Raymond Strother, regional and national political consultant, attended NSU from 1958 to 19609] William E. Tilley This 1963 graduate from NSU received his Juris Doctorate from Loyola University School of Law in New Orleans in 1971. After an election in 1972 he served as President of the Vernon Parish School Board; from 1975-1978 he served as Assistant District Attorney and First Assistant District Attorney, for the 30th Judicial District; and in 1978 he was elected Vernon Parish District Attorney where he served unopposed until retirement in January, 2009. Thomas Taylor Townsend, state representative from Natchitoches Parish from 2000�2008, received a Bachelor of Science degree from NSU. William Stewart Walker was a United States Army officer during World War II and a Republican candidate for the United States House of Representatives in 1964. He also taught military science at Northwestern State during the early 1960s. Darryl Willis (1991), BP vice president in charge of claims in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill who is featured in many BP commercials. Ernest Wooton (born 1941), a state representative from Belle Chasse and an Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2010, attended NSU. Jim Hawthorne, Director of broadcasting for LSU athletics and "voice" of LSU Tigers football, basketball, and baseball. Successful athletic alumni are Terrence McGee, David Pittman, Craig Nall, Gary Reasons, Kenta Bell, Bobby Hebert, Jackie Smith, Brian Lawrence and Dennis Duncan.