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Northwestern State University of Louisiana (2009)

Brief Description:

Northwestern State University of Louisiana stands on ground that has been dedicated to learning for 125 years. Although, primarily a regional institution, Northwestern also offers an opportunity for education at other satellite locations. Specifically, distance learning is available in Leesville, Shreveport, Alexandria, and Jonesville. Northwestern was the first institution in Louisiana to gain 100 percent accreditation of all eligible academic programs. That designation shows that the academic programs at NSU meet the highest standards set by national accrediting agencies. Life outside the classroom is also an important part of the University. Northwestern offers its students more than 100 student organizations ranging from fraternities and sororities to honor societies and clubs for different majors as well as a Division I athletic program that is one of the nation's most successful.

Mission Statement:

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 will prepare its students to become productive members of society and will promote economic development and improvements in the quality of life of the citizens in its region.

Major Accomplishments:

    • Alternative teacher certification programs at Northwestern State University are recognized by the Louisiana Board of Regents as one of the most effective in Louisiana. In a 2007-2008 study, Value Added Teacher Preparation Assessment, alternative certification programs at Northwestern are preparing new teachers whose teaching effectiveness is equivalent to experienced certified teachers.
    • Service-Learning: Northwestern’s Office of Service-Learning supports the University's commitment to the creation, dissemination, and acquisition of knowledge through teaching, research, and service. Service-Learning is a teaching technique in which students participate in a community service activity that is directly related to the academic objectives of a course and/or major field of study.

    At Northwestern, service-learning has been successfully integrated into graduate and undergraduate courses with projects addressing education, health, child advocacy, public safety, and the environment. Through participation in service-learning, students integrate what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. As a result of the reciprocal relationship between school and community, students gain relevant, hands-on experience while also improving the quality of life of citizens in our region. Jim Croce, NATIONALLY known singer and songwriter, made his final appearance in a concert on the Northwestern campus in the 1970’s. He died in a plane crash in Natchitoches following that concert, and the city and university have been featured in several NATIONALLY televised documentaries on his life and music.  

    • Northwestern Green: Northwestern State University of Louisiana encourages education, research, and action focused on the environment, energy conservation, and sustainability. A component of this initiative also addresses the importance of a healthy student-body, campus, and community.

    Across disciplines, Northwestern faculty and students have chosen to focus on important areas such as energy conservation, sustainability, and local, organic gardening. A decision to adopt a ‘Green’ theme for NSU’s 22nd Annual Research Day will highlight research and other academic endeavors focused on the environment.

    Outside the classroom, student groups and organizations participate in recycling, campus beautification, and related activities. A Northwestern Green Advisory Board has been established and consists of students, faculty, administrators, and community partners. In addition, the University seeks to identify areas on campus where improvements will reduce energy consumption. NSU is proud to support thinking and acting in an environmentally responsible way.

    • The annual Natchitoches Christmas Festival, which involves the NSU Marching Band, cheerleaders and other groups, is one of the NATION’S most popular tourist attractions and has been listed by the American Bus Association as one of the Top 100 Events in North America.
    • Kiplinger Magazine has listed Natchitoches as one of the top six places in the NATION to retire, partly because of the city’s college town atmosphere and the cultural, educational and recreational opportunities available at Northwestern.
    • Because of the emphasis in Natchitoches and at NSU on historic preservation, Natchitoches has received NATIONAL designation as a Preserve America Community and has been cited by the NATIONAL Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the NATION’S Dozen Distinctive Destinations.
    • The NSU Demon basketball team captured the hearts of basketball fans across the country with a last second victory over Iowa in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA NATIONAL championships. The Demons lost to West Virginia in the second round but received a flood of favorable recognition on CBS, ESPN and other major media outlets across the NATION during the tournament. Northwestern also played in the NATIONAL championship tournament in 2001.
    • NSU was a NATIONAL pioneer in electronic education and now has the most extensive distance learning program in Louisiana that allows students across the NATION to enroll in classes offered by the university.
    • Northwestern was the first university in Louisiana to achieve 100 percent NATIONAL accreditation of all academic programs and has maintained that accreditation in a number of reviews since the 100 percent level was attained.
    • Students in Northwestern’s College of Business Computer Information Systems program have won five consecutive NATIONAL championships in academic competition in systems analysis.
    • Northwestern is a partner with the NATIONAL Park Service in the Cane River Creole NATIONAL Historical Park, and the university’s Creole Heritage Center serves the NATIONAL Creole population.
    • NSU students have received in recent years a Marshall Scholarship, a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and numerous other NATIONAL scholarships, honors ands awards.

Significant Accomplishments (Sports)

  • Northwestern has been a trailblazer in women’s athletics among Louisiana universities. In 1975, NSU became the first state-funded university in Louisiana to issue full athletic scholarships to women, with the creation and awarding of 10 scholarships. Seven years earlier, Northwestern hosted the state’s first summer basketball camp for high school girls.

  • In 2006, a Demon basketball victory netted $107,000 for the NSU general scholarship fund. The last-second, game-winning 3-point basket by senior guard Jermaine Wallace lifted coach Mike McConathy’s 2005-06 Demons over 15th-ranked Iowa on March 17, 2006 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. That play was voted by fans around the country as the “Pontiac Game Changing Performance” of the 2006 tournament, winning the scholarship funds for the university.

  • In 1981, the Northwestern 4x100 meter relay quartet of Victor Oatis, Joe Delaney, Mario Johnson and Mark Duper thrilled the home fans at LSU’s Bernie Moore Track Stadium by winning the NCAA Division I championship in that event. Delaney and Duper went on to become pro football stars. Today, NSU remains the only university from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) to win a relay title, men or women, at the NCAA indoor or outdoor Division I Track and Field Championships.

  • Northwestern currently,  and consistently, possesses the largest sports trophy in the world. The 7-foot, 6-inch, 320-pound wooden statue of a mythical Native American was created in 1961 for the winning team in the football rivalry between NSU and neighboring Stephen F. Austin. The teams, Southland Conference foes since 1987, meet in the final regular-season game each November in the annual “Battle for Chief Caddo.” NSU has won two of every three matchups in the series.

  • Basketball coach Mike McConathy has built a family atmosphere around the Demons’ program in his 10 seasons, especially recently. His two sons, Michael and Logan, attend NSU on academic scholarships and play basketball. It is only the second time in the last 30-plus years of NCAA Division I basketball that a father has coached two sons on the same team.

  • Currently seven former Demons play, or coach, in the National Football League, headed by All-Pro kick returner and cornerback Terrence McGee of the Buffalo Bills. Six of the seven Demons in the NFL have undergraduate degrees from Northwestern. Among NSU’s most prominent NFL Alumni are Pro Football Hall of Fame tight end Jackie Smith, McGee and six other Demons who played in the Pro Bowl or a pro All-Star game in their careers:  Charlie Hennigan, Charlie Tolar, Mark Duper, Joe Delaney, John Stephens and Bobby Hebert.


Fun Facts:

  •  Football players can’t step on the Demon head sewn into the carpet in the middle of the locker room.
  •  Lady Demon basketball seniors sign blocks in the wall of their locker room.
  • The popular movie “Steel Magnolias” was filmed in Natchitoches in 1988, and the sound stages for the production were on the campus of Northwestern, which received national attention from the film. John Wayne and William Holden also mixed and mingled with NSU students when the motion picture “Horse Soldiers” was filmed in Natchitoches in the 1950’s.
  • Northwestern has achieved national attention over the years, including a 2002 visit from television superstar Oprah Winfrey. Oprah appeared in the NSU Homecoming Parade, had NSU President Dr. Randy Webb as a guest on her show and called Natchitoches “the greatest little city in America.”
  • Northwestern was founded in 1884 and is located in the oldest permanent settlement in the Louisiana Purchase Territory. The historical importance of the university is reflected in the fact that the “Normal Hill” section of the campus has been listed since 1980 in the NATIONAL Register of Historic Places


Notable Alumni:


  • Government Officials


    William J. (Bill) Dodd- Former Louisiana Lieutenant Governor, State Representative, and State Auditor.

    Mary Evelyn Parker- Former Louisiana State Treasurer. Representative

    Jimmy Long- Former Louisiana legislator and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, University of Louisiana System.

    Judge Rebecca F. Doherty- First female federal judge for the western district of Louisiana.

    Joe R. Salter- Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives.

  • Entrepreneurs, Celebrities, Ranking Officials


    Dr. Carolyn Leach Huntoon-Director of space and life sciences at the Johnson Space Center in Houston.

    David Morgan- Founder of Association Member Benefits Advisors.

    Karl Moore- Top official in the International Paper Company.

    Robert Harling- Motion picture screen writer director, author of the film Steel Magnolias.

    Theodore H. Roberts- President of La Salle National Corporation.

    Daniel Lee Chase- Founder of Dan Chase Taxidermy, developer of “quick tan system” for animal skins.

    Jackie Smith- 16 year NFL player, appeared in five pro-bowls and Super Bowl XII.

    Jimmy Patterson- President of Sibling Financial, LLC and founder of Patterson Insurance Group.

    Bobby Hebert- Former NFL Football Player with New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons.

    Raymond Strother- Leading political consultant.

    Theodore L. Jones-Distinguished tax attorney and political consultant.

    Gary Fields- Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.

    Joseph G. Dow- Founder of Dow Fence & Supply Company.

    Coach Gayle Hatch- Coach of 2004 United States Olympic Team for weightlifting.

    Lela Mae Lea Wilkes- President of Brown-Eagle Group.

    Dr. Robert Eugene Easley- Received the Presidential Rank of Meritorious Executive and the NASA Exceptional Service Medal.

    John A. Manno, Jr.- Co-owner of Southland Printing Co.

    Valsin A. Marmillion- Founder of Marmillion & Company, one of the top campaign strategists in the country.

  • Educators


    Dr. William V. Muse- President of Auburn University and the University of Akron. International President of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity.

    Robert Charles Brown, Ph.D.- President of Arkansas Tech University.

    Randy Moffett, Former President of Southeastern Louisiana University, President of the University of Louisiana System.

  • Military Officials


    Admiral Ronald J. Hays-Distinguished Military Commander.

    MAJ. GEN. Guy A.J. LaBoa- Director of Operations, Forces Command at Fort McPherson, GA.

    MAJ. GEN. Claire Lee Chennault- Major General and Commander of the Flying Tigers.

    LTG Joseph M. Cosumano, Jr.- Commanding General of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and U.S. Army Space Command.




    “I love NSU because coming from out of state was really scary, but Northwestern was so friendly and helpful that I had no problem fitting in! I am so proud to be a part of something that has been around 125 years. It has the small town feel and that really made me feel at home!”
    - Jordan McLamore – Paris, TX  

    “I love Northwestern's friendly and welcoming environment. It really feels like a home away from home. You can't beat the quality education, the caring faculty, and the numerous opportunities and organizations offered on campus.”
    - Brittany Pippin – Lake Providence, LA  

    “I love Northwestern because everywhere you go on campus you can hear music. Whether it's the sound of laughter, the sound of conversation between strangers, or the sounds coming from the music building, they all have a unique and beautiful melody.”
    - Malcolm Smoot - Bunkie, LA  

    “You can’t beat the hospitality of Natchitoches or that of NSU. The staff here makes me feel like I am a top priority. Happy Birthday NSU!”
    - Roneeka Hill – La Place, LA  

    “I am so proud to be a part of a 125 year tradition. NSU is a tradition in my family and one I plan to carry on in the future. Northwestern State truly is a part of me and I am grateful for the time I have had and will continue to have here.”
    - Brooke Nielsen – Natchitoches, LA  


  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662