Northwestern State University
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2013)|
- For other universities with a similar name, see Northwestern University (disambiguation).
|Northwestern State University
|Louisiana State Normal School|
|Motto||Students Today. Leaders Tomorrow.|
|Location||Natchitoches, Louisiana, USA
|Campus||Rural, 916 acres (371 ha)|
|Colors||Purple & White|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I FCS – Southland|
|Nickname||Demons / Lady Demons|
|Mascot||Vic the Demon|
Northwestern State University of Louisiana (NSU) 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. It is a part of the University of Louisiana System.
NSU was founded in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School. It was the first school in Louisiana to offer degree programs in nursing and business education. NSU, along with numerous other state colleges, gained university status in 1970 during the administration of President Arnold R. Kilpatrick, a Northwestern State alumnus who served from 1966 to 1978. Kilpatrick succeeded the 12-year president, John S. Kyser, a native of El Paso, Illinois.
NSU was one of the first six colleges to enter into NASA's Joint Venture Program ("JOVE"). Students worked with NASA scientists to help analyze data and do research for the 1996 Space Shuttle Columbia shuttle mission. NSU also hosts the Louisiana Scholars' College, Louisiana's designated honors college in the liberal arts and sciences. The Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, a state supported residential high school for sophomores, juniors and seniors, is also located on the campus. It was a brainchild of former State Representative Jimmy D. Long of Natchitoches, who also attended NSU.
NSU offers more than 50 degree programs and complete accreditation of all of its accreditable degree programs.[clarification needed] Fall 2011 total enrollment was 9,191 (8,080 undergraduates), a decline from Fall 2004's record enrollment of 10,546. NSU also claims more than 70,000 alumni.
- 1 History
- 2 Academics
- 3 Student media
- 4 Athletics
- 5 Greek life
- 5.1 Sororities
- 5.2 Fraternities
- 5.3 Academic/Professional
- 6 Lady of the Bracelet pageant
- 7 ROTC
- 8 Archive
- 9 Notable alumni
- 10 Notable faculty and administrators
- 11 References
- 12 External links
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.
The Legend of Isabella
Isabella was a young French maiden, renowned for her beauty, who once lived in the original Bullard mansion after the Bullards were gone. The young lady had many suitors but preferred the company of a young man from the East, sent to Louisiana on business. They fell in love and were to be married. Shortly before the wedding date arrived, the young man was killed in a duel. Legend has it that the duel concerned a dispute over another woman.
Isabella, overcome by grief, became a nun, and the French maiden’s beauty wasted away through constant mourning of her intended. Everyone believed she had gone mad from grief and mourning. One stormy night she ended her mourning by plunging a dagger into her heart. Soon after she was found dead in her room, with a bloody handprint on the wall.
Her spirit roamed Bullard mansion until it was torn down. Since then she has roamed various buildings on campus. She lived in East Hall until it was torn down in 1926. This was evidenced by the eyewitness accounts of girls who lived in East Hall. From there, Isabella's spirit moved to the Music Hall and resided there until 1948 then that building was also torn down. Just before the Music Hall was dismantled, a group of young men, dressed in sheets, coaxed Isabella from the doomed building.
From there she wandered aimlessly around campus from building to building (including East Varnado) for almost three years, until, becoming weary, she chose Caldwell Hall as her next residence. Speculation has it that Caldwell was chosen because of its close proximity to the original Bullard dwelling. According to newspaper articles, the official date of the move was January 15, 1949. Reportedly a letter from the ghost was found on the steps of Caldwell along with a few drops of blood.
Isabella's current residence is the Old Women’s Gym located on College Avenue beside Varnado Hall. When Caldwell Hall burned in October 1982, a group of 750 students gathered and performed a ceremony on Halloween night that aided Isabella in her transition to her present location.
Vic the Demon
On November 8, 1922, by proclamation of President V. L. Roy and Coach H. Lee Prather, all athletic teams became known as the Demons. The name was decided upon by a contest open to all students with a grand prize of $10. A committee was appointed by the President to narrow down the names submitted by the student body. The final selection was decided by a vote of the students. The two most popular choices were Braves and Demons. Among other names submitted by students were Sharks, Daredevils, Musketeers, Pelicans, Prather’s Ground Hogs, Bloodhounds, Cyclops, and Serpents. The official winners were Aileen Ritter and Truett Scarborough.
On September 22, 1984, the Demon received his official given name by means of another contest sponsored by the Athletic Department. The contest was open to faculty, staff, and students. The objective: to find a name for the Demon. Over 300 entries were submitted to the committee. The grand prize was an all expense paid weekend at the Louisiana State Fair Classic. Ray Carney, an alumnus of the university, was the official winner with "Vic," which is short for "Victory".
|U.S. News & World Report||87 (South)|
|Master's University class|
- Associate Degree (A.D.)
- Business Administration
- Veterinary Technology
- Associate of Arts (A.A.)
- Criminal Justice, with concentration in: Emergency Management
- Associate of General Studies (A.G.S.)
- General Studies, with concentrations: Child Development, Radiological Sciences
- Associate of Science in Nursing (A.S.N.)
- Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.S.)
- Allied Health, with concentrations in Health Science and Technology
- Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
- Communication, with concentrations in: Mass Communication, Organizational Communication, Rhetoric
- Criminal Justice
- English, with concentrations in: Film Studies, Folklife-Southern Culture, Literature, Professional Writing
- Liberal Arts, with concentrations in: Entertainment Technology, Ethnoarchaeology, Fine and Performing Arts, Foreign Language, Geography, Humanities and Social Thought, International Relations, Philosophy, Politics and Law, Scientific Inquiry, Social Issues
- Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
- Fine and Graphic Arts, with concentrations: Graphic Communication, Studio Art
- Bachelor of General Studies (B.G.S.)
- General Studies, with concentrations in: Arts and Communication, Computer and Natural science, Creole Studies, Professional Studies, Social Science
- Bachelor of Music (B.M.)
- Music, with concentrations in: Performance, Sacred Music
- Bachelor of Music Education (B.M.E.)
- Music Education-Instrumental, Grades K-12
- Music Education-Vocal, Grades K-12
- Music Education-Vocal/Instrumental, Grades K-12
- Bachelor of Science (B.S.)
- Addiction Studies
- Biology, with concentrations in: Bioinformatics, Biomedical, Clinical Laboratory Science, Forensic Science, Natural Science, Veterinary Technology
- Business Administration, with concentrations in: Finance, Management, Marketing
- Computer Information Systems
- Early Childhood Education, Grades Pre-K-3
- Electronics Engineering Technology, with concentrations in: Biomedical, Electronics
- Elementary Education, Grades 1-5
- Family and Consumer Sciences, with concentrations in: Child Development and Family Relations, Consumer Services
- Health and Exercise Science, with concentration in: Health Science
- Health and Physical Education, Grades K-12
- Hospitality Management and Tourism, with concentrations in: Culinary Arts, Hospitality Services, Travel and Tourism
- Industrial Engineering Technology
- Mathematics, with concentration in: Healthcare Informatics
- Physical Sciences
- Psychology, with concentrations in: Prevention Specialist, Substance Abuse
- Radiologic Sciences
- Secondary Education and Teaching, with concentrations in: Biology Education, Business Education, English Education, Mathematics Education, Social Studies Education
- Theatre, with concentrations in: Dance Performance, Design/Technology, Musical Theatre Performance, Performance/Directing
- Unified Public Safety Administration, with concentrations in: Law Enforcement Administration, Fire and Emergency Medical Services Administration, Emergency Management Administration, Public Facility Management
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
- Bachelor of Science in Social Work (B.S.W.)
- Social Work
In 1954, State Representatives Monnie T. Cheves and Curtis Boozman, along with State Senator Sylvan Friedman, pushed for passage of legislation to permit Northwestern to confer master of education degrees. The measure, known as House Bill 343, was signed into law by Governor Robert F. Kennon. Originally known as "Normal", Northwestern was for many years the only state-supported teacher education institution in the state.
- Master of Arts (M.A.)
- Adult Education, with concentrations in: Continuing Education, Homeland Security, Technology Management
- English, with concentrations in: folklife/southern culture, literature, writing and linguistics, on-line
- School Counseling
- Student Personnel Services
- Master of Arts in Technology (M.A.T.)
- Early Childhood Education Grades PK-3, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Elementary Education Grades 1-5, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Elementary Education & Special Education Mild/Moderate, Grades 1-5, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Middle School Education Grades 4-8, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Middle School Education & Special Education Mild/Moderate, Grades 4-8, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Secondary Education Grades 6-12, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Secondary Education & Special Education Mild/Moderate, Grades 6-12, with a concentration in: professional studies
- Master of Education (M.Ed.)
- Curriculum and Instruction, with concentrations in: English education, professional teaching standards for the teacher leader, reading, school librarian, transition to teaching
- Early Childhood Education
- Educational Leadership
- Educational Technology Leadership
- Special Education, with concentrations in: early intervention, gifted education, elementary (grades 1-5) mild/moderate special education, middle school (grades 4-8) and secondary (grades 6-12) mild/moderate special education
- Master of Music (M.M.)
- Music, with concentrations in: music education, performance
- Master of Science (M.S.)
- Psychology, Clinical, with concentration in: substance abuse
- Health and Human Performance, with concentrations in: health promotion, physical education, sport administration
- Radiologic Sciences, with concentrations in: radiologic sciences education, radiologic sciences administration
- Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.)
- Nursing, with concentrations in: acute care nurse practitioner, adult nursing, critical care nursing of the adult, family nurse practitioner, maternal child and family nursing, mental health/psychiatric, neonatal nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner
- Educational Specialist (Ed.S.)
- Educational Leadership & Instruction, with concentrations in: educational leadership, educational technology, special education
College of Science, Technology & Business
- School of Business
- Associate of Science in Business Administration
- Bachelor of Science in Accounting
- Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
- Department of Biological Sciences
Its student-run weekly newspaper, The Current Sauce, was founded in 1914. Its annual student-run yearbook is called The Potpourri.
There is also a student-run radio station, The Demon (KNWD 91.7 FM) and a faculty-administrated and student-operated local television station, NSU22, on which can be found bi-weekly student-produced newscasts.
NSU's literary magazine is called The Argus. It is student-run and published during the spring semester. The magazine content is provided by competitions in various fields of writing and artwork.
The Northwestern State athletic teams go by the Demons, with women's athletic teams generally called the Lady Demons, and its mascot is Vic the Demon. The university is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and competes in the Southland Conference at the NCAA Division I level. Northwestern State sponsors 12 varsity athletic teams, 5 men's teams and 7 women's teams.
National Panhellenic Conference Affiliates
- Delta Zeta 1927 (closed 1985)
- Sigma Sigma Sigma 1928
- Alpha Sigma Alpha 1930-1971; 2002-2013 (closed 2013)
- Alpha Gamma Delta 1959 (closed 1963)
- Sigma Kappa 1959 (closed 1995)
- Phi Mu 1968
- Alpha Omicron Pi 1997
National Pan-Hellenic Council Affiliates
- Alpha Kappa Alpha 1973
- Sigma Gamma Rho (Closed 1979. Reinstalled 1990)
- Delta Sigma Theta 1972
- Zeta Phi Beta 1974
- Tau Beta Sigma 1987
National Pan-Hellenic Council Affiliates
North-American Interfraternity Conference Affiliates
- Pi Kappa Phi 1956
- Tau Kappa Epsilon 1957
- Kappa Alpha Order 1963
- Kappa Sigma 1966
- Theta Chi 1973
- Sigma Nu 1997
- Pi Kappa Alpha 2014
- Delta Upsilon (closed 2004)
- Sigma Tau Gamma 1929 (closed 1991)
Lady of the Bracelet pageant
The Lady of the Bracelet pageant (commonly referred to as LOB) is a long-standing competition which scholarships are awarded to female students. The first place winner of the pageant is awarded the title of "Lady of the Bracelet" for one year.
The program is under the direction of the Director of Student Activities and the Assistant Director of Student Activities of Northwestern State University. Contestants compete in several categories including interview, evening wear, and swimsuit competition. In addition to being bestowed the title of "Lady of the Bracelet" for the following year, the first place contestant receives a full scholarship and goes on to compete in the Miss Louisiana pageant, which can ultimately result in a berth to the Miss America pageant. It is traditionally held on the first Friday in February.
In the early 1920s, the Potpourri, Northwestern State’s yearbook, sponsored the first beauty pageant held on the university campus. The contestants were selected from photographs submitted to well-known producers for judgment and were chosen for their charm and beauty. In 1958, Miss Kahne Dipola was crowned the first Miss Lady of the Bracelet and she received a gold bracelet to wear when she represented the university in public. Over the years, the bracelet has been passed down to each holder of the title.
Through the efforts of Mr. Robert W. Wilson, Sr., the Student Union Governing Board purchased the first franchise from the Miss Louisiana Pageant in 1971, enabling Northwestern State's Lady of the Bracelet to enter the state contest. The Student Activities Board, formerly the Student Union Governing Board, has continued the tradition of sponsoring the Lady of the Bracelet Pageant for the enjoyment of the Northwestern State community. The Lady of the Bracelet pageant has gained state recognition for production, scholarship, and quality of contestants.
The current Lady of the Bracelet is Taylor Layman, of St. Gabriel, LA.
With an agreement signed between Northwestern State College and the Department of the United States Army, an anti-aircraft field artillery unit of the Reserve Officers Training Corps was established in the fall of 1950. In August 1950, the building to house the ROTC unit was authorized. The new military science program, under President Prather, enrolled its first students in the fall of 1950 with one officer and five enlisted men on the staff. By the end of the 1950-51 academic year 220 men had selected military training and the future of the program looked promising. In 1965, NSC under President Kyser signed an agreement with the department of Army stating that the Military Science Senior ROTC program would be provided with a university secretary, armory, and utilities. The NSU ROTC Department and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana mutually support Cadet Command by identifying quality soldiers with officer potential and in assisting them in transition from active duty under the college ROTC Green to Gold program. The NSU ROTC Demon Battalion has commissioned nearly 1000 Second Lieutenants into the United States Armed Services. Quite a few graduates have become distinguished Army Officers, including several General Officers. A Hall of Fame was begun in 1983. Portraits and biographies of the Hall of Fame members are on permanent display in the ROTC office foyer . NSU ROTC cadets have been selected to attend specialty schools in Germany and at West Point. Cadets have also participated in ceremonies commemorating the Bataan March in New Mexico, and supporting the Habitat for Humanity and Loggers Conventions. During the past two years, several renovation projects have been completed. The cadets have been able to enjoy a TV lounge, kitchen area and game room to include a billiards, ping pong and foosball. Notably, five NSU ROTC commissioned officers have been inducted into NSU’s highest Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line.
NSU maintains an archive through the Cammie G. Henry Research Center. Collections cover a diversity of individuals and topics. Materials may be accessed on such figures as Ethma Odum, the pioneering woman television personality at KALB-TV in Alexandria;James B. Aswell, Kate Chopin, Robert DeBlieux, Caroline Dormon, and the Cane River.
- Tommy G. Armstrong (born 1941), Class of 1967, real estate developer and retired politician in Shreveport
- William B. Atkins (born 1947), member of both houses of the Louisiana legislature from 1980 to 1988 from Catahoula Parish
- Julian Edwin Bailes, Sr. (1915-2010), city, district, and appeal court judge from Natchitoches
- 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.
- Monnie T. Cheves (1902-1988, Class of c. 1923), alumni and NSU education professor, and member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1952 to 1960
- Ed Cullen (born 1946), journalist with Baton Rouge Morning Advocate, attended three semesters in mid-1960s, left to join United States Navy, graduated in 1972 from Louisiana State University
- Charles Milton Cunningham (1877-1936), educator, attorney, publisher of The Natchitoches Times, and member of the Louisiana State Senate from 1915 to 1922
- William Tharp Cunningham, judge of the 11th Judicial District in Natchitoches and Red River parishes, member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Natchitoches Parish from 1908 to 1912
- Israel "Bo" Curtis (1932-2012), was an African-American Democrat member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Alexandria from 1992 to 2008 and the Rapides Parish School Board from 1976 to 1992; received master's degree in education from NSU
- 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.
- Herbert B. Dixon, African-American Democrat member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Alexandria from 2008 to 2014; member of the Rapides Parish School Board from 1992 to 2008; received master's degree from NSU
- 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.
- H. M. "Mutt" Fowler, a former member of the Louisiana House of Representatives from Coushatta, dropped out of NSU in March 1941 to enter the United States Army.
- Jerry Marston Fowler, nephew of H. M. Fowler and Louisiana commissioner of elections from 1980 to 2000, also attended NSU and was a Demons football player.
- 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.
- Cleone Hodges, professor of health and physical education at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, obtained teacher education at NSU
- 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".
- Malcolm Lafargue, U.S. attorney in Shreveport during the 1940s; defeated U. S. Senate candidate in 1950
- Gerald Long, rare Republican member of the Long political dynasty.
- U.S. Representative and State Senator Speedy O. Long 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.
- Mary Evelyn Parker (Class of 1941, 1920-2015), state treasurer from 1968 to 1987
- 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.
- John S. Pickett, Jr. (Class of 1942, 1920-2014), member of the Sabine Parish School Board 1960 to 1968, state representative 1968 to 1972, and state court judge in Many from 1972 to 1990
- 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.
- 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.
- Raymond Strother, regional and national political consultant, attended NSU from 1958 to 1960
- 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.
- Ollie Tyler (Graduate studies), mayor of Shreveport; former interim state superintendent of education, former Caddo Parish school superintendent
- 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.
Notable faculty and administrators
- James B. Aswell, president of NSU from 1908-1911, was the U.S. Representative for Louisiana's 8th congressional district (since defunct) from 1913 until his death in office in 1931.
- Thomas Duckett Boyd (1854-1932), president of NSU from 1888 to 1896; president of Louisiana State University from 1896 to 1926, professor of English and history
- John Ardis Cawthon (1907–1984), education professor and regional historian, taught at NSU from 1940-1942 before entering the United States Army, later at Louisiana Tech University from 1954–1972
- Henry E. Chambers (1860-1929), historian and educator was affiliated with the education department at NSU from 1900-1902.
- Medford Bryan Evans (1907–1989), English professor and conservative activist, at NSU from 1955–1959
- Julie Kane (born 1952), poet
- J.E. Keeny (1860-1939), on NSU faculty from 1900-1904; later president of Louisiana Tech University
- John S. Kyser (1900-1975), historian and geographer, NSU president from 1954-1966
- Marietta LeBreton (1936–2009), Louisiana historian
- James L. McCorkle, Jr. (born 1935), agricultural historian at NSU (1966–2003)
- Donald Rawson (1925-2014), historian of the 19th century United States; professor (1960-1980) and Dean of the Graduate School at NSU (1980–1984)
- Ralph L. Ropp, professor of speech and head of the forensics department, 1923-1949; president of Louisiana Tech University from 1949 to 1962
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