This week, the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts kicked off the holiday season with the Christmas Gala. This beloved tradition is performed nine times over three days and drew thousands of school children to the campus for daytime performances. The final performance of the Christmas Gala is tonight at 9:00pm. Tomorrow, many CAPA students will be involved in the Natchitoches Christmas Festival, either as performers or marching in the parade. This experiential learning component for our students, as they get practical experience from all aspects of production from set-building to technical theatre, to stage production, musical production, house direction, and box office experience, is essential as CAPA prepares future generations of professionals. We are grateful for the dedication of the CAPA students, faculty, and staff for many hours of preparation involved in all these activities.

Three individuals will be inducted into the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees are long-time School of Creative Performing Arts Administrative Assistant, Ladell Conley, Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, Dr. Steve Horton, and the late Phil Kidd, a member of the Department of Theatre and Dance faculty. They will be formally inducted in a ceremony on Wednesday, December 7 at 4:30pm in the Orville Hanchey Gallery. The public is invited to attend.

NSU Professor of Art, Corbin Covher, and art student Emily Dawson, as well as several other student artists collaborated with the Natchitoches Historic District Development Commission, and the Cane River National Heritage Area, to create a poinsettia sculpture that was unveiled at the Santa House. It is the first in a series of planned public art projects.  The Natchitoches In Bloom concept was inspired by similar initiatives in other cities to celebrate the culture and heritage of each place.

In January, we will enroll our 4th cohort of the DNP-NA program. In partnership with Willis Knighton, our program attracts nurses seeking to advance their education to the Doctoral level, and gain certification as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists.

I extend a warm welcome to campus today United States Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. Dr. Cassidy’s visit will provide ample opportunity to highlight our academic value and economic impact throughout Northwest Louisiana and beyond.

I also welcome to campus today Brent Merchant with Merchant McIntyre & Associates, a leading federal government relations agency, to discuss a federal funding strategy for NSU. Mr. Merchant will provide deep insight into consolidated findings, recommendations, and proposed next steps for NSU to pursue federal funding opportunities aligned with the university’s priority needs.

Dr. Marcus D. Jones
Northwestern State University