The Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts set the stage for the festive season with its annual Christmas Gala just last week. From captivating daytime shows that drew in thousands of enthusiastic school children to the sold-out evening performances that wrapped up on Friday, the event was a resounding success. The following day, many of CAPA’s students were involved in the Christmas Festival parade as characters and performers, and the Spirit of Northwestern led off the festival parade.

This experience isn’t just a show; it’s a hands-on educational journey for our students. They gain practical insights across the entire production spectrum – from crafting sets and managing technical aspects to orchestrating stage productions, musical performances, overseeing house logistics, and handling box office duties.

We are grateful for the dedication of the CAPA students, faculty, and staff for many hours of preparation involved in all these activities. This treasured holiday tradition was seen by more than 12,000 attendees during the three days of performances—many of them stating that this was ‘the best GALA ever.’ We are so proud of our Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts students, faculty, and staff, and know that no other institution in our region could pull off a production of this magnitude. Their efforts not only contribute to the success of the events but also bring added revenue and an economic boost to the Natchitoches region.

I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the generous $1.5 million contribution from David and Sherry Morgan to NSU Athletics. Their remarkable donation towards the David and Sherry Morgan Health Performance Center sets a historic milestone, representing the largest private contribution in Northwestern State Athletics history. The Morgan Health Performance Center is designed not only to ensure competitive success but also to enhance our recruiting experience, enable multi-sport accessibility, and provide access to premier athletic and training equipment.

Next week, join us in cheering for our students as they embark on the next chapter of their lives. I encourage you to be there to watch these deserving individuals walk across the stage to receive their well-earned diplomas.

Starting on Wednesday, December 13, at 10 a.m., we will celebrate the achievements of graduates from the College of Business and Technology, as well as the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development. At 2 p.m., we’ll honor those from the College of Nursing and School of Allied Health.

Ceremonies will commence on Thursday, December 14, at 10 a.m., recognizing graduates from the College of Arts and Sciences and the Louisiana Scholars’ College.

As we conclude 2023, my gratitude is extended to our legislative delegation for their firm support and dedication to Northwestern State University. It’s significant that this year marks one of the largest capital outlay allocations in recent history for NSU, the second largest among all University of Louisiana System schools this year. Our legislative delegation played a pivotal role in achieving this.

Cheers to 2024! Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.

Dr. Marcus D. Jones
Northwestern State University