I hope you are doing well and enjoying what appears to be a nice spring. Over the past week, it is nice to see so many students walking around campus and taking advantage of every opportunity to be outdoors.

I want to thank everyone who joined us at the Flavor of Louisiana event last weekend. With over 700 guests in attendance and your generous support, we were able to raise $125,000. These funds are earmarked to enhance our students’ education through scholarships and to further faculty development by providing resources for research and conference travel. We’re also directing these funds toward enhancing our technology and educational tools, impacting our academic landscape.

I’m proud to share that our dance program has earned prestigious recognition at the recent American College Dance Association South Conference at Belhaven University. Professor Alex McBride’s choreography, falling apart, falling together, was selected for performance at the Gala Concert, a distinction given to only a select few.

This year, the conference showcased 28 works from institutions across Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, and beyond, including Florida and Georgia. Out of these, only nine pieces were chosen for the Gala, with NSU being the finale – a testament to the exceptional talent and hard work of our dancers.

Our representatives, Lara Bankston, Jaeda Barrett, Cullen Barrilleaux, Jillian Duggan, Vee Duran, Gabrielle Marino, Nicole Miller, Carleigh Murphy, Ariyonna Sarpy, Khuyên Trần, and Journey Wills, embodied the spirit and excellence of NSU with their performance.

Last week, a dedicated group from Student Media, including The Current Sauce, KNWD, and Potpourri, represented NSU at the College Media Association (CMA) conference in New York City. This annual gathering highlights the remarkable efforts of student media nationwide, with participation from 100+ institutions.

Our students engaged deeply with experts across diverse media platforms, gaining valuable insights. Their efforts culminated in respected recognitions at the CMA’s Apple Awards. Here are a few highlights of their accomplishments:

  • Best Crisis Coverage: The Current Sauce – Second Place (Division II and III)
  • Best Multimedia Package: The Current Sauce – Second Place; NSU TV – Third Place
  • Best Opinion Column: The Current Sauce – Second Place (Division II)
  • Best Podcast: Hispanic Student Journalists Association (Latino Living) – Second Place (Division II)

NSU Track & Field demonstrated its dedication to excellence, with five athletes securing seven superlative awards. After scoring the most points in the SLC Indoor Championships, Sanaria Butler was named both Women’s Outstanding Athlete of the Year and Most Outstanding Field Performer.

On the men’s side, Keontae Gaines was named both the Men’s Outstanding Runner of the Year and Newcomer of the Year. Coach Heimerman was recognized as the SLC Women’s Indoor Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year.

Djimon Gumbs tied with two others to earn a share of the Men’s Tri-Outstanding Field. Tim Pelkmans was named Co-Freshman of the Year.

In recent years, students of the President’s Leadership Program (PLP) at NSU have spearheaded initiatives aimed at making a meaningful difference within the community, notably organizing the Red River Special Olympic Games.

This event was very successful, and we take great pride in having welcomed our local athletes to campus. For those who haven’t seen the highlight reel, I strongly recommend taking the time to view it here. Special thanks to Amy Lee and Cree Gentry for capturing these cherishing moments.

Have a safe and enjoyable weekend.

Dr. Marcus D. Jones
Northwestern State University