On Saturday, over 170 guests, including Major (US Army Retired) Ron Chatelain, Louisiana’s most decorated Soldier, attended NSU’s Department of Military Science Demon Regiment Military Ball. Formalities included introducing graduating cadets through the Arch of Steel; traditional Army toasting; the streamer ceremony in which the streamer of the 72nd Demon Battalion was moved from the Battalion flag to the Regimental Colors, symbolizing the graduates’ transition from student to alumni; and the keynote address by COL Edward Twaddell III, Deputy Commander of Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk.

Cadet Anthony B. Cantrell received the Department’s highest honor, the Major General (US Army Retired) Erbon W. Wise Touchstone Award. The evening culminated with the induction of COL Katherine Bigler, COL Rick Fenoli, COL Eric Sweeney, and MAJ Richard Hooter (US Army retirees and NSU ROTC alumni) into the Demon Regiment Hall of Fame.

On Wednesday, I traveled to Baton Rouge to attend a reception hosted by NSU alumna and Long Purple Line member Lela Mae Wilkes. The following evening, I attended the Louisiana Legends Gala, which recognized NSU graduates and Long Purple Line members Thomas Whitehead and Valsin Marmillion as this year’s recipients. Thomas Whitehead is Professor Emeritus of Journalism at Northwestern State University, Expert and Preservationist of the Clementine Hunter Collection, and biographer. Valsin Marmillion is one of the top campaign strategists in the country, founding Marmillion + Company Strategic Communications (MCo) in 1989 and partnered with Rannah Gray in 2003 to form Marmillion/Gray Media.

The Louisiana Legends Awards Gala and Auction is an annual event hosted by Friends of Louisiana Public Broadcasting, honoring the best and brightest of Louisiana’s sons and daughters who have distinguished themselves in various disciplines and have brought honor to the state.

Graduating Senior from Theatre and Dance, Nicole Lala, received a trio of awards: a $10,000 Research Scholarship, a Graduate Assistantship, and a full Tuition Waiver from San Diego State. Nicole earned this scholarship for her research on NSU’s production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Professor of CIS, Dr. Begona Perez-Mira, graciously allowed the use of their 3D printing lab, in which Nicole created crowns and chainmail for the production. This interdepartmental collaboration led to a presentation at a national theatre conference, The United States Institute of Technical Theatre. Please join me in congratulating Nicole Lala on her professional endeavors.

Louisiana Scholars’ College Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Adonay Sissay, recently received approval for his submission for a Board of Regents Academic Enhancement Grant (Equipping Honors Physics Laboratory with Essential Tools) at a funding level of $19,488. With the proposed new laboratory and equipment, students will be able to: measure physical quantities and conduct meaningful physics experiments, evaluate and interpret analytical results by applying different scientific approaches, and have successful learning outcomes.

As university revenues from student tuition and fees have declined as a result of enrollment losses that are affecting higher education nationwide, Northwestern has initiated plans to curtail personnel costs for next fiscal year.

The measures include offers of retirement incentives to personnel who meet eligibility requirements.  Classified Civil Service personnel and tenured faculty who meet criteria for the incentives were informed earlier this week of the plans.

Faculty and staff who are interested in retirement incentives or additional information on the plan should contact Human Resources Director Lisa Harris at harrisl@nsula.edu or 357-5965.

Personnel reduction efforts will also include the elimination of some faculty and staff positions that are budgeted but unfilled at this time.

The university continues to expand recruitment initiatives and to seek increased funding from the state and other sources to help offset some of the financial losses created by enrollment declines.

Final exams begin next week, and it is a reminder that the best view comes after the most challenging climb. In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity, and I wish the best for all students, faculty, and staff as they wrap up this exciting spring semester.


Dr. Marcus D. Jones
Northwestern State University