Northwestern State graduate and former football quarterback Vic Stelly and his wife Terry decided to do something significant for a place which will always be close to their hearts.
Through the recently initiated “Perpetually Purple” endowed giving program, Vic (BS ’62) and Terry (MRS ’60) have named the Demons Unlimited Foundation as the $10,000 beneficiary of a life insurance policy with the proceeds designated to establish the “Vic and Terry Stelly Athletic Scholarship.”
“Northwestern will always be a special place for Terry and me, as that is where we first met, and started our family,” he said. “The help and guidance I received from our football coaches – (Jack) Clayton, (Alvin ‘Cracker’) Brown, (Walter) Ledet, (Gene) Knecht, and (Earnest ‘Slim’) Howell – plus my student teacher adviser, Coach (Tynes) Hildebrand, was tremendously valuable in my future teaching, coaching, business and political life.”
Vic was a quarterback on the 1958-61 Demon football teams and was also president of the “N” Club. He met Terry, who came to NSU from her hometown of Longview, Texas, during his freshman year.
“When I first met Terry, I couldn’t help but notice how cute she was, plus I assumed she was rich since her family always drove new vehicles. Little did I know that her Dad was a car salesman so he always drove demonstrators!” he said, chuckling.
After graduating from NSU in the spring of 1962, the Stelly moved to Baton Rouge to begin Vic’s 12-year career as a football coach at Redemptorist and Broadmoor High Schools and later at McNeese State. He later spent 25 years as a State Farm Insurance agent, while serving four years on the Calcasieu Parish School Board and 16 years in the Louisiana legislature. He has also served on the state Board of Regents for higher education and on the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Foundation Board, among many other civic activities.
In 2006, Stelly was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame.
NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke expressed appreciation to the Stellys, while noting that close to a dozen commitments – some of them outright and others deferred – to the “Perpetually Purple” program have been made in the past four months.
“The (Perpetually Purple) program has traction and continues to gain momentum thanks to generous supporters like Vic and Terry Stelly. I have enjoyed getting to know the Stellys and have become good friends with Vic, with whom I pretty much have a standing breakfast meeting every July during the Southland Conference football media event in Lake Charles,” said Burke.
The Perpetually Purple program is managed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation, with a goal to grow the endowment, through outright donations or deferred gifts, over the next five years from $1.5 million to over $5 million, he said. “Annual gifts and fund raising events for NSU Athletics are imperative on an ongoing basis, but development of the Perpetually Purple endowment program is equally important,” said Burke. “NSU coaches, staff and student-athletes will be able to count on those endowed funds each and every year.”
Burke said the vehicles through which commitments are being made to the “Perpetually Purple” program have been varied.
“Making a consideration for the NSU athletic program in their estate planning, which is what Vic and Terry did, represents another popular and easy way to further solidify the future of NSU Athletics. Others may choose to make an outright gift which will have an immediate impact on the athletic program. The bottom line is there is a way for everyone to participate,” said Burke.
Earnings from the 57 permanent funds which comprise the current $1.5 million endowment total are utilized to balance the athletic department’s annual scholarship budget.
“Current endowment funding ensures that all 14 NSU sports can continue offering the maximum number of scholarships permitted by NCAA guidelines,” said Burke. “Being able to do so is paramount to sustaining a high level of competitiveness but more importantly, continues to provide opportunities for young people to receive a scholarship which can lead to earning a college degree. Based on the fact that the five-year NCAA Graduation Success Rate of NSU Athletics is right at 70 percent over the past five years, endowment funds are a worthwhile investment.”
A fundamental goal of the initial push is to reach the $5 million milestone, allowing the endowment to completely underwrite book scholarships for all NSU student-athletes, an expense of nearly $200,000 currently paid by annual gifts to the DUF, he said. Annual gift revenues will then be redirected to more significantly enhance facilities, bolster recruiting budgets, retain or hire outstanding coaches, and offset ever-increasing scholarship costs.
A minimum of $10,000 is required to create an endowment fund. It can be established with an outright gift such as cash, a stock transfer or property sale, a life insurance policy, or can be included as a provision in a will or bequest.
Arrangements can be made to fund an endowment over an extended period of time. Achievement by NSU Athletics has been aligned with the program’s cornerstone values of academic achievement, personal responsibility and competitive success.
In each of the last two semesters, student-athletes have set new NSU Athletics records for the department’s cumulative GPA, a 2.96 in the Fall 2014 semester. There were a Southland-best 96 fall sports student-athletes who posted at least a 3.0 GPA while competing in football, women’s soccer, volleyball and men’s and women’s cross country in 2014. NSU remains one of the few Division I athletics programs in the south to own a perfect slate, penalty free, in the 12-year history of the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate annual report.
Meanwhile, NSU Athletics last month won the inaugural Southland Strong Community Service Award as student-athletes compiled over 3,100 hours of civic assistance during the 2014-15 academic year, more than 900 ahead of the second-place institution. For the second straight year, Northwestern State competitors swept the Southland’s Steve McCarty Citizenship Awards for service activities, with soccer senior Jackie Strug and football junior quarterback Daniel Hazlewood winning the awards.
Competitively, NSU has posted 10 Southland Conference regular-season or tournament championships in the past 26 months, and made eight NCAA Tournament appearances in five sports, while track and field athletes have won nine All-America awards for top 16 finishes at NCAA indoor and outdoor championships, and the men’s track team finished tied for 20th in team standings at the 2014 NCAA Outdoors. NSU is the only university north of I-10 in Louisiana to have an NCAA Tournament appearance in any sport in that span.
Burke offered that the level of success accomplished by NSU teams is positive in many ways, including local economic impact, overall recruiting and image for the University, and earned media.
“That is why support of NSU Athletics at all levels and in all ways is so important – we must sustain and continue to raise the bar on our level of success,” he said.