Northwestern State University’s College of Business and Technology honored several faculty, administrators and alumni as part of Homecoming festivities Saturday.
The College inducted four individuals into its Hall of Distinction. Andy Baragona, Theodore “Ted” Jones, David Meshell and Kevin Murphy were recognized for their professional achievements.
The School honored Dr. Austin Temple and Dr. Joel Worley as dean emeriti of the College of Business and Technology, Dr. Patricia N. Pierson as department head emerita of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Dr. Jack Pace as professor emeritus of the Department of Biology, Microbiology and Veterinary Technology and Dr. Walter Creighton as professor emeritus of the School of Business.
In addition, the School announced the Richard A. deVargas, Andres LaCaze and Dr. William Henry Pierson Endowed Professorship in Business. The professorship was made possible through a donation from Ellis and Juanita Coutee to the NSU Foundation.
Meshell is a 1999 NSU accounting graduate. He is employed by KPMG LLP as the tax managing director. Meshell has worked for KMPG LLP since 2000. He served in the United States Marine Corps for six years before enrolling at Northwestern. He lives in Houston.
Murphy is a 1982 NSU business administration graduate. He is a certified financial planner for Ameriprise in Shreveport. Murphy has more than 33 years of experience as a private wealth advisor and franchise consultant. He is licensed and registered to conduct business in Louisiana, Arkansas and California.
Jones is the Charles Ragus Family Endowed Chair at Northwestern State. He is a Baton Rouge attorney and lobbyist who has provided counsel to governors, U.S. senators and congressmen and presidential candidates. Jones served as chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Speedy Long. He was counsel for Gov. John McKeithen on the newly implemented Medicare program and was a special counsel for Gov. Edwin Edwards. Jones worked on the 1968 presidential campaign of Vice President Hubert Humphrey.
A graduate of Northwestern State, Jones has been honored by his alma mater with an honorary doctorate of humanities and induction into the Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line, an honor given to just 115 alumni out of more than 90,000 alumni in NSU’s 131-year history. He was a director of the NSU Foundation. In 2007, he was inducted into the Louisiana Political Hall of Fame.
Baragona graduated from NSU in 2003 with a bachelor of science in computer information systems. He is a project manager with State Farm Insurance. Since graduating, Baragona has been actively involved in building the relationship between State Farm and Northwestern State and is the campus manager tasked with recruiting new talent from NSU. He has assisted more than 40 NSU students in receiving summer internships and full-time employment opportunities at State Farm in the last 12 years and assists them through informal mentoring relationships throughout their careers. Baragona has also aided the CIS program in receiving more than $90,000 in State Farm grants in the past three years and serves as a member of the CIS Advisory Council. Baragona has also helped the university by organizing an NSU Alumni group in Bloomington, Illinois, the headquarters of State Farm, that has grown to nearly 50 members. He lives in Heyworth, Illinois.
Temple, who retired as dean of the College of Science, Technology and Business, was recognized for 50 years of service to NSU last year. A native of Leesville, Temple received his undergraduate degree from Centenary College, a master’s degree from Louisiana State University and doctorate from Vanderbilt University. He held several positions at NSU including professor, department head and dean. During the 1990s, Temple established Space Camp at NSU that brought hundreds of students to campus for a week to study the science and technology of space travel. Temple was a long-time advisor to Kappa Sigma Fraternity. He has been an avid supporter of Northwestern athletics, especially the basketball program.
After earning his Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Worley began his career at NSU in 1983 . He left NSU in 1986 and returned in 1991 until he retired in 2005. While at NSU, Worley was a professor of business administration and transitioned into an administrative role as the dean in 2001-2005. While dean, he was instrumental is overseeing and securing the College’s AACSBJ reaffirmation. Even after retirement, Worley returned in 2006 to teach classes and in 2007 to serve as the acting dean. He has over 27 years of teaching experience at the post-secondary level, extensive experience in the operation of numerous businesses and private consulting to appropriately 400 businesses. His scholarly work is published in refereed journals and he made numerous presentations nationally, regionally and locally.
One of the 13 initial recipients of Louisiana’s first athletic scholarships for women awarded by NSU in April 1975, Pierson was the first member of the N Club Hall of Fame when enshrined in 1984. She was an outstanding basketball player at Northwestern State who became a successful Lady Demons head coach. A four-year letter winner in basketball, the Pitkin native twice led NSU in assists. After graduating with honors, she became head coach at Pitkin High and led her team to the state championship game. Pierson earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in home economics from Northwestern State and a doctoral degree in human resource education and workforce development from LSU. She was head of the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences from 1993 until her retirement in 2012. She has held local, state, regional and national offices in several professional organizations and has been recognized as advisor of the year and the Alumni Association’s teacher of the year for the University. She remains active in the community and teaches on an as needed basis for the University.
After earning his Ph.D. from Colorado State University, Creighton began his career at NSU in 1983. While at NSU, he was a professor of business administration and transitioned into several administrative roles, including chairman of the Accounting and Computer Information Systems Department, director of the Office of Cooperative Education, coordinator of the computer lab and director of the business program. In addition to his work as a classroom professor, he also spent much of his time engaged in grant writing, advising student organizations, research and publishing.
Creighton served as the advisor for the NSU Phi Beta Lambda/Business Professionals of America Student Organization from 1986-2009. He organized and planned the Future Business Leaders of America District Conference from 1984 until 2009. He has more than years of teaching experience at the post-secondary level and extensive experience in the operation of numerous businesses and in private consulting. His scholarly work is published in refereed journals and he made numerous presentations nationally, regionally and locally.
Pace received his doctorate in animal science from the University of Missouri and began teaching at Northwestern State’s Department of Animal Science in 1974. He eventually became the chair of that department. He later served as an associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Biological Sciences. He retired from the department last year. During his 40 years of teaching at Northwestern State University, Pace has taught thousands of students courses in animal science, animal nutrition, human nutrition, human anatomy and physiology and science. In addition to his outstanding dedication to education NSU, Pace has made tremendous contributions to his country, the community and the state. He is a proud veteran of the U.S. Army. He has been a member of the Natchitoches Police Jury and served on the Natchitoches Parish 4-H Advisory Board, the board of directors of the Natchitoches Farm Bureau Federation and the Masonic Lodge (Scottish Rite).