Northwestern State Athletics has long benefitted from the supportive influence of Donald Horton, the late Coushatta attorney and businessman, and his wife Pat.
With the recent establishment of the Donald and Pat Horton Family Athletic Scholarship, their impact will always be significant for NSU student-athletes.
The donation is the latest in a rapidly developing series of gifts and commitments in the recently-initiated “Perpetually Purple” endowed giving program managed by the Demons Unlimited Foundation. Horton, a 1967 Northwestern State graduate, was an active supporter of his alma mater for decades, including his involvement with the Demons Unlimited Foundation’s forerunner, the NSU Athletic Association. He was a board member for nearly 30 years and served as president for more than 12 years before his passing in June 2013 at the age of 68.
Donald and Pat were constantly involved with special events and were focal figures among Demon fans at many NSU games home and away. He drew the plans for the tailgating zone south of Turpin Stadium, NSU’s football stadium, with cable TV, water and electrical connections provided to patrons, changing the face of game day activity at Northwestern when it was opened for the 2003 season. Before the 2015 season opener, the area was renamed “Donald’s Demon Alley.”
Pat is a DUF board member and remains active assisting with events like the bi-annual Scholarship Auction.
“Pat Horton, along with her sons, Leland and John, are appreciated for generously establishing this endowed scholarship which continues the momentum for the Demons Unlimited Foundation Perpetually Purple program,” said NSU director of athletics Greg Burke. “Donald Horton lived his life as a visionary on a personal and professional level, thus his family’s decision to initiate this scholarship is very appropriate. Furthermore, Donald would be pleased to know that his family name will forever be associated with the NSU athletic program and more importantly, will provide an opportunity for a young person to attend NSU on an athletic scholarship.”
Horton’s family embraced the chance to participate in the Perpetually Purple program.
“Donald and Pat Horton have enjoyed supporting Northwestern State University since he graduated from NSU in 1967,” said their son, Leland. “Donald started at NSU as a student-athlete, and the Horton family understands how important student athletes are to the NSU experience. The Hortons are proud to have this opportunity to provide a deserving student-athlete with a better opportunity to join the NSU family.”
Horton, a Tulane Law School graduate, was a key figure in creation of the John K. Kelly Grand Bayou Waterway in Red River Parish, while serving as legal counsel for the Red River Waterway Commission. He was half-owner in The Famous Natchitoches Louisiana Meat Pie Company, which distributes the unique dish nationally and maintains substantial operations in Coushatta.
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, said Burke.
“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 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.
To inquire about the Perpetually Purple program, contact Burke (firstname.lastname@example.org, 318-357-5251), associate AD and DUF executive director Adam Jonson (email@example.com, 318-357-4295) or assistant AD Haley Blount (firstname.lastname@example.org, 318-357-4278). Information is also available on the NSUDemons.com website.