A Northwestern State University alumnus is paying it forward to future NSU students through a planned gift that will leave a portion of his estate to the NSU Foundation and establish an endowed scholarship. Todd Huddleston of Metairie established the gift with the intent that it benefit a student in the Louisiana Scholars’ College for all four years of study.
Huddleston was in the first graduating class of the Louisiana Scholars’ College at NSU, Louisiana’s only designated honors college that was established in 1987. He earned a degree in mathematics in 1991 and said he appreciated the curriculum that developed critical thinking and communication skills.
“When you go out into the world you’ve got to be able to speak, write and communicate,” said Huddleston, who has traveled and lived abroad. “The Scholars’ College introduced me to other people with other ideologies. I learned to listen to people and accept that they had different ideas, even if I didn’t agree with them.”
Huddleston and several of his high school classmates from New Orleans visited Northwestern State as seniors on the recommendation of their principal, NSU alum Herb Roach, who encouraged them to explore Northwestern and the new Scholars’ College. Huddleston remembers Dr. Stan Chadick, Dr. Tom Samet and Dr. Nadya Keller as important professor mentors. In addition to academic challenges at Scholars’, he discovered a tremendous comradery among residents of Bossier Hall, got involved with KNWD and the Student Government Association and later pledged Kappa Alpha Fraternity.
After graduating from Northwestern State, Huddleston attended graduate school at the University of North Texas but felt burned out on mathematics and moved to Korea from 1992-99 where he taught English as a second language and studied martial arts. He attended Yonsei University to learn to speak Korean, then did radio and TV commentary on Korean culture and customs from a Western perspective.
Martial arts has been a big part of Huddleston’s life since he started practice at age 9 with his father and brother and after moving back to the U.S. he opened the successful Yonsei Martial Arts Academy in New Orleans in 1999. Earlier this summer, he joined the elite ranks of Grandmaster when he tested for his 8th degree black belt in Seoul, South Korea, and was appointed representative for Louisiana. He credits martial arts for teaching him self-discipline and keeping him on the straight and narrow as a youngster.
The recipient of the Huddleston scholarship must maintain a 3.0 or better grade point average. Huddleston said he hopes his scholarship will help someone interested in studying abroad, just as he did in Korea. He was motivated to establish the planned gift through a sense of loyalty and a desire to express his appreciation to those who helped him as an undergraduate.
“I was in touch with my professors after I left NSU and most of my friends are people I met at NSU. You owe the people that helped you,” he said. “It was the people that made my time at Northwestern special.”
“Mr. Huddleston’s generosity will extend far beyond the present,” said Brittany McConathy, associate director of Development. “Planned gifts provide for future generations of deserving students and are a legacy for the donor at Northwestern State.”
“NSU believed in me when I was a student there,” Huddleston said. “That’s one of the major reasons I’m giving back.”
For information on establishing a planned gift at NSU, contact McConathy at (318) 357-5215 or firstname.lastname@example.org.