By Larry E. Ross
Northwestern State University has a lot to be thankful for this Thanksgiving. Louisiana Public Service Commissioner Foster Campbell visited the campus to announce a very generous donation from SWEPCO. SWEPCO President Venita McCellon-Allen, along with Campbell, presented NSU President Dr. Jim Henderson a check for $200,000. The Valley/SWEPCO commitment will be matched with $80,000 in State Board of Regents funding, bringing the total donation to $280,000.
This donation is what was left after $25 million in capital credits, money put into the Valley Electric Membership Company, were given back to the appropriate sources.
“There was money left over and we did not feel right keeping this money,” McCellon-Allen stated at the presentation. “We wanted the money to go back into the community and be a better service for the community, especially that of this NSU community.”
Upon the acceptance of the donation, Dr. Henderson spoke on how the money will be dispersed to maximize its impact. Approximately $120,000 will go towards the Valley Electric/SWEPCO First Generation Endowed Scholarship and the Valley Electric/SWEPCO Endowed Professorship in the NSU College of Business and Technology. The scholarship will be awarded to those students who are the first in their family to attend college. The professorship will be used to employ and contract faculty whose services will contribute to their departments. Approximately $80,000 will be put into the NSU Columns Fund and used towards scholarships, faculty and staff support, and for other capital improvements.
There were also talks of further uses of the donation to help with a new athletic facility to help athletes with academics. Dr. Henderson concluded, “NSU was founded on serving its students, and with this donation, we will utilize it to the best of our ability to continue serving them.”