A day at the State Capitol produces many Natchitoches, NSU connections

It was a day filled with Demon spirit for Northwestern State University President Dr. Chris Maggio as he travelled to Baton Rouge on May 28.

He makes the trip on a regular basis when the legislature is in session as part of his presidential duties for the university. He monitors the progress of capital outlay projects for NSU, keeps an eye on the funding for higher education, and visits with legislators and lobbyists.

But May 28 was special. It began on a somber note as Dr. Maggio attended the funeral of Lily Chase, a lifelong donor to Northwestern State University. She and her husband, the late Dan Chase, funded multiple scholarships and professorships.

Dr. Maggio then attended Senator Gerald Long’s farewell address to his fellow senators as his term comes to an end. Governor John Bel Edwards and his wife Donna were in attendance, along with University of Louisiana System President Dr. Jim Henderson, Natchitoches Regional Medical Center CEO Kirk Soileau and more.

The Senate passed a resolution recognizing Doug Ireland for his time at NSU, where he served as his alma mater’s Sports Information Director for 30-plus years. Sen. Long presented Ireland with a copy of the resolution.

NSU alumna and reigning Miss Louisiana Holli Conway sang a beautiful rendition of the national anthem to open up the Senate.

NSU’s Creole Heritage Center also received a concurrent resolution, presented by State Rep. Kenny Cox, declaring Oct. 1 as Clementine Hunter Day in the state of Louisiana.

Dr. Maggio went on to attend a reception at the Governor’s Mansion for students chosen to participate in the Governor’s Fellows Program in Louisiana Government. This program is an opportunity for college and university students to experience public policy in action, learn the rich history and current affairs of Louisiana government, and earn three hours of academic credit. NSU Student Government Association President Jacob Ellis and St. Mary’s Catholic School graduate Robert “Yancy” LeGrande will participate in the program.

In more serious business, Dr. Maggio kept his eye on capital outlay projects, which includes his goal to have a new academic building on the NSU campus, watching for new Kyzar Hall funding, which is currently top priority, and getting funding for the future demolition of a few of the older buildings on campus including Dodd, Caddo, and Prudhomme Hall (once students from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts are moved into their new residence hall currently under construction). Dr. Maggio said he’s also working on attaining deferred maintenance money for NSU’s infrastructure needs.

“It’s all about planning for the future,” he said. “And it was great to have all these event line up. I got to visit with several NSU graduates that serve in the Legislature, House, and Senate. It’s so exciting to see such a large number of people that speak so highly of NSU.”

The list is long but it includes Natchitoches Parish residents; State Senators Gerald Long, John Smith, Jay Luneau, Barrow Peacock, Ryan Gatti; State Representatives Kenny Cox, Terry Brown, Jack McFarland, Larry Bagley, Frankie Howard, James Armes, Raymond Crews, and Dodie Horton. All of these people, and many more, support Northwestern State University and its campuses at Alexandria, Leesville/Fort Polk, Bossier City/Barksdale, and Shreveport.