The Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. D. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts at Northwestern State University honored three individuals with induction into the CAPA Hall of Fame Dec. 7. Honored were long-time School of Creative Performing Arts Administrative Assistant Ladell Conley, Executive Director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts Dr. Steve Horton and the late Phil Kidd, a member of the Department of Theatre and Dance faculty.
Kidd began his career at NSU in 2002 as the theatre shop foreman for the NSU Theatre and Dance program. In 2003 he moved to the position of assistant professor of theatre and the director of technical theatre where he continued to be integral in the growth of the program. Before retiring in 2020, he had designed sets for over 30 NSU Theatre/Dance productions and was technical director for just as many productions. He also worked on many other shows as a charge artist, technical advisor, shop foreman, props master and any other role thrown at him.
Kidd passed away in February 2021 after a lengthy battle with cancer. The Department of Theatre and Dance recently named its scene shop in his memory. His award was accepted by his son Jason and wife Sheila.
Conley was a staff member at Northwestern State for 42 years and worked in the School of Creative and Performing Arts for 35 years. She was unable to attend the program and Bill Brent, Director Emeritus of the School of Creative and Performing Arts, accepted the award on her behalf.
“I could not have asked for a better administrative assistant. She was really organized with all day-to-day paperwork that was required to keep the school running smoothly. Ladell was often the first person at the office each morning at 7 a.m. and frequently the last person to leave in the afternoon.”
Brent said Conley “contributed in so many ways beyond the requirements of her written duties.” She assisted more than 40 faculty members, nearly 500 academic majors in the School of Creative and Performing Arts and more than 400 non-majors who participated in band, choir, orchestra and theatre and dance.”
Horton is the first inductee from the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts. He earned bachelor’s degrees in journalism and secondary teacher education from Northwestern in 1988. He earned an M.S. in journalism in 1990 and the Ph.D. in vocational education/communication in 1998, both from Louisiana State University. He returned to Northwestern in 1989 as an instructor of journalism and served in various positions on the campus, including director of Alumni Affairs, head of the Department of Journalism, dean of the Graduate School and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He ended his tenure at Northwestern in July 2016 as chief academic officer, dean and professor of education when he was named executive director of the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. He continues to teach part-time for the University.
In 2017, the former Mr. NSU was inducted in the Hall of Distinguished Educators at NSU; in 2020, he was named Leadership Professional of the Year for the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children; in 2021 was named an Alumnus Advisor of the Year for Kappa Sigma Fraternity, and in 2022 he was named to the inaugural Greek Life Hall of Fame at NSU.
“Throughout Steve’s career in academia, he has been a sought-after journalist because of his ability to communicate messages that are responsive and relevant,” said Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Greg Handel. “His contributions to the Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts are seen from NSU-TV to the radio station, to the Current Sauce. His connections to the profession have led to speeches, speech writing and assisting university presidents, political hopefuls and future and current journalists. His publications are numerous, but his gifts lie in his promotion of the profession, and his furthering of the journalistic integrity necessary for those in the profession. He is a champion of media and its embrace of contemporary perspectives, of experiential learning for students, and for faculty across all disciplines.”