Long Purple Line inducts six new members


Chris Reich

Long Purple Line Inductee Thomas Whitehead and Northwestern State University of Louisiana Interim President Marcus Jones.

On Friday, Oct. 22, Northwestern State University of Louisiana in Natchitoches held the Long Purple Line induction ceremony at the Natchitoches Events Center after being postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2020 inductees were NSU Vice President for External Affairs Jerry Pierce from Natchitoches, businessman Harvey F. Marcus Sr. from Monroe, state financial aid official Sujuan Boutte from Prairieville, former NSU faculty member Thomas Whitehead from Natchitoches, FedEx executive John A. Smith from Memphis, Tennessee and Louisiana State University Head Football Coach Ed Orgeron from Baton Rouge.

Jones said that the event was to celebrate the achievement of six individuals who received the university’s highest recognition of achievement for alumni, which is membership into the Long Purple Line Hall of Distinction.

Orgeron did not attend the ceremony due to a Louisiana State University of Louisiana football game.

Boutte had advice for current NSU students.

“Find your purpose,” Boutte said. “All of the individuals at Northwestern, a family of individuals, treating students like family, and helping students find the best in themselves and helping them to see how to use that to better mankind.”

“We each have someone in our lives that has encouraged us in such a way that we’ve gone on and done something that’s very important to us,” Marcus said.

“Being inducted into the long purple line is such an incredible honor,” Smith said. “This university has meant so much to me, and truly started me down the path of opportunities that never would have been available if not for the education I received at Northwestern.”

Each inductee had a portrait unveiled that will hang in the Friedman Student Union on the second floor, accompanying the other NSU alumni that have received this honor.