NSU was founded in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School. It was the first school in Louisiana to offer degree programs in nursing and business education. NSU, along with numerous other state colleges, gained university status in 1970 during the administration of President Arnold R. Kilpatrick, a Northwestern State alumnus who served from 1966 to 1978. Kilpatrick succeeded the 12-year president, John S. Kyser, a native of El Paso, Illinois.
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