by Leah Jackson
An Alexandria couple who are long-time patrons of the arts in the Cenla region are supporting Northwestern State University’s School of Creative and Performing Arts by establishing a fully endowed scholarship for a student seeking a degree in one of the performing arts. The Dr. David and Nicole Holcombe Scholarship for the Performing Arts was created to give extra help to students committed to pursuing the arts but in need of financial assistance. The couple have supported numerous theatre organizations over the years, but are especially fond of NSU’s theatre productions.
“Bar none, NSU has the best theatre department in the region and it’s always a pleasure to see young people doing challenging work. We’ve seen amazing productions there,” Dr. Holcombe said. Some shows that stood out in his memory included “The Government Inspector,” “Rent,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” “Uncle Vanya,” and Shakespeare productions directed by Dr. Jack Wann, professor of theatre from 1990-2003.
Holcombe said he once spoke to a server at Applebee’s in Alexandria that he recognized as a performer from “Smokey Joe’s Cafe,” but who had dropped out of school to earn tuition money.
“Creativity doesn’t pay. There is a large group of kids for whom that is their passion, but they have no financial support,” Holcombe said. “These young people are so full-heartedly dedicated to the arts and we know that is a tough choice.”
Dr. and Mrs. Holcombe have lived in Alexandria for 36 years and are active in many of the region’s cultural opportunities. They have been involved with the Czech community in central Louisiana for many years where they teach folk dancing. Mrs. Holcombe annually attends the Natchitoches-NSU Folk Festival where she demonstrates how to decorate pysanky eggs. Dr. Holcombe is an accomplished painter and writer, having penned several books and plays.
The couple met when Dr. Holcombe, a California native, was a medical student in Belgium and Nichole, walked into a dance class he was instructing to earn extra money. They eventually settled in Alexandria where he began a long career as a physician and later medical director at the Office of Public Health, Region 6. He was recently named Cenla-ian of the Year.
“The Holcombes have been supportive of our program for years and have become part of the NSU Theatre/Dance family,” said Scott Burrell, director of the School of Creative and Performing Arts. “They were one of our first donors when the Theatre/Dance program began its patron list many years ago and they have continued their support every year since, not only monetarily, but also their faithfulness in attending our productions. They often bring guests with them to promote our program. The Holcombe’s scholarship will enrich the lives of our students for years to come and all of the faculty and staff in the program are extremely grateful.”
Information on NSU’s School of Creative and Performing Arts is available at https://capa.nsula.edu/.
Visit Northwestern State University Website: https://www.nsula.edu/