by Leah Jackson

Northwestern State University Athletics will host a Title IX 50-year celebration in Natchitoches Dec. 9-10.  All former female student-athletes who participated in sports at NSU are invited to participate.

The celebration will begin with a social that is open to the public on Friday, Dec. 9 in the Natchitoches Room in Russell Hall.  A brunch on Saturday, Dec. 10 will take place from 9:30-11:30 a.m. at Lee H. Nelson Hall, formerly the Women’s Gymnasium at NSU, which now houses the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training.  The brunch, for former women athletes who played between 1963 and 1975, will include a history of women’s athletics at NSU, titled “For the Love of the Game:  NSU Women’s Sports and Title IX,” presented by Debbie Smith, a researcher and historian at NCPTT.  Guests are then encouraged to attend the Lady Demon basketball game vs. University of Louisiana-Monroe at 1 p.m. in Prather Coliseum where there will be designated guest seating and a special recognition.

Organizers are planning another event with guest speakers to be held at a later date, according to volunteer coordinator Nanette Hawthorne. Invitations with RSVP information and other details will be distributed as plans are finalized.

Signed June 23, 1972, Title IX is the commonly used name for the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination, which extended to sports equity and is best known for its impact on high school and collegiate athletics. 

Northwestern State was the first university in Louisiana to award athletic scholarships to women when signing them out of high school.  Starting in 1975, NSU awarded 10-1/2 scholarships, with some awards begin halved, to five current basketball and volleyball players, three badminton players, two tennis players and two incoming high school basketball signees.

The first recipients were Dianne Pittman McCain, Pat Nolan Pierson, Emma Ellerman Boozman, “Do” Bonin, Sherrill Landry, Mona Davidson Martin, Terri McConnell, Inez Brew (first African American recipient), Janie Wallace, Margaret Langford and incoming high school students Lisa Brewer and Tammy Primeaux.

More details regarding the reunion will be announced as plans are finalized.  For more information, contact Hawthorne at  Former female student-athletes are encouraged to RSVP and help NSU build the database of women who competed in athletics at NSU. Individuals interested in attending the event can RSVP at

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