Northwestern State University is a responsive, student-oriented institution committed to acquiring, creating, and disseminating knowledge through innovative teaching, research, and service. With its certificate, undergraduate, and graduate programs, Northwestern State University prepares its increasingly diverse student population to contribute to an inclusive global community with a steadfast dedication to improving our region, state, and nation.
Northwestern State University was established in 1884 as the Louisiana State Normal School, an institution created specifically for the training of teachers, in a time when public education was an increasing priority across the nation.
The location of the school is tied to the roots of the city of Natchitoches and is the oldest continually occupied site for higher education in Louisiana. When legislation was introduced in 1884 to create a state Normal School, local civic and business leaders marshaled support to purchase the 100-acre site of a former convent and school and offer it as the site of the new state school. The selection was announced in October 1884 and a short, two-month session began in March 188...5 with an enrollment of 60 students.
In 1921, the Louisiana State Normal School, which initially offered a 2-year degree program to prepare educators, began offering a 4-year educator degree program and was renamed the Louisiana Normal College. In 1944, the further expansion of degree offerings led to the school’s name being changed to Northwestern State College. In 1970, the college achieved university status and was renamed the title it still holds today: Northwestern State University of Louisiana. Ever-growing, Northwestern State also serves the region at its off-campus instructional sites in Shreveport, Alexandria and Fort Polk.
Since its inception, Northwestern State University has had a tremendous social and economic impact on northwest Louisiana and beyond. NSU has provided and continues to offer educational and cultural opportunities to prepare individuals for success in life, careers and citizenship.