Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Arts and Letters and the College of Education and Human Development and the Louisiana Scholars’ College will receive diplomas at 10 a.m. Undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Nursing and Allied Health and undergraduate students from the College of Science, Technology and Business will graduate at 3 p.m. Dr. Sandra K. Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, will be the commencement speaker.
Members of the Class of 1963 will receive second diplomas in recognition of the 50th anniversary of their graduation at the 3 p.m. ceremony. Commencement will be streamed online at nsula.edu.
Those wishing to get the best available seating should plan to arrive at least an hour prior to the ceremony. Seating on the arena floor is available for those who are mobility impaired. Prather Coliseum is located at 350 S. Jefferson St. at the corner of S. Jefferson St. and Caspari St. on the Northwestern State campus.
Woodley brings to the UL System strategic planning and budgeting experience at four other state system offices. Most recently, she served as vice chancellor for strategic initiatives for the University of Texas System where for two years she was responsible for strategic planning, policy research and accountability for the Texas system composed of 16 academic and health institutions. She also served as the liaison for the chancellor to the Board of Regents on two high level Regents’ taskforces on blended and online learning and university excellence and productivity. Her team at Texas designed and implemented a unique and nationally known interactive, electronic dashboard to track progress, diagnose challenges and provide policy research to support decision making aimed at achieving the System’s aggressive goals.
Prior to her work in Texas, Woodley served as strategic planner and chief financial officer for the Arizona University System; vice president for finance, planning and performance for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and associate executive director for the Alabama Commission of Higher Education overseeing finance, performance and institutional research and information systems.
Early in her career she served as the fiscal analyst for the Alabama Legislative Fiscal Office where she was the senior financial analyst to the Legislature regarding public community and technical colleges and universities, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and economic development agencies in Alabama. Woodley also served for four years as the coordinator of the Economic Forecasting Group in the Center for Government and Public Affairs at Auburn University. Her teaching experience included serving as an adjunct instructor in economics at Auburn University and accounting and statistics at Midway College in Kentucky.
Woodley earned her first degree while married with two small children. Starting out in a community college, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration at Auburn University. Her doctorate in Business Administration and Management was earned at Nova Southeastern University.
The University of Louisiana System has nine universities under its governance: Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe and the University of New Orleans. As the largest higher education system in the state, the UL System serves over 92,000 students with a total operating budget of more than $762 million.