NATCHITOCHES – Robert Crew’s love of photography will translate into a scholarship to benefit students in Northwestern State University’s Department of New Media, Journalism and Communication Arts. The legacy of the career educator and administrator, who passed away Jan. 14, will live on through a gift that acknowledges his long-time love of Northwestern State and its students.
“Northwestern was such an important part of our lives,” said Jacque Crew, his wife of 52 years. “Robert’s grandfather was the registrar there and we went to school there. Robert had always talked about establishing a scholarship in his grandfather’s name. I thought this would be a good way to honor Robert.”
Mr. Crew retired as executive assistant to the president of NSU in 2013. Before his appointment to the administrative position at Northwestern in 1997, Crew held several leadership roles in the Louisiana State Department of Education for 27 years. He had served for a number of years as director of the department’s Bureau of Higher Education, Teacher Certification and Continuing Education. Mr. Crew, who had also held the positions of deputy superintendent of education and acting deputy superintendent, served on numerous evaluation teams for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
A Natchitoches native, Mr. Crew earned a bachelor’s degree at NSU in 1965 and a master’s in education in 1968 and began his career as an educator in classrooms in Caddo and St. Mary parishes. Mr. Crew was a member of NSU’s Hall of Distinguished Educators and twice received the university’s Nth Degree, which recognized meritorious service to the university and/or the community. Upon his retirement, the School of Creative and Performing Arts named the photography studio in his honor.
A widely-acclaimed photographer for more than four decades, Crew photographed hundreds of weddings and captured numerous interesting characters and significant architectural and historic sites. He was the official photographer for two gubernatorial inaugurations in Louisiana. Crew’s photographs are included in a number of private collections and have been displayed in exhibits across the state.
“Robert loved taking pictures of children. Later he got into landscape photography, particularly historic landscapes and pictures of buildings and cemeteries,” Mrs. Crew said. “He had an eye for seeing interesting things. He loved to take pictures and we have boxes of pictures of NSU students and activities.”
Mr. Crew once took a picture of the Africa House at Melrose that hung in the dining room of the Big House for many years, Mrs. Crew said. A few years ago, someone looking at the picture noticed that the roof of the Africa House was sinking, as compared to Mr. Crew’s picture, which prompted preservationists to stabilize and repair the historic building before it deteriorated any further.
“Without that picture, no one would have realized the building needed repair,” Mrs. Crew said, noting that his granddaughters appear to be carrying on his interest in photography. “He always had to have the latest new camera. He loved gadgets, period.”
The Robert G. Crew Endowed Scholarship will be awarded to a student from Louisiana majoring in digital media/journalism who maintains a 2.5 grade point average. It will be awarded annually and can be renewed.
“We thought it would be appropriate to designate the scholarship to the New Media program, since they named the photo studio in his honor,” Mrs. Crew said. “Robert would be pleased to carry on that legacy with the department.”
NSU Development Officer Brittany McNeely had a special relationship with the Crews and worked with the family to create the scholarship.
“Mr. Robert and Mrs. Jacque have always been like a third set of grandparents to me,” McNeely said. “When I first started here as a freshman in 2011, we both immediately adopted each other. They have made such an impact not only on myself but on thousands of students. NSU was very lucky to have Robert and Jacque.”
To contribute to Robert G. Crew Scholarship and for information on other scholarships for NSU students, visit northwesternalumni.com or call (318) 357-4414.