NSU names five alumni to Long Purple Line

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Northwestern State University will honor five alumni by inducting them into the University’s alumni hall of distinction, the Long Purple Line. The 2019 inductees are Stewart Ewing of Monroe, Luther W. “Buddy” Lott and Patricia Pierson of Natchitoches, Billy Montgomery of Haughton and Thomas M. Wright of Houston.

Honorees will be honored at a luncheon on March 22 at 11 a.m. in the Friedman Student Union Ballroom. Tickets are $20. Tickets can be purchased online at eventbrite.com/e/long-purple-line-induction-ceremony-2019-tickets-56120218083. RSVPs can be made by Friday, March 8 at noon by contacting Mary-Katherine Horton at mkhorton@nsula.edu.

Since 1990, 130 NSU alumni have been named to the Long Purple Line.

Ewing served as executive vice president and chief financial officer for CenturyLink.
Ewing was the longest-serving chief financial officer of all Fortune 500 companies in the nation at his retirement in 2017. He joined CenturyLink in 1983 as vice president of finance, became vice president and controller in 1984 and senior vice president and chief financial officer in 1989. He was elevated to the position of executive vice president and chief financial officer in 1999.

Before joining Century Telephone, which later became CenturyLink, Ewing was associated for 10 years with KPMG, formerly Peat Marwick & Associates in Shreveport.

Ewing was instrumental in CenturyLink’s transformation from a regional exchange telephone company to a worldwide technology and telecommunications company. He was at the forefront of CenturyLink’s acquisition strategy by negotiating all stages of purchase agreements from financing the acquisitions to regulatory issues to folding new companies into the corporate structure and philosophy. He was a leader in ensuring that CenturyLink headquarters remained in Monroe.

Ewing earned a bachelor’s in business at NSU in 1973. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from NSU in 2017. Ewing is a member of the NSU College of Business Hall of Fame and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.

Lott became president of Lott Oil Company in 1979 and has helped build it from a single truck and two employees to one of the region’s most successful petroleum distributorships. The company delivers more than 100 million gallons of fuel and three million gallons of commercial lubricants to Louisiana and adjoining states. Lott Oil was a key responder during Hurricane Katrina, delivering the first diesel for generators to the command posts set up by FEMA and the Coast Guard in downtown New Orleans. The company remains a vital team member in disaster response planning with state and parish emergency services and law enforcement.

Lott is a leader in his profession, serving on the National Advisory Board for Chevron-Texaco, as vice president of the Chevron Texaco Petroleum Marketers Association and former president of the Louisiana Oil Marketers and Convenience Stores Association. He has also been involved in public service and in local civic organizations.

Lott is a decades-long supporter of Northwestern State athletics and the Demons Unlimited Foundation. In 2017, he and his family established the Luther W. Lott, Sr. Memorial Scholarship, an endowed four-year scholarship through the NSU Foundation. Through his leadership Lott Oil is a long-time supporter of numerous charitable organizations.

Montgomery has had successful careers as a coach and educator and in politics. He served for 20 years in the Louisiana House of Representatives from 1988 to 2008. Montgomery has been the Bossier Parish Police Jury’s project coordinator since 2008. Before entering politics, he won more than 300 games over 10 seasons at Haughton and Lafayette High winning two state championships. He served as assistant principal at Haughton from 1970-82 and principal from 1982-88.

Montgomery has been named to the Louisiana Political, Louisiana High School Coaches Association, Louisiana High School Basketball Coaches and Ark-La-Tex Sports Museum’s Hall of Fame. He was named Louisiana’s Mr. Basketball in 2009. Montgomery was recognized as One of the 10 Most Influential People in High School Sports.

The Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame awarded him the Dave Dixon Award in 2011. Montgomery was named “A Leader of the Century by the Shreveport Times” in 2002. He was the only individual to receive the International Police Award in 1990.

Montgomery earned a bachelor’s in education in 1960 and a master’s in administration and supervision at NSU in 1966. He also did additional work toward his plus 30 at NSU.

Pierson was successful as a coach, teacher and administrator at Northwestern. She earned a bachelor’s at NSU in 1977 and master’s at NSU in 1980 and a doctorate at LSU in 2001.

She was Northwestern State’s women’s basketball coach for nine years, winning three conference titles, leading the Lady Demons to the finals of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament and coaching multiple all-conference and academic All-American players. Her 1985-86 team won 25 games, the most in school history. She won more than 200 games as a collegiate head coach, serving five seasons at East Carolina where she won a regular season conference championship and coach of the year honors in 1992.

She joined Northwestern’s faculty in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences in 1992. Pierson later became head of the department and helped create the bachelor’s program in hospitality management and tourism, which has placed graduates in positions with leading companies throughout the nation. Under Pierson’s leadership, the program achieved national accreditation.

Pierson was a two-time recipient of the College of Science, Technology and Business Excellence in Teaching Award and was selected as Academic Advisor of the Year at NSU. In 2015, Pierson was awarded the status of Department Head Emeritus by the College of Science, Technology and Business.

Wright is a partner in the RSM US LLP Houston office and is a member of National Tax Leadership Committee for RSM’s Private Client Services group, leads the PCS Practice for the Central Region and co-leads the RSM Family Office practice. His primary expertise is in tax matters related to tax planning for family wealth preservation, wealth transfers, charitable transfers, closely held business enterprises and multigenerational families. He works extensively with high-net-worth families, family offices and closely held businesses.

He began his career with Haskins & Sells (now Deloitte USA, LLP) in 1973 and was admitted to Deloitte as a partner in 1981. In 1985, he joined the Houston firm of Margolis, Phipps & Wright, P.C. He served on the Executive Committee of Margolis, Phipps & Wright, P.C. until joining his partners and staff members in opening the Houston office of RSM in 2013. He is active in numerous professional organizations including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and Texas Society of Certified Public Accountants and has spoken at numerous seminars on subjects related to taxation and tax legislation.

Wright earned a bachelor’s in accounting at Northwestern State in 1973.

He serves on the Northwestern State University Foundation board and is a trustee of Mary R. Gallaspy Charitable Trust No. 2.