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NSU Spring Commencement

May 8, 2015

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University will hold its Spring Commencement Exercises Friday, May 8 in Prather Coliseum.

Undergraduate and graduate students from the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, the Departments of Criminal Justice, History and Social Sciences, Language and Communication and General Studies, the Mrs. H.D. Dear Sr. and Alice E. Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts 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 Departments of Biological and Physical Sciences, Engineering Technology and Mathematics and the School of Business will graduate at 3 p.m.

Northwestern State alumnus Gary Fields, a senior special projects reporter for the Wall Street Journal, will be the commencement speaker.

Members of the Class of 1965 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

Parking for commencement will be available at lots throughout campus with buses available to shuttle those attending the ceremonies to and from their vehicles, as the parking lots surrounding Prather Coliseum are under construction and closed to traffic. Three bus routes have been established with designated bus stops. To view a color-coded map of available parking spots and coordinating bus routes, visit and click on the Commencement Parking icon.  You can also view the map at

Reserved spaces for students and their guests who need accessible parking will be available in the two small lots closest to Prather Coliseum on the east and west sides of the building. All buses will unload in front of the main entrance of Prather Coliseum.  Parking will not be permitted on the shoulders of South Jefferson, Tarlton Drive or the construction area.  Drivers are urged to use caution and be courteous to pedestrians.

Graduates and guests should plan to arrive about two hours before each ceremony.  Although Northwestern State encourages graduates and guests to arrive on campus early, buses will not be available until 8 a.m. to transport graduates and guests to and from Prather Coliseum.

Fields specializes in criminal justice and law enforcement coverage in The Wall Street Journal’s Washington, D.C., bureau.

Fields has been with the Journal since July 2000. Prior to this, he was a sports editor for the Natchitoches Times from 1981 to 1985. From 1985 to 1990, he worked for The Times of Shreveport, first as the Natchitoches bureau chief, then as a police reporter. In 1990, he had a short stint with the Gannett News Service in Arlington, Virginia, before moving on to the Washington (D.C.) Times as a police reporter, where he remained until 1991. From 1991 to 2000, Fields worked at USA Today as a states desk editor, rewrite reporter and a criminal justice reporter.

During his career, Fields has won a number of awards. Most recently, he was part of a team that shared the 2015 Edgar A. Poe Award for coverage of news of national or regional significance. He received a New York Press Club Award for a series on mental illness and crime, including the story of a police officer who killed a man suffering from the same mental illness as the officer’s brother.

In 2013, Fields shared a New York Black Journalist Association award and a New York Press Club Award with Cameron McWhirter, based in Atlanta for Crime Reporting for their series “Crime in America.” Fields and John R. Emshwiller shared in the 2011 National Press Foundation “Feddie” Award for their coverage of federal law and the unforeseen consequences of overcriminalization, as well as a New York Press Club Award for coverage of criminal justice issues.

His reporting as the FBI and Justice Department reporter was among the reporting that helped the Journal win the Pulitzer Prize in breaking news in 2002 for its coverage of the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Fields has been named the national journalist of the year by the National Association of Black Journalists.

Fields received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Northwestern State where he is a member of the Alumni Hall of Distinction, the Long Purple Line. In addition, Mr. Fields is a member of both the National Association of Black Journalists and Criminal Justice Journalists. He also is a member of the Montgomery County Foster and Adoptive Parents Association and an immediate past member of the board for the Fund for Investigative Journalism.


May 8, 2015
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Northwestern State University
444 Caspari St.
Natchitoches, LA 71457 United States
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(318) 357-6011

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