Northwestern State University’s College of Business and Technology hosted a remembrance ceremony Aug. 13 for four members of the faculty who passed away in the past year. One honoree Fred Clark was from Coushatta. In addition to Clark, William “Phil” Habig, Dr. Ted Jones and Dr. John G. Williams were honored through personal tributes and the dedication of four trees outside Russell Hall.
Clark (1931-2021) was a native of Coushatta who graduated from NSU at age 18 and served during the Korean Conflict. While stationed in Germany, his assignment included teaching fellow soldiers, most of them older and more senior in rank. After being honorably discharged, he earned a graduate degree in education and began his corporate career with Agriculture Chemicals of Dallas. He and his young family relocated a couple of times before settling in Baton Rouge where he served as director and treasurer for American Republic/Fidelity National Corporation. While there, he sat for and passed his CPA exam on the first attempt.
In 1968, he began a long career in the sugar cane business. He served as director and treasurer of Cinclare Sugar Plantation in Brusly and president and CEO of Sterling Sugars in Franklin. At Sterling, he directed significant expansions in the farming and milling operations, processing record cane tonnage on a near annual basis, while keeping order among a diverse and colorful board of directors. Following his retirement from Sterling Sugars, he was tapped by Gov. M.J. “Mike” Foster to chair the Louisiana Parole Board for eight years.
Clark returned to his alma mater as executive in residence for the College of Business, a full faculty member and fund raiser. He was inducted into the Long Purple Line, NSU’s alumni hall of distinction. During his long career, he served as director of Commercial Bank in Franklin, president of the American Sugar Cane League and held ownership in finance companies, fencing establishments and rental properties.
NSU Interim President Dr. Marcus Jones said the occasion paid tribute “to colleagues who are no longer with us but whose vast contributions to Northwestern and the College of Business will positively impact the university for generations to come.”
Provost Dr. Greg Handel, Dr. Danny Upshaw, associate professor of business; and past presidents Dr. Chris Maggio and Dr. Jim Henderson offered remarks, which began with an invocation by Student Government Association President Tja’h Edwards. Each talked about their personal and professional relationships with the four honorees who were teachers, mentors, advisors, colleagues, friends, men of inspiration and representatives of Northwestern.
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