Randall Webb

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Randall Joseph Webb

In office
July 1, 1996 – December 31, 2014
Preceded by Robert A. Alost
Succeeded by James B. Henderson

Born March 20, 1943
Natchitoches, Louisiana
Died November 18, 2015
Shreveport, Louisiana
Spouse(s) Brenda Williams (married 1971-2015, his death)
Religion Southern Baptist

Randall Joseph Webb, known as Randy Webb (March 20, 1943 – November 18, 2015), was the 17th and longest-serving president of Northwestern State University in his native Natchitoches, Louisiana, a position which he filled from July 1, 1996 to December 31, 2014. During his tenure, 40 percent of all NSU graduates received their degrees.[1]

Background

Webb was a son of the late Joseph Wilburn Webb and the former Narvis Almand.[2] He graduated from Northwestern, which began as a teacher's college in 1894, with bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics in 1965 and 1966. Over the years, more than fifty Webb family members attended the institution. In 1971, he obtained a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. From 1966 to 1974, Webb was a faculty member at Longwood College in Farmville, Virginia. From 1974 to 1976, he was director of higher education and teacher certification for the Louisiana Department of Education. He moved to Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond in 1976. Over a 13-year-period there, he was director of institutional research, equal employment opportunity officer, registrar, and a member of the mathematics faculty.[3]

Webb was a member of the Natchitoches Chamber of Commerce, Rotary International, the Association for the Preservation of Historic Natchitoches, the Natchitoches Historic Foundation, the Natchitoches-Northwestern Symphony Society,[3] the Committee of One Hundred in Shreveport,[2] and the Baptist Church.[3]

NSU years

In 1989, Webb was appointed the dean of instruction and graduate studies as well as mathematics professor at Northwestern. In this position, he conducted a review of graduate and undergraduate university programs. He chaired the Self-Study steering committee required as part of the accreditation process.[3]

During his tenure as president from 1996 to 2014, all NSU programs were fully accredited, and the institution had its largest graduating classes in its history. He established an electronic education network and oversaw $65 million in fundraising. Early in 2015, he was named to the Southland Conference Hall of Honor.[2]

Shortly after retirement, Webb learned that he had contracted cancer, which claimed his life eleven months later at the age of seventy-two. He was succeeded as NSU president by James "Jim" Henderson, then the chancellor of Bossier Parish Community College in Bossier City. In the spring of 2014, Webb was named president emeritus.[3]

In 1971, Webb wed the former Brenda Williams (born 1950). The couple relocated to Shreveport upon his retirement from NSU.[3] There are two Webb daughters, Tamara Gatewood and husband Reggie of McKinney in Collin County, Texas, and Lauren Simokaitis and husband Nick of Crestwood in St. Louis County, Missouri, and four grandchildren.[4]

Webb's services were held at 10 a.m. November 23 in Prather Coliseum on the NSU campus. In 1964, Webb had been the student body president when the coliseum was officially dedicated.[1][5] Officiating were State Senator Gerald Long, a Baptist minister and long-term friend of Webb's, and the Reverend Thomas Rush.[4] Burial was private at the American Cemetery in Natchitoches.[2]

Webb's son-in-law, Reggie L. Gatewood (born 1971), said that "sometimes it was hard for the family to share Randy with his other true love — Northwestern. ... But we all shared someone very special — all of us. ... he was always just Randy Webb, someone who loved his family, someone who loved Northwestern and someone who loved his neighbor as himself."[1]

The Randall and Brenda Webb Scholarship at NSU is named in the couple's honor. Then Governor Bobby Jindal ordered all state flags at half staff during the day of Webb's funeral.[6]

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Webb's family, friends gather 'to honor the life he lived'. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on November 24, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Dr. Randall Joseph Webb. The Alexandria Town Talk. Retrieved on November 21, 2015.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 Leigh Guidry. 'Giant of a man': Longtime NSU President Randall J. Webb dies at 72. The Shreveport Times. Retrieved on November 19, 2015.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Funeral Set for Former NSU President Randall Webb. KEEL AM radio. Retrieved on November 19, 2015.
  5. Services set for ex-Northwestern State leader Randall Webb. ksl.com. Retrieved on November 19, 2015.
  6. Executive Order: Flags at Half Staff. gov.la.gov. Retrieved on November 28, 2015.