It’s been a tough week for many at my alma mater, Northwestern State University, with the passing of former president Randall J. Webb. While he had been retired for almost a year — you’d never know.
His devotion to the success of NSU never waned. You’d see him on campus, at alumni events in Shreveport, and doing whatever he could to tell the world about his beloved “Old Normal.” I wouldn’t expect anything less from someone who has more than 50 NSU graduates in his family tree. Many are convinced that he truly bleeds purple and white. What many didn’t know — Dr. Webb also spent much of his brief retirement fighting an illness.
Just two weeks before his passing, he got in touch with me to ask how I was doing, seeming more concerned with my career and travels than his own health. That’s just the way he was — a very humble man with a caring heart. He and “Mrs. Brenda,” as many know his wife, have earned a special fondness in my own heart over the last decade.
I had the pleasure of first getting to know Dr. Webb while hosting a weekly TV show together on NSU-TV and as Chief Justice of the Student Government Association. Since graduation, I’ve remained involved as a board member for the NSU Alumni Association, working alongside him on several projects to promote NSU and mentor students. I’ve tried following his example, paying forward the same type mentoring and encouragement I received as an undergrad.
Since learning of his passing, it has been comforting to reflect on the legacy he leaves behind. So many others have similar memories and connections with this giving and decent person. This weekend, I sat with his two sons-in-law at the final football game of the season, the Battle for Chief Caddo against Stephen F. Austin State University. There were plenty of smiles and chuckles, during their stories and especially because Northwestern was winning against our long-time rival — something that would have made Dr. Webb very happy. Half-time featured a moving tribute to the institution’s longest-serving president. The nationally-known Spirit of Northwestern Marching Band spelled-out “Dr. Webb” across the turf as they performed a moving rendition of Amazing Grace.
You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who loves their alma mater more than Randy Webb. That loyalty was his calling card — his hallmark trait. I’m so very thankful to have cross paths with someone who has been a positive influence in the lives of so many.
The views expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the views of KLTV/KTRE-TV or Raycom Media. They are solely the opinion of the author. All content © Copyright 2015 Lane Luckie