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Getting a degree was personal for me
Twila Simmons earned a bachelor's degree with a 3.96 grade point average
By David West

NATCHITOCHES – Twila Simmons isn’t one who wastes a lot of time. Simmons was one 852 students who received a degree Friday at Northwestern State University’s Spring Commencement Exercises.

Simmons, who is from Franklinton, graduating summa cum laude in business administration with a grade point average of 3.96. She is a legal assistant for the law firm of Jones, Fussell LLP in Covington. Simmons has worked for the firm four and a half years. She prepares pleadings, organizes files, handles scheduling, billing and accounts receivable.

“Organization was the key,” said Simmons. “At the start of classes, I would make out a calendar with all the important dates on it. My husband was a big help to me. I just knew I had to apply myself and be dedicated to get up on Saturday morning to do classwork or take time after the kids go to bed.”

Her only B’s were in courses she took while working toward an associate degree. Simmons has made all A’s at Northwestern State.
“Getting a bachelor’s degree was a personal thing for me. I had an associate degree and wanted more,” said Simmons, who will soon start work in Northwestern State’s legal assistant certificate program. “Once I finished, I felt a sense of loss. I found out about the certificate program and decided to try it. My business administration degree plus the legal assistant program could open up some opportunities for me.”

She found about Northwestern State’s online offerings through the Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana (CALL) Program.

“I knew the area and knew about Northwestern, so once I found out they had an online business administration program, I decided to look into it,” said Simmons. “The faculty were always helpful. They are always willing to go the extra mile to help students.”
Northwestern State offers 34 accredited degree programs online including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and add-on certification programs.  The University is an Adult Learning Focused Institution of Higher Education and several programs have been rated as “Best Buys in Online Education” by

For more information about online programs at Northwestern State, go to