NSU Alum Gen. Wise dies at 99

Kendall Caple  

Reporter  

Northwestern State University alum and Louisiana National Guard member Maj. Gen. Erbon W. Wise died at age 99 on Aug. 19, 2020.    

The same year Wise received a bachelor’s degree in science from Northwestern State University, Pearl Harbor was bombed, and he enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps, according to an article posted by KLFY.  

Interim Department Head of New Media, Journalism, and Communications Arts Dr. Brian Gabrial said that he was deeply saddened to hear of Wise’s death. 

 “I came to NSU in 2018 as the Wise Endowed Chair in Journalism, so I know firsthand of the generosity of the general and his wife Marie,” Gabrial said.  

Dr. Paula Furr is the interim Wise chair.  

“The Department of Journalism, which was the forerunner to the current department, was the first department at Northwestern to have a million-dollar endowed chair. So, it was a big deal,” Furr said. 

The Wise Endowed Chair at NSU supports the teaching of journalism and communications at the university.  

“It’s been wonderful for our department because we have this and are able to bring in some top-notch people for the department,’ Furr said. “It has allowed us to have some extra funds for equipment because as you can imagine, our is a very expensive department. It was wonderful for him and his family to support our department in this way.” 

In regard to the impact of Wise’s endowment Gabrial expresses how it, “continues to help our department in ways that go far beyond the professorship, providing us with resources that ensure our majors have the best equipment and instruction in their programs.” 

KLFY reported that for his service, Wise was the recipient of a Bronze Star Medal, a European Theatre Operations Ribbon, a Distinguished Unit Emblem, a Meritorious Unit Emblem, an Army Occupation Medal, A WWII Victory Medal and an Armed Forces Reserve Medal. 

“Gen. Erbon bestowed on NSU and New Media, Journalism, and Communication Arts a remarkable and enduring legacy,” Gabrial said. 

Furr said that Gen. Wise was very personable and had a great sense of humor.  

“He loved to keep scrapbooks of things he loved. Of course, his flowers and his plants. He always had lots of pictures of his flowers and plants. He really loved that,” Furr said. “He was just the most interesting, kind man and loved Northwestern.”  

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