The dinner was hosted by The Landing Restaurant in historic downtown Natchitoches.
All returning student-athletes who posted a 3.0 or better grade point average in at least one of the two semesters last year were invited to attend, compliments of The Landing, which has hosted this event for more than a decade.
Carrie Crowell, NSU's head academic coordinator, said a record 339 honor roll listings were earned in 2012-13 by student-athletes who posted 3.0 semester GPAs.
Junior football cornerback Imoan Claiborne won the prestigious Trailblazer Award presented to the student-athlete chosen from all sports for having made the most impressive transformation into becoming a successful, highly-motivated performer in the classroom.
Top academic achievers in the junior, sophomore and freshman classes for men and women were spotlighted.
The junior male Academic Award recipient, with a combined 3.5 GPA in 2012-13 in general studies, was baseball's Edwin Gomez.
Two women, soccer players Cassidy Browning (accounting major) and Danielle Harding (biology), each posted perfect 4.0 GPAs over the last academic year.
For the 2012-13 sophomore class, the females again had two 4.0 GPAs, posted by Tatiana Larina (hospitality management and tourism) of the tennis team and volleyball's Mackenzie Neely (health and exercise science).
The male academic award winner was Xavier Jefferson (business administration) of the football team with a 3.5 GPA.
The freshman awards also went to two women and a male winner, all posting perfect 4.0 GPAs as health and exercise science majors in their first year of college. Baseball's Cort Brinson was joined by two Lady Demon tennis players, Natalya Krutova and Daniela Simonova, as the top academic performers in their class.
Seven members of the tennis team won Intercolle-giate Tennis Association Scholar-Athlete awards this summer. Northwestern led the state's public institutions of higher learning by posting a five-year 72 percent score on the NCAA's Graduation Success Rate report, meaning three of every four competitors at NSU earn diplomas.
The NCAA recently issued a $30,000 grant for NSU's Academic Services department to support its operations supporting student-athletes, said Crowell.
NSU has successfully applied for NCAA academic support grants for several years.
City Bank and Trust Company of Natchitoches also provides key support for NSU student-athletes and is the official athletic department academic sponsor.