Rouses donates 1,000 food items to Nicholls CAN! drive

THIBODAUX – As part of its partnership with Nicholls State University’s Department of Athletics, Rouses Markets donated 1,000 canned food items to the Nicholls CAN! food drive.

“Along with sponsoring Nicholls athletics, Rouses supports local food banks year-round, so this initiative seemed like the perfect fit,” said Tim Acosta, Rouses marketing director. “We hope that our donation helps bring more awareness and gets more people involved with such a good cause.”

In August, Rouses became the official grocer of Nicholls athletics. As part of its corporate sponsorship, Rouses agreed to donate up to 2,000 cans a year. The company will donate 1,000 cans for the Nicholls CAN! drive this spring. Additionally, the 12 Rouses stores in the Bayou Region will feature Nicholls athletics merchandise, banners, schedule posters, football game programs and other promotional materials.

“When athletics approached Rouses, we asked for not just financial support but also a true partnership in our community efforts,” said Brandon Ruttley, associate athletics director for external affairs.  “Nicholls athletics is grateful for Rouses’ sponsorship, and we look forward to more community projects that build upon the co-branding of Nicholls and Rouses.”

The Nicholls CAN! drive will continue through Monday, Oct. 15. For a list of drop-off locations and other ways to contribute, visit


CUTLINE: Pictured in the front row, from left, are Meenakshi Sundaram, Nicholls tennis head coach; Dylan Harrison, Nicholls soccer head coach; Seth Thibodeaux, Nicholls baseball head coach; Brandon Naquin, Rouses assistant store director; Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, Nicholls president; Jean Donegan, Nicholls CAN! committee member; Tim Acosta, Rouses marketing director; and Brandon Ruttley, Nicholls associate athletics director for external affairs. In the back row, from left, are Andrew Kearney, Nicholls director of compliance; Clyde Cantrell, Rouses assistant manager; Rachel Yezak, account executive for Colonel Sports Properties; JP Piper, Nicholls men’s basketball head coach; and James Schilling, Nicholls golf head coach.

Nicholls graduation rates show highest increase in the state

THIBODAUX — Due to a successful transition to selective admissions, Nicholls State University posted the highest increase in graduation rates among Louisiana’s 12 public four-year universities that reported figures to the Louisiana Board of Regents.

According to the preliminary report, 41.88 percent of 2005 Nicholls first-time freshmen graduated from Nicholls or another state institution within six years. That’s nearly a 10 percentage-point increase over the university’s 2004 statewide graduation rate, which was 32.11 percent. Nicholls now has the highest graduation rate among Louisiana’s regional universities and the fourth highest among institutions statewide.

“Our graduation rate is the final bit of evidence, validating that the introduction of selective admissions in 2005 has been successful and students benefited from that move,” University President Stephen T. Hulbert said. “Graduation rates take a long time to measure [six years], but these most recent results definitively show that higher quality students are choosing Nicholls and that we’re providing the services needed to support their success.”

To prepare for the transition to selective admissions, Nicholls created University College, a portal of entry for all freshmen, in 2004. The college provides centralized academic advising, tutoring and writing assistance services as well as programs that engage students and enhance their first-year experience.

Nicholls’ graduation rate, which is higher than the University of Louisiana System average, illustrates that the university is increasing student success and institutional accountability, as required by the GRAD Act. By meeting these specific performance objectives, Nicholls gains the authority to adjust tuition and participate in certain autonomies, such as contract negotiation and technology purchasing authorities. The large jump in Nicholls’ 2005 graduation rate also helps explain the university’s decrease in overall enrollment.

“These are the students who are responsible for record-setting graduation rates over the past four years,” Hulbert said. “This is not a one-year anomaly; we know that our freshman classes since 2005 are progressing toward their degrees at even faster rates. Although our total enrollment has decreased, our first-time freshmen are up by 10 percent. Nicholls is attracting better-prepared students who are moving into the workforce quicker and making a positive impact in their communities.”


Nicholls connects students with potential employers

THIBODAUX – More than 60 companies participated in Nicholls State University’s fall 2012 Career Day on Wednesday, Oct. 10 in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. The event, sponsored by the Nicholls Office of Career Services, helps students explore job opportunities and meet potential employers. Pictured, from left, is Darryl Sapp, recruiter for Chevron, talking with Nicholls students Austin Caulking and Ryan Adams.

Nicholls students flock to new recreation center

THIBODAUX – Jessica Lawrence, mathematics sophomore from New Orleans, and Lauren Brochard, communicative disorders senior from Raceland, make laps around the walking track at the Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center on the Nicholls State University campus. The center opened on Saturday, Sept. 29, and in the first week, student attendance totaled 5,841. As part of Nicholls Homecoming activities, staff will offer public tours of the rec center on Saturday Oct. 13 from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, visit

Nicholls kicks off Homecoming 2012 with beautification project

THIBODAUX – During the Nicholls State University “Paint the Town Red” Day of Service, Abby Galjour, biology sophomore from Lockport; Ashley Sagona, business administration freshman from Pierre Part; and Bethany Samanie, business administration freshman from Thibodaux, lay down fresh mulch in flowerbeds along Canal Boulevard in Thibodaux. More than 130 Nicholls students participated in the service project on Oct. 6, which marked the beginning of the 2012 Homecoming festivities. In addition to mulching at several Thibodaux locations, volunteers helped beautify Peltier Park by pressure-washing the Boy Scouts’ clubhouse as well as painting tables, benches and bathroom exteriors.

Nicholls dedicates women’s soccer complex

THIBODAUX – The Nicholls State University women’s soccer program celebrated the opening of its long-awaited facility on Audubon Avenue Friday, Oct. 5. Nicholls administrators gathered before the soccer game against McNeese State University to officially dedicate the women’s soccer complex and the Lester S. Bimah Locker Room. Pictured is Bimah, a Nicholls graduate and supporter who led the Nicholls men’s soccer team from 1981 through 1988, previously served as Colonel Athletic Association president and was inducted into the Nicholls Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010.

he Nicholls State University women’s soccer program celebrated the opening of its long-awaited facility on Audubon Avenue Friday, Oct. 5. Nicholls administrators gathered before the soccer game against McNeese State University to officially dedicate the women’s soccer complex and the Lester S. Bimah Locker Room. In addition to home and away locker rooms, the facility houses a meeting area, coach’s office, training room, laundry area, public restrooms and a concession stand. “This facility is much more than four walls; it’s our place to create memories,” said team captain Carolyn Noble. “It’s a sign of hope and a great future for this competitive program.”

Media Alert – Nicholls invites media to ‘Paint the Town Red’ kick off

THIBODAUX – Working media are invited to join City Councilman and former Nicholls Alumni Federation President Eddie Hebert at the kick off of the Nicholls “Paint the Town Red” Day of Service benefiting the City of Thibodaux.

University students will meet at Peltier Park at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012, to receive their assignments. The volunteer crew will work on projects designed to help beautiful the City of Thibodaux, including painting, cleaning and landscaping. A collaborative effort between the City of Thibodaux and Nicholls, “Paint the Town Red” marks the beginning of the 2012 Homecoming festivities. 

Nicholls fundraiser generates more than $33,000 for scholarships

Approximately 500 guests attended Nicholls State University’s 17th annual Sponsor A+ Scholar Wine and Food Extravaganza, which raised more than $33,000 for student scholarships. Pictured are Dr. David Boudreaux, vice president for institutional advancement at Nicholls, and Hugh Hamilton, an avid university supporter, during the live auction at the Oct. 3 fundraiser in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.


Nicholls Players to present ‘Almost, Maine’

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s acting troupe, the Nicholls Players, will perform the romantic comedy “Almost, Maine” during Homecoming Week. Written by John Cariani and directed by Nicholls speech instructor Anna Broussard, the play is a series of nine vignettes about couples living in the mythical Maine town of Almost.

“This is a fun, light-hearted show about small-town people falling in and out of love in the dead of winter,” Broussard said. “I chose this off-Broadway play because I want people to know that theater doesn’t have to be political or serious. ‘Almost, Maine’ still has a message and says a lot of sweet things about love, but audiences should come prepared to laugh.”

“Almost, Maine,” which features a cast of 12 Nicholls students, is appropriate for all ages. Performances will be held in the Mary M. Danos Theater in Talbot Hall at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Oct. 11–13, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 14. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students with Nicholls ID cards, and they may be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 985-448-4586.

Nicholls recognized as military friendly for fourth year

THIBODAUX — For the fourth consecutive year, Nicholls State University has been designated a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine. The honor is given to the nation’s top 15 percent of schools doing the most to embrace active military and veteran students and help them succeed.

The recognition reflects Nicholls’ growing efforts to recruit and retain military students. This fall, the university opened a veterans lounge in Shaver Gym to help build community among student veterans and assist in their transition to college life. Former U.S. Marine and current Army National Guard officer Gilberto Burbante also joined the Nicholls staff in June to create a standardized veterans program. Currently, 195 veterans are enrolled at Nicholls, and Burbante expects that number to increase as more surge troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

“The Military Friendly honor helps us recruit students because they see that Nicholls is actually veteran-friendly,” said Burbante, a three-time Iraq War infantry veteran and 2011 Nicholls graduate. “Once they get on campus, see other veterans hanging out in the lounge and realize how relaxed and open I am, they feel at home. I’m the same as they are. I was a Nicholls student who struggled with the same issues they do, which helps me make a connection.”

U.S. Navy veteran Shane Langnes said his first university experiences have been positive thanks to Burbante and the fellow students he’s met in the new lounge. The mass communication freshman already has a show on the KNSU campus radio station and is seeking out additional ways to get involved.

“This lounge is exactly what I needed,” he said. “It’s more personal than the library and a great place to make new friends. I feel the same camaraderie here as I did back in the military.”

Expanding the specialized services offered to the veteran student population is part of the university’s 2011–16 strategic plan. Nicholls already offers priority service to military members during enrollment. Admission criteria are exempted for veterans who have received an honorable discharge, and they may register before the general student population. Nicholls has also selected a group of individual advisers to serve as veterans’ advocates.

For more information about Nicholls’ services for veterans and active service members, call Burbante at 985-448-4208.