Nicholls To Present ‘The Vagina Monologues’

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s Office of Student Services will present “The Vagina Monologues,” a play about the feminine experience, on Feb. 14, 15 and 16.

            A special Valentine’s Day performance, which will include a three-course meal, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. Advanced tickets are $25 and must be purchased by Monday, Feb. 4. Performances on Friday, Feb. 15 and Saturday, Feb. 16 will begin at 7 p.m. in the Mary M. Danos Theater of Talbot Hall, and tickets will be $10 at the door.

Promoting female empowerment and raising awareness about violence against women, “The Vagina Monologues,” written by Eve Ensler, will be performed by a group of women from the Nicholls campus. Proceeds from all performances will benefit the Nicholls Women’s Resource and Services Office and V-Day International, a nonprofit group that benefits female victims of violence and sexual abuse. To purchase tickets or get more information, call 985-448-4080.

The Vagina Monologues 2011

CUTLINE: Kristi Calvaruso, sociology senior from Gonzales, performs during Nicholls State University’s 2011 production of “The Vagina Monologues” in Talbot Hall.

Nicholls dyslexia center to host conference

THIBODAUX — Parents, teachers, guidance counselors and others interested in helping students with dyslexia are invited to attend the “Unmasking Their Potential, 2013” conference, presented by the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders at Nicholls State University on Saturday, Jan. 26.

The Rev. Joseph Wallace-Williams, a 2008 Nicholls graduate who has battled dyslexia, will headline the event. Although he wasn’t expected to finish high school, Wallace-Williams earned a bachelor’s degree from Nicholls and a master’s degree from Sewanee: The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. He currently serves as the associate rector at Grace-St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Memphis, where he is the congregation’s first black priest. During his keynote address, Wallace-Williams will share his inspirational story of overcoming dyslexia challenges.

The conference will also feature various professional breakout sessions on how to help children with dyslexia prepare for college, overcome emotional issues, utilize helpful iPad tools and software, more easily read multisyllabic words, preform better in math and more.

Conference registration, including lunch, is $60 by Friday, Jan. 25 or $65 at the door. Full-time students with IDs will be admitted for $25. To download the registration form or learn more about the dyslexia center, visit

or call 985-448-4214.

Nicholls honors four retirees with emeritus status

THIBODAUX — During its first spring faculty meeting, Nicholls State University awarded four retirees with emeritus titles, honoring their exceptional dedication, outstanding accomplishments, professional contributions and extensive service to the university. Dr. O. Cleveland Hill, Dr. Marilyn Kilgen and Dr. Betty Kleen were named professor emeritus, and Deborah “Raz” Raziano was named director emeritus of alumni affairs.

As the university’s first black student athlete, Dr. O. Cleveland Hill has been helping advance Nicholls since 1968, when he arrived as a freshman from Moss Point, Miss. After a record-breaking collegiate basketball career, Hill enlisted in the U.S. Army but soon returned to his alma mater to help coach the basketball team and obtain a master’s degree in education. He remained at Nicholls as an assistant professor of physical education and later director of student teaching. From 1999 until his retirement in 2006, he served as dean of the College of Education, working from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily on new initiatives, grants and accreditation efforts. Even through retirement, Hill has continued to work stints as the interim dean of student life at Nicholls, the principal at the MAX Charter School and, currently, an associate professor of education at Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans.

Last month, Dr. Marilyn Kilgen retired after dedicating more than four decades to Nicholls. The Colonel graduate briefly lived in Alabama while earning her doctorate at Auburn University, but she quickly trekked back to her alma mater, where she has taught biology for the past 41 years. A nationally renown microbiologist and seafood safety scientist, Kilgen has received more than $7.5 million in research funding and is perhaps best known for her oyster research in collaboration with Motivatit Seafoods in Houma. While serving as head of the Nicholls Department of Biological Sciences for 12 years, she mentored 16 new faculty and guided the careers of countless alumni who are now physicians and other health care professionals. Kilgen played an integral role in helping the department add a master’s degree program, and though retired, she will continue to work on her grant-funded research initiatives.

For 33 years, Dr. Betty Kleen has helped Nicholls students become more competent business writers and more confident technology users. Her extensive expertise in information systems, business communication and teaching methods is reflected in the more than 175 journal articles that she’s published throughout her career. Kleen arrived at Nicholls in 1979 after earning two business degrees from Western Illinois University and a doctorate from the University of Kentucky. She rose her way up at Nicholls to become a distinguished service professor of information systems and director of Graduate Studies. A co-recipient of the first campuswide teaching excellence award at Nicholls, Kleen was also named the 2006 Computer Educator of the Year by the International Association of Computer Information Systems. Kleen retired on Jan. 1 but will still teach a Nicholls Online course and volunteer with local service organizations.

The quintessential Colonel spirit leader, Deborah “Raz” Raziano has championed Nicholls for 32 years in her role as director of alumni affairs. She first arrived on campus as a freshman in 1969 and later served as senior class president and the 1973 Miss Nicholls. Upon graduation, she worked as a consultant for her sorority, Delta Zeta, for six years, before returning to Nicholls as its fifth alumni director. During her tenure, she led the Nicholls Alumni Federation through numerous changes including the creation of a structured membership program, the re-introduction of the Nicholls class ring, the redesign of The Colonel alumni magazine and the development of the alumni website. She created several alumni traditions, including the annual alumni crawfish boil and the Awards for Excellence ceremony. Leaving behind an impressive campus legacy, Raziano retired on Jan. 11 and plans to volunteer, travel and continue cheering on the Colonels.


Nicholls Seeks Gumbo Cook Off Teams

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University is looking for the best local gumbo chefs to compete in its first Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off on Saturday, March 16.

A new addition to the popular Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival, the Jumbo Gumbo Cook-Off will include both a gumbo competition and public tasting. Cooking teams will be able to compete in two categories: seafood gumbo and gumbo containing beef, turkey, chicken and/or pork. Cypress gumbo paddles and roux spoons will be awarded to gumbo winners.

“The goal of the Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival is to promote and save the unique culture of south Louisiana. The cook-off will add to this by showcasing the unique food of this area,” said Brenda Haskins, festival co-chair.

The deadline to register for the cook-off is Monday, Feb. 25, and the entry fee is $75 per team. All proceeds will benefit the Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival. For entry details, visit

or call 985-488-4518.

For community members interested in attending the family-friendly event, gates will open at 12:30 p.m., and a $5 entry fee will include all gumbo tastings. Children 10 and younger will get in for free.

Nicholls Introduces New Non-Credit Classes

THIBODAUX —Nicholls State University’s Office of Continuing Education will offer dozens of non-credit courses this spring, including new classes in international cuisine and American Sign Language basics.

“International Culinary Voyage” sessions held on Jan. 26, Feb. 16, March 9 and May 4 will introduce community members to multinational cooking styles, with each class focused on a different cuisine: Italian, French, Greek and Latin. Students will spend four hours discussing the country’s culinary history, watching chef demonstrations and preparing — and eating — a three-course meal.

Beginning Jan. 28, a new eight-week course in American Sign Language will teach participants basic vocabulary, fingerspelling and sentence structure. Other classes offered this spring include computer literacy, floral design, hatha yoga, notary prep, photography basics, Web design, Zumba and more. To view all classes offered as well as their dates, times and fees, visit

Participants can register online or call 985-448-4444 for more information.

Currently, all non-credit courses are taught on the Nicholls campus, but the Office of Continuing Education will soon be expanding to include classes at the Duhé Building, 235 Civic Center Blvd., in Houma. Nicholls is looking for individuals willing to share their talents and ideas by becoming a course instructor. For more information, call 985-448-4444.

Nicholls scholarship fund to honor biology graduate

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s Department of Biological Sciences has established a scholarship fund in memory of alumna Rachel Ianni, who tragically passed away Jan. 1 at age 26 while hiking near Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains.

            Nicholls faculty describe Ianni — a May 2011 graduate of the marine and environmental biology master’s program — as a genuine, inspiring and hard-working woman who didn’t shy away from physically demanding research assignments and approached volunteer work with unmatched gusto. While at Nicholls, Ianni worked on a Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries project to remove invasive tilapias from a Port Sulphur canal system, and she served as a teaching assistant for a University Honors course in Costa Rica. Her Nicholls degree led her to jobs with the Indiana Dunes National Forest, Chicago Public Schools and The Field Museum of Chicago.

            To honor Ianni’s love of travel, zest for life and passion for scientific research, the memorial funds will go toward travel scholarships for marine and environmental biology students.

            “Rachel represents what is good in the world and has inspired me to live my life with the same outlook she had,” said Dr. Quenton Fontenot, interim head of the biology department. “She was as dependable as they come. The restoration work we did was dirty, and Rachel would always seem to get the muddiest. We always joked that Rachel could get muddy in a bottle of bleach. But as hard as she worked, she also took the necessary time to enjoy the present. As important as it is to work hard, it is equally important to enjoy life, and Rachel got it right.”

            To donate to the Rachel Ianni Memorial Fund, write a check payable to NSU Credit Union (with “Rachel Ianni” written in the memo line) and mail it to NSU Foundation, P.O. Box 2074, Thibodaux, LA 70310. For more information, email or

Nicholls Students Named to Fall 2012 Honors Lists

THIBODAUX — More than 2,200 Nicholls State University students have been named to the fall 2012 president’s list, dean’s list and honor roll, which recognize academic excellence.

A complete list of the honored students is downloadable here. Full-time students must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the president’s list, between 3.2 and 3.499 for the dean’s list, and between 3.0 and 3.199 for the honor roll.



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Nicholls offers Mardi Gras parking options

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls State University campus has prime, convenient parking spaces available for Thibodaux parade-goers this Mardi Gras season.

Three parking options are available:

  • Free parking — At no charge, parade-goers may park their vehicles in interior campus parking lots not directly along the parade routes. No campers are allowed.
  • Pre-paid seasonal reserved parking — Premium parking spaces along the parade routes may be reserved for campers, cars or trucks for the entire 2013 carnival season. Spaces are $50 per car/truck/van and $200 per camper (includes one vehicle per camper).
  • Parade-day paid parking — Parade-goers may park their vehicles in designated lots adjacent to the parade route for $10 a day per vehicle. Spots are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. No campers are allowed.

Nicholls will be officially closed Monday, Feb. 11, and Tuesday, Feb. 12, but campus visitors are asked to still adhere to normal parking courtesies, such as observing handicapped zones, no-parking zones and reserved parking spaces.

To learn more about Mardi Gras parking options and to download a parking pass application, visit For additional information, call 985-448-4942 or email