Nicholls Roast to Honor Dr. Marilyn Kilgen

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University invites the community to a roast in honor of Dr. Marilyn Kilgen, former biology department head.

The fundraiser will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14 in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. Open to the public, the event will feature cocktails, tasty appetizers and a cash bar. Kilgen’s co-workers and friends will share stories, tell jokes and honor her career at Nicholls.

In her 45 years at Nicholls, Kilgen taught and advised thousands of students, and she conducted research projects worth millions of dollars.

“Marilyn was a longtime adviser to pre-medicine students at Nicholls, and she was very successful with her students. A lot of doctors owe their career to her mentoring,” said Dr. John Doucet, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Kilgen, who retired last December, began her career at Nicholls as a student, earning a biology degree in 1966. After leaving to pursue her doctorate in microbiology from Auburn University, she returned home to Thibodaux to teach as a member of the Nicholls biology faculty.

A nationally renowned microbiologist and seafood safety scientist, Kilgen has received more than $7.5 million in research funding. During her 12 years as the head of the Department of Biological Sciences, she recruited and mentored 16 new faculty members, helped the department win one of only 17 Departmental Excellence through Faculty Enhancement awards and led the push to develop the university’s Master of Science in Marine and Environmental Biology degree program.

“She’s one of the main reasons our department is so strong today,” said Dr. Quenton Fontenot, head of the Department of Biological Sciences.

Tickets to the dressy-casual event are $50 per person and should be reserved by Tuesday, Sept. 10. Proceeds will go to the Biology Student Excellence Fund to help support the activities of Nicholls biology students. To RSVP or for more information, call 985-448-4700.

Donation benefits fast-growing Nicholls degree program

PETSM Michael Gautreaux Donation 2013

THIBODAUX — A $4,000 donation from the Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo will benefit one of Nicholls State University’s fastest-growing degree programs.

The funds will help to develop the university’s Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management degree programs.

The department is one of the fastest-growing on campus, with 160 new students enrolled for the fall semester and nearly 400 students enrolled overall.

“We have thousands of graduates working in the oil and gas industry across the globe,” said Executive Director Michael Gautreaux. “We pride ourselves in providing higher education opportunities for nontraditional students working in the industry.”

Founded in 1973, the program is celebrating its 40th year at Nicholls.

Focused on professional workforce development, the department is geared towards meeting the needs of the expanding deepwater oil and gas industry in southeast Louisiana and offers the only known programs designed to accommodate the unique schedule of its workers.

Courses are scheduled around the typical 7-days-on, 7-days-off or 14-days-on, 14-days-off working life of an offshore employee. Graduates are often elevated to management positions in safety, drilling and production operations, or they are employed in the service and supply side of the oil and gas industry.

“The program provides a true benefit to the oil and gas industry,” said Joey Cannata, a representative of the Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo. “Our goal was to generate camaraderie and continue to support these kinds of programs that create progress in our industry.”

For more information, visit the Department of Petroleum Engineer Technology and Safety Management’s website at or contact Gautreaux at


CUTLINE: (From left) Leslie Melancon and Joey Cannata, representatives of the Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo, present a $4,000 donation to Michael Gautreaux, executive director of the Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management Program at Nicholls State University, and Al Davis, dean of University College at Nicholls.

Nicholls Ranked Top 10 for Campus Safety

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University has been ranked in the top 10 safest schools in Louisiana, according to a new report issued by

For the second consecutive year, Nicholls ranked sixth for safety out of 44 Louisiana universities and community college.

“We are happy and satisfied with the ranking, especially the consistency,” said Craig Jaccuzzo, director of University Police. “Our top priority is providing a safe campus for our students, staff and community members.”

The rankings, compiled from crime reports submitted by university law enforcement agencies, were announced earlier this month. According to, colleges and universities are ranked based on the severity and frequency of reported crimes.

Four out of the five Louisiana campuses outranking Nicholls were two-year schools. Nicholls outranked similarly sized four-year institutions.

Nicholls police officers are fully certified law-enforcement officers with full arrest and investigative powers. Currently, the department consists of nine full-time officers and is seeking to hire four more, Jaccuzzo said. Some officers have more than 15 years of law enforcement experience.

“This high ranking is the result of a community policing philosophy that includes the cooperation of the entire campus,” Jaccuzzo said.

The rankings for Louisiana are available here:


Nicholls Kicks Off Fall Semester, Honors Outstanding Faculty

THIBODAUX — At its first fall faculty meeting, Nicholls State University welcomed its employees back to campus and presented several awards recognizing outstanding faculty accomplishments.

The highest honors went to Dr. Michele Robichaux, associate professor of biological sciences, who received the Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence, and to Dr. Scott Beslin, head of the Department of Mathematics, who received the Presidential Award for Academic Administrator Excellence. Both will receive a $1,000 salary increase.

Nicholls also awarded professor emeritus titles to two university retirees, Dr. Bruce McManis and Dr. Earl Melancon. A member of the College of Business Administration faculty from 1978 to 2011, McManis inspired hundreds of finance students during his career as a professor and head of the Department of Finance and Economics. Melancon, who came to Nicholls as a student in 1969 and stayed for 44 years, led the Department of Biological Sciences and gained national attention for his oyster research projects.

Recognizing the role that faculty members play outside of the classroom, the annual Apple Awards program honored five Nicholls employees. Dr. Tiffany Papa, assistant professor of teacher education, was named Outstanding Faculty Adviser of a Student Organization. Ann Laure Chamberlain, instructor of mass communication, received the Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award. Farren Clark, instructor of mass communication, was presented the Outstanding Faculty Support for Student Activities Award. The Student Affairs Faculty Merit Award went to Dennis Guillot, assistant professor of human performance education. And, Dr. John Lajaunie, professor of finance, was presented the award for receiving the most letters of commendation from recent graduates.


Faculty Institute 2013

CUTLINE: At the start of the fall semester, Nicholls honored several faculty members. Apple Award winners, pictured from left, are Larry Howell, interim president; Dr. John Lajaunie, professor of finance; Dennis Guillot, assistant professor of human performance education; Dr. Tiffany Papa, assistant professor of teacher education; Farren Clark, instructor of mass communication; and Dr. Eugene Dial, vice president for student affairs. Not pictured is Apple Award recipient Ann Laure Chamberlain, instructor of mass communication.

Nicholls Grant-Writing Class to Find Funding For Local Groups

THIBODAUX — A new Nicholls State University class being offered this fall is looking for local nonprofits in need of project funding and grant-writing services.

Organizations with project ideas will collaborate with a team of student writers, under the direction of a grant-writing professional, to develop a proposal. Students in the innovative grant-writing class, offered through the Department of Languages and Literature, will work closely with community groups to find potential funding sources, develop letters of intent, create realistic budgets and craft grant narratives designed to sway review panels.

“This is a chance for students to learn an important craft and, at the same time, we hope, meet some local needs to fund worthwhile projects,” said class instructor Shana Walton, who worked in nonprofit grant writing and project development before joining the Nicholls faculty.

All nonprofits in the region are eligible to participate as long as they are willing to meet with student writers throughout the semester. Although the program will accept only eight projects for the fall, projects not selected will be put on a waiting list for the next grant-writing class.

Interested organizations should email a brief description of their grant funding needs or project ideas to Requests should be made no later thanMonday, Aug. 19.

“This class provides a wonderful opportunity for us to partner with area organizations,” said Dr. Ellen Barker, department chair. “There may be a need to offer the course every semester if enough nonprofits are interested.”

Boudreaux Retires from Nicholls After 46 Years

THIBODAUX — After more than 46 years of service to Nicholls State University, Dr. David Boudreaux has left his post as vice president for institutional advancement — a position he has held since 1998.

Boudreaux technically retired on June 30, 2012, but for another full year, he continued working in his same position without a salary. In the midst of severe budget cuts, his zero-dollar contract made it possible for Nicholls to avoid terminating any institutional advancement staff and to continue forging ahead with campus fundraising initiatives.

“David’s selfless decision to retire yet continue with his day-to-day responsibilities truly reflects his love for Nicholls,” said Larry Howell, interim president. “It’s because of dedicated staff such as David that Nicholls has been able to continue growing despite the budget crisis. The university community is incredibly fortunate to have benefited from his 46 years of service.”

A native of New Iberia and two-time graduate of Louisiana State University, Boudreaux joined the Nicholls English faculty in 1967 and dedicated his entire career to the university. He left the Thibodaux campus only twice: to serve as a U.S. Army officer in the Vietnam War and to earn his doctorate from the University of Arkansas. Before becoming vice president, Boudreaux served as an English professor, head of the Department of English and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. As chair of the university’s 50th anniversary planning committee, he led the charge to raise funds and build the now-iconic eternal flame monument in the quadrangle.

During his tenure, Boudreaux also revived the Mosaic literary magazine, created the Women’s Night Out for the Lady Colonels fundraiser and helped to increase the Nicholls Foundation’s assets from less than $1 million to more than $20 million. Most recently, he helped Nicholls secure private funding for the “All-Steinway” piano initiative, the construction of a culinary arts facility and women’s soccer complex, and renovations to the Mary M. Danos Theater in Talbot Hall, among other projects.

“For more than 46 years, I have been privileged to have been a member of this university, which is so vital to this region, and to have served as both educator and administrator,” Boudreaux said. “I am truly grateful and forever indebted to all of those with whom I have worked, including students, faculty, staff, foundation members and the community at large. I am also appreciative of the loyalty and hard work of the administrative assistants who have worked with me during these years, especially Tammy Toups, who has been indispensible. Nicholls has not been a job but a way of life! My wife, Carol, and I will always be thankful for having been a part of this very special family.”

Boudreaux will continue working part time as the executive director of the Nicholls Foundation, the university’s fundraising arm.


Dr. David Boudreaux Headshot 2013

Fine Art Auction to Benefit Nicholls

THIBODAUX — The Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders at Nicholls State University will host an evening of fine art, wine and entertainment onThursday, Aug. 22.

For only $10, attendees will be treated to appetizers, wine, beer and soft drinks while viewing an impressive art collection designed for all tastes and budgets. The event will begin at 5:30 p.m. with an artwork preview followed by the live auction at6:30 p.m. in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

“Our fine art auction is a fun and entertaining event, even if you don’t plan on buying art,” Karen Chauvin, director of the dyslexia center, said. “Your attendance alone helps support the dyslexia center, but we’ll also have some beautifully framed artwork up for sale at all prices. Last year, bids started as low as $20 on some pieces.”

The auction will feature prints and originals by renown artists such as Salvador Dali, Walt Disney, Thomas Kinkade, Claude Monet, Pablo Picasso, Norman Rockwell and more.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by calling 985-448-4214 or emailing Those who order tickets in advance will receive five free raffle tickets, which will be entered into an exclusive drawing for a framed piece of art.

For more information about the event or the dyslexia center, visit


Nicholls Hires New Human Resources Director

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University has hired Annette Arboneaux, a Baton Rouge native with more than a dozen years of experience, as its director of human resources.

A certified Professional in Human Resources (PHR), Arboneaux joined the Nicholls staff in October 2011 as the benefits coordinator and quickly took on multiple responsibilities within the office. She was promoted to assistant director in August 2012 and then interim director in April 2013.

A 2000 graduate of Louisiana State University, Arboneaux is currently working toward a Master of Business Administration from the Nicholls College of Business Administration. Prior to her Nicholls career, she worked as a human resources professional for 12 years in the health care and retail industries.

“I am excited about this opportunity and open to suggestions on how our office can better serve Nicholls faculty and staff,” Arboneaux said. “I hope to streamline our processes and find ways to bring more benefits to employees in a cost-efficient manner.”

Annette Arboneaux Headshot 2013