Nicholls crowns Homecoming King and Queen

Homecoming Halftime 2013


THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University students Chelsie Bergeron and Cody Hood were crowned Homecoming Queen and King by Nicholls President-Select Dr. Bruce Murphy Saturday, Sept. 28. The two were honored during halftime at Nicholls’ Homecoming game against the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys. Bergeron, a senior English education major from Pierre Part, was nominated by Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Hood, a junior pre-dentistry major from Napoleonville, was nominated by Circle K.

Sponsor A+ Scholar set for Oct. 2 at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will host the 18th annual Sponsor A+ Scholar Wine and Food Extravaganza from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

This popular fundraising event features food, wine, music and unique auction items, with all the proceeds benefiting Nicholls student scholarships. Since the fundraiser began in 1996, it has raised as much as $500,000 in scholarships. During the fall 2013 semester alone, 42 students each received $250 scholarships thanks to Sponsor A+ funds.

“This is a great opportunity for everyone to come out and enjoy great food and drink, wonderful fellowship, and the opportunity to support deserving students,” said Dr. David Boudreaux, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation. “We are looking forward to another great A+ event.”

The event will feature more than a dozen vendors — including several new names, like Thibodaux craft distillery Donner-Peltier Distillers — and unique auction items. Local band Jazmine will perform, and there will be a live and silent auction featuring a number of exciting items. Auction items include a bone-in rib-eye roast prepared by students from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and delivered to the winning bidder’s home, a print of the Manning family from the annual Manning Passing Academy by artist Billy Ledet, and an original painting by primitive artist Alvin Batiste.

Sponsor A+ Scholar tickets are $50 each or $75 per couple. Gold sponsorships, which include 20 tickets, are $500. Tickets can be purchased in the Office of Institutional Advancement in Picciola Hall or by calling 985-448-4005. Checks should be made out to the Nicholls Foundation, or can be sent to P.O. Box 2074, Thibodaux, LA 70310.

$1.5 Million Raised for Nicholls’ Danos Theater

Monster Piano Concert 2013

CUTLINE: State Sen. Norby Chabert, Eli David (son of Rene’ David), Ana Wilson (daughter of Alyce Danos), Alyce Danos (daughter of Al Danos), Rene’ David (daughter of Al Danos), and (Front) Al Danos (widower of Mary M. Danos) on stage at Monster Piano after announcing that the $1.5 million fundraising goal to renovate the Mary M. Danos Theater was met.

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls Foundation has reached its $1.5 million fundraising goal to renovate the Mary M. Danos Theater at Nicholls State University.

The announcement was made Tuesday, Sept. 17 by foundation board member Al Danos and state Sen. Norby Chabert during the sixth annual Monster Piano concert, a fundraiser sponsored by the Nicholls Foundation and the Department of Music.

“I’m here to tell you that we’ve got it,” Danos said. “We have $1 million in cash and $500,000 in rock-solid pledges. You’re all a part of that.”

The theater, located inside Talbot Hall, was named in honor of Danos’ wife, Mary, after her death in 2011. Both had been longtime supporters of Nicholls.

When embarking on the campaign to renovate the theater last year, Danos said he contacted Chabert for help. Chabert, a 2001 Nicholls graduate, envisioned expanding the renovations beyond the theater. Using the $1.5 million in private donations as leverage, Chabert helped obtain another $4.4 million in state money to renovate Talbot Hall.

“I don’t often get to take on real pet projects, but as a member of the Nicholls theater troupe and a DJ at the radio station, I spent most of my time as an undergraduate in this building,” Chabert said. “This theater is one of the most heavily used facilities on campus and a major center for the arts in this region. It’s in our interest to keep up such a great state asset.”

The $5.9 million project will include a new roof for Talbot Hall, renovations to the lobby, as well as upgrades to the university’s television and radio studios.

The Mary M. Danos Theater, which opened in 1971, will gain new theater seating, lighting, sound system, curtains, flooring, walls and ceiling. The improvements will also include more accessible accommodations that comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

“For us to be able to raise this amount of money in such a short period of time, it just indicates how much the public believes in and supports this project,” said Dr. David Boudreaux, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation. “We have a very bright future on this campus.”

Nicholls officials are in the process of securing an architect for the Talbot Hall renovations, and hope to begin construction sometime next year.

Celebrate Homecoming with Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Students, alumni, fans and community members are invited to celebrate Nicholls State University’s Homecoming Week Sunday, Sept. 22 through Saturday, Sept. 28.

Alive @ 5, sponsored by the Student Programming Association, will begin at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26 in the tailgate area near the John L. Guidry Stadium. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. The concert will feature a performance by pop rock singer and musician Ryan Cabrera, with Mia Borders opening. The 2013 Homecoming Court will also be presented.

Refreshments and food will be available for purchase. Admission is free for all Nicholls students, faculty and staff. Admission is $1 for students of L.E. Fletcher Technical College and $5 for non-students. Children under 12 get in free.

Nicholls Homecoming Week, themed “Colonels Save the World,” officially kicks off Sunday, Sept. 22. Throughout the week, students will participate in fun activities all over campus, including a barbecue, pep rally, flag football games, a Homecoming breakfast and dance and pirogue races.

Nicholls will also host a Homecoming philanthropy project, a school supply drive benefiting Lafourche Parish schools that will last through the week. Donated supplies can be dropped off at the Nicholls Office of Admissions or the Office of Student Life. The community is encouraged to participate.

The week will wrap up with the annual Homecoming football game. The Colonels will face the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28 at John L. Guidry Stadium.

The community is invited to participate in the tailgating celebration before the game. The Nicholls Alumni Federation will host a tailgating party starting at 3:30 p.m. outside the stadium.

For more information, visit the Nicholls Homecoming website at

Nicholls Freshmen Poised for Success

THIBODAUX — First-time freshmen enrolled at Nicholls State University are better prepared for college than ever, according to official enrollment statistics for the fall 2013 semester.

These beginning students had an average ACT composite score of 21.75, topping last year’s average of 21.36. That’s also well above the state average of 19.5, and the national average of 20.9.

In addition, 8.7 percent more first-time freshmen entering Nicholls are receiving TOPS awards, which are available to all Louisiana students who earn a high school GPA of 2.5 or greater and a composite score of at least 20 on the ACT. Over 62 percent of the university’s first-time freshmen are now receiving TOPS. Overall, 2.2 percent more undergraduate students at Nicholls will receive TOPS this fall.

Enrollment was slightly down at Nicholls this fall at 6,540 students, 66 fewer students than 2012. The decline resulted from an increase in university graduation rates.

“Last year, Nicholls graduated its biggest class in history, awarding 1,342 degrees to 1,271 graduates — the first year the university has ever awarded more than 1,300 degrees,” said Nicholls Interim President Larry Howell. “Enrollment is leaner, but our new students are better positioned for academic success than ever before.”

The university’s new Nicholls Online degree program grew, with 174 students registered for the fall. Launched in January, Nicholls Online is designed to provide a flexible and affordable option for students who have difficulty attending traditional on-campus classes. Currently, seven degrees are offered through the program with more planned for the future.

Graduate student enrollment is also up at Nicholls thanks to the university’s new Master of Science in Nursing program, which began last spring. The program brought 40 new graduate students to Nicholls, increasing graduate enrollment by 9.1 percent from fall 2012.

The departments that experienced the greatest growth this year were physical sciences, which saw an enrollment increase of 42.9 percent, and mathematics, with a 23.7 percent increase. Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management increased by more than 60 students.

Fall 2013 enrollment statistics are posted online at

Nicholls Offers Paranormal Investigation 101

THIBODAUX — This Halloween, Nicholls State University invites you to see if the stories are true.

The university will host its popular crash-course in ghost hunting, Paranormal Investigation 101. The class is just one of many non-credit courses Nicholls is offering for adults this fall.

“Our paranormal investigation is fast approaching and the hairs on the back of our necks are rising just as fast,” said Simone Harris, director for continuing education at Nicholls. “Our classes will give you everything from an understanding of the terminology and equipment used to a full out investigation in various buildings on campus.”

The first class begins at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4, with a lecture covering the basics and exploring past ghost-hunting expeditions in the Bowie Room at the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. An investigation of possible haunted locations at Nicholls will follow at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5. Students will learn to use scientific equipment and techniques employed by actual paranormal investigators. Class attendees will review their spooky findings in a final meeting at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 11.

Large groups are welcome to register. The cost is $60 per person, and groups of five or more get a discount of $10 per person.

Fall’s adult non-credit offerings include a variety of classes in computer literacy, finance, personal empowerment, photography and cooking, as well as certification and licensing courses.

To register or for details on the classes, including dates, times, fees, instructors and descriptions, visit and click the “Adult Programs” link.

Dr. Bruce Murphy Named Fifth President of Nicholls


THIBODAUX – Dr. Bruce T. Murphy was unanimously named the fifth president of Nicholls State University today by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System. Currently serving as vice president for academic affairs at Air University in Alabama, Murphy will officially take the helm at Nicholls in mid-January.

“We’ve got the colonels for the Colonels,” said UL System board member Jimmie “Beau” Martin who made the motion to appoint Murphy.

Both President-elect Murphy and his wife, Jeanne Picariello Murphy, are retired from the U.S. Army. They earned the rank of lieutenant colonel and colonel, respectively.

“I am honored and humbled,” Murphy said. “Nicholls is a great institution, and together I want to take us to the future.”

During his interview with the board, Murphy detailed his goals for the university including establishing relationships, conducting a thorough academic program review, and growing enrollment and the university’s mission of serving the region and beyond.

“The role of the president is to facilitate the dreams of all the different constituencies: the students, faculty, staff, alumni and community. You have to learn what those dreams are, and then you have to get the financial resources to enable them,” Murphy said. “You have to tell the Nicholls story.”

UL System President Sandra Woodley praised Murphy’s extensive experience in leadership roles. “He has a unique blend of higher education leadership and military experience. I expect we will see great things from his presidency,” she said.

Nicholls students, faculty and staff praised Murphy’s selection.

“This is a momentous day in the history of Nicholls,” said Dr. Stephen Michot, faculty senate president. “The faculty are extremely pleased with the board’s decision to select Dr. Murphy as the next university president. We look forward to working with Dr. Murphy in effecting positive change on our campus. I would like to thank Dr. Woodley and the board for their diligence during the selection process, and sincerely welcome Dr. and Mrs. Murphy to our community.”

“On behalf of our student-athletes, coaches and staff, I want to congratulate Dr. Murphy on his appointment as our new president,” said Nicholls Athletics Director Rob Bernardi. “All of us offer our support and best wishes. We look forward to his leadership as we work together towards advancing Nicholls, which we care so much about.”

Rusty Bruce, president of Nicholls Student Programming Association and a senior history student from Cut Off, applauded the University of Louisiana System search committee for keeping the process open and involving the Nicholls community.

“I’m pleased with the board’s decision today having followed the process from the beginning and listened to the interviews. Both candidates came with their own strengths, and I feel that Dr. Murphy will benefit Nicholls by his knowledge and experience with SACS accreditation,” Bruce said. “I’ve witnessed a large participation on the student leaders’ part throughout the process, which shows our interest and concern for the future of our university.”

Prior to his current position at Air University, Murphy served as the founding dean of the School of Business at Point Park University in Pittsburgh. He was also founding director of the graduate program in organizational leadership and chair of the Walker School of Business at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania. He taught military science at Vanderbilt University and leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Altogether, he spent 21 years in military service.

Murphy received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California. He also earned a Master of Arts from Teachers College at Columbia University and a Doctorate in Education from Vanderbilt University.

“I have over 30 years of service in a uniform and a suit. That has taught me duty, commitment and honor,” Murphy said. “I will always give my best to any organization I’m affiliated with and advance and protect it.”

Former Nicholls President Stephen T. Hulbert, who led the university for a decade, formally retired from the university on Aug. 1. His second in command, Larry Howell, will continue serving as the interim president until Murphy takes office in January.

For more information about the search including Murphy’s résumé, visit

Nicholls Library Presents “Muslim Journeys”

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University invites students and community members to explore Muslim life through its new collection of books, movies and a lecture series.

Ellender Memorial Library and the Thibodaux Branch Library present the National Endowment for the Humanities program “Muslim Journeys.”

The project aims to present the American public with resources representing a diverse perspective on the people, places, histories, beliefs, practices and cultures of Muslims in the United States and around the world. As a part of the program, the Ellender Memorial Library will receive 25 books, three films and a year-long subscription to the Oxford Islamic Studies Online program.

To kick off “Muslim Journeys,” two Louisiana scholars will give presentations on Muslim issues.

“Women, Islam, Family & Agency in West Africa,” a presentation by Dr. Adeline Masquelier, professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology at Tulane University, will be held at 1:45 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18, in Peltier Auditorium.

Masquelier has been conducting research in Niger, West Africa since 1988 and has authored two books on Nigerien culture and history. Her second book, “Women and Islamic Revival in a West African Town,” received the 2010 Herskovits Prize for best scholarly work on Africa and the 2012 Aidoo-Snyder Price for best scholarly book about African women.

“Forging Pakistan: Iqbal, Jinnah and Muslim National Identity,” a presentation by Dr. Kurt Siegler, an assistant professor in the Nicholls Department of History and Geography, will be held at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 1 in Peltier Auditorium.

Stiegler has researched and published on U.S.-Pakistan security relations. In 1991, Stiegler conducted research in Pakistan under an American Institute of Pakistan Studies grant.

To learn more, visit the program website at

Spahr’s Sponsors New Nicholls Scholarship

THIBODAUX — Local restaurateur Donald Spahr, owner and operator of Spahr’s Seafood Restaurants, has donated the funds to create a new scholarship for aspiring culinary students at Nicholls State University.

The $1,500 scholarship will be awarded annually to a student enrolled in the Chef John Folse Culinary Arts program at Nicholls. Any student who has achieved sophomore status with a grade point average of 3.0 or above is eligible to apply.

“Spahr’s Seafood is honored to provide an annual scholarship in support of Nicholls,” Spahr said. “The John Folse Culinary Institute continues to develop chefs whom are rich with talent and creativity. Spahr’s is committed to stimulating prosperity in and around our communities. We are happy to provide assistance to those who share our passion for this industry.”

Spahr’s Seafood Restaurant is a regional chain with four locations in the Bayou Region. Spahr presented the founding check to Dr. David Boudreaux, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation.

“Don Spahr and Spahr’s Seafood are helping to prepare the next generation of culinarians to preserve our great tradition of Cajun and Creole cuisine,” Boudreaux said. “All of us are most grateful for Spahr’s generosity.”

Students interested in pursuing the scholarship, which is available immediately, should visit the Nicholls Office of Financial Aid, or call 985-448-4048.

Nicholls Presents “Monster Piano” Fundraiser

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls State University Foundation and the Nicholls Department of Music will present the Sixth Annual Monster Piano Concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 17 in the Mary M. Danos Theater.

Light refreshments and drinks will be served during intermission. Reservations are $50 per person, and checks should be made out to the Nicholls Foundation. All proceeds will go to the renovation of the Mary M. Danos Theater.

“The theater is so important to us. It’s where we perform,” said Dr. Carol Britt, director of the School of Music. “The building has not been renovated since it was opened more than 40 years ago.”

The performance will include familiar classical music paired with some fun modern selections — everything from an adaptation of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, to “Tonight” from Leonard Bernstein’s “West Side Story,” to Lady Gaga.

There will be 19 performers — including Nicholls faculty, alumni, friends of the university and local high school students — performing on seven of the Department of Music’s Steinway grand pianos. The Nicholls Department of Music is the only public music school in the state that’s earned the designation of being an “All-Steinway School,” and exclusively uses elite Steinway pianos for performances and music education.

The Nicholls Foundation, the university’s fundraising arm, is working to raise $1.5 million for this project, which will include new theater seating, lighting, sound system, curtains, flooring, walls and ceiling. The improvements to the theater will also include more accessible accommodations that complies with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

For more information or to reserve your seat call 985-448-4005.