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 www.ulsystem.edu/NichollsSearch.