THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University has dedicated the Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center’s gymnasium in honor of Michael Childs, an alumnus who was instrumental in rallying students in support of the facility.
After the first proposal for a student-funded rec center failed by fewer than 20 student votes, Childs — a Student Government Association senator — collected 1,000 signatures on his petition to put the recreation center back on the student ballot in fall 2002. Thanks in large part to Childs’ tenacity and passionate spirit, the referendum passed overwhelmingly, and the state-of-the-art recreation center opened in August 2012.
Childs, a management major who attended Nicholls from 2001–2003, died in July 2006 while trying to rescue someone from drowning. During the gymnasium dedication ceremony on Saturday, March 9, Nicholls administrators, Childs’ family and his Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity brothers remembered him as a driven, charismatic young man who left a long-lasting campus legacy.
“Every day when I walk in this building, I thank Mike,” said Michael Matherne, director of campus recreation. “If not for him, I’d still be operating campus recreation out of the pool office. Now, there’s not a day that goes by where at least 800 students don’t come through these doors — 1,200 on intramural nights. We’re changing lives here.”