THIBODAUX — During its spring commencement exercises on Saturday, May 18, Nicholls State University will award its highest form of recognition — an honorary doctorate — to Travis Lavigne Jr., chancellor of Fletcher Technical Community College in Houma.
A 40-year veteran of Louisiana’s postsecondary education system, Lavigne has led Fletcher through expansive growth while working closely with Nicholls to develop a unique collaboration between the two institutions. Touted as a statewide model, the partnership allows students to cross-enroll in courses and receive academic advising at both schools. Fletcher students can be pre-admitted and seamlessly transfer to Nicholls after completing their two-year program, and Fletcher instructors teach developmental courses for Nicholls students. Because of the mutually beneficial relationship, Nicholls has been able to phase out its two-year academic programs and focus on strengthening its bachelor’s and graduate degree offerings.
“All that Fletcher and Nicholls have accomplished together over the past decade is due in very great part to the leadership of Travis Lavigne,” said Dr. Stephen T. Hulbert, Nicholls president. “Travis cares deeply about providing access to the college experience, whether it is a certificate or degree. He is a willing partner in any effort to enhance that access.”
Since he became chancellor in 2003, Lavigne — with little financial support from the state and a small faculty and staff — led Fletcher in developing accredited associate degree and certificate programs that meet regional workforce demands. The Ponchatoula native is also an active member of the Houma community and has chaired the Louisiana Student Financial Assistance Commission since its 1997 inception. Under his leadership, hundreds of millions of state and federal dollars are provided annually to Louisiana’s college students through the TOPS program and other scholarships, grants and loans. Hulbert said Lavigne has been one of his most respected colleagues during his 10-year Nicholls presidency.
“Our work together began as two professional colleagues who shared interests and responsibilities,” he said. “It ends a decade later the same way but with a warm friendship to boot!”