Nicholls Partners with National WWII Museum for Summer Programs

THIBODAUX — This summer Nicholls State University is partnering with the National World War II Museum in New Orleans to offer two unique opportunities to earn college credit while immersed in battlefield history.

The programs include a unique study abroad opportunity on the battlefields of Normandy, France, and a week delving into history at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

“The National World War II Museum is a top-rate institution, and we’re honored to be partnering with them to create a unique program that will benefit both students and the community,” said Dr. Laynie Barrilleaux, vice president for academic affairs. “Melding the quality of our own programs with the museum’s resources offers a powerful experience for all learners.”

At the Normandy Academy participants will have the opportunity to research the lessons of World War II while visiting famous European battlefields with experienced Nicholls history faculty. The trip will take place June 21-30 — during the 70th anniversary of D-Day — and is open to college students and history-loving travelers alike. Attendees will begin preparing for the trip in April by taking an online course through Nicholls to gain the knowledge needed for an in-depth tour of Normandy.

Nicholls will also partner with the National World War II Museum to offer the Student Leadership Academy, “Lessons in Leadership: Summer Residential Program” July 13-19. The five-night, six-day program aims to immerse high school and college students in the museum’s exhibits, artifacts, images and documents, while emphasizing New Orleans’ involvement in the war.

Dr. Paul Wilson, interim department head of history and geography, said that although several study abroad programs already visit these historic battlefield sites, Nicholls offers the only one in conjunction with the National World War II Museum. Students will have access to the museum’s world-class archives and primary source documents, enhancing expert instruction offered by accredited and qualified Nicholls faculty with a background in World War II history.

The National World War II Museum launched the two programs launched in 2013. But Chief Operating Officer Stephen Watson said museum officials knew adding a college credit component would make them more appealing to students. Watson, a Nicholls alum, knew the university would make the perfect partner.

“As a museum, we have a national footprint, drawing people from all over the country. The online course component, taught by Nicholls’ Department of History and Geography staff, allows students from all over the country to participate,” Watson said. “Nicholls is ideally positioned to offer it.”

Students and community members who participate in the Normandy Academy and the Student Leadership Academy are eligible to receive three credit hours per program from Nicholls.

For more information or to register for Normandy Academy, visit For the Student Leadership Academy visit

Nicholls Players Present “The Crucible”

THIBODAUX —The Nicholls Players theater troupe will present Arthur Miller’s award-winning play “The Crucible” Thursday, March 13 through Saturday, March 16 in the Mary M. Danos Theater in Talbot Hall on the Nicholls State University campus.

“The Crucible” tells the story of the Salem witch trials, exploring themes of mass hysteria and the dangers of scapegoating. The play was written and first produced in 1953 as an allegory for the McCarthy era, when U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy exploited a national fear of communism to lead a political crusade accusing and blacklisting citizens he alleged were communists or communist sympathizers.

Showings will be at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 13; Friday, March 14; and Saturday, March 15; and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 16.

The Nicholls Players are also hosting matinees for local high schools at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 13, and Friday, March 14.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for the general public.

For more information on the Nicholls Players, visit their Facebook page at, call 985-493-2673 or email

Nicholls Kicks Off Jubilee: A Festival of the Arts and Humanities March 9

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will host its 16th annual Jubilee: A Festival of the Arts and Humanities from Sunday, March 9 to Sunday, April 27.

Originally created in 1998 to celebrate the university’s 50th anniversary, the spring celebration — which includes nearly 70 different events this year — highlights research, arts and culture at Nicholls and in the greater community. Since its inception, Jubilee has become an annual event, drawing thousands of residents, tourists and academics.

The 2014 festival will include many popular returning events, including Research Week, showcasing the latest cutting-edge research from Nicholls faculty and students; the sixth annual Louisiana Swamp Stomp Festival, which features music, a 5K race and a gumbo cook off; performances by the Singers of United Lands; artistic discussions and showcases at Nicholls’ annual Art Day; and musical performances by students and faculty.

New events this year include the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute’s inaugural Dinner of the Century: “A Star-Spangled Evening,” which will showcase a historic American meal. The Nicholls Department of Art will also hold its first-ever Art Works fundraiser, which will allow attendees to observe art being created in the studio and take part in hands-on photo and pottery projects.

Many Jubilee events are free and open to the public. For a complete schedule of events, visit For additional information, call 985-448-4273.

Nicholls Students Train for Careers with eLearning Software

PetroEd Marketing VP visits PETSM 2014

THIBODAUX — Students in Nicholls State University’s Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management (PETSM) department now have access to quality multimedia training software from PetroEd.

Beginning this semester, the eLearning software is being used to provide enhanced training opportunities in the department’s well drilling and petroleum computational methods classes.

PetroEd, a company that produces eLearning software for the oil and gas industry, made the materials available to Nicholls free of charge through its Open Petroleum Education Network (OPEN) education initiative. With an estimated 50 percent of the oil and gas industry’s workforce estimated to be retiring by 2015, PetroEd Vice President of Marketing Cameron Thompson said the initiative aims to give the next generation of industry workers a jump start by providing qualified universities access to their oil and gas e-learning materials.

CAPTION: (L-R) Dr. John Griffin, associate professor of petroleum engineering technology, Cameron Thompson, Vice President of Marketing for PetroEd, Dr. Al Davis, Dean of University College and Dr. Milton Saidu, assistant professor of Petroleum Engineering Technology. PetroEd representatives visited the campus Friday, Feb. 21.

Nicholls to Host Science Olympiad March 15

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will host the Louisiana Region I Science Olympiad from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15 on the university campus.

This all-day event tests scientific knowledge and skill, sending students through a series of 23 team events in the middle (grades 6-9) and high school (grades 9-12) divisions. As many as 270 students from across southeast Louisiana will compete in a variety of scientific fields, including genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. Competitions test science vocabulary, allow students to build robots to send into battle and even use science to solve a crime.

Founded in 1983 by Gerard Putz and John Cairns, the Science Olympiad, which began as a small group of educators, has become a major national event. Students win a variety of prizes, including medals. Top winners of the Olympiad can advance to state and national level competitions and win college scholarships.

For more information contact Nicholls Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Darcey Wayment, Region 1 Tournament Director, at 985-448-4398 or

Nicholls Business Students Head to National Competition


CAPTION: (L to R) Nicholls State University students Damian Despotovski, Logan Cox, Courtney Dupre, Huong-Tra Nguyen and Dmitry Lebedev were selected to advance to a national business research competition sponsored by the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute. Nicholls was one of two regional teams chosen to advance.

THIBODAUX — A team of students from Nicholls State University’s College of Business Administration has been selected to compete in a national business research competition sponsored by the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute.

Nicholls was one of two teams selected out of 23 competing regional universities in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma to compete at the national competition in Denver on March 19. The winner of that national competition will go on to compete in a global event in Asia this April.

“Advancing to this level is a testament to the quality of the business program at Nicholls,” said Dr. Shawn Mauldin, dean of the College of Business Administration.

Participating teams must prepare a written research report on a company chosen for the competition. The team is required to give a buy/sell/hold recommendation as if they were making a professional investment recommendation for the firm.

The winning students include: Damian Despotovski, a finance senior from Thibodaux; Logan Cox, a finance senior from Ethel; Courtney Dupre, a finance senior from Houma; Huong-Tra Nguyen, an MBA graduate student from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; and Dmitry Lebedev, an MBA graduate student from Moscow, Russia. The students were coached by finance faculty members Dr. John Lajaunie and Dr. Shari Lawrence.

Join Nicholls for the “Dinner of the Century”

THIBODAUX — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University will present its inaugural Dinner of the Century at 6 p.m. Sunday, March 23 in the Grand Ballroom of the Royal Sonesta Hotel in New Orleans.

Dinner of the Century is a new annual event that will recreate historic dinners of the past. This dinner, presented by some of the best chefs in New Orleans and students and faculty of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, commemorates the 200th anniversary of the “Defense of Fort McHenry,” the poem that would eventually become our national anthem.

On September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key, a 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy. In awe, he watched as the flag of the United States continued to fly and was inspired to pen the poem. Once set to music, the poem was renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Three weeks prior to the battle, President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, eagerly anticipated an American victory against the British at the Battle of Bladensburg during the War of 1812. The First Lady prepared the state dining room for 40 guests in anticipation of a victory feast. But the Americans were defeated, leading the British to occupy and set fire to Washington. The First Lady fled, leaving dinner behind. That evening the British arrived at the White House, where it is believed that they sat to eat a sumptuous meal before plundering and burning the building.

The event will feature a menu reminiscent of the meals served at the White House during this era prepared by top New Orleans chefs including: Tory McPhail of Commander’s Palace, Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant, Chris Lusk of Restaurant R’evolution, Susan Spicer of Bayona, David Harris of Chef John Folse & Company, and others.

Individual tickets are $200, benefiting the construction of the culinary institute’s new building. For additional information or to RSVP, contact the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at 985-449-7114.

Nicholls Spring Enrollment Shows Targeted Growth

THIBODAUX — Spring enrollment numbers released by Nicholls State University show that two academic programs introduced last spring have experienced resounding success, dramatically increasing their enrollment.

Nicholls Online — the university’s online degree program — enrolled 253 students this semester, more than three times the number of students recorded after the program launched in January 2013. This time last spring, 77 students were enrolled in one of Nicholls Online’s eight associate’s, bachelor’s or master’s degree programs.

In addition, a new online Master of Science in Nursing program — offered at Nicholls through the multi-university Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing — more than doubled its enrollment this spring, with 60 students enrolled versus 24 students in spring 2013. Graduate enrollment increased overall at Nicholls by 1.4 percent, with 595 graduate students attending school this spring.

“The success of these programs in attracting high quality students is great news,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, president of Nicholls State University. “Nicholls will continue to develop and deliver programs that meet the emerging needs of the region and our students.”

As anticipated, due to increasing graduation rates, overall Nicholls enrollment is down slightly at 5,900 — a 1.7 percent decline since last spring. Nicholls awarded a record number of diplomas during its fall 2013 commencement, with 693 degrees earned.

Freshmen enrollment at Nicholls increased by 6.6 percent this semester due to a larger fall freshman class, with 1,652 students enrolled. Freshmen retention rates for first-time African American students increased to 91 percent this spring, a more than 7 percent increase in retention.

Cooking with the “Odd Bits” at Nicholls

THIBODAUX – The public is invited to learn about cooking with the “odd bits” of the animal during a presentation and book signing by award-winning author and Chef Jennifer McLagan at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University.

“Nose to Tail Cooking & Other Odd Bits” is scheduled for 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 in Room 101 in Gouaux Hall on the Nicholls campus. The event is free and open to the public.

McLagan will discuss the history and importance of nose-to-tail cooking, and why it should be a part of every cook’s repertoire. It’s her mission to restore respect for the whole animal by renewing a taste for these lesser-known parts.

McLagan is a regular contributor to Fine Cooking, Food & Drink and other culinary publications. Her first book, “Bones,” won the 2006 James Beard Best Single Subject Cookbook Award. Her book “Fat” was named cookbook of the year in 2009 by The James Beard Foundation. “Odd Bits” is her latest book.

For more information, contact the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at 985-449-7091.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre to Speak at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Newly appointed Bishop Shelton J. Fabre will present a secular lecture, “African Americans: Ongoing Strengths and Engendered Hopes,” at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26, in the Le Bijou Theater in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union at Nicholls State University.

Fabre, who was named bishop of the Archdiocese of Houma-Thibodaux in October, is one of only ten active black Catholic bishops in the United States. A native of Pointe Coupee Parish, Fabre previously served as auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Prior to the lecture, Fabre will officiate the 12:15 p.m. Mass in the chapel of the St. Thomas Aquinas Center, also located on the Nicholls campus. The public is invited.

This free lecture is part of the university’s annual February commemoration of African American History Month. The lecture is sponsored by the Student Programming Association (SPA), whose mission is to enhance the academic, cultural, recreational, entertainment and social life at Nicholls.