Nicholls Foundation Hosts Women’s Night Out

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Dancers cut a rug at Women’s Night Out, an annual fundraiser benefiting Lady Colonels athletics.

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls State University Foundation will host its 15th annual Women’s Night Out fundraiser benefiting the university’s women’s athletics programs on Thursday, May 8 at Cypress Columns in Gray.

The festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres; dinner will follow at 7:15 p.m. The evening will also include live and silent auctions, entertainment and free after-party limousine service. The event is sponsored by Entergy, Coca-Cola, Capital One Bank, Peter Knoop/UBS and the Nicholls Foundation.

Tickets are $100 per person with all proceeds benefiting the Nicholls women’s athletics programs. In the past, funds from this event have helped provide a regulation field and restrooms for women’s softball, construct a field house and purchase bleachers for women’s soccer and purchase championship rings for women’s volleyball. The money has also helped improve locker rooms, provide holiday meals and pay for summer scholarships so that these women athletes can graduate on time.

To make reservations, call 985-448-4005.

Nicholls Alumni Federation Hosts Annual Crawfish Boil

THIBODAUX — Alumni and community members are invited to attend the Nicholls State University Alumni Federation’s Annual Meeting and Crawfish Boil Saturday, May 10 in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

The event begins at 5:30 p.m. with the alumni federation’s business meeting. The crawfish boil will kick off at 6:30 p.m., featuring a silent auction and music by Nicholls graduate John Daigle.

Individual tickets cost $30 for dues-paying alumni and $40 for non-dues-paying alumni who order before Friday, May 2. After that date, tickets cost $40 for dues-paying alumni and $50 for non-dues-paying alumni.

Tables for eight can also be purchased for $300. Tables receive a round of free drinks and are the first to be served crawfish.

For tickets, visit or call 985-448-4111.

Nicholls Commits to Accessibility as Enrollment Standards Increase

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will raise admissions requirements beginning in summer 2014, but remains committed to being as accessible as possible for students seeking higher education.

Admissions standards will now technically require that students have no need for developmental coursework. But several options are available to help students meet this requirement if they are lacking.

“When in doubt, apply or give us a call,” said Dr. Laynie Barrilleaux, Nicholls vice president for academic affairs. “We are committed to helping students find their way to Nicholls, and we will work with you to find a path to admission if at all possible.”

Students have the option of taking the COMPASS exam, a computer-adaptive college placement test administered daily on the Nicholls campus; retaking the ACT exam; or enrolling in a summer class to meet enrollment standards. There’s also a pilot program for students who come within two points of meeting the required ACT score in math or English.

Some students are also exempted from the standards, including students with dyslexia, veterans and some adults.

Nicholls first implemented selective admissions standards in 2005 and has been steadily increasing those standards, resulting in higher-quality students and increased graduation rates at the university.

The new standards require Louisiana high school graduates to meet all of the following to be admitted to Nicholls:

  • Complete the Regents’ Core 4 Curriculum (19 units).
  • Have at least a 21 ACT composite score or a minimum overall high school GPA of 2.35/4.0.
  • Have no need for developmental coursework (required ACT sub-score of 18 in English and 19 in math).

Nicholls admissions counselors will work with students to find the best option to meet these admissions standards.

For more information on admissions standards, visit or call 985-448-4507.

Nicholls Chamber Singers to Present “Songs of the South”

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls State University Chamber Singers will present their spring musical offering, “Songs of the South,” on Tuesday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Mary M. Danos Theater in Talbot Hall.

The program is designed to inform as well as entertain, and the audience will learn about each song including the tune’s history and legacy.

Some notable songs include “Lorena,” a popular song throughout the South in the mid-nineteenth century. It was used in the epic film, “Gone with the Wind,” and the melody currently serves as the Nicholls State University alma mater.

Other songs include variations on the famous Disney song, “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah;” two Stephen Foster favorites, “Beautiful Dreamer” and “Camptown Races”; a medley of Southern gospel hymns featuring “I’ll Fly Away”; a traditional Negro spiritual, “The Drinking Gourd”; a medley from George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess; and two popular Louisiana-based songs, “You are my Sunshine,” by former Gov. Jimmie Davis and “Louisiana 1927” by Randy Newman.

The program is directed by Dr. Kenneth S. Klaus, and Michelle Z. Parro will accompany the Chamber Singers on piano. The concert is free and open to the public.

The Nicholls Department of Music regularly schedules free, public faculty and student performances.

Other upcoming performances include:

  • String Studio Recital, 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 2, Danos Theater
  • Nicholls Concert Choir, 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, Danos Theater

For more information, check out the department’s website at

Support Nicholls Music Students at Nocturne

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls State University Department of Music will present Nocturne, a concert in support of student scholarships, on Friday, May 9 in the Mary M. Danos Theater.

The event, a showcase of faculty music talent, will begin with a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m. in the lobby. The program begins at 7:30 p.m. Guests, who are requested to wear cocktail attire, will hear a variety of music ranging from classical to electronic. Dessert and coffee will follow.

“The faculty takes this opportunity to give back to the university,” said Dr. Carol Britt, head of the Nicholls Department of Music. “This is a way for us to entertain our supporters while earning money for student scholarships.”

Individual tickets are available for $50 each, in addition to several sponsorship levels. Guests should reserve their tickets or table by Thursday, May 1 (deadline has been extended) by calling 985-448-4600.

Nicholls Dedicates Ridley J. Gros Auditorium

Ridley Gros Painting 2014

(Left to Right) Ridley Gros’ daughters Felicia Cowen, Gabrielle Erny, Monique Gros Callagy and Mignonne Gros, and his wife, Kathleen Gros, pose with a portrait of the late dean at a ceremony in his honor.

THIBODAUX — Family, friends and colleagues of former Nicholls State University College of Business Administration Dean Ridley J. Gros gathered to dedicate a Powell Hall auditorium in his memory Thursday, April 17.

A portrait of Gros was unveiled and hung in the recently renovated Ridley J. Gros Auditorium in the presence of his widow, Kathleen Gros, as well as his children and grandchildren. Gros passed away in August.

“My dad often spoke about the importance of leaving a legacy,” said Gros’ daughter, Monique Gros Callagy, a Nicholls alumna. “With the many hours he dedicated to Nicholls, we can be certain he left a lasting legacy behind.”

Gros, a native of Donaldsonville, had a 36-year career at Nicholls, serving as a dean and vice president. He helped the college earn accreditation by the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) — a rare accomplishment for a small regional university at the time — and served on the association’s national accreditation team.

Gros was remembered as a family man and mentor who devoted himself to Nicholls.

Asked about his many accomplishments, he was more apt to talk about his family or his students, said Nicholls College of Business Administration Dean Shawn Mauldin. Gros often went beyond his role as an educator to help students with personal issues and job searches, seeing himself in the many first-generation pupils who attended Nicholls.

“He was proud he made a difference in the lives and careers of so many people,” Mauldin said.

Gros was also active in the community, achieving 42 consecutive years of perfect attendance with the Thibodaux Rotary Club and serving as president of that organization, along with the Thibodaux Chamber of Commerce and the Southwestern Deans Association. He was named dean emeritus at Nicholls and boasted numerous awards from both campus and community groups.

“He was the kind of person who went the extra mile. He inspired others,” said Nicholls President Bruce Murphy. “Ridley was a true Nicholls legend.”

Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Students Get Into Full Swing at the Masters

THIBODAUX — Students from the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University were invited to gain work experience at the Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, a prestigious international sporting event.

Thirty-six culinary students boarded a bus bound for Augusta, Ga., Thursday, April 3, and are expected to return on Monday, April 14.

Chef Randy Cheramie, the culinary institute’s executive director, said the Augusta National Golf Club contacted him about involving Nicholls students in the Masters Tournament. John Johnstone, director of food service, visited the campus and provided information to interested students.

During the week of the tournament, students will work in a wide range of jobs — acting as servers, pantry assistants and other support positions. Some students will also have the opportunity to work in the Champions Locker, where the celebrity golfers are fed.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for our culinary degree-seeking students to not only gain experience, but also to boost their resume for when they enter the workforce after graduation,” said the institute’s namesake, Chef John Folse.

The Masters is one of the four major championships held each year for professional golfers. The first Masters Tournament, originally called the Augusta National Invitational, was held on March 22, 1934.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is the only public university in Louisiana to offer a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Arts. Since its inception in 1996, the institute has awarded nearly 600 degrees. In 2013, the institute broke ground on a new, state-of-the art facility that will span 33,000 square feet. The new building is scheduled to open for Spring 2015 classes.

Nicholls CAN! Collects Thousands in Donations

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University faculty, staff, students and alumni donated more than 27,300 cans of food and nonperishable goods to area food banks during its annual Nicholls CAN! food drive.

The campuswide service project benefits six area food banks in Houma, Dulac, Morgan City, Thibodaux, Raceland and Galliano. This year’s drive, which took place in March, saw double the donations collected over last year, when nearly 12,300 cans were donated.

For more information, visit or call 985-448-4597.

Bruce T. Murphy Inaugurated as Fifth Nicholls President


THIBODAUX — Dr. Bruce T. Murphy was inaugurated as the fifth president of Nicholls State University Thursday, April 3, during a ceremony on the university’s campus.

The ceremony included a formal processional with more than 100 Nicholls faculty members and representatives of regional and national universities. Dr. Sandra K. Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, conducted the investiture, presenting Murphy with the presidential medallion, a symbol of office. Although a first-time event for the Nicholls campus, inauguration ceremonies are a long-standing tradition throughout the country.

In his inaugural address, Murphy thanked attendees and encouraged them to engage with Nicholls.

“This inauguration is not about me, it’s about Nicholls,” Murphy said. “It’s putting the spotlight on Nicholls, and that’s what we’re here to do: To open our doors up to the community, invite them in and let them see what we’re all about.”

Murphy also laid out four imperatives Nicholls must meet in the future. The university must provide opportunities for student success, he said, and embrace a spirit of innovation. The university must internationalize by providing more study abroad programs and increasing international student enrollment. Finally, as a public university, Nicholls must ensure it is serving the needs of the region and the state of Louisiana.

“Let us always continue moving forward together,” he concluded.

The ceremony included music from the Nicholls State University Symphonic Band and special greetings from community and Nicholls representatives, including Woodley; Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete; Faculty Senate President Stephen Michot; Nicholls Student Government Association President Melissa Cloutet; Nicholls Alumni Federation President Eddie Hebert; and Nicholls Foundation President Chris Riviere.

The historic ceremony was the highlight of a week of events celebrating Nicholls’ first-ever presidential inauguration. Themed “Forward Together,” the celebration, which continues through Saturday, April 5, included musical performances, Colonels athletic events, academic and cultural enrichment, service activities and special speakers.

Murphy was selected to lead Nicholls by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System after a nationwide search. He assumed the presidency in January.

Before coming to Nicholls, Murphy was the vice president for academic affairs at Air University in Alabama for the past eight years. He previously served as founding dean of the School of Business at Point Park University in Pittsburgh; founding director of the graduate program in organizational leadership and chair of the Walker School of Business at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania; and professor of military science and director of the Army Officer Education Program at Vanderbilt University. Before that, he taught leadership as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Murphy, a retired lieutenant colonel, spent 23 years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, Panama and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

For more information on Murphy and the presidential inauguration visit

Nicholls Hosts “Take Back the Night”

THIBODAUX — The community is invited to the Nicholls State University campus for Take Back the Night, a march and rally calling for the empowerment of individuals and the end of sexual violence.

The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, at the flagpole in front of Elkins Hall on the Nicholls campus. The Student Veterans Association will lead the march in a Humvee and Nicholls students, faculty, staff and community members are invited to participate.

Afterward, participants will convene on the steps of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union for a rally, including speakers, music, poetry, performance, open mic and refreshments.

Participants are encouraged to make signs with messages of anti-violence, peace, justice and empowerment. Take Back the Night T-shirts are on sale for $10, with all proceeds going to sexual violence prevention and services on campus, and to the national Take Back The Night foundation.

Call 985-448-4080 for more information.