Nicholls, Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Open Ledet Culinary Arts Building

Ledet Building Grand Opening
Nicholls State University and Chef John Folse Culinary Institute administrators and faculty, along with state and local officials, gather Aug. 20 to celebrate the grand opening of the Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building, the new home of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, during a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the new building on the Nicholls campus in Thibodaux. Pictured (from left): Louisiana Rep. Lenar Whitney; Nicholas Cole, education policy adviser for the Office of Gov. Bobby Jindal, Tommy Eschete, mayor of Thibodaux; Randy Cheramie, spokesman and instructor for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute; Dr. Sandra Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System; Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy; Chef John Folse; Arlen “Benny” Cenac Jr., Ledet Building benefactor and Nicholls Foundation board member; Louisiana Sen. Norby Chabert; the Rev. André Melancon, pastor at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church; and Lanny Ledet’s four sons: Aaron, Brett, Justin and Blake. Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University celebrated the grand opening of the state-of-the-art Lanny D. Ledet Culinary Arts Building, the new home of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, during a public gathering and ribbon cutting held today at the Ledet Building on the Nicholls campus.

The opening of the new 33,000-square-foot culinary facility is the culmination of a three-year, $12.6 million project designed to double enrollment at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and provide Nicholls culinary students with advanced equipment and cutting-edge technology that will simulate culinary and hospitality industry working environments. The Ledet Building is equipped with six kitchens, three classrooms and a dedicated student study area. It is also the home of student-operated Bistro Ruth, a 96-seat restaurant named in honor of New Orleans restaurateur Ruth Fertel. Complete with a private Chef’s Table that seats six and President’s Dining Room that seats 12, Bistro Ruth offers elegant dinner service inspired by global culinary traditions and menus.

“We’ve waited such a long time for this,” said Chef Randy Cheramie, spokesman and instructor at the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. “How thrilling it truly is to finally have a first-class, state-of-the-art facility in which to teach not only classical cooking skills and food service management practices but also to have this wonderful space in which to teach the history and tradition of South Louisiana culture and cuisine.”

The Ledet Building grand opening featured remarks by Nicholls President Bruce Murphy, Chef John Folse, Nicholls culinary faculty and students, and state and local officials.

“What a spectacular day for culinary education in America, and certainly for Louisiana,” said Folse, chairman of the Board of Advisers for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute. “I had the pleasure this past Monday to teach for the first time in our new Lanny Ledet Culinary Building, with its magnificent kitchens, state-of-the-art equipment and technology, and beautiful Bistro named for a good friend, Ruth Fertel. I asked the group of about 100 students, ‘Do you all realize the uniqueness of the culinary program that you have chosen to entrust with your education?’ Because this culinary program at Nicholls State University is indeed a most special program.”

The grand opening also included a remembrance of the late Lanny Ledet, the building’s namesake and Nicholls business alumnus who worked in both culinary and hospitality operations at Golden Ranch Plantation in Gheens for over 25 years.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute opened in 1995 as the only four-year culinary arts degree program in Louisiana. The institute currently employees 13 industry-based faculty and staff and enrolls about 300 students from across the nation and globe.

To learn more about the Ledet Building and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, click here.

Donation Improves Nicholls Petroleum Program Facilities

Nicholls State University administrators and faculty accept a $13,000 donation from the Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo Aug. 4 on the university’s Thibodaux campus. The funds will be used to improve classrooms and labs for Nicholls’ petroleum engineering technology and safety management program. Pictured (l. to r.): David Zerange, assistant dean of University College; Michael Gautreaux, executive director of the Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management; Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president; Tammy Stevens, events coordinator for MCOFR; Loretta Dupre, events coordinator for MCOFR; Dr. Lynn Gillette, Nicholls provost and vice president of academic affairs; and Dr. Neal Weaver, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Nicholls Foundation.
Nicholls State University administrators and faculty accept a $13,000 donation from the Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo Aug. 4 on the university’s Thibodaux campus. The funds will be used to improve classrooms and labs for Nicholls’ petroleum engineering technology and safety management program. Pictured (l. to r.): David Zerangue, assistant dean of University College; Michael Gautreaux, executive director of the Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management; Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president; Tammy Stevens, events coordinator for MCOFR; Loretta Dupre, events coordinator for MCOFR; Dr. Lynn Gillette, Nicholls provost and vice president of academic affairs; and Dr. Neal Weaver, vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Nicholls Foundation.

THIBODAUX — The Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo has donated $13,000 to Nicholls State University’s Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management, which will use the contribution to supplement funding for an extensive renovation of Gouaux Hall classrooms and labs, utilized extensively by PETSM students.

Last August, MCOFR presented Nicholls with a $10,000 check that the university allocated toward upgrading computers in the PETSM program.

“We recognize the value of educating our community, especially our oilfield industry,” said Loretta Dupre, events coordinator for MCOFR and Nicholls alumna. “We give back all the money raised each year, with most of it benefiting education.”

Founded in 2013 by Morgan City-based deepwater container specialist Tanks-A-Lot, the nonprofit MCOFR has hosted its fishing rodeo each May with the purpose of promoting community spirit in the local oil and gas industry while benefiting notable organizations for future growth within the community. Tanks-A-Lot employees, many of whom are Nicholls alumni, and countless volunteers have worked to ensure each rodeo is more successful than the one before. In 2015, in addition to supporting Nicholls, MCOFR gifted monetary donations to Relay for Life of Morgan City, the American Legion Freedom Fest, Boy Scouts of America and the South Central Louisiana Technical College.

“Having the support of a community-centric organization like the Morgan City Oilfield Fishing Rodeo means petroleum engineering technology and safety management — one of the fastest-growing programs at Nicholls — will continue to provide our local oil and gas industry with its next generation of top-notch leaders,” said Michael Gautreaux, executive director of PETSM.

Nicholls Awards More Than 700 degrees at Spring Commencement

Nicholls Spring CommencementTHIBODAUX — Nicholls State University awarded more than 700 degrees to students during its Saturday, May 16 commencement celebrations.

Among the spring graduates were six students who received the President’s Medal of Honor for earning a perfect 4.0 GPA. These graduates included Whitney Babin, Thibodaux; Tyler Dufrene, Raceland; Elizabeth Hoerner, New Orleans; Jessica Karns, Thibodaux; Nicholas Martin, Cut Off; and Mallory Young, Destrehan.

Nicholls also awarded its first Master of Science in Nursing degrees to nine students: Melissa Bascle, Darin Branson, Kristy Hebert, Dustin Martinez, Michelle Means, Lacy Millet, Kristi Politz, Amber Sevin and Amber Thibodeaux.

Click here for a complete list of graduates. Academic honors are noted. Students graduating summa cum laude earned a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher, magna cum laude graduates earned a GPA of 3.7 to 3.899, and cum laude honorees earned a GPA of 3.5 to 3.699.

A list of all students completing the spring 2015 semester with honors can be viewed here.

Auntie Anne’s founder to speak at Nicholls

Anne BeilerTHIBODAUX — Anne Beiler, founder of the international Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel franchise, will deliver the keynote address at the 2015 Louisiana Girls Leadership Academy’s closing ceremony.

LGLA, sponsored by the Louisiana Center for Women in Government and Business, will take place June 14-17 at Nicholls State University. The annual academy encourages girls entering grades 9-11 to develop the skills needed to fill future leadership roles through networking and mentoring opportunities with peers and female professionals. The 2015 theme is “Light the Torch and LEAD.”

LGLA participants are selected by a committee of the LCWG Leadership Councils based on criteria like involvement in school and civic leadership and service organizations, GPA and submission of both a student essay and letter of recommendation.

Beiler will deliver the keynote address at 3 p.m. June 17 in the Cotillion Ballroom at Nicholls. Her Auntie Anne’s soft pretzel franchise, now in over 1,200 locations worldwide, began as a way to support her husband’s vision to offer free counseling services in their community. Also scheduled to appear at the 2015 academy are author Alexis Jones and improv actors Crystal Rivers and Bear Badeaux.

The LGLA closing ceremony is open to the public. Tickets are $25 and may be purchased at nicholls.edu/continuing-ed/lgla. For more information about the academy, please call 985.448.4141.

Nicholls Names New Provost

Lynn GilletteTHIBODAUX — Nicholls State University has named Dr. Lynn Gillette as its next provost and vice president for academic affairs, pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. Gillette will join the Nicholls administrative team on July 1, filling a vacant position that has been held on an interim basis since August 2014.

Gillette is the former president of Sierra Nevada College, a private liberal arts college of 1,000 students in Incline Village, Nevada. Prior to his tenure as president, Gillette also served three years as the college’s provost and executive vice president.

“The Nicholls provost search attracted a deep and diverse pool of more than 30 applicants,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “The three finalists interviewed on campus were all fully qualified for the leadership role, with each candidate bringing his or her own set of strengths and expertise areas. Dr. Gillette’s experience most closely aligned with Nicholls’ strategic intent to grow enrollment, increase internationalism and expand online learning. He brings to Nicholls a proven track record of establishing and growing new academic programs, navigating the SACSCOC accreditation process and improving campus finances. With his background, I’m confident that Dr. Gillette will help further the university’s growth and bring a spirit of innovation to Nicholls academics.”

While at Sierra Nevada, Gillette led a progressive-minded administration that successfully established financial stability, developed strategic partnerships, introduced over a dozen new programs and gained reaffirmation of accreditation for the college. He also annually increased undergraduate enrollment.

“What attracted me to Nicholls State University is the incredible focus on student success and learning,” Gillette said. “That’s who I am at my core — I am in higher education for the purpose of seeing students succeed. I was impressed by the level of accreditation that Nicholls has attained, including the regional accreditation with SACSCOC and the specialized accreditations that signal to the marketplace that quality is a main focus of the university. I look forward to working with Nicholls faculty and staff and bringing an entrepreneurial spirit to the campus.”

Gillette has served 23 years in both public and private higher education administration, including tenures as vice president for business, administration and compliance at Spalding University; visiting professor of economics at the University of Kentucky; area chair in economics and statistics at the University of Phoenix; dean of the College of Business and Economics at Houston Baptist University; and dean of the School of Business at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Locally, Gillette served from 2004-13 as an adjunct professor of business at Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business, where he taught graduate-level management courses and received nine Outstanding Teacher of the Year awards.

A graduate of Harvard University’s Management Development Program, Gillette holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Richmond and a doctorate in economics from Texas A&M University.

Gillette, a native of Virginia, is married to Shannon Morse. He has two daughters: Jacquelyn, a doctoral student in accounting at the University of Rochester; and Danielle, an undergraduate student in chemical engineering at the University of Missouri.

Nicholls, Edison Chouest Offshore Announce Educational Partnership

Chouest Nicholls Partnership 2015THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University and Edison Chouest Offshore launched a new educational partnership designed to help meet industry workforce needs and grow the university’s international enrollment at a public announcement held Wednesday on the Nicholls campus.

The unique partnership offers out-of-state and international Chouest employees and their families an opportunity to obtain an affordable, accredited college degree through Nicholls, located less than an hour from Chouest headquarters in Galliano. Nicholls will waive international/out-of-state fees for eligible students and provide them with an opportunity to participate in an internship program and network with Chouest team members each semester.

“As Chouest continues to expand international operations, we recognize that Nicholls’ commitment to providing high-quality education is a contributing factor to our success as a global maritime industry leader,” said Kirt Chouest, general manager of Edison Chouest Offshore. “The proof is in the numbers -– 80 percent of our degree-holding employees working at Chouest headquarters in Galliano earned their degrees from Nicholls. Now, thanks to this new partnership, all of our employees across the globe will share in the valuable opportunity to enhance their careers with a Nicholls degree.”

Chouest currently has a worldwide network of 14,000 employees working in more than a dozen countries. Nicholls enrolls about 6,500 total students, with 170 international students from more than 40 countries.

“Nicholls is proud to partner with Edison Chouest Offshore, a highly respected family owned company and the largest employer in our service region,” said Dr. Bruce T. Murphy, president of Nicholls. “We are confident that our new partnership with this industry leader will greatly assist us in achieving our goals of increasing our student enrollment to 8,000 and bringing more international diversity to our campus. This agreement significantly expands the university’s regional and global reach. Nicholls will be more accessible to prospective students who will now be aware of the quality education they can receive in South Louisiana.”

Edison Chouest Offshore previously partnered with Nicholls to assist in the financing and development of the university’s unique four-year maritime management program offered through the AACSB-accredited College of Business Administration.

For more information about the educational partnership between Nicholls State University and Edison Chouest Offshore, visit nicholls.edu/chouest Continue reading “Nicholls, Edison Chouest Offshore Announce Educational Partnership”

Nicholls Recognizes More Than 2,100 Honors Students

THIBODAUX — More than 2,100 Nicholls State University students have been named to the fall 2014 president’s list, dean’s list and honor roll, which recognize academic excellence.

Click here for a complete list of the honored students.

Full-time students must earn a grade point average of 3.5 or higher for the president’s list, between 3.2 and 3.499 for the dean’s list, and between 3.0 and 3.199 for the honor roll.

Nicholls Awards More Than 670 Degrees at Fall Commencement

Fall Commencement AM 2014
Nicholls State University summa cum laude graduates (front row, from left) Derek Jett, Anna Lee, Nicholls President Bruce Murphy, Ainsley Crochet, Elizabeth Whitman, Kathryn Johnson, (back row, from left) Ashlyn Champagne, Paula Santos, Rebecca Deroche, Shelly Naquin and Krista Votolato pose before commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 13.

 

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University awarded more than 670 degrees to students during its Saturday, Dec. 13 commencement celebrations.

Among the fall graduates were seven students who received the President’s Medal of Honor for earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average. They included interdisciplinary studies graduate Kalynn Egea; general family and consumer sciences/social services graduate Jami Foret; accounting graduate Derek Jett; management/human resources graduate Shelly Naquin; interdisciplinary studies graduate Patrick Riviere; dietetics graduate Elizabeth Whitman; and psychology graduate Megan Yates.

During the morning’s commencement exercises, Nicholls awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Stephen Watson, executive vice president of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Watson, a native of Scotland, came to Nicholls on a track and field scholarship in 1994, where he earned a bachelor’s and MBA in 1997 and 1999. He also delivered the commencement address.

For a complete list of graduates click here.  Academic honors are noted. Students graduating summa cum laude earned a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher, magna cum laude graduates earned a GPA of 3.7 to 3.899, and cum laude honorees earned a GPA of 3.5 to 3.699.

Nicholls Completes Four Restoration Projects with Shell Grant

nichollsshellgrant
Nineteen volunteers from Nicholls State University and the Greater Lafourche Port Commission planted beach grasses on a 1,000-foot stretch of recently restored dune on Fourchon Beach in November as part of an ongoing restoration effort. The project was funded by a grant from Shell.

THIBODAUX — An effort led by Nicholls State University biology faculty completed four coastal restoration projects in 2014 — including beach and barrier island plantings and a beach sweep — thanks to a grant from Shell.

The Plant Materials Program is a university initiative that offers the opportunity for students, faculty and community members to participate in hands-on restoration projects.

More than 180 volunteers, including Nicholls faculty and students, contributed 1,242 hours to the projects. Those volunteers removed 2,742 pounds of trash from Elmer’s Island and planted 15,015 grasses, mangroves and trees on Louisiana’s dunes and barrier islands. Many of the plants were grown on the Nicholls Farm.

The projects included:

  • Nicholls led two beach grass plantings on newly restored Fouchon Beach dunes in July and November. Approximately 11,000 bitter panicum grasses were planted to restore habitat and prevent erosion of the new dunes, which will help to protect Port Fourchon from future storm surges.
  • During a September beach sweep of Elmer’s Island, volunteers brought in 193 bags of trash totaling more than 2,700 pounds
  • Volunteers planted smooth cordgrass, black mangrove and sand live oaks on East Raccoon Island in September to help improve habitat on the recently restored barrier island, which is home to one of the largest pelican nesting colonies in Louisiana. In collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, approximately 2,000 black mangrove and 2,000 smooth cordgrass were planted on one acre of newly restored marsh on the island. Fifteen sand live oaks once native to south Louisiana were planted on higher elevation areas outside of the restoration project. The Nicholls Farm has been growing these unique trees from a seed source in Florida.

Shell has supported coastal restoration efforts, research and native coastal plant production at Nicholls since 2010.

For information about participating in Nicholls’ coastal restoration efforts, contact Dr. Allyse Ferrara at 985-448-4736.

Murphy Appointed to Accrediting Agency’s Board of Trustees

Dr. Bruce Murphy Headshot 2013THIBODAUX — Dr. Bruce Murphy, president of Nicholls State University, has been elected to the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Murphy, who will serve a three-year term, was elected during the Commission’s College Delegate Assembly meeting Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the SACSCOC annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to serve on the Board of Trustees at SACSCOC,” Murphy said. “This peer review organization furthers the best ideals of higher education in support of students.”

SACSCOC serves as the recognized accrediting body for more than 800 degree-granting higher education institutions in 11 southeastern states. Its mission is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions. As one of 77 trustees on the governing board, Murphy will be responsible for determining commission policy, reviewing and making decisions on the accreditation of institutions and serving as a liaison between membership and commission staff.

Murphy previously served on the SACSCOC Board of Trustees from 2006-2011 and on the Appeals Committee from 2011-2013.