Nicholls Commencement Scheduled for Dec. 13

Nicholls Alum Stephen Watson
Nicholls Alum Stephen Watson

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will award more than 680 degrees during its fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 13, in Stopher Gymnasium.

Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. for College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing and Allied Health, and College of Business Administration graduates and at 2 p.m. for University College and College of Education graduates.

The keynote address will be delivered by Nicholls alumnus Stephen Watson, executive vice president of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. He will also receive an honorary doctorate, the university’s highest recognition. 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.

In September 2002, Watson, the grandson of a WWII Royal Air Force pilot, joined the museum staff as director of membership, launching a national campaign that increased the museum’s base from 5,000 members to 60,000. In 2007 he was promoted to vice president and chief operating officer, managing the museum’s daily operations, educational programming, collections and acquisitions, membership programs and marketing and public relations. He was named executive vice president in January 2014.

The National WWII Museum currently has more than 130,000 active members representing all 50 states and attracts more than 500,000 visitors per year. In recent years the museum has advanced a $325 million capital campaign, expanding its campus to seven acres. Nicholls currently partners with the museum to offer two unique summer educational experiences for college credit: Student Leadership Academy, a residential program that immerses students in the museum’s exhibits and artifacts; and Normandy Academy, a study abroad program that sends participants to famous European World War II battlefields with Nicholls history faculty.

Nicholls Chamber Singers Present “The Colors of Christmas”

THIBODAUX — The public is invited to kick-off the yuletide season with music, fine food and holiday fun at the 28th annual Nicholls Chamber Singers Christmas Dinner Series Friday, Dec. 5.

This year’s event, themed “The Colors of Christmas,” will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Cotillion Ballroom. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

A Nicholls Christmas tradition since 1985, this year’s event features songs about holiday colors like red, green, silver, gold, white and blue along with other seasonal favorites. Performances include special arrangements of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “Jingle Bells”; favorite Irving Berlin Christmas songs; and “Christmas Time is Here” from the holiday favorite “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Concertgoers will also enjoy a multi-course meal and a visit from Santa. Special food songs will be included in the performance to whet the appetite and sharpen the funny bone of guests.

Dr. Kenneth S. Klaus, professor of music and director of choral activities, directs the Nicholls Chamber Singers; Michelle Z. Parro is pianist; and Kellie Gaspard is the event producer.

Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 985-448-4600, by emailing kellie.gaspard@nicholls.edu or at the Department of Music at 241 Talbot Hall on campus. Preference will be given to reservations made by Friday, Nov. 21. The university is closed during Thanksgiving week, but the music office will reopen Monday, Dec. 1.

Learn More About Nicholls at Colonel Day

THIBODAUX — Prospective Nicholls State University students and their families are invited to learn more about the university’s degree programs, campus activities, financial aid opportunities and more at Colonel Day Saturday, Nov. 15.

Check in for the university-wide open house begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Cotillion Ballroom, and the program begins at 10 a.m. Prospective students and their families can tour the campus, explore their housing options, meet faculty and administrators from their potential academic programs and much more.

Participants should RSVP by filling out the form available on the Colonel Day website, nicholls.edu/colonelday.

Economist to Speak at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — American economist, author and Nicholls State University alumnus Dr. Donald J. Boudreaux will present the inaugural Frederic Bastiat Guest Lecture Thursday, Nov. 13.

His talk, titled “The Lens of Economics,” will be presented at 1:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. in the Ridley J. Gros Auditorium in Powell Hall. The lecture is being presented by the Nicholls College of Business Administration and the Department of Business Administration and Computer Information Systems.

Boudreaux, a 1980 graduate of Nicholls and a native of Cut Off, received his doctorate from Auburn University and his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. He currently serves as director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University.

An esteemed economics and legal scholar, Boudreaux is the author of “Globalization” and “Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity,” based on his letters to the editor written to major newspapers around the country. He also writes the popular economics blog Café Hayek with Russ Roberts and has published numerous articles, book chapters and newspaper columns.

He previously served as the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University, where he presided over two winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. He was also the president of the Foundation for Economic Education and served as the Olin Visiting Fellow in Law and Economics at Cornell Law School.

Nicholls Awarded Grant to Begin Recycling Program

THIBODAUX — As a part of America Recycles Day, Nicholls State University will kick off a new on-campus recycling program Wednesday, Nov. 12.

Nicholls will expand its recycling services thanks to a Healthy Community Grant of $8,615 from the anti-littering organization Keep Louisiana Beautiful. The grant will provide visible recycling bins to be placed near garbage cans in offices and residence halls across campus, allowing students, faculty and staff the opportunity to recycle appropriate goods including paper, plastic and aluminum cans. Three cycling dumpsters will be placed on campus. The grant will cover the cost of picking up recycling through May.

Nicholls will also celebrate America Recycles Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the university quadrangle with information booths, music and other activities. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), KNSU radio station and other organizations will also take part.
Currently, the city of Thibodaux is the only municipal entity to offer curbside recycling in Terrebonne and Lafourche.

Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) is a volunteer-based service organization dedicated to a litter-free Louisiana. Each year, KLB awards competitive Healthy Communities Grants to organizations across the state as part of its efforts to promote personal, corporate and community responsibility for a clean and beautiful Louisiana. Last year over 23,000 people volunteered more than 107,000 hours with KLB’s affiliates. These volunteers picked up 670,000 pounds of roadway and waterway litter in an effort to keep the state beautiful.

Nicholls Students Selected For “Who’s Who”

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THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will be represented by 71 students in the 2014 edition of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”

The students were honored at a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 6, at Nicholls.

The junior and senior honorees were selected as national student leaders by a campus nominating committee and editors of the nationwide annual directory. Nicholls selects the top one percent of its student leaders for inclusion in Who’s Who.

For a list of the selected students click here: 2014 Who’s Who Winners

New Nicholls Campus Store Holds Grand Opening Nov. 5

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University students, employees and campus visitors have a new option for quick, convenient access to hot and cold drinks, snacks, grab-and-go meals and other home staples. The Grid, a brand-new convenience store concept and the first of its kind in North America, is now open in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

The store will hold a public grand opening celebration at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5 with a ribbon cutting, cake, games, samples and prizes. The Grid is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Fridays.

Located in the middle of the student union and near the university bookstore, The Grid was designed with student convenience in mind. The store sells a wide selection of fresh and packaged foods, drinks, snacks, candy and frozen foods, as well as home goods to keep students comfortable and well supplied in their residence halls without ever leaving campus.

In addition to the store, a large portion of The Grid is devoted to the student community, with a bulletin board for campus announcements and a communal charging station for laptops, cell phones and tablets. With bar-style tables and chairs surrounding 30 electrical outlets — including two stations that are handicapped accessible — students can plug in and charge their devices for as long as they like.

“We’ve added new business to the union, and it’s something students have already embraced,” said Brenda Haskins, executive director of auxiliary services at Nicholls State University. “The store is stocked with things they can pick up to use in their apartments or dorm room. They can grab something to eat, sit and talk, work on their computers, study or play games.”

Nicholls Student Veterans Screen “The Hornet’s Nest”

THIBODAUX — In honor of Veterans Day, the Nicholls State University Veterans Organization will host a screening of the critically acclaimed feature documentary “The Hornet’s Nest” Tuesday, Nov. 11, in the LeBijou Theater at the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

Refreshments will be served at 5:30 p.m. with the screening at 6 p.m. A panel discussion featuring Nicholls student combat veterans will follow.

“The Hornet’s Nest” follows award-winning journalists Mike Boettcher and his son, Carlos Boettcher, as they are embedded with U.S. forces fighting on the front lines of Afghanistan through gun battles, roadside bombings and sniper fire. The film uses unprecedentedly vivid footage to tell the story of an elite group of U.S. troops sent on a dangerous mission deep inside one of the country’s most hostile valleys, culminating in nine days of intense combat against an invisible enemy amid the country’s complex terrain.

“The Hornet’s Nest” is produced by HighRoad Media in association with Base Productions. Christian Tureaud and David Salzberg of HighRoad Media serve as co-directors and producers. John Brenkus and Mickey Stern of Base Productions are executive producers.

The documentary screening will follow a traditional Veterans Day ceremony at 11 a.m. in the campus quadrangle. The event will feature an address by Nicholls President Bruce Murphy, a retired lieutenant colonel who spent 23 years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, Panama and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Nicholls student athletes set high NCAA Graduation Success Rate

Nicholls State University student athletes have the highest graduation rate among all Southland Conference schools in Louisiana, according to statistics released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association this week.

The Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report shows that 74 percent of Nicholls student athletes who began college in 2007 earned their degrees within six years. That’s an all-time high for Nicholls, marking the fourth consecutive year that the university shows overall academic improvement. Nicholls’ overall GSR ranks third among the 11 Southland Conference schools and fourth among Louisiana’s 11 public universities with Division I athletics — only trailing Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“This is a great accomplishment for the university’s coaches, support staff and faculty who work hard to ensure that students perform well both on the playing field and in the classroom,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “I’m proud of our student athletes who put in long hours of coursework and practice each week, preparing for successful futures beyond their collegiate athletic careers.”

Two Nicholls teams — men’s and women’s tennis — have the highest GSR in the state, with women’s tennis graduating 100 percent of its team. Of the university’s 12 athletics programs, six teams earned top-ranking GSRs among Louisiana’s Southland Conference schools, including football, softball, women’s track, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and volleyball. Nicholls teams showing academic improvements over the past year include football, men’s tennis, soccer and volleyball.

Designed to more accurately predict the academic success of athletes, the GSR measures the proportion of student athletes who graduate and includes incoming transfer students, a regular occurrence in college athletics, in its calculations. For more information on GSRs, visit web1.ncaa.org/GSRSearch.

Dyslexia Scholarship Gifted by Descendent of Nicholls’ Namesake

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University students with dyslexia are eligible for a new scholarship thanks to a gift from the great-great granddaughter of the university’s namesake, Gov. Francis Tillou Nicholls.

Nicholls, a native of Donaldsonville, was a Civil War brigadier general, a two-term governor of Louisiana and served as chief justice of the state’s supreme court.

Baton Rouge resident Jane Matt, Nicholls’ descendant, said she created the scholarship to honor her parents for supporting her education and in loving memory of her father, James Henry Ware Jr., who died in 2012. The Blue Moon Scholarship for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders will be available in 2015 for full-time students enrolled in Nicholls who have been diagnosed with dyslexia or a related learning disorder and maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. The student will receive $250 per semester for up to eight semesters and receive support services from the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders, which is housed on the Nicholls campus.

Matt said she was inspired to create the scholarship after her own struggles with dyslexia. Matt earned her bachelor’s in business administration but said she doubts she could have done so without the generous financial support of her parents. She hoped to honor them by offering support to future students facing similar challenges.

“I have experienced the frustrations of dealing with dyslexia and wanted to reach out to students with a learning disorder to offer encouragement and financial support,” she said. “I hope that this effort will bring about a general awareness of the difficulties that many students with learning disorders face.”