As the current academic year comes to a close, I will mark two milestones, one of which I would be just as happy to ignore and the second for which I am quite proud. On May 31, I will turn 69 and on July 1, I will celebrate my tenth anniversary in the presidency of Nicholls State University.
It seems hard to believe that Becky and Steve Hulbert came to south central Louisiana and, more specifically, to Nicholls State University ten years ago this summer. We specifically recall the occasion because of the unique welcome Mother Nature had waiting for us; the university was preparing to close in response to the arrival of Tropical Storm Bill. I guess we should have taken that event as an omen of what was to come, at least weather wise!
Ten years later, together as members of this university family, we have faced five or more named storms, a few of which resulted in extensive interference in the life of the university. Additionally, we have faced the man made impacts of the oil spill and the cumulative financial disruption of the past six years.
However, barring these unforeseen events, the past ten years have also been a time of extraordinary growth and maturity for Nicholls State University and the Nicholls family. Together we have seen strong academic programs mature significantly, the university successfully transition to selective admissions, partnerships developed with the technical-community college sector, and major improvements undertaken and accomplished throughout campus services and facilities.
All of this has been accomplished through the collaboration of this university’s strong, competent, dedicated, and hard working faculty and staff. And, in achieving these accomplishments, we have been greatly supported by the University’s many alumni and friends from the broader community.
With all of that said, the last six years have been a time of significant turmoil and transition. Budget cuts by a government that has provided little leadership to education have left all education sectors vulnerable to the impact of the accumulated damage done. That we have persevered and even at times flourished is due simply to the hard work of faculty and staff and the support of our alumni and friends.
All of the above leads to what many of you have known was coming. And that is my decision to retire from the presidency of Nicholls, effective August 1, 2013. The timing of that transition will permit the Board of Supervisors of the University of Louisiana System to conduct a search for my successor. It will also permit me and my senior administrative colleagues to represent the university throughout the 2013 General Legislative Session and to prepare the university’s resulting 2013-14 Operating Budget.
Please know that I have been honored to serve in the Nicholls presidency. My commitment to Nicholls remains absolute now and in the future. While I will not participate in any way in the search process to select my successor, I will offer my total support for a smooth transition of leadership that is in the best interest of the university and the students it serves. And Becky and I will always value the friendships, love, and support that the Nicholls family gave us during our stay with and among the wonderful people of South Louisiana.