Harold J. Callais Endowed Chair in Economic Development

June 19, 2003


THIBODAUX – At the recent “A Tribute to Dr. Donald J. Ayo” retirement dinner, the family of a late South Lafourche entrepreneur announced a $660,000 contribution, the largest single donation of an alum in Nicholls State University history.

The family of Harold Callais donated the funding, which will be matched by $400,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents Quality Support Fund, to create the Harold J. Callais Endowed Chair in Economic Development and a $60,000 scholarship fund for students. Endowed chairs allow the university to attract eminent scholars who will provide excellence in teaching and significant research contributions.

Callais, a former Golden Meadow entrepreneur and civic leader, founded a number of businesses across south Louisiana, mostly in the fields of mass communication, banking and solid waste disposal. He was a member of the Louisiana Board of Regents since 1983, serving as chairman from 1996 to 1998. Callais died in 2000 while on a scuba diving trip in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the years, Callais and his businesses have been recognized with several of Nicholls State University’s highest awards and honors.

“Nicholls State University is very grateful to the Callais family for their continued support over the years,” Ayo said. “I am very pleased that this gift was given in the name of Harold Callais. He was a true advocate for higher education and a dear friend of mine and the University.”

Peter Callais, son of Harold Callais, said, “Nicholls State gives so much to the community, and my family wanted a way to show our appreciation. Nicholls is our university, and we are glad that we can help further the excellence that Nicholls provides the region.”

Callais added, “My family particularly wanted to donate this gift while Dr. Ayo is still president. Dr. Ayo and my dad worked closely on a number of projects and were very good friends.”

Individuals or organizations interested in establishing an endowed fund to benefit Nicholls State University students or faculty should contact the NSU Office of Development at (985) 448-4010.

December 9, 2003


Bryant Chosen for Bollinger ChairTHIBODAUX – The family of the late Harold J. Callais of Golden Meadow recently presented Nicholls State University officials with a $120,000 donation to create an endowed chair and a scholarship fund at Nicholls.

“Nicholls is such an important part of our community,” said Peter Callais, son of Harold Callais. “I remember my father’s experiences having to hitch a ride every day to Lafayette to get his degree, so it’s nice to have a university right in the area. When we made the donation, we wanted to help provide educational opportunities close to home for our young people.”

The majority of the donation, $100,000, will be used to help establish the Harold J. Callais Endowed Chair in Economic Development. When the fund reaches $600,000 it will be matched with $400,000 from the Louisiana Board of Regents Support Fund, creating a $1 million permanently endowed chair that will allow Nicholls to attract and retain outstanding faculty of national and international distinction.

The remaining $20,000 of the donation will be used to create the Callais Companies Endowed Scholarship for deserving NSU students. The scholarship will be awarded to a full-time student who maintains a 2.5 overall grade point average. The recipient should be an employee or the dependent of an employee of companies owned by the Callais family. If a qualified employee or dependent is not available, the recipient will be a graduate of a Louisiana high school.

“We are grateful for the support of the Callais family. With their help, Nicholls will be able ensure that outstanding faculty are in place to meet the growing demands of the region and that students from the Bayou Region have the financial aid necessary to earn an education,” Dr. Rebecca L. Tucker, director of Development at NSU, said.

A plaque recognizing the donation will be placed on the Wall of Honor located in the Donald G. Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

Individuals or organizations interested in establishing a scholarship or other endowed fund at Nicholls State University should contact Tucker in the NSU Office of Development at (985) 448-4010.