Louisiana’s Poet Laureate to hold reading, workshop at Nicholls

THIBODAUX, La. — Louisiana’s Poet Laureate, Peter Cooley, will speak and hold a workshop at Nicholls State University on Thursday, Oct. 13.

A native of Detroit, Cooley is a professor of English and the director of the creative writing program at Tulane University and has published nine different collections since 1975. He was named the Robert Frost Fellow of the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in 1981, received the Inspirational Professor Award in 2001, the Newcomb Professor of the Year Award in 2003 and was named Louisiana’s Poet Laureate last year.

Cooley will read from his most recent work “A Night Bus to the Afterlife” at 10 a.m. on the first floor of the Ellender Memorial Library and will hold a writing workshop at noon in 131 Peltier Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

“Ellender Memorial Library was very happy to collaborate with the Department of Languages and Literature to bring our current Louisiana Poet Laureate to campus for a reading and workshop,” said Helen Thomas, Nicholls assistant archivist. “This will be an opportunity for our students interested in poetry and possibly a career in creative writing to receive feedback on their work from a poet with a long and distinguished career in the field. We are grateful to the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for making this visit possible.”

The program is funded by a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Nicholls Enrollment Increases For First Time Since 2009


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

THIBODAUX, La. — Fall enrollment at Nicholls State University is on the rise for the first time since 2009, boosted by record-high retention rates.

Nicholls enrolled 6,267 students this fall, according to 14th class day statistics, an increase of 103 students from last year. This marks the second consecutive semester that Nicholls has seen an increase. In the spring, enrollment was up 20 students from 2015.

Keying the growth has been a record-setting first-time freshman retention rate of 70 percent, up seven percentage points from last year. Nicholls recently implemented focused freshman-level math and English pilot courses that have led to improved pass rates and decreasing dropouts.

“Two consecutive semesters of enrollment increases is a strong indicator that Nicholls has turned the corner and is gaining momentum,” Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy said. “In addition to our positive enrollment trend, Nicholls is graduating more students than ever,  experiencing an increase in applications and quality measures across the board are very high. A record-high retention rate provides us with the foundation to build off this success as we work toward our goal of 8,000 students.”

Two of Nicholls’ most popular undergraduate programs, nursing and biology, also saw a boost of students from one year to the next. The largest program on campus, nursing experienced a 12 percent increase in students, up to 843 from 755 last year. Biology, the third-largest undergraduate major, increased by 10 percent, with 466 students this year, up from 425. Graduates from the two programs have a track record of success upon earning their degree. First-time nursing board pass rates exceed both national and state averages and our biology graduates are regularly accepted into medical and graduate schools.

Nicholls Online, which offers various undergraduate and graduate degrees, saw its enrollment jump from 328 to 391, a 21 percent increase.

“I am grateful to all of our faculty, staff, alumni and community supporters who have stuck with Nicholls through thick and thin,” Murphy said. “These successes would not be possible without your efforts. With the support of everyone across campus and in the community, I believe we are just getting started.”

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute saw a 3 percent increase one year after opening up our new Lanny D. Ledet Culinary building.