My University, My Home

I love Nicholls State University. From the moment the soles of my shoes touched Nicholls’ soil, I knew this was some place special. I was home.

Morgan City was the closest I had ever been to the area, and I didn’t know a single person in Thibodaux. Most of the people I knew attended UL-Lafayette, McNeese or LSU. Not many Acadiana-area students made their way down to the bayou. As I watched my parents drive away on that humid day in July, I momentarily allowed doubt to creep into my mind. I quickly dismissed it by reminding myself that I was home and that I was blessed to have made it to the bayou.

My journey at Nicholls is a testament to the power of education and to the transformational effect it has on the trajectory of life. My siblings and I were raised by parents who believed that education is the key to success, happiness and a better life. They fostered this mindset in us from a young age and never wavered from this conviction. Not only did my siblings and I invest in this notion, but we all earned our Master’s Degree in Education with the intention of maximizing our impact on today’s youth by using education as a platform to inspire and educate.

Fast forward to the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25. I have been asked numerous times how I feel about this event and my response is always the same. I abhor police brutality on my fellow African-Americans, and I condemn the senseless killin of men who look like me.

This segue is important because education goes beyond the books. We must educate ourselves on issues as critical as this if we are to positively impact the trajectory of our future. I shouldn’t have to tell my son, who was born in the same month and year as Trayvon Martin, to lose the hoodie. And I shouldn’t have to endure glares of skepticism and distrust when I walk through certain doors and stores dressed casually. It is unacceptable that any African-American’s thoughts turn to, “Why does America hate us?” We must commit to do better and to be unapologetic in our efforts.

As Maya Angelou said, “When we know better, we do better.” It is now apparent that a large sector of citizens around the world believe that African-Americans are being marginalized and discriminated against; therefore, we must all engage in self-dialogue by asking ourselves the not-so-rhetorical question, “What am I going to do to end this travesty?”

Kevin George, Educator and Alumni Board Member

"America is the greatest country in the world, but we are not free from fault or disillusionment, and it’s our collective responsibility to make it a better place to live."

It is no longer acceptable to remain complacent with the status quo in America. When uninformed people exclaim, “If you don’t like it, you can leave,” they are projecting their lack of understanding and empathy. I reciprocate their remark by informing them they are free to take their own advice by leaving; however, I never neglect an opportunity to educate and inform. I reiterate that we are not going anywhere and that we do not want anything more than to be treated equally as all other citizens of this great country.

America is the greatest country in the world, but we are not free from fault or disillusionment, and it’s our collective responsibility to make it a better place to live. My former college coach used to tell us that when he stopped yelling at us is when we needed to worry.

This represents our present situation. Just like my coach, he put pressure on us by yelling because he believed in us and knew we could do better. He yelled to get our attention so we would hear him and correct our actions. We are metaphorically yelling at America to do better because, deep down, we know that our citizens are better than what some of their behavior reflects.

I take pride in my country and in all the opportunities being an American has afforded me. My honor runs deeply, as my grandfather, PFC Clarence George, served in the 1st Battalion 365th Infantry Regiment in World War II. My people were the foundation of this country and fought for the freedom we share as Americans today. It is our civic duty to keep yelling until our citizens act in accordance with the greatness that is our country.

Using words to encourage and educate is a powerful outlet, but translating those words into actionable change is an indestructible power. To this end, I have embarked upon the establishment of the Nicholls State University Black Alumni Chapter under the Alumni Federation.

From a single text, we have established a chapter of over 60 Black Alumni who are wholeheartedly committed to working in partnership to improve the Black Alumni connection to our beloved University. From this one act, we will coalesce into a movement whose mission is to make this University, this city, our state, and eventually this country, a better place. God bless you and Geaux Colonels. – Kevin George (BGS ’96, BS ’99, MEd ’03)