Bruce T. Murphy Inaugurated as Fifth Nicholls President


THIBODAUX — Dr. Bruce T. Murphy was inaugurated as the fifth president of Nicholls State University Thursday, April 3, during a ceremony on the university’s campus.

The ceremony included a formal processional with more than 100 Nicholls faculty members and representatives of regional and national universities. Dr. Sandra K. Woodley, president of the University of Louisiana System, conducted the investiture, presenting Murphy with the presidential medallion, a symbol of office. Although a first-time event for the Nicholls campus, inauguration ceremonies are a long-standing tradition throughout the country.

In his inaugural address, Murphy thanked attendees and encouraged them to engage with Nicholls.

“This inauguration is not about me, it’s about Nicholls,” Murphy said. “It’s putting the spotlight on Nicholls, and that’s what we’re here to do: To open our doors up to the community, invite them in and let them see what we’re all about.”

Murphy also laid out four imperatives Nicholls must meet in the future. The university must provide opportunities for student success, he said, and embrace a spirit of innovation. The university must internationalize by providing more study abroad programs and increasing international student enrollment. Finally, as a public university, Nicholls must ensure it is serving the needs of the region and the state of Louisiana.

“Let us always continue moving forward together,” he concluded.

The ceremony included music from the Nicholls State University Symphonic Band and special greetings from community and Nicholls representatives, including Woodley; Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete; Faculty Senate President Stephen Michot; Nicholls Student Government Association President Melissa Cloutet; Nicholls Alumni Federation President Eddie Hebert; and Nicholls Foundation President Chris Riviere.

The historic ceremony was the highlight of a week of events celebrating Nicholls’ first-ever presidential inauguration. Themed “Forward Together,” the celebration, which continues through Saturday, April 5, included musical performances, Colonels athletic events, academic and cultural enrichment, service activities and special speakers.

Murphy was selected to lead Nicholls by the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System after a nationwide search. He assumed the presidency in January.

Before coming to Nicholls, Murphy was the vice president for academic affairs at Air University in Alabama for the past eight years. He previously served as founding dean of the School of Business at Point Park University in Pittsburgh; founding director of the graduate program in organizational leadership and chair of the Walker School of Business at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania; and professor of military science and director of the Army Officer Education Program at Vanderbilt University. Before that, he taught leadership as an assistant professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Murphy, a retired lieutenant colonel, spent 23 years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, Panama and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

For more information on Murphy and the presidential inauguration visit

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