THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will award more than 680 degrees during its fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 13, in Stopher Gymnasium.
Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. for College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing and Allied Health, and College of Business Administration graduates and at 2 p.m. for University College and College of Education graduates.
The keynote address will be delivered by Nicholls alumnus Stephen Watson, executive vice president of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. He will also receive an honorary doctorate, the university’s highest recognition. Watson, a native of Scotland, came to Nicholls on a track and field scholarship in 1994, where he earned a bachelor’s and MBA in 1997 and 1999.
In September 2002, Watson, the grandson of a WWII Royal Air Force pilot, joined the museum staff as director of membership, launching a national campaign that increased the museum’s base from 5,000 members to 60,000. In 2007 he was promoted to vice president and chief operating officer, managing the museum’s daily operations, educational programming, collections and acquisitions, membership programs and marketing and public relations. He was named executive vice president in January 2014.
The National WWII Museum currently has more than 130,000 active members representing all 50 states and attracts more than 500,000 visitors per year. In recent years the museum has advanced a $325 million capital campaign, expanding its campus to seven acres. Nicholls currently partners with the museum to offer two unique summer educational experiences for college credit: Student Leadership Academy, a residential program that immerses students in the museum’s exhibits and artifacts; and Normandy Academy, a study abroad program that sends participants to famous European World War II battlefields with Nicholls history faculty.