Harvard innovator to speak at Nicholls Fall Commencement


Photo courtesy of Beth Kelley of Beth Kelley Photography
Photo courtesy of Beth Kelley of Beth Kelley Photography

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will award more than 650 degrees during its annual fall commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 17, in John L. Guidry Stadium.

Harvard Professor Dr. Kevin Kit Parker will serve as the keynote speaker.

A lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, Parker is the Tarr Family Professor of Bioengineering and Applied Physics in the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard.

Parker joined the U.S. Army as a paratrooper in 1992 and, following the Sept. 11 attacks, served two tours in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Army Commendation Medal with V device, and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge for his service. He also conducted additional missions as part of the Gray Team, a special inspection unit charged with treating traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.

A core faculty member at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University, he has conducted unorthodox research including designing camouflage using cuttlefish skin cells and using a cotton candy machine to make dressing for wounds. Earlier this year, the Disease Biophysics Group, led by Parker, created a tissue-engineered soft-robotic ray that swims using wave-like fin motions and turns according to externally applied light cues.

In the event of bad weather, commencement will be moved to Stopher Gymnasium and split into three ceremonies: the College of Education and College of Business Administration at 9 a.m., the College of Arts and Sciences at noon and the College of Nursing and Allied Health at 3 p.m. Tickets will be required only if the ceremonies are relocated to the gym.


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