Nicholls nursing receives donation to improve facilities, create endowed professorship

Mike and Blanche Callais present a check to Nicholls President, Dr. Bruce Murphy; Dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health, Dr. Sue Westbrook; and executive director of the Nicholls Foundation, Jeremy Becker.
(Jerad David/Nicholls State University)


Rachel and Leah Callais present a check to Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president, and Jeremy Becker, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation.
(Jerad David/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University announced a $200,000 donation to the nursing program and $80,000 for the creation of an endowed professorship in nursing thanks to the generosity of Mike and Blanche Callais and their daughters, Leah and Rachel.

Leah and Rachel Callais donated $100,000 each for two computer labs in Ayo Hall to support the nursing program. Their parents, Mike and Blanche Callais, have made a donation to create the Sister Mary Roland Bienvenu, RSN Endowed Professorship.

“The Callais family’s gift will have a significant impact on our nursing students,” said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy. “Our nursing program is one of the best in Louisiana and gifts like these will help to advance our mission and healthcare within the region. We’re exceedingly thankful for their willingness to support Nicholls.”

The Callais family’s donation will pair with more than $200,000 in renovations completed over the summer and another $155,000 donation from the Lakewood Foundation to expand the program and improve the facilities.

“We wanted to make this donation to honor our two late uncles and to help grow the nursing program for the future,” the Callais sisters said. “Our grandfather, Harold J. Callais, helped pass the creation of the Nicholls nursing program during his time on the Board of Regents. We learned from him the importance of donating to programs like Nicholls Nursing to help others.”

Supporting nursing and higher education runs deep in the Callais family. Harold Callais, Mike’s father, served as the chairman of the Board of Regents and was an ardent supporter of Nicholls and its nursing program. The endowed professorship is named for Sister Mary Roland Bienvenu, Mike’s great aunt, who served as an administrator at area schools and hospitals throughout her life.

“We recognize that Nicholls plays an important role in our area and that the nursing program is important for our future,” Mike Callais said. “We know there is a great need for nurses, particularly in the Bayou Region.”

Nicholls nursing program is one of the tops in the state, with 96 percent of Nicholls graduates passing the national licensure exam on their first try – higher than their state and national peers – and 100 percent of graduates employed or in graduate school after they leave Nicholls.

“The Callais gift is very generous and most appreciated,” said Dr. Sue Westbrook, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health. “The students use these labs for testing and enhancing learning through computer-assisted instruction throughout their degree program. This generous gift will benefit nursing students at Nicholls in perpetuity.”


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