Nicholls Honors Alumni, Community with 2021 Awards for Excellence

Nicholls Alumni President Brooke Huddles and Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune present the James Lynn Powell Award to Dr. Marilyn Kilgen.

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Alumni Federation honored the achievements of Nicholls alumni and the community during the annual Awards for Excellence ceremony held on March 28. 

“These men and women have contributed so much to this university over the years. It is an honor to be able to recognize them through our awards ceremony,” said Katherine Mabile, director of Alumni Affairs. “Nicholls is a key institution in the Bayou Region with a bright future, but we would not be here today without the dedication of our recipients. I can’t thank them enough.”

Nicholls professor emeritus Dr. Marilyn Kilgen received the James Lynn Powell Award, area businessman Kevin Gros the Harvey Peltier Award, L&M Botruc Rental, LLC., received the Corporate Mark of Honor and restaurateur Michael Lewis the Honorary Alumni Award. 

Dr. Marilyn Kilgen retired from Nicholls in 2013 after 45 years as a professor of biological sciences. The renowned microbiologist and seafood safety scientist was among the top researchers on campus, bringing in more than $7.5 million in research funding to the campus. Her legacy lives on through the master of science in marine and environmental biology degree – which she helped create – and in the Dr. Marilyn Kilgen Microbiology Lab. The James Lynn Powell Alumni Award is the highest recognition given to a Nicholls graduate. 

Kevin Gros has influenced the Nicholls campus as the owner of Weimer, Gros, Flores, LLC. The architectural design firm has most recently led the design phases on the Boucvalt Family Athletic Complex and Barker Hall Expansion project. The Harvey Peltier Award is given annually to an outstanding supporter of the university. It is the highest honor a non-graduate can receive from Nicholls.

The Galliano-based L&M Botruc Rental, Inc. has been a supporter of Nicholls for more than two decades. Over the years they have aided programs such as the Nicholls Foundation, Nicholls Athletics, the Bass Fishing Club, Maritime Management, A+ Scholars, Mary and Al Danos Theater and the College of Business Administration, as well as other scholarships and endowed professorships. It’s that level of dedication to the Nicholls mission that led Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune to select them to receive the Corporate Mark of Honor. 

Michael Lewis opened his first barbecue restaurant in 2007 after he moved to Houma from Tampa, Florida. Since then, Big Mike’s BBQ Smokehouse has become a staple of the Bayou Region with locations in Houma and Thibodaux. Lewis knows that Houma and Thibodaux love their community and Nicholls and he has become an ardent supporter of Nicholls athletics and academics. 

In addition to the awards, the alumni federation honored the 2021 Outstanding Graduates from each college. This year’s recipients are: 

  • College of Liberal Arts – Stuart Folse
  • College of Sciences and Technology – Michelle Felterman
  • College of Business Administration – Nolan P. Falgout, III
  • Chef John Folse Culinary Institute – Chef Meg Bickford
  • College of Education and Behavioral Sciences –  Sandy Holloway
  • College of Nursing – Matthew Hebert

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, April 22, 2021

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