Nicholls Presents 10 Awards During Spring 2023 University Convocation

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University presented 10 awards to its faculty and staff during the spring 2023 University Convocation on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2023. The event featured opening remarks by Nicholls State University Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Sue Westbrook and Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune. 

This semester, we look forward to not only changing the lives of the students we teach, mentor and care for today but the lives of their children and the generations that will follow them ,” Dr. Jay Clune, University President said. 

During the ceremony, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Access and Success Renee Hicks announced Nicholls’ future implementation of Nicholls State University + EdSights. The program features a Tillou chatbot program.

Tillou is a behaviorally smart SMS chatbot that checks in with students about their experiences at Nicholls in order to support and engage them, reaching out at key points in the semester to help students be successful and make the most of their college experience. Tillou will be available to students 24/7 to answer any questions about Nicholls. 

The program can help the university support students, answer their questions and communicate important information throughout the school year creating an avenue for student feedback and a virtual community. Tillou’s first message to students will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2022.

The awardees for the Academic Affairs Award for Teaching Excellence are:

  • Dr. John Lajaunie, Professor of Finance, College of Business Administration
  • Dr. Chantrelle Varnado-Johnson, Assistant Professor & School Counseling Specialization Coordinator, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences
  • Dr. Jason Ladd, Assistant Professor & Director or Nicholls Wind Ensemble, College of Liberal Arts
  • Mrs. Jeanne Chaisson, Assistant Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing
  • Dr. Himanshu Verma, Assistant Professor of Physics, College of Sciences and Technology

The Student Affairs “Apple” Awardees included:

  • Associate Professor of English Dr. Scott Banville, Outstanding Faculty Advisor of a Student Organization
  • Health Sciences Program Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Communicative Disorders Claire Bourgeois, Outstanding Faculty Advisor of a Student Organization
  • Alcee Fortier Distinguished Service Professor of Biological Sciences Dr. Ramaraj Boopathy, Outstanding Faculty Mentor
  • Instructor of Nursing Shelli Gravois, Outstanding Faculty Support for Student Activities  
  • Assistant Professor of Nursing Jeanne Chaisson, Outstanding Faculty Merit Award

To learn more about Nicholls’ campus events for spring 2023, visit

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, January 20, 2023

MEDIA CONTACT: Jerad David, Director of Communications, 985.448.4303 or

The owner of this website has made a commitment to accessibility and inclusion, please report any problems that you encounter using the contact form on this website. This site uses the WP ADA Compliance Check plugin to enhance accessibility.