THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University continues its annual Bonnie Bourg Lecture Series Thursday with a discussion of a 1929 Morgan City murder case that led to Louisiana’s first hanging of a woman.
Retired Nicholls librarian Fran Middleton will deliver her “Justice Denied: The Dreher-LeBoeuf Case” lecture at 10:30 a.m. March 10 in Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Le Bijou Theater on the Nicholls campus. The lecture includes an analysis of the historic case’s three defendants — Dr. Thomas Dreher, a prominent physician; Ada LeBoeuf, Dreher’s mistress; and James Beadle, Dreher’s handyman and the alleged gunman — and the circumstances that led up to the murder of LeBoeuf’s husband, James LeBoeuf. In addition, Middleton will discuss the ensuing trial and executions.
Following Middleton’s lecture, a guest panel will offer additional commentary. Gene Gouaux, Nicholls business law instructor, will discuss how the legal system shaped the Dreher-LeBoeuf case; Felicia LeDuff Harry, retired Nicholls assistant mass communication professor, will analyze print media coverage; and Marcus Montet, great-nephew of Ada LeBoeuf, will provide insight into the case’s impact on LeBoeuf’s family.
THIBODAUX — This spring, Nicholls State University has posted an enrollment increase for the first time in five years as the university’s freshman retention rate reaches an all-time high.
Total Nicholls enrollment is up 20 students from last spring, according to 14th class day statistics. In addition, fall to spring first-time freshman retention is 88.28 percent, up 4.9 percentage points from 2015.
The record-setting retention rate along with successful recruiting efforts indicate that Nicholls is likely to see another enrollment increase in the fall. Applications for fall 2016 are up 15 percent (more than 300 students) from this time last year, and the university has offered a record number of scholarships to eligible applicants.
“Growing enrollment to 8,000 students remains one of our top goals at Nicholls. This semester’s increases in both enrollment and freshman retention are strong indicators that Nicholls enrollment is on an upward trend,” said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy. “From department heads and faculty to the support staff and facilities crew, our entire campus is working together to welcome students to the Colonel family and put their success first.”
Over the past few semesters, Nicholls faculty have created and implemented freshman-level math and English pilot courses that have led to improved pass rates and encouraged students to continue on their path to earning a degree. Math faculty, for example, have improved retention by standardizing exams, offering flexible testing hours and personally calling students with frequent absences.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program continues to exceed the national and state average on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN) with a 95 percent pass rate.
The NCLEX-RN is a national standardized exam used by the Louisiana State Board of Nursing to measure a nursing candidate’s minimum safety preparedness for entry-level nursing practice. With a 95 percent pass rate for first-time takers during calendar year 2015, up from 91.96 percent in 2014, the Nicholls nursing program is well above the national pass rate of 84.5 percent and the Louisiana pass rate of 89.3 percent.
“Maintaining such an exceptional pass rate means nurses who graduate from the accredited Nicholls nursing program are able to meet the demanding outcomes that we establish and expect, thereby supplying hospitals and health clinics with strong entry-level nurses capable of providing their patients with safe care,” said Rebecca Lyons, head of the Nicholls Department of Nursing. “Our program’s success is a testament to not only our hardworking students, but also our committed faculty and supportive administration.”
In addition to above-average licensure pass rates, 90 percent of fall 2015 Nicholls nursing graduates reported gaining employment in the nursing field prior to graduation.
THIBODAUX — St. Thomas Aquinas at Nicholls State University has been named among the top 10 university Catholic centers in the country.
Independent journal “Best College Reviews” ranked St. Thomas No. 10 on its list of The 50 Best College Newman Centers, placing the Nicholls Catholic experience ahead of all Louisiana universities and several noteworthy out-of-state schools.
University Catholic centers were evaluated based on their offering of regular weekly Mass times, opportunities for spiritual growth and community-building events.
The Rev. André Melancon, pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church at Nicholls, says about 250 Nicholls students are actively involved in Colonel Catholics, the oldest faith-based organization on the campus.
Annually, Colonel Catholics participate in Awakening and silent retreats as well as March for Life in Washington, D.C. Melancon leads a group of Nicholls students on a mission trip to Kingston, Jamaica, each December. In addition, St. Thomas Aquinas is one of three Louisiana campuses and one of 125 campuses nationwide to host the Fellowship of Catholic University Students on-campus outreach program.
Click here to view the full “Best College Reviews” list.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University and Delgado Community College are partnering to produce more registered nurses with four-year nursing degrees to meet industry demands. Both schools have signed a mutually beneficial transfer articulation agreement making it easier for Delgado’s associate degree nursing graduates to transfer to Nicholls’ Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.
Delgado’s licensed nursing graduates wishing to continue their education may transfer to the Nicholls RN to BSN program offered online through the Nicholls College of Nursing and Allied Health.
“Through this agreement between Nicholls and Delgado’s nursing programs, we hope to expand the education and future career options for Delgado’s registered nurses prepared at the associate degree level,” said Dr. Sue Westbrook, dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health at Nicholls. “There is a growing body of research that reinforces the connection between baccalaureate nursing education and better patient outcomes such as lower mortality and morbidity rates, lower hospital readmission rates and shorter lengths of hospital stay. These outcomes translate into cost savings for hospitals. As a result, health care employers are recognizing that education makes a difference and are creating more job opportunities for baccalaureate nurses in the acute care setting.”
The Institute of Medicine has recommended that 80 percent of nurses hold at least a four-year degree by 2020. Currently, over 60 percent of U.S. nurses hold a bachelor’s degree or higher.
In addition to the nursing agreement, Nicholls and Delgado maintain a transfer articulation agreement in business.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University awarded 670 degrees to students during its Saturday, Dec. 12 commencement celebrations.
Among the fall graduates was Thibodaux native Emily Albert, who received the President’s Medal of Honor for earning a perfect 4.0 GPA. Graduates earning a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher and graduating summa cum laude included Albert, Rebecca Billiot of Houma, Brent Cheramie of Cut Off, Chao Dong of Thibodaux, Olivia Galtier of Houma, Jenna Graham of Thibodaux, Megan Monier of Thibodaux and MeJoan Whittington of Slidell.
For a complete list of graduates, please click here. Students graduating summa cum laude earned a cumulative GPA of 3.9 or higher, magna cum laude graduates earned a GPA of 3.7 to 3.899, and cum laude honorees earned a GPA of 3.5 to 3.699.
THIBODAUX — Entergy New Orleans CEO Charles L. Rice Jr. will deliver the keynote address for Nicholls State University’s fall commencement. Nicholls will award more than 650 degrees during three ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 12 in Stopher Gymnasium.
Rice, who has overseen Entergy’s operations since 2010, is currently coordinating the largest natural gas rebuild effort in the utility industry’s history following pipe damages sustained during Hurricane Katrina.
An attorney who has represented both private practices and corporations, Rice previously served as city attorney and chief administrative officer for the City of New Orleans. He is a member of national, state and local bar associations. In addition, the U.S. Army veteran serves in leadership roles for multiple organizations including Greater New Orleans Foundation, United Negro College Fund Louisiana Leadership Council, University Medical Center New Orleans and New Orleans Business Alliance. Rice holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Howard University, a juris doctorate from Loyola University’s School of Law and a master’s degree in business administration from Tulane University.
Following record-breaking numbers of graduates over the past four years, Nicholls will hold three commencement ceremonies to accommodate graduates and their guests. Ceremonies, which each require a ticket for admission, will begin at 9 a.m. for College of Arts and Sciences, at noon for College of Business Administration and College of Nursing and Allied Health, and at 3 p.m. for College of Education. Nicholls will live-stream all three ceremonies at nicholls.edu. The full video of each ceremony will be posted on the Nicholls website the week following commencement.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University has recently been designated as a “Governor’s Military and Veteran Friendly Campus” by Gov. Bobby Jindal and has been recognized for the seventh consecutive year as a “Military Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine.
Jindal’s military friendly designation was created this year to assist veterans in selecting which Louisiana school best fits their needs. This year’s recognition identifies 24 schools that offer tailored veteran admissions policies and support services, application fee waivers, priority class scheduling, career workshops and veteran-specific courses like the veterans-only freshman seminar class instructed by Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy, a retired lieutenant colonel who served 23 years in the U.S. Army.
“Earning military friendly designations year after year validates the effort Nicholls has already made — and continues to make — to accommodate our nation’s veterans who are seeking a quality education,” said Gilberto Burbante, Nicholls coordinator of veterans services. Burbante, a former U.S. Marine and Army National Guard officer, is a three-time Iraq War infantry veteran and 2011 Nicholls graduate.
“The Nicholls Office of Veteran Affairs acts like a military unit,” Burbante said. “We take care of our own here, and that’s how we are able to make an impression and lasting connections with fellow veterans on campus.”
Currently, 198 veterans are enrolled and receiving benefits at Nicholls. The Office of Veterans Affairs acts as a one-stop shop, helping veterans to register for classes, navigate financial aid processes, receive military or transfer credits and even find jobs during the summer break or after graduation. Nicholls also operates a veterans lounge in Shaver Gym to help build community among student veterans and assist in their transition to college life. The Nicholls Veterans Organization provides a social outlet for veteran students, participating in tailgating and other activities.
Members of the military — as well as veterans — receive priority service when enrolling at Nicholls. Admissions criteria are exempted for veterans who have received an honorable discharge, and enrollees may register before the general student population.
Nicholls administrators have also identified a group of individual advisers to serve as veterans advocates. Veterans may consult with these faculty members for information, advice or understanding as they work their way through university rules and regulations.
“Nicholls is committed to supporting our veterans as they work toward earning a college degree,” Murphy said. “We are proud of our military and veteran friendly designation and enjoy helping these individuals achieve continued success.”
For more information about Nicholls’ services for veterans and active service members, call Burbante at 985.448.4208, or click here.
THIBODAUX — Capital One Bank donated $20,000 to the Nicholls State University Foundation to fund book scholarships for 33 Nicholls petroleum engineering technology and safety management students.
“Scholarships like those funded by Capital One Bank and other university supporters help to ensure that Nicholls students are equipped with the resources they need to succeed in the classroom and, more importantly, in their chosen field when they enter the workforce,” said Dr. Neal Weaver, executive director of the Nicholls Foundation and Nicholls vice president for university advancement.
A longtime supporter of education and workforce development, Capital One Bank seeks out opportunities to enhance the lives of individuals residing and working in its communities.
“At Capital One Bank, we are committed to investing for good in our local communities, and a major component of that commitment is supporting workforce development,” said Robbie Naquin, Tri-Parish market president for Capital One Bank. “Through this grant to the Nicholls State University Foundation, we are addressing a key building block of economic opportunity in the Tri-Parish region and beyond.”
The Nicholls petroleum services program is among the university’s most popular degree programs, with 418 undergraduate students enrolled for the fall 2015 semester. The program’s facilities recently received over $250,000 in technological and structural upgrades.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University broke ground on a $6.7 million renovation project that will provide significant upgrades to Talbot Hall and the building’s Mary M. Danos Theater on the university’s campus.
The theater will feature structural and technological enhancements including new seating, curtains, flooring and state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. In addition, the campus TV studio, KNSU radio station and two Talbot Hall classrooms are slated to receive technological upgrades to enhance student learning.
Construction has already begun on the project, which will also include a complete replacement of Talbot Hall’s roof and a redesign of the building’s lobby and entranceway.
Renovations to Talbot Hall, which originally opened in 1970, are funded with $5.2 million in state money secured by state Sen. Norby Chabert and $1.5 million in private contributions raised since 2011 with the help of the late Al Danos, a longtime Nicholls supporter. The project is expected to be complete before the fall 2016 semester.