Nicholls State University summa cum laude graduates (front row, from left) Derek Jett, Anna Lee, Nicholls President Bruce Murphy, Ainsley Crochet, Elizabeth Whitman, Kathryn Johnson, (back row, from left) Ashlyn Champagne, Paula Santos, Rebecca Deroche, Shelly Naquin and Krista Votolato pose before commencement ceremonies Saturday, Dec. 13.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University awarded more than 670 degrees to students during its Saturday, Dec. 13 commencement celebrations.
Among the fall graduates were seven students who received the President’s Medal of Honor for earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average. They included interdisciplinary studies graduate Kalynn Egea; general family and consumer sciences/social services graduate Jami Foret; accounting graduate Derek Jett; management/human resources graduate Shelly Naquin; interdisciplinary studies graduate Patrick Riviere; dietetics graduate Elizabeth Whitman; and psychology graduate Megan Yates.
During the morning’s commencement exercises, Nicholls awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Stephen Watson, executive vice president of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Watson, a native of Scotland, came to Nicholls on a track and field scholarship in 1994, where he earned a bachelor’s and MBA in 1997 and 1999. He also delivered the commencement address.
For a complete list of graduates click here. Academic honors are noted. 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 — An effort led by Nicholls State University biology faculty completed four coastal restoration projects in 2014 — including beach and barrier island plantings and a beach sweep — thanks to a grant from Shell.
The Plant Materials Program is a university initiative that offers the opportunity for students, faculty and community members to participate in hands-on restoration projects.
More than 180 volunteers, including Nicholls faculty and students, contributed 1,242 hours to the projects. Those volunteers removed 2,742 pounds of trash from Elmer’s Island and planted 15,015 grasses, mangroves and trees on Louisiana’s dunes and barrier islands. Many of the plants were grown on the Nicholls Farm.
The projects included:
Nicholls led two beach grass plantings on newly restored Fouchon Beach dunes in July and November. Approximately 11,000 bitter panicum grasses were planted to restore habitat and prevent erosion of the new dunes, which will help to protect Port Fourchon from future storm surges.
During a September beach sweep of Elmer’s Island, volunteers brought in 193 bags of trash totaling more than 2,700 pounds
Volunteers planted smooth cordgrass, black mangrove and sand live oaks on East Raccoon Island in September to help improve habitat on the recently restored barrier island, which is home to one of the largest pelican nesting colonies in Louisiana. In collaboration with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana, approximately 2,000 black mangrove and 2,000 smooth cordgrass were planted on one acre of newly restored marsh on the island. Fifteen sand live oaks once native to south Louisiana were planted on higher elevation areas outside of the restoration project. The Nicholls Farm has been growing these unique trees from a seed source in Florida.
Shell has supported coastal restoration efforts, research and native coastal plant production at Nicholls since 2010.
For information about participating in Nicholls’ coastal restoration efforts, contact Dr. Allyse Ferrara at 985-448-4736.
THIBODAUX — Dr. Bruce Murphy, president of Nicholls State University, has been elected to the Board of Trustees for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Murphy, who will serve a three-year term, was elected during the Commission’s College Delegate Assembly meeting Tuesday, Dec. 9 at the SACSCOC annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee.
“It is an honor and a privilege to be selected to serve on the Board of Trustees at SACSCOC,” Murphy said. “This peer review organization furthers the best ideals of higher education in support of students.”
SACSCOC serves as the recognized accrediting body for more than 800 degree-granting higher education institutions in 11 southeastern states. Its mission is to assure the educational quality and improve the effectiveness of its member institutions. As one of 77 trustees on the governing board, Murphy will be responsible for determining commission policy, reviewing and making decisions on the accreditation of institutions and serving as a liaison between membership and commission staff.
Murphy previously served on the SACSCOC Board of Trustees from 2006-2011 and on the Appeals Committee from 2011-2013.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will award more than 680 degrees during its fall commencement Saturday, Dec. 13, in Stopher Gymnasium.
Ceremonies will begin at 10 a.m. for College of Arts and Sciences, College of Nursing and Allied Health, and College of Business Administration graduates and at 2 p.m. for University College and College of Education graduates.
The keynote address will be delivered by Nicholls alumnus Stephen Watson, executive vice president of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. He will also receive an honorary doctorate, the university’s highest recognition. Watson, a native of Scotland, came to Nicholls on a track and field scholarship in 1994, where he earned a bachelor’s and MBA in 1997 and 1999.
In September 2002, Watson, the grandson of a WWII Royal Air Force pilot, joined the museum staff as director of membership, launching a national campaign that increased the museum’s base from 5,000 members to 60,000. In 2007 he was promoted to vice president and chief operating officer, managing the museum’s daily operations, educational programming, collections and acquisitions, membership programs and marketing and public relations. He was named executive vice president in January 2014.
The National WWII Museum currently has more than 130,000 active members representing all 50 states and attracts more than 500,000 visitors per year. In recent years the museum has advanced a $325 million capital campaign, expanding its campus to seven acres. Nicholls currently partners with the museum to offer two unique summer educational experiences for college credit: Student Leadership Academy, a residential program that immerses students in the museum’s exhibits and artifacts; and Normandy Academy, a study abroad program that sends participants to famous European World War II battlefields with Nicholls history faculty.
THIBODAUX — The public is invited to kick-off the yuletide season with music, fine food and holiday fun at the 28th annual Nicholls Chamber Singers Christmas Dinner Series Friday, Dec. 5.
This year’s event, themed “The Colors of Christmas,” will be presented at 7 p.m. in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Cotillion Ballroom. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
A Nicholls Christmas tradition since 1985, this year’s event features songs about holiday colors like red, green, silver, gold, white and blue along with other seasonal favorites. Performances include special arrangements of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and “Jingle Bells”; favorite Irving Berlin Christmas songs; and “Christmas Time is Here” from the holiday favorite “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Concertgoers will also enjoy a multi-course meal and a visit from Santa. Special food songs will be included in the performance to whet the appetite and sharpen the funny bone of guests.
Dr. Kenneth S. Klaus, professor of music and director of choral activities, directs the Nicholls Chamber Singers; Michelle Z. Parro is pianist; and Kellie Gaspard is the event producer.
Tickets are $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. Reservations are required and may be made by calling 985-448-4600, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or at the Department of Music at 241 Talbot Hall on campus. Preference will be given to reservations made by Friday, Nov. 21. The university is closed during Thanksgiving week, but the music office will reopen Monday, Dec. 1.
THIBODAUX — Prospective Nicholls State University students and their families are invited to learn more about the university’s degree programs, campus activities, financial aid opportunities and more at Colonel Day Saturday, Nov. 15.
Check in for the university-wide open house begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Cotillion Ballroom, and the program begins at 10 a.m. Prospective students and their families can tour the campus, explore their housing options, meet faculty and administrators from their potential academic programs and much more.
THIBODAUX — American economist, author and Nicholls State University alumnus Dr. Donald J. Boudreaux will present the inaugural Frederic Bastiat Guest Lecture Thursday, Nov. 13.
His talk, titled “The Lens of Economics,” will be presented at 1:30 p.m. and again at 7 p.m. in the Ridley J. Gros Auditorium in Powell Hall. The lecture is being presented by the Nicholls College of Business Administration and the Department of Business Administration and Computer Information Systems.
Boudreaux, a 1980 graduate of Nicholls and a native of Cut Off, received his doctorate from Auburn University and his law degree from the University of Virginia Law School. He currently serves as director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice at George Mason University.
An esteemed economics and legal scholar, Boudreaux is the author of “Globalization” and “Hypocrites & Half-Wits: A Daily Dose of Sanity,” based on his letters to the editor written to major newspapers around the country. He also writes the popular economics blog Café Hayek with Russ Roberts and has published numerous articles, book chapters and newspaper columns.
He previously served as the chairman of the Department of Economics at George Mason University, where he presided over two winners of the Nobel Prize in Economics. He was also the president of the Foundation for Economic Education and served as the Olin Visiting Fellow in Law and Economics at Cornell Law School.
THIBODAUX — As a part of America Recycles Day, Nicholls State University will kick off a new on-campus recycling program Wednesday, Nov. 12.
Nicholls will expand its recycling services thanks to a Healthy Community Grant of $8,615 from the anti-littering organization Keep Louisiana Beautiful. The grant will provide visible recycling bins to be placed near garbage cans in offices and residence halls across campus, allowing students, faculty and staff the opportunity to recycle appropriate goods including paper, plastic and aluminum cans. Three cycling dumpsters will be placed on campus. The grant will cover the cost of picking up recycling through May.
Nicholls will also celebrate America Recycles Day from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 12 in the university quadrangle with information booths, music and other activities. The Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program (BTNEP), KNSU radio station and other organizations will also take part.
Currently, the city of Thibodaux is the only municipal entity to offer curbside recycling in Terrebonne and Lafourche.
Keep Louisiana Beautiful (KLB) is a volunteer-based service organization dedicated to a litter-free Louisiana. Each year, KLB awards competitive Healthy Communities Grants to organizations across the state as part of its efforts to promote personal, corporate and community responsibility for a clean and beautiful Louisiana. Last year over 23,000 people volunteered more than 107,000 hours with KLB’s affiliates. These volunteers picked up 670,000 pounds of roadway and waterway litter in an effort to keep the state beautiful.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will be represented by 71 students in the 2014 edition of “Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.”
The students were honored at a ceremony Thursday, Nov. 6, at Nicholls.
The junior and senior honorees were selected as national student leaders by a campus nominating committee and editors of the nationwide annual directory. Nicholls selects the top one percent of its student leaders for inclusion in Who’s Who.