Employers, Job Seekers Invited to Nicholls Career Day

THIBODAUX — Employers and job-seeking students and alumni are invited to attend Nicholls State University’s Fall 2014 Career Day Wednesday, Oct. 8, 2014.

The event, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Cotillion Ballroom, brings dozens of regional employers to campus to connect and network with job-seeking Nicholls students and graduates. The cost to participate is $150 for regular employers and $75 for non-profits. Participating employers are allowed to bring up to four recruiters, and will be provided with lunch and a table and chairs to display materials.

The event is free for job-seeking students and alumni, who are encouraged to bring resumes to distribute to potential employers.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit nicholls.edu/career.

Alex Arceneaux to Serve as Nicholls Chief of Staff

Saint Martin's University: Alex Arceneaux, registrarTHIBODAUX — Louisiana native Alex Arceneaux has been chosen to serve as chief of staff for Nicholls State University.

“The chief of staff will coordinate and integrate the various activities of the Nicholls staff,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, university president. “This position will help ensure that everyone is collaboratively working toward the same goals and that our campus initiatives are being carried out effectively and efficiently. We’re excited to welcome aboard Alex Arceneaux, who brings impressive experience in both higher education administration and business.”

Arceneaux, who is currently the registrar for Saint Martin’s University, a private Catholic Benedictine university in Lacey, Washington, will begin work at Nicholls on Nov. 3. Since joining Saint Martin’s staff in January 2012, Arceneaux has reshaped and modernized the registrar’s office by implementing a degree audit system, initiating a paperless catalog and converting other office practices to online or paperless formats.

Arceneaux previously worked for the University of New Orleans, serving as interim registrar, associate registrar for operations, executive assistant to the registrar and assistant to the registrar from 2006 to 2012.

Outside of his higher education experience, Arceneaux worked for nearly seven years as a branch manager and relationship banker with AmSouth Bank and Bank One. He also served as editor of the weekly Welsh Citizen newspaper in Welsh, Louisiana, for two years.

Arceneaux holds a bachelor’s degree in general studies and a master’s in education leadership from the University of New Orleans. He is currently working on a doctorate in education leadership specializing in higher education administration at the University of New Orleans, which he expects to finish in fall 2016.

Arceneaux served on the board of directors for Luke’s House Health Clinic and Grace House in New Orleans and on the Town of Welsh Economic Development Board. He was treasurer for the Welsh Rotary Club.

A native of southwest Louisiana, Arceneaux lived in New Orleans for nearly 15 years before moving to Washington state. He is married to Louisiana native Colleen Kudla Arceneaux and they have two sons, 3-year-old Owen and 3-month-old Miles.

Nicholls Senior Logan Parker Sweeps Culinary Competition

IMG_2532THIBODAUX — After sweeping the competition for six straight weeks, Nicholls State University culinary senior Logan Parker took home the final prize during the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute’s first-ever Grill-Off, which wrapped up Thursday, Sept. 11 at the Dansereau House in Thibodaux.

“I’ve learned a lot competing these past six weeks,” Parker, a native of Farmerville, said. “The pressure gets to you mentally and physically, but hearing feedback from the judges and compliments from [culinary institute executive director] Chef Randy Cheramie have inspired me. I think the competition has been a great way to get culinary students amped up and inspired.”

Parker won a $1,000 scholarship donated by Donald Bourgeois of Bourgeois Meat Market in Thibodaux, a $100 gift card and a one-night stay in the Dansereau House’s Governor’s Suite.

“I’m a big believer in the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, and I’m excited for the future of the institution,” Bourgeois said. “The university’s new culinary facility will be a huge addition for Thibodaux and the entire state.”

The Grill-Off, which began Aug. 7, pitted two student chefs from the Nicholls culinary institute against each other each week. Faced with a secret ingredient, competitors had to come up with their best dish to serve attendees and impress a panel of judges. The Grill-Off is only one aspect of a larger partnership with the Dansereau House, which is also now offering externships and job opportunities for Nicholls culinary students.

After the final secret ingredients were revealed to be hanger steak and pears, Parker won with a main course of grilled flat iron steak with a Bordeaux reduction, cream potatoes with caramelized onions and sautéed zucchini and yellow squash. His dessert was pain perdu with creme anglaise, raspberry compote and candied pecans garnished with whipped cream and mint.

Parker, who will graduate next fall, spent the summer externing at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, New York. Although sometimes working more than 100 hours a week, he said staff made time for after-hours cooking competitions like the Grill-Off.

Next summer, Parker plans to travel to France to study classical French culinary techniques. His career goals include establishing gardening, sustainability and green energy programs in public schools nationwide to teach children where food comes from and how to eat and prepare healthy, balanced meals.

The culinary institute and Dansereau House plan to host another cooking competition later this fall. For more information on the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, visit nicholls.edu/culinary.

Dr. Neal Weaver Selected as Nicholls VP for University Advancement

Neal PhotoTHIBODAUX — Dr. Neal Weaver has been chosen to serve as Nicholls State University’s vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Nicholls Foundation, the university’s nonprofit fundraising arm.

Weaver, who will begin work at Nicholls on Nov. 3, currently serves as vice president for institutional advancement at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas — a regional university of 8,900 students and a member of the Texas A&M System.

“I was energized by the excitement and enthusiasm expressed by everyone I met at Nicholls during my visit to campus,” Weaver said. “I’m looking forward to working with the campus community and the alumni and supporters of Nicholls to turn that enthusiasm into programs and partnerships that will create the incredible future we all want for Nicholls State University.”

For the past 17 years, Weaver has led advancement teams at two institutions, breaking enrollment records and bringing additional investments of more than $100 million to the universities.

“Neal Weaver brings a wealth of university development and marketing experience that will help advance Nicholls,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, university president. “With state contributions to higher education decreasing and not wanting to increase the financial burden on students, Nicholls must seek out more partnerships and other resources. As vice president for university advancement and executive director of the Nicholls Foundation, Neal will reinvigorate the university’s development function, coordinate campus fundraising activities and guide marketing initiatives.”

At West Texas A&M University, Weaver has served as the chief institutional advancement officer since June 2008 with responsibility for external affairs including donor relations, alumni affairs, government and community relations, public relations, university communications, advancement services and the university print shop. Weaver also serves as the executive director of the WTAMU Foundation, managing an endowment of more than $60 million and a 30-member board of trustees.

Prior to his work at West Texas A&M University, Weaver served as vice president for university relations at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, from 1998 to 2008.

Weaver holds a bachelor’s degree in speech-communications from Oklahoma Panhandle State University, a Master of Business Administration from Southeastern Oklahoma State University and a doctorate in organizational leadership from the University of Oklahoma.

In addition to his work in advancement, Weaver has taught at the West Texas A&M College of Business and has been recognized as a Stellar Speaker by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). He has been actively involved with developing young leaders as an instructor and volunteer with Youth Leadership Oklahoma.

Weaver also serves on the Canyon Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee. He has previously served as a committee member for the Board of Regents of Oklahoma Colleges, chair of CASE District IV, and chair of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Communicators Council, among other service roles.

Weaver is married to Kristi, and the couple has three sons: Austin, a senior at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, and twins Brett, a freshman at Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas, and Blake, a freshman at West Texas A&M University.

Axman Named Nicholls Football Interim Head Coach


THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University announced Tuesday, Sept. 16, that Steve Axman will serve as interim head coach for the Colonel football program for the remainder of the season. A search for a permanent head coach will begin immediately.

Axman, a native of Huntington Station, New York, will take over for Charlie Stubbs, who resigned this weekend due to health concerns. In addition to his head coaching responsibilities, Axman will oversee the quarterbacks and help direct the offense.

Known for developing young quarterbacks and high-powered offenses, Axman brings a wealth of experience after coaching at programs such as UCLA, Washington, Minnesota, Stanford and Arizona. He coached several top-flight quarterbacks during his tenure, including UCLA’s Troy Aikman and Washington’s Marques Tuiasosopo. His last stint was at the University of Idaho from 2007-11, where he served as offensive coordinator for the Vandals.

“Coach Axman brings incredible experience to Nicholls, having coached in a number of quality programs and a number of different styles,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “His background makes him a great fit to instill a winning spirit in the Colonel football program and steer the team through the remainder of the 2014 season.”

“Under the circumstances, this is the best solution that we could hope for as a temporary replacement,” said Rob Bernardi, Nicholls Director of Athletics. “Steve is an expert in quarterback play. I think this gives us the best opportunity to move forward and have success for this season.”

Axman began his coaching career at East Stroudsburg State before moving on to positions at Illinois, Army and Albany State. He joined the University of Arizona staff as an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for five seasons, worked a stint with the Denver Gold of the United States Football League and then coached at Stanford and UCLA.

At UCLA, Hall of Fame quarterback Troy Aikman ranked second in the NCAA in passing efficiency under Axman’s guidance, leading the Bruins to a 10-2 record and a No. 9 ranking in the final Associated Press poll. Following his time with UCLA, Axman joined the staff at Maryland, where he coached future NFL quarterbacks Neil O’Donnell and Scott Zolak.

Axman landed his first head-coaching job at Northern Arizona University, directing the Lumberjack program for eight seasons. He finished his career at NAU as the second-winningest coach in program history with 48 victories.

After a year at Minnesota, Axman joined the Washington Huskies staff. In his first season, Tuiasosopo was named Pac-10 Player of the Year as he led the Huskies to a Rose Bowl title. Three years later, Axman returned to UCLA as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Before his final stop in Idaho, he coached the quarterbacks for the 12-2 Montana Grizzlies in 2006.

Axman’s first game with the Colonels will be Saturday, Sept. 20 at North Texas. The matchup with the former Southland Conference foe will be broadcast on the American Sports Network, with kickoff scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

Workforce Programs Growing at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Enrollment has grown substantially in two Nicholls State University departments geared toward addressing workforce needs in the region.

The Nicholls Department of Petroleum Engineering Technology and Safety Management (PETSM) grew by 153 students, for a total enrollment of 459 students this fall — a 50 percent increase from 2013. PETSM has been educating upstream oil and gas professionals for 40 years, and offers the only known program designed to accommodate the unique schedule of south Louisiana’s offshore workers.

The Nicholls Department of Management, Marketing and Business Administration also saw significant growth, enrolling 717 students in the fall 2014 semester — an increase of 102 students over fall 2013. That growth was attributed to the creation of popular new programs, including the online bachelor’s degree in business administration and a maritime management concentration designed to prepare students for a management career in the maritime industry, with a focus on the oil and gas sector and associated businesses.

The maritime management program added 53 new students this fall, for a total of 82 students. The online bachelor’s degree program in business administration added 57 students this semester, for a total of 70 students. Overall enrollment in Nicholls Online also nearly doubled, increasing from 174 students last fall to 324 students this fall.

“Our enrollment increases in petroleum, safety, maritime and online programs showcase the university’s ongoing efforts to collaborate with industry and produce well-qualified graduates ready to meet regional workforce needs,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “Continuing to grow these high-demand programs and others, such as culinary arts, will help Nicholls attract more students and increase overall enrollment in years to come.”

Overall enrollment is down 3.7 percent this semester, with 6,298 students enrolled for the fall 2014 semester compared to 6,540 last fall. Nicholls anticipated the decrease due to its record-breaking graduation class last year, and new, higher admission standards that do not allow for students who need developmental courses. Despite the change, admission for first-time freshmen held relatively steady at 1,210 students versus 1,243 last fall.

Stronger admissions standards also helped to attract higher-quality students to Nicholls. First-time freshmen entering Nicholls had the highest ACT scores of any class in history, with an average score of 21.82. Thirty-eight students also entered Nicholls with valedictorian scholarships, an increase of 8.6 percent.

For more enrollment statistics and other data related to Nicholls, visit nicholls.edu/institutional-research/data.

Sponsor A+ Scholar Set for Oct. 1 at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will host the 19th annual Sponsor A+ Scholar Wine and Food Tasting Extravaganza from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 1 in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

This popular fundraising event features food, wine, music and unique auction items, with all proceeds benefiting Nicholls student scholarships. Since the fundraiser began in 1996, it has raised more than $500,000 for scholarships. During the fall 2014 semester alone, 25 students each received a $250 scholarship thanks to Sponsor A+ funds.

This year’s event will feature more than a dozen vendors serving various dishes and wines while the local band, Jazmine, performs. The evening will also include a live and silent auction.

Sponsor A+ tickets are $50 each or $75 per couple. Gold sponsorships, which include 20 tickets, are $500. Tickets may be purchased in the Office of University Advancement in Picciola Hall or by calling 985-448-4005. Checks should be made out to the Nicholls Foundation, or can be sent to P.O. Box 2074, Thibodaux, LA 70310.

Nicholls Hires New Chief Financial Officer

Ronald Rodriguez

THIBODAUX — Slidell native Ronnie Rodriguez has been chosen to serve as Nicholls State University’s next chief financial officer. Rodriguez currently serves as vice chancellor for business and administrative affairs at Delgado Community College in New Orleans.

On Oct. 13, Rodriguez will take the position vacated by former CFO Mike Naquin, who retired in August after more than 35 years of service to Nicholls.

Rodriguez has more than 20 years of experience in government accounting, with more than 13 years spent in higher education.

At Delgado, where he has served since 2003, Rodriguez is responsible for all fiscal, personnel and facility operations of the college, including budget and finance, human resources, facilities and planning and controller. Rodriguez previously served as the controller and assistant controller at Delgado. He maintained controller operations after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina and was team leader during the migration of the Banner Finance ERP system software.

Prior to his work at Delgado, Rodriguez worked as a legislative auditor for more than seven years in the Financial, Compliance and Information Systems Audit Divisions. He performed financial and compliance audits of state and local governments, and provided information technology audit support as a certified information systems auditor.

Rodriguez, a certified public accountant, holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He served in the Louisiana National Guard and is a veteran of Operation Desert Storm.

Nicholls, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center Enter Sports Medicine Partnership

Thibodaux Regional Athletics Press Conference 2014
(From left) Thibodaux Regional Medical Center CEO Greg Stock and Nicholls President Bruce Murphy sign an agreement Wednesday, Sept. 10, designating the medical center as the official sports medicine provider of Nicholls Athletics.


THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University and Thibodaux Regional Medical Center signed an agreement Wednesday, Sept. 10, designating the medical center as the official sports medicine provider of Nicholls Athletics.

As a part of the agreement, Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s certified athletic trainers will provide sports medicine services to Colonel student-athletes during practices, competitions and games. The medical center may also provide services to campus intramural teams as well.

“Thanks to this great partnership with Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, our student-athletes will have access to more robust athletic training and physical therapy services, helping ensure their health and safety while participating in competitive athletics,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, president of Nicholls State University. “Nicholls is proud of this mutually beneficial agreement and continues to seek out opportunities to team up with the various outstanding businesses in our region.”

Students of Nicholls’ athletic training degree program in the College of Nursing and Allied Health will also benefit, gaining the opportunity to work with Thibodaux Regional Medical Center’s certified professional athletic trainers at Nicholls sporting events.

”Nicholls State University is an asset to the entire Bayou Region,” said Greg Stock, CEO of Thibodaux Regional Medical Center. “Thibodaux Regional and Nicholls have a long history of collaboration and this is one more step in our ongoing relationship. Through this new sports medicine partnership, the hospital will help enhance student-athlete performance, wellness and safety through education and evidence-based practices.”

Thibodaux Regional Medical Center, a 180-bed acute care facility, is nationally recognized for providing quality care and outstanding service. In addition to providing inpatient and outpatient care, medical center services offered include heart surgery, medical and radiation oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, sports medicine, pulmonology, rheumatology, women’s services, and inpatient and outpatient physical rehabilitation services.

Thibodaux Regional’s Sports Medicine Center is the Bayou Region’s first comprehensive sports medicine program and utilizes a team of certified athletic trainers, fellowship-trained sports medicine physicians and orthopedic sports medicine trained physical therapists, to effectively manage injuries and safely return athletes to the game. The center also offers injury prevention programs to assist athletes and coaches with the latest tools and techniques to improve athletic conditioning and performance. To learn more about the Sports Medicine Center of Thibodaux Regional, visit thibodaux.com or call 985-493-4502.

The Nicholls campus is home to 14 NCAA Division I sports teams and hundreds of student athletes. The campus also offers a four-year bachelor’s degree program in athletic training, preparing students to become health professionals specializing in preventative care of sports injuries. The athletic training education program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation Athletic Training Education.

For more information on Nicholls athletics, visit geauxcolonels.com. For more information on Nicholls athletic training program, visit nicholls.edu/athletic-training.

Nicholls Launches Online Business Administration Programs

THIBODAUX — Beginning this fall, two new business education programs are being offered through Nicholls State University’s online degree program, Nicholls Online.

Online students can now obtain a bachelor’s degree in business administration, providing a core education in business concepts including accounting, information systems and finance. In addition, a new post-baccalaureate certificate in business administration is available online to students who completed a bachelor’s degree in another subject, but would like to further their education in business. The certificate will also help students meet the prerequisite courses required to earn a graduate degree in business, such as Nicholls’ Master of Business Administration.

“We created these programs to appeal to the non-traditional student who may be working full time, or for other reasons just can’t make it to campus to attend classes,” said Dr. Shawn Mauldin, dean of the College of Business Administration. “We know we have an excellent business school, and our goal is to meet the workforce development needs by expanding our educational offerings to serve the citizens of this region.”

Nicholls Online launched in January 2013 and is designed to provide remote access to the university’s nationally accredited degree programs and highly qualified instructors. The Nicholls College of Business Administration is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide.

In addition to business administration, Nicholls Online currently offers six bachelor’s degree programs in English, general family and consumer sciences, history, interdisciplinary studies, nursing (for students who already have an unencumbered RN license) and sociology. An associates degree in safety technology is also available.

Courses are taught in accelerated eight-week sessions, with classes scheduled to begin in October of this year and January, March and June of 2015. Students who take three courses per session can earn a bachelor’s degree in just three years.

In addition to those degrees available through Nicholls Online, the university also offers online master’s degrees in community technical college mathematics, education leadership — K-12 leadership and education leadership — educational technology leadership, and an online bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership. A master’s in nursing is offered online through the Intercollegiate Consortium for a Master of Science in Nursing, a coalition of universities including Nicholls.

For more information on Nicholls Online, visit nicholls.edu/nichollsonline or call 985-448-4803.