Nicholls to host World War I exhibit


THIBODAUX, La. — This year is the 100th anniversary of the United States entrance into World War I and Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University will pay tribute to the War to End All Wars with an exhibit running during the fall semester.

This program is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nicholls department of history, the office of Veterans Services and the Regional Military Museum have collaborated with the library to bring the event to campus.

Included in the exhibit will be letters, photographs, scrapbooks, sheet music, poetry and other documents from the Nicholls archives, as well as artifacts loaned by the Regional Military Museum in Houma, including a uniforms, bayonets, models, posters and a German trench mortar.

“The goal of this exhibit is to demonstrate what life was like for Americans during World War I, particularly for people from this region of the country,” said Helen Thomas, librarian and assistant archivist at Nicholls. “As with all of our exhibits, we hope that people will come away with more knowledge of the subject, and also a glimpse of the kind of resources that are available for research here at the Nicholls Archives.”

In 2016, Nicholls received a grant from the Library of America to support programming related to the centennial of America’s entrance into World War I.

The exhibit opens on Monday and will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday in the archives and special collections department of the library.

In addition to the exhibit, a reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 23 in the Cotillion Ballroom, featuring documents and artifacts from the archives and the Regional Military Museum, including a special viewing of the Elks Lodge’s 1918 parade flag.

Historians and local veterans will discuss first-hand accounts and reflect on the impact of the Great War in a panel discussion held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 9 in Le Bijou Theater.

“Exhibits like this put our veterans, both past and present, and their sacrifices in the spotlight,” said Gilberto Burbante, coordinator of Veterans Services at Nicholls. “Nicholls is one of the most military-friendly campuses in the state and events like these solidify that designation.”


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls, Port of South Louisiana partner on coastal restoration research

From left to right: Monique Crochet, acting development director, Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president, Alexis Rixner, Nicholls biology graduate student, Ellie Wallace, Nicholls biology graduate student, Justin Brockmann, Nicholls biology senior, Dr. Allyse Ferrara, professor of biological sciences, & Paul Aucoin, executive director of the Port of South Louisiana. (Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University and the Port of South Louisiana have partnered to boost coastal restoration research at the Nicholls Farm.

“The Port of South Louisiana is pleased to be a part of the coastal restoration research at Nicholls State University,” said Paul Aucoin, executive director of the port. “We realize how important coastal restoration is to Louisiana and collaborating with Nicholls is one of the ways we can contribute.”

As part of the agreement, the Port of South Louisiana has provided $18,000 to the biology department for research at and maintenance of the Nicholls Farm.

“We’re thankful to the Port of South Louisiana for their generous support,” said Dr. Allyse Ferrera, professor of biology. “With this money, Nicholls can continue to make an impact in the fight to save our coast while offering a unique experience for our students.”

This money will allow us to continue to offer this unique experience to our students and help us make an impact on the coast.”

The 277-acre property approximately three miles from campus serves as an environmental research and educational center for Nicholls and other partners, such as the Barataria-Terrebonne National Estuary Program and the Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana. The Nicholls Farm includes a lab, classroom, greenhouses, shade houses, storage barns, fields for research and a 7.5-acre pond for wetland plant production.

In recent years, Nicholls biology students and faculty have spearheaded coastal restoration efforts by growing, harvesting and planting nearly 30,000 plants in coastal habitats

As America’s largest tonnage Port district, the Port of South Louisiana is the premier sea gateway for U.S. export and import traffic. Headquartered in LaPlace, the Port of South Louisiana, which stretches 54 miles along the Mississippi River, is the largest tonnage port district in the western hemisphere.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls to host solar eclipse forum, watch party


THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will welcome students and a solar eclipse to campus on Aug. 21 with a forum about the solar phenomenon and watch party that afternoon.

Dr. Kaisa Young, astronomer and assistant professor of physics, will discuss the who, what, when where and why of the eclipse and how to view it safely at a public presentation from 9:40 to 10:30 a.m. in Peltier Auditorium.

A solar eclipse occurs because of the special coincidence of the moon and the sun appearing the same size to our eyes. Even though the sun is about 400 times wider than the moon it is also about 400 times farther away, making it appear the same size in the sky.

At noon, the Nicholls community is encouraged to gather in the fields adjacent to the Harold Callais Recreation Center to view the eclipse through telescopes and eclipse glasses.

The total eclipse will last approximately 90 minutes as the lunar shadow sweeps from coast to coast at more than 1,500 mph, beginning at about 12:15 p.m. and ending at 1:49 p.m. It will be the first total solar eclipse in 99 years to cross coast-to-coast and the first to pass through any part of the Lower 48 states in 38 years. According to the United States Naval Observatory, Thibodaux will see approximately a 74 percent block of the sun at 1:28 p.m.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls Geomatics program receives Surveying Education Award


THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University’s Geomatics program was awarded $15,000 by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.

Nicholls has received the NCEES Surveying Education Award, which began in 2016, for the second year in a row and is one of only five programs to have been honored both years. Schools are chosen based on their student outcomes, student involvement, outreach and recruitment.

“In 14 years, Nicholls Geomatics has become one of the most nationally recognized programs in the nation,” says Dr. Balaji Ramachandran, associate professor and department head of geomatics. “We are proud to be ranked up there with the big research schools across the country. Our program excellence can be attributed to the collective effort of the Geomatics faculty, students, alumni and industry partners.”

The award recognizes programs advancing licensure for surveyors to preserve public health, safety and welfare.

NCEES is a nonprofit that develops, administers and scores the surveying licensure tests in the U.S.

Nicholls’ Geomatics graduates are passing the Fundamentals of Surveying national exam at a 95 percent clip, compared to the national average of 54 percent.

The other winners are the University of Maine, Oregon Institute of Technology, University of Florida, New Mexico State University, Santiago Canyon College and the University of Akron.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,  985.448.4141 or

Higher education resource gives top honors to Nicholls Online English degree

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University’s online English degree was ranked most affordable by Nonprofit Colleges Online.

Evaluating only accredited online programs from nonprofit colleges and universities, the website published a top 30 based on affordability. Nicholls, which hasn’t raised tuition since 2014, is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Last year, Nicholls was ranked No. 2.

“Several of the Nicholls Online degrees are nationally ranked with several publications but this is the first time that one of our programs has been ranked number one,” said Dr. Andrew Simoncelli, Nicholls director of distance education. “This is a great testament to the Language and Literature Department and everyone involved with online learning at Nicholls. The department just added more degrees online, so their programs will continue to grow and prosper.”

Nicholls ranked ahead of schools such as Old Dominion University, the University of Central Florida, the University of Massachusetts, University of Memphis, Arizona State University and Northeastern University.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls State University announces new theater series, “Oh Là Là”

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will welcome a variety of talents including a Beatles tribute band and Chinese acrobats in a new theater series titled ‘Oh Là Là’ that will be held in the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

Opening the series is “Let’s Hang On” a Frankie Valli Tribute show at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7. Next up is The Duttons Christmas Show at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 25, followed by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, and the Golden Dragon Acrobats at 7 p.m. on Sunday, March 25. The final show is titled “The Complete Beatles Experience” by the Liverpool Legends at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 5.

“Here at Nicholls, our vision is to be the intellectual, economic and cultural heart of the Bayou Region. The diversity of world-renowned acts coming to our campus as part of the Oh Là Là series fits perfectly with what we’re trying to accomplish,” said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy.

Let’s Hang On! is unique in that the group, which includes four male and two female vocalists and dancers, also features a live band. Touring to sold out shows ranging from Las Vegas to New York for the past seven years, Let’s Hang On! showcases hit songs from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, including “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Walk Like a Man,” “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You,” “December,” “Who Loves You” and “My Eyes Adored You,” among others.

The Dutton Experience is a 15-member family band that performs bluegrass, classical and “everything in between.” Comprised entirely of family members, the Dutton family band has been performing together since 1991. Now, they spend most of their time performing at their theater in Branson, Missouri, and their hotel in Mesa, Arizona.

The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is a full-scale symphonic orchestra located in New Orleans. Formed in 1991, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is the oldest full-time musician-governed and collaboratively-operated orchestra in the United States.

Originally established in 1967 as the Chinese Golden Dragon Acrobats in the Republic of China, the troupe has since moved to the United States under the ownership of Danny Chang. The acrobat troupe has been recognized as the preeminent Chinese acrobatic company in the U.S. Performing across the globe, the award-winning troupe once played for President Bill Clinton during a meeting in Shanghai.

Handpicked by the sister of George Harrison, the Grammy-nominated Liverpool Legends are a combination of four musicians and actors that specialize in all things The Beatles, down to vintage instruments and special effects. The set list includes originals from the band, as well as singles from their solo years.

The series is the first to be held in the recently renovated Mary and Al Danos Theater. The 55,000 square-foot theater reopened in September after $9.6 million in renovations. The Mary and Al Danos Family Foundation pledged $1 million over four years to support the theater.

“Mom and Dad would have loved this and attended every show,” The Danos Family said in a statement. “Oh Là Là is exactly what Dad had in mind when he started raising money for the theater.”

Cenac Towing Co. is sponsoring the theater series and several individual shows.

“Mary and Al Danos were close friends of mine and I love Nicholls State University, so I’m proud to support the Oh Là Là theater series,” said Benny Cenac, owner of Cenac Towing Co.

Sponsorship opportunities are available.

Upper-level season tickets are $125 and single tickets are $30, while lower-level season tickets are $150 and single tickets are $35.

Tickets will become available on August 4. To purchase tickets or become a sponsor, call Tammy Toups at (985) 448-4134 or email


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls issues Phase I alert, university remains open

THIBODAUX – Classes and all activities at Nicholls State University are currently continuing as scheduled.

With the approach of Potential Tropical Cyclone Three, the Nicholls Emergency Preparedness Committee has initiated a Phase I alert in accordance with the university’s Hurricane Emergency Plan, posted

The Emergency Preparedness Committee will continue to monitor the status of the storm and will take additional action if necessary.

All Nicholls departments will refer to the Hurricane Emergency Plan and begin enacting internal Phase I storm preparations at this time. The community will be notified if Phase II storm preparations are implemented.

Please continue to monitor for updates.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls named Top 10 school for students with dyslexia

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University has been recognized as one of the best values for students with dyslexia. published a list ranking the top 15 four-year public and private universities based upon the cost of attendance and the services offered. Nicholls ranked No. 10 and is the only school from Louisiana on the list.

“Nicholls is a good value to begin with and our students are getting the help they need to be prepared for the real world,” said Karen Chauvin, director of Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders. “Students from all over the state and the region are choosing to come to Nicholls because they can see the success that our students are having.”

The publication assessed each university based on their assistive technology, academic tutoring, scholarships, tuition and fees, special courses, reading and writing workshops and on-campus writing centers.

Dyslexia, which affects between 3 to 7 percent of the global population, is a disorder that affects an individual’s ability to read, write, spell and pronounce words despite normal intelligence.

The Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders, housed on Nicholls’ campus, is the only dyslexia-related program in the state. The Center offers teacher training, provides support to Nicholls students who suffer from dyslexia and offers assessments for people of all ages.

In the fall, the program set an enrollment record with 146 students and followed that up with a spring enrollment record of 132 students.

More than one-third of students in the program carry a 3.0 GPA or higher.

To learn more, visit


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls receives grant, donation to add recycling bins to campus

Recycle Bins on Campus 2017
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University expanded its campus sustainability with the addition of eight new recycling bins.

The new recycling bins have been placed around campus in an effort to make recycling more accessible as part of the Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program sponsored by Keep America Beautiful and The Coca-Cola Company. Nicholls will receive six recycling bins through the grant, and another two have been purchased by Shell. Student volunteers from the Biology Society, Nicholls chapter of TriBeta National Biological Honor Society and the Green Club will check the bins weekly and record their content.

“We have students here at Nicholls who are very concerned about the environment. Thanks to Keep America Beautiful, Coca-Cola and Shell, we’ll be able to make recycling more available to the campus community,” said Dr. Allyse Ferrara, professor of biological sciences. “We’re hopeful these bins will encourage students to recycle by showing them just how easy it is to do it.”

Bins have been placed near Jazzman’s Cafe, Galliano Hall, Stopher Gymnasium, Ellender Library, Colonel’s Retreat and the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

Behavioral research has shown that two of the primary barriers that stop people from recycling are the lack of convenient opportunities and confusion about what and how to recycle. This lack of recycling opportunities is reflected in a national survey conducted for Keep America Beautiful in 2013, in which 92 percent of respondents said they recycle at home while only 41 percent indicated that they typically recycle in public spaces.

Grant recipients were chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on their potential to collect the most cans and bottles as well other considerations such as the extent of their need, recycling experience, and their ability to sustain the program in the future.

In total, the Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant Program will provide 3,522 recycling bins to colleges and universities, along with 996 bins to local governments and nonprofit organizations.

A full list of the 2016 Coca-Cola/Keep America Beautiful Public Space Recycling Bin Grant recipients, as well as Keep America Beautiful’s best practices guide, “Designing Effective Public Space Recycling Programs,” are available at


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or

Nicholls announces top grantees for 2016

Top Ten Grantsman Group 2017
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La — Nicholls State University announced its top grantees for 2016. The leaders in grantsmanship collectively received more than $1.7 million to study topics such as accelerating recovery from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to creating the Bayou Educational Opportunity Center on campus.

The top 10 grant award winners at Nicholls are: Gina Bergeron, executive director of the Family Service Center, received more than $358,000; Debi Benoit, director of research and sponsored programs, received nearly $263,000; Dr. Sean Graham, assistant professor of biology, received nearly $237,000; Dr. DesLey Plaisance, director of graduate studies, received more than $183,000; Tori Rayne, director of the Louisiana Small Business Development Center, received $177,500; Dr. Ramaraj Boopathy, distinguished service professor of biological sciences, received nearly $143,000; Dr. Quenton Fontenot, professor of biology, received more than $106,000; Dr. Enmin Zou, department head of biology, received more than $88,400; Dr. Aaron Pierce, assistant professor of biology, received $77,100; and Dr. Shane Anderson, department head of music, received more than $72,000.