Nicholls announces first annual day of giving

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University is setting up March 27 to be a big day for students and campus organizations.

The Nicholls Foundation is presenting the first-ever Give-N-Day in which college departments, athletics and student organizations will set fundraising goals and donors will be able to choose exactly where their money goes.

“Give-N-Day is going to be a special event because it is student-driven,” Nicholls Foundation Executive Director Jeremy Becker said. “All the money raised goes directly to organizations on the college level, the department level and the student organizations.”

The deadline to register for the event will be on March 2, and organizations can start seeking donations on March 6. The campaigns will be mostly social media driven, and the Nicholls Foundation will have tools and templates to help organizations get started with sample posts and graphics.

The Nicholls Foundation has big plans on Give-N-Day itself, as the Nicholls baseball team will be hosting Mississippi State University. Activities include a tailgate party and contests for student organizations during the game.

“My goal for is to get #GiveNDay trending the day of March 27,” Becker said. “I wanted people excited about it and having fun, and instead of raising $100 at a bake sale, I want them making $1,500.”

United Community Bank is the headline sponsor.

“My wife, Allison, and I believe in this event so much that we chose to be one of its sponsors,” says Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune. “This is a time for the Nicholls community to come together and show their love for this university. You can show us your Colonel Pride by making a donation and encouraging others to do the same.”

For more information or to sign up, call Becker at 448-4006, email him at or visit


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

Student art, experience will be on display at spring fundraiser

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University art department will host the popular and interactive fundraiser, Art Works, at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20 in Talbot Hall.

The event will include tours of the studios; interactive learning experiences for attendees; a silent auction featuring one-of-a-kind artwork by faculty, alumni, local artists and students; an exhibit of local artists’ work; complimentary hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar.

“Art Works is a great fundraiser that supports scholarship, student development activities and the attainment of art studio equipment for the Nicholls State University Department of Art,” said Jean Donegan, assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Returning for the second year is “Bon Temps,” an exhibit featuring unique hand-painted furniture created by alumni, faculty, students and professional artists and designers. Furniture will be shown and sold in the lobby of the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

For those with an interest in arts, crafts and photography, Nicholls art students and faculty will be on hand to show you tips and tricks to elevate your art. Demonstrations will be held on metal pouring, printmaking and blacksmithing, while hands-on opportunities to use a potter’s wheel, create hand-colored photographs and create silk prints will also be available.

Tickets are $50 per person and all proceeds are put back into the art department to benefit students. Last year’s event raised $27,000 and proceeds have funded nearly $45,000 in scholarships awarded over the past four years and even more for grants which have helped more than 20 students to hold exhibits and attend regional and national conferences.

“My Art Works scholarship was a blessing to my education as well as my artistic growth,” said Nicholls alum, Mark Orgeron. “I was able to experience things that I had only read about and seen in books and on screen, such Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel and the Roman Colosseum. As I continue as an art teacher, this study abroad experience will continue to be a well of inspiration overflowing into my life and my classroom.”

New this year is the ability to bid for items online. Supporters unable to attend the event can still bid on many of the items available for auction by signing up at

For more information or to purchase tickets, call 448-457 or visit  


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

Nicholls enrollment growth trend continues

THIBODAUX, La. — Enrollment at Nicholls State University continued its upward trajectory with a fifth-consecutive semester of student population growth.

Overall enrollment, including undergraduate and graduate students, increased by 82 students to 5,845.

“It’s encouraging to see that Nicholls is an appealing option to students during one of the most competitive higher education environments in Louisiana history,” said Dr. Jay Clune, Nicholls President. “I attribute our success to the entire Nicholls community but most of all to the great work done by our Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of Admissions. I believe we can provide an affordable, high-quality education to even more students in the Bayou Region. This is just the beginning for Nicholls.”

Spring enrollment at Nicholls has risen in large part to continued high retention rates. After setting a university record with 88.3 percent in 2016, Nicholls followed with an 86.9 percent retention rate in 2017 and 87.1 percent this spring. That has led to a 3.4 percent increase in undergraduate enrollment dating back two years.

Nursing, Nicholls’ most popular degree program, saw continued enrollment growth after announcing they were expanding the program over the summer, with a 6.8 percent increase since last spring.

Business administration and computer information systems, the second-most popular program at Nicholls, had the largest total student increase of 55 students, an 11.1 percent increase from the previous year.  


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

Five Nicholls student chefs to learn from top French culinary institute

The five Chef John Folse Culinary Institute students chosen for this summer’s Institut Paul Bocuse. From left, seniors Meifung Liu of Columbus, Ohio, Austin Babineaux of Lafayette, Kyong Han of Gretna, Logan Boudreaux of Lockport and Ashlé Turnipseed of Baton Rouge. (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Five Chef John Folse Culinary Institute students will receive a once in a lifetime opportunity this summer to travel to France and learn from the culinary minds at Institut Paul Bocuse.

Seniors Meifung Liu of Columbus, Ohio, Austin Babineaux of Lafayette, Kyong Han of Gretna, Logan Boudreaux of Lockport and Ashlé Turnipseed of Baton Rouge will travel to Écully, France from May to August.

The Institut Paul Bocuse Worldwide Alliance, founded by the celebrated French chef, unites 14 universities from across the world in the pursuit of top-notch culinary education. Nicholls’ Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is the only school in the United States involved in this partnership and sends its top students to an intensive four-month training at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Écully, France each year.

Liu said she was thankful her professors selected her to represent the school in France. Liu is the Student Culinary Association vice president, has represented Nicholls at the Augusta Masters Golf Tournament, staged at Dakota’s of Covington and interned at Quaker Ridge Golf Club.

“It is very rare and I feel myself very thankful to have the opportunity because otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to actually step anywhere around the Institut Paul Bocuse,” Liu said.

Babineaux said going to France and representing not only himself but also his professors and family, means a lot to him. Babineaux supervised the breakfast buffet, assisted with expediting dinner service at the 2016 Masters Tournament, received the Baton Rouge Epicurean Scholarship and has been a line cook at Restaurant August and Ruffino’s on the River.

“I am looking forward to a once in a lifetime experience — coming from where I am coming from and going to Europe,” he said. “Not only that but learning French cuisine from actual French chefs is an astounding experience for me.”

Han said he was looking forward to learning the classical techniques from where American cuisine grew. Han has served as the president of the Student Culinary Association, worked in the butcher and smokehouse departments at Rouses, staged at Kingfish, Johnny Sanchez and August, interned at Southern Hills Country Club and was a cook at Cafe Boloud.

“I get to see a new aspect of cooking,” Han said. “I get to learn from one of the top people in the industry and get to meet a lot more people and connect with other people from other regions in the world. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m happy for it.”

Boudreaux said he is looking forward to experiencing the cuisine and learning from some of the best French chefs from all over the world. Boudreaux won the 2015 Bayou Cook-off Competition, interned at John Besh’s Luke and is now executive co-chef at Cinclare.

“I have definitely been working really hard to get to get in this position for the last five years and now it has come to fruition and speaking for all of us, we are really ecstatic,” Boudreaux said. “We are going to learn cuisine that is completely out of our comfort zone. You really get to experience the best of the best and top-notch cuisine.”

Turnipseed said she has been working toward this trip to France since she was a freshman and is both excited and overwhelmed to see that hard work come together. Turnipseed has worked at Fleming’s Steakhouse and Winebar, the Baton Rouge Country Club, Le Bistro, interned at the Tuxedo Club and represented Nicholls at the Masters Tournament.

“I think the biggest thing I am looking forward to is really pastry because I didn’t really get the chance to explore that while I was here,” Turnipseed said. “And that is kind of where pastries are really big and booming.”


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

Trivia Bash planned to help Nicholls students

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University is giving you a chance to show what you know to help the student excellence initiatives in the College of Arts & Sciences.

The inaugural Big Bayou Trivia Bash — the bayou world’s greatest contest of sometimes, somewhat useful knowledge — is scheduled at 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, in the student union ballroom. Teams of six can sign up for $30 per individual for a chance to win cash or consolation prizes.

Funds will be used for student travel scholarships, student learning technology and support high-impact learning practices.

“I am a veteran of trivia contests over the years, and those contests in Cut Off and Larose have inspired us here in the College of Arts and Sciences to offer a contest on the Nicholls campus,” said College of Arts & Sciences Dean, Dr. John Doucet. “We think that it’ll be a fun and unobtrusive way to raise money toward helping our students progress through and succeed in earning their degrees.”

Teams will compete against one another in answering 10 categories of questions, including History, Sports, Entertainment and Louisiana. Additionally, the evening of fun will include some special brain buster challenges, which are more complicated questions for extra points.

During the event, individuals may also bid on donated silent auction items including rare books and sports items.

“I personally challenge all the teams I’ve competed with over the years to come to Nicholls and dare to compete in the contest we’ve designed,” Doucet said. “Come enjoy fun and camaraderie, show all the things you know, challenge your friends, and help support students at Nicholls. It’s gonna be fun.”

To sign up, call 985-448-4386 or


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

Nicholls alum to perform for students, community

THIBODAUX, La. — Talented jazz musician and Nicholls alum George Bell will host a concert at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 18, in the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

A Thibodaux native who spent three decades working in healthcare, Bell has emerged as a coveted trumpeter in Louisiana over the past decade. He started out playing a few shows and now George Bell & Friends play multiple times across the state each year.

While an administrator at Baton Rouge General – Mid City, Bell would bring his trumpet to the hospital and play for patients to help take their minds off their ailments. He combined his passion for music and his helping others by leading the Arts in Medicine program, which incorporated painting, drawing, crafts and music into the healing process.

George Bell & Friends is an evolving lineup that includes Bell and professional Louisiana musicians.

Tickets cost $35 for the general public, $5 for students and can be purchased by calling 448-4600.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,

985.448.4141 or

New Orleans jazz pianist to perform at Nicholls

THIBODAUX, La. — Renowned New Orleans jazz pianist Ellis Marsalis Jr. will perform for the second year in a row at the Danos Theater Feb. 7 as part of Nicholls State University’s celebration of African-American History Month.

With tickets for the concert at just $20, the event will begin at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the Mary and Al Danos Theater in Talbot Hall.

The 83-year-old Marsalis, regarded by many as the premier modern New Orleans jazz pianist, has been active in the jazz scene since the late 1940s. He has played and recorded with other well-known jazz musicians, including Cannonball Adderley, Nat Adderley, Eddie Harris, Al Hirt, Fathead Newman, Courtney Pine and Marcus Roberts.

Though he has released nearly 20 studio albums, Marsalis has devoted much of his time to education. He has taught at the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, the University of New Orleans and Xavier University. Some of his students include Terence Blanchard; Harry Connick Jr.; Nicholas Payton; and four of his sons, Wynton, Branford, Delfeayo and Jason.

In 2007, Marsalis received an honorary doctorate from Tulane, and in 2008 he was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Tickets can be purchased for $20 at the Student Union Information Desk between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Student tickets are available at the SGA office.

For more information on the Nicholls African-American History Month celebration and a full list of events, visit 2018/african-american-history/.


CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,

985.448.4141 or

Nicholls to feature African-Americans in Times of War during February

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will celebrate African-American History Month with special programming including concerts, film screenings, book talks and other presentations that span the month of February.

Inspired by the national African-American History Month theme — African-Americans in Times of War — Nicholls will not only examine the impact African-Americans had in battle but also how other wars, such as the War on Drugs and War on Poverty, have affected African-Americans.

“The 2018 theme ‘African Americans in Times of War’ is a theme that pays homage to the brave soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines that have paved a path of safety and security for a country they were both citizen and sometimes alien,” said Nicholls’ African-American History Month committee chair Deborah Moorhead, a sociology professor.

The month opens with a roundtable discussion led by veterans and Nicholls alumni on the impacts of African-Americans during U.S. conflicts. Andetrie Hicks, a 20-year U.S. Army veteran; Brandon Randolph, a Navy veteran and current Nicholls student; Marcus Robertson, who survived two campaigns in the middle east; and Richard Adams, who retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2010 after 22 years, are the featured speakers.

Local leaders will lead men- and women-only discussions that focus on the question: What Are You Fighting For? Veteran Richard Adams, and Thibodaux attorney, Anthony Lewis, will lead the men’s presentation, while local activist Eva Shanklin will join Nicholls nursing faculty Dr. Charlene Smith, D’lane Alexander and Pam Williams-Jones as the women’s speakers.

The 2018 One Room Schoolhouse series will evaluate the impacts of the War on Drugs, War on Poverty, War on Missed Education and War on Disease.

The Ellis Marsalis Trio will return to Nicholls at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7, at the Danos Theatre. Marsalis is regarded by many as the premier modern jazz pianist in New Orleans.

Tickets for the concert are $20.00 and can be purchased between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Student Union Information Desk. Student tickets are available at the SGA office.

This year’s program will close with a presentation by the Nicholls NAACP Chapter Black History Program, which will recognize and celebrate the accomplishments, heritage and culture of African-Americans through monologues, poetry and musical performances.

“African-American/Black History Month is a month-long, purposeful activity aimed at educating the public on the black experience,” Moorhead said. “Its historical roots lie in the work of historian Dr. Carter G. Woodson. It was he that spurred others to take time and effort in bringing attention to the many accomplishments and legacy of the Black American, a minority seen as having racial, physical and cultural features unwelcomed by many of the larger dominate community. He felt this activity crucial to the survival of this racial group.”

For a full list of events, visit 2018/african-american-history/ .


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Jan. 29, 2018

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,

985.448.4141 or


Nicholls students reawaken love for nature by teaching children

Nicholls State University graduate students Richard Grabert, Kyle Bird, Brandon Bergeron and Andria Ostrowski lead students to the beach, while flying the Nicholls’ flag Friday. Nicholls associate professor Gary LaFleur has been organizing this trip with The Nature Conservancy since 2010.

GRAND ISLE, La. — Nicholls State University Biology 575 students were able to visit Grand Isle Friday and take 20 elementary children on a hike to show the second and third graders how special their backyard is.

Associate Professor Dr. Gary LaFleur has been taking Nicholls students to Grand Isle since 2010 as part of a trip organized with The Nature Conservancy’s Jean Landry, Grand Isle program manager. The Nicholls students go down Thursday to scout out the hike and stay until Saturday, where by boat they explore islands including Elmer’s, Queen Bess and Fifi, which are involved in coastal restoration projects.

“I feel that whereas most academics requires a textbook and concentrated study, but there is also something to be learned by simply visiting a site,” LaFleur said. “You learn a lot by being there and seeing it with your own eyes. A field trip takes extra effort, but the reward makes it worth it.”

In addition to teaching the children about the Grand Isle ecosystem on Friday, the Nicholls students also tour a rare cheniere, or oak, forest, which The Nature Conservancy is preserving.

Nicholls State University graduate student Kellyn LaCour-Conant teaches students about the wolfberry, a marsh plant that she is studying as part of her master’s program.

“In the course (Environmental Diagnostics and Biomarkers), we are interested in healthy ecosystems and comparing them to ecosystems that have been impacted,” LaFleur said. “Looking at this forest is a rare opportunity to see an example of a healthy mature coastal forest. But also around Grand Isle are examples of impacts, for instance the BP oil spill, which resulted in oil spilling up on the coast.”

Nicholl’s Master’s Candidate in Marine and Environmental Biology Kellyn LaCour-Conant gave the trip to Grand Isle a 10 out of 10.

“This trip was especially rewarding since we were able to teach students about the wildlife in their own backyard and remind them how special their island is, ecologically and culturally,” LaCour-Conant said. “There’s a belief that in everything we do we should act in the best interest of the seventh generation to come — be good ancestors for them tomorrow by being good stewards of our world today. Sharing the value of healthy ecosystems with younger generations gives me hope for our future, which is pretty priceless.”

LaFleur said while the Nicholls students think they are going down to help the elementary children, the master’s students are in the end getting more out of the trip.

“There is a concept called Biophilia, coined by E.O. Wilson, that students are born with a natural love for nature, but it atrophies because we concentrate more on analysis in school,” LaFleur said. “Sharing nature with young people is rewarding for the graduate students because it reawakens their own admiration for nature.”


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, Jan. 29, 2018
CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,
985.448.4141 or

Nicholls Foundation, Culinary Institute partner to send supporters to France

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Foundation and the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute are hosting a trip to Europe to give Nicholls supports a first-hand look at one of the most unique culinary experiences across the globe.

Visitors will travel to Paris, Normandy and Lyon with the Nicholls Foundation, following in the footsteps of top Nicholls culinary students who travel to Institute Paul Bocuse every summer to learn advanced culinary techniques.

The Institut Paul Bocuse Worldwide Alliance, founded by the celebrated French chef, unites 14 universities from across the world in the pursuit of top-notch culinary education. Nicholls’ Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is the only school in the United States involved in this partnership and sends its top students to an intensive four-month training at the Institut Paul Bocuse in Ecully, France each year.

Registration costs $3,890 and includes six dinners, airfare, transfers, daily breakfast and more. Registrations are underway and final bookings for the trip will come at a later date.

The group will leave the U.S. and head to France on April 18th and return on the 27th. While overseas, visitors will visit iconic locations such as Mont St. Michel, Chateau de Chenonceau, the beaches of Normandy and, of course, the Paul Bocuse Institute, while dining at world-renowned restaurants along the way. Chef John Kozar, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute department head, will help guide the group on the tour.

“In the time that I have worked with the Nicholls Foundation, I have had a number of people tell me how excited they are with the success of the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute and how great it is that there is a partnership with the Paul Bocuse Institute,” said Jeremy Becker, director of the Nicholls Foundation. “This trip will serve as a way to build and strengthen relationships with our community and the Culinary Institute. We want the trip to also be gastronomical experience, and by having Chef Kozar join us, we plan to make that happen.”

Registration costs $3,890 and includes six dinners, airfare, transfers, daily breakfast and more. Registrations are underway and final bookings for the trip will come at a later date.

For more information and to register, visit Nicholls Foundation Trip to France Brochure or contact Jeremy Becker at 985-448-4406 or


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