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.

Nicholls professors receive Board of Regents grants

Top Research Faculty 2017
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University professors received more than $280,000 in grants from the Louisiana Board of Regents.

Dr. Sean Graham, assistant biology professor, received over $99,000 to study the effects of nutrients on coastal wetlands over the course of decades. Dr. Matthew Gamel, assistant math professor, received $85,000 to enhance the sophomore mathematics experience. Dr. Cynthia Vavasseur, assistant education professor, received nearly $40,000 to study how technology can be used in K-12 classrooms. Dr. Aaron Pierce, associate biology professor, received $36,000 to study how to improve biology graduate student recruitment. Dr. Uttam Pokharel, assistant chemistry professor, received nearly $20,000 to study organometallic polyacenes for organic optoelectronic applications.

The grants were funded by the Louisiana Education Quality Support Fund. Established in 1986 to improve the caliber of education in the state, the LEQSF has since provided more than $1.5 billion in educational enhancements and opportunities for Louisiana students ranging from K-12 to higher education.


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

Nicholls awards 672 degrees at 100th commencement

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University awarded 672 degrees to students during its commencement ceremony on Saturday, May, 13.

Five students received the President’s Medal of Honor for graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA. Those students include Jon Dugas, history; Geoffrey Hebert, finance and accounting; Katie Granier, psychology; Trey Becnel, biology – pre-physical therapy; and Macy Gaubert, birth-to-5 early intervention, special education.

Nicholls Concert Choir and Chamber Singers to celebrate Broadway, movie classics at spring concert

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University Concert Choir and Chamber Singers will pay homage to the golden age of Broadway and the silver screen in a joint concert at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 2, in the Mary and Al Danos Theater in Talbot Hall.

Titled “A Grand Night for Singing” the concert features songs from Broadway hits The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Oklahoma, Les Miserables and Porgy Bess. Movie medleys are pulled from Singin’ in the Rain, Puttin’ on the Ritz, Good Morning Vietnam, Shrek and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Nicholls Professor of Music, Dr. Kenneth Klaus, will conduct with the assistance of two student conductors, Kristen Roberts, a junior vocal music education major from Schriever, and James Rodrigue, a junior vocal music education major from Houma.

The concert is free and open to the public.


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