GALLIANO — The Greater Lafourche Port Commission recognized Nicholls State University for its fundamental contributions to Fourchon Beach coastal restoration and protection efforts at a commission board meeting Thursday in Galliano.
Nicholls biology faculty and students have grown and planted over 16,500 dune grass stems to help protect Fourchon Beach from environmental factors like storm surges and coastal erosion since July 2014. Volunteers will return to the beach on Friday, Nov. 13 for additional planting.
The recipient of the 2015 American Association of Port Authorities Environmental Enhancement Award, the ongoing Fourchon Beach restoration project is a collaboration among the Greater Lafourche Port Commission, Nicholls, Shell Oil Co. and the Wisner Foundation. The project rebuilt over 5,300 liner feet of beach and dune habitat along Fourchon Beach, which provides essential storm surge protection to Port Fourchon.
“Having an environmentally conscious organization like the Greater Lafourche Port Commission collaborate with Nicholls students on service-learning opportunities encourages them to connect with their community and gain a firsthand understanding of the impact they can make as future biologists,” said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy. “Nicholls is very proud of its biology faculty and students for becoming leaders in preserving and protecting Louisiana’s vulnerable coastline.”
Fourchon Beach is the first line of defense for Port Fourchon, which services over 90 percent of all deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas production, accounting for approximately 20 percent of the U.S. energy supply. This beach area sustained extensive damages from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Isaac.
“While it’s great to build this beach and dune back, we understood that the project wouldn’t be able to last long in that environment without plants to help hold it together,” said Chett Chiasson, executive director of the Greater Lafourche Port Commission. “That’s when we approached Nicholls State University about helping us protect this investment with a series of plantings, and we are very grateful that they have done so much to help us keep our beach intact.”
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University announced a $50,000 renovation to the university’s graphic design lab at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Thursday in Talbot Hall.
The renovation, completed in summer 2015, equips the lab with new iMac computers, peripherals, two high-quality inkjet printers, laptop stations, an audio/video editing room for creating 3-D motion graphics and a dedicated critique/sketch area. The lab serves all Nicholls graphic design students, about half of all art majors.
“It’s wonderful to have a state-of-the-art lab facility for our art students,” said Jean Donegan, head of the Nicholls art department. “We will begin offering a 3-D animation program in fall 2016, and the upgrades to our lab paved the way to help us accomplish that. This facility will help us attract students looking to make art their career, especially those students interested in graphic design and 3-D animation.”
The graphic design lab renovation was funded by a $20,000 donation from the Lou and Dane Ledet family, which includes several Nicholls art alumni, and a matching $30,000 Nicholls instructional technology grant.
THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University and Edison Chouest Offshore launched a new educational partnership designed to help meet industry workforce needs and grow the university’s international enrollment at a public announcement held Wednesday on the Nicholls campus.
The unique partnership offers out-of-state and international Chouest employees and their families an opportunity to obtain an affordable, accredited college degree through Nicholls, located less than an hour from Chouest headquarters in Galliano. Nicholls will waive international/out-of-state fees for eligible students and provide them with an opportunity to participate in an internship program and network with Chouest team members each semester.
“As Chouest continues to expand international operations, we recognize that Nicholls’ commitment to providing high-quality education is a contributing factor to our success as a global maritime industry leader,” said Kirt Chouest, general manager of Edison Chouest Offshore. “The proof is in the numbers -– 80 percent of our degree-holding employees working at Chouest headquarters in Galliano earned their degrees from Nicholls. Now, thanks to this new partnership, all of our employees across the globe will share in the valuable opportunity to enhance their careers with a Nicholls degree.”
Chouest currently has a worldwide network of 14,000 employees working in more than a dozen countries. Nicholls enrolls about 6,500 total students, with 170 international students from more than 40 countries.
“Nicholls is proud to partner with Edison Chouest Offshore, a highly respected family owned company and the largest employer in our service region,” said Dr. Bruce T. Murphy, president of Nicholls. “We are confident that our new partnership with this industry leader will greatly assist us in achieving our goals of increasing our student enrollment to 8,000 and bringing more international diversity to our campus. This agreement significantly expands the university’s regional and global reach. Nicholls will be more accessible to prospective students who will now be aware of the quality education they can receive in South Louisiana.”
Edison Chouest Offshore previously partnered with Nicholls to assist in the financing and development of the university’s unique four-year maritime management program offered through the AACSB-accredited College of Business Administration.
THIBODAUX — The College of Business Administration and accounting program at Nicholls State University have undergone a successful accreditation review and received an extension of accreditation by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International (AACSB). AACSB accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than five percent of the world’s business programs.
“AACSB accreditation ensures that we have made a commitment to continuously improving our academic programs in business in order to provide a high-quality, innovative business education. It is truly a testament to the hard work of our Executive Advisory Board and the quality of students, faculty and staff in the College of Business,” said Dr. Shawn Mauldin, dean of the Nicholls College of Business Administration. “The message is clear — you can receive a top-notch business education at Nicholls State University.”
Offering six undergraduate and two graduate degree programs, the College of Business Administration is among the most popular areas of academic study at Nicholls. Student enrollment in the Nicholls business program has grown 7.5 percent since spring 2014. In addition to traditional degree offerings, the College of Business has added an online degree in business administration, which has attracted more than 90 students in its first year. Nicholls also continues to see growth in its Executive Master of Business Administration program and its unique maritime management concentration, which is the only program in the state designed to specifically address the needs of the oil and gas sector of the maritime industry. AACSB accreditation, which Nicholls has held since 1983, confirms that the university is delivering accredited degree programs that prepare students for careers regionally and globally.
“The fact that the Nicholls business and accounting programs each received reaccreditation without recommendations for improvement is evidence of our dedicated business faculty’s commitment to excellence,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, president of Nicholls. “Thanks to their efforts, our business graduates receive the highest quality education and prove it by consistently setting the benchmark as leaders and visionaries in the competitive business and accounting fields.”
The Nicholls State University community is mourning the death of business leader and longtime university supporter Al Danos, who died Friday, Jan. 23 at age 68.
A Larose native who helped expand his family’s oilfield service company Danos & Curole, Al was an avid supporter of higher education and a leader on the Nicholls Foundation Board. Most recently, he helped Nicholls raise more than $1.5 million in private donations to renovate the Mary M. Danos Theater, named in honor of his late wife in 2012. Al then worked closely with state Sen. Norby Chabert to secure another $4.4 million in state funds to expand the renovations in Talbot Hall. In addition to helping the Nicholls music department achieve All-Steinway status, Al and Mary Danos also established an endowed scholarship at Nicholls for first-generation college students from South Lafourche High School and funded endowed professorships in education and nursing among other gifts.
“The Nicholls family will greatly miss Mr. Al Danos, a dear friend and generous supporter of the university,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, university president. “Although he wasn’t a Nicholls graduate, Al believed strongly in the importance of the university and enjoyed attending events on campus and interacting with students. Al and Mary’s legacy will continue to influence the lives of future Nicholls students when they walk through the renovated Talbot Hall or attend an event in the state-of-the-art Danos Theater.”
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.