Nicholls student athletes set high NCAA Graduation Success Rate

Nicholls State University student athletes have the highest graduation rate among all Southland Conference schools in Louisiana, according to statistics released by the National Collegiate Athletic Association this week.

The Graduation Success Rate (GSR) report shows that 74 percent of Nicholls student athletes who began college in 2007 earned their degrees within six years. That’s an all-time high for Nicholls, marking the fourth consecutive year that the university shows overall academic improvement. Nicholls’ overall GSR ranks third among the 11 Southland Conference schools and fourth among Louisiana’s 11 public universities with Division I athletics — only trailing Louisiana State University, Louisiana Tech University and University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

“This is a great accomplishment for the university’s coaches, support staff and faculty who work hard to ensure that students perform well both on the playing field and in the classroom,” said Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president. “I’m proud of our student athletes who put in long hours of coursework and practice each week, preparing for successful futures beyond their collegiate athletic careers.”

Two Nicholls teams — men’s and women’s tennis — have the highest GSR in the state, with women’s tennis graduating 100 percent of its team. Of the university’s 12 athletics programs, six teams earned top-ranking GSRs among Louisiana’s Southland Conference schools, including football, softball, women’s track, men’s tennis, women’s tennis and volleyball. Nicholls teams showing academic improvements over the past year include football, men’s tennis, soccer and volleyball.

Designed to more accurately predict the academic success of athletes, the GSR measures the proportion of student athletes who graduate and includes incoming transfer students, a regular occurrence in college athletics, in its calculations. For more information on GSRs, visit web1.ncaa.org/GSRSearch.

Dyslexia Scholarship Gifted by Descendent of Nicholls’ Namesake

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University students with dyslexia are eligible for a new scholarship thanks to a gift from the great-great granddaughter of the university’s namesake, Gov. Francis Tillou Nicholls.

Nicholls, a native of Donaldsonville, was a Civil War brigadier general, a two-term governor of Louisiana and served as chief justice of the state’s supreme court.

Baton Rouge resident Jane Matt, Nicholls’ descendant, said she created the scholarship to honor her parents for supporting her education and in loving memory of her father, James Henry Ware Jr., who died in 2012. The Blue Moon Scholarship for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders will be available in 2015 for full-time students enrolled in Nicholls who have been diagnosed with dyslexia or a related learning disorder and maintain a 2.5 GPA or higher. The student will receive $250 per semester for up to eight semesters and receive support services from the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders, which is housed on the Nicholls campus.

Matt said she was inspired to create the scholarship after her own struggles with dyslexia. Matt earned her bachelor’s in business administration but said she doubts she could have done so without the generous financial support of her parents. She hoped to honor them by offering support to future students facing similar challenges.

“I have experienced the frustrations of dealing with dyslexia and wanted to reach out to students with a learning disorder to offer encouragement and financial support,” she said. “I hope that this effort will bring about a general awareness of the difficulties that many students with learning disorders face.”

Nicholls International Students Celebrate Africa

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University invites community members to experience an evening of vibrant entertainment, unique food and culture at the university’s seventh annual International Student Banquet, “Amazing Africa!”

The banquet is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9 in the Cotillion Ballroom of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. Guests will enjoy authentic global cuisine, and international students currently enrolled at Nicholls will provide entertainment native to their countries, giving the audience a glimpse into international cultures.

Tickets are $5 for students and $28 for faculty, staff and community members. Tickets must be reserved in advance either online at nicholls.edu/international or in person at the Student Life Office in the Student Union.

All proceeds will help fund scholarships for deserving international students. For more information, call 985-449-7038.

Nicholls to Host Award-Winning Poet for Lecture Series

THIBODAUX — The Fletcher Lecture Series at Nicholls State University will present a question-and-answer session and lecture by Dr. Mona Lisa Saloy, author of the award-winning “Red Beans & Ricely Yours,” on Thursday, Nov. 13.

An author, folklorist and professor of English at Dillard University in New Orleans, Saloy won the T.S. Eliot Prize and the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Award for “Red Beans & Ricely Yours.” Her most recent book, “Second Line Home,” is a refreshing collection of poems that capture everyday New Orleans speech, reflect on family dynamics, celebrate New Orleans and give insight into the city’s unique culture.

Saloy will be giving a lecture entitled, “Etoufee Talk: From Swimmer to Modise to Scholar, the Journey of a Folklorist & Poet” at 6 p.m. in Peltier Auditorium. She will also field questions from audience members from 10:30 a.m. to noon that same day in Le Bijou Theater in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

Now in its 31st year, the Fletcher Lecture Series — named after former Nicholls department head Dr. Marie Fletcher and sponsored by the Department of Languages and Literature — brings outstanding scholars, chefs and writers to Nicholls each year. Past lecturers include Robert Penn Warren, Ernest Gaines, Paul Prudhomme, Marilynne Robinson and Olympia Vernon.

All events are free and open to the public. For more information, visit the Fletcher Lecture Series website at nicholls.edu/language/fletcher-lecture-series.

Nicholls to Host Civil Rights Exhibit, Speakers

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University’s Ellender Memorial Library will host the traveling exhibit, “Changing America: The Emancipation Proclamation, 1863, and the March on Washington, 1963,” beginning Tuesday, Nov. 4, in the library’s archives.

The exhibit, which will be on display through Dec. 15, examines the relationship between two major human rights movements in America: The acts of resistance, organized rebellions and political pressure that resulted in President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, which ordered the freedom of enslaved individuals in the United States, and the March on Washington for civil rights in 1963, which eventually led to bills that outlawed segregation and discrimination in employment and voting. Both grew out of decades of bold actions, resistance, organization, and vision. One hundred years separate them, yet they are linked in a larger story of liberty and the American experience – one that has had a profound impact on the generations that followed.

The library is sponsoring several free programs in association with the exhibit. All speaking events will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the library’s multipurpose room on the third floor.

Tuesday, Nov. 4: Author Lynette Ater Tanner will present on her book, “Chained to the Land: Voices from Cotton & Cane Plantations,” with an opening reception to follow in the Library’s archives.

Wednesday, Nov. 5: Dr. Keith Finley, assistant director for the Center For Southeast Louisiana Studies and instructor of history at Southeastern Louisiana University, will speak about civil rights.

Thursday, Nov. 6:
Nicholls adjunct history instructor Jared Wells will speak about the PBS documentary film, “Slavery by Another Name,” based on the seminal book of the same name by Douglas A. Blackmon.

Tuesday, Nov. 11: Dr. Paul Wilson, head of the Nicholls Department of History and Geography, will speak on the African-American experience during World War I and World War II.

The exhibit is being presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the National Museum of American History in collaboration with the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The exhibition is made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and is part of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle,” which brings four outstanding films on the civil rights movement to communities across the United States. For more information, visit createdequal.neh.gov.

For more information on the exhibit or related programs, contact Sarah Simms at 985-448-4626 or sarah.simms@nicholls.edu, or visit the Ellender Memorial Library’s website at nicholls.edu/library.

Nicholls Ceremony Honors Veterans

THIBODAUX — Nicholls State University will commemorate Veterans Day with a public ceremony in the campus quadrangle at 11 a.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11.

Hosted by the Nicholls Veterans Organization, the event will feature an address by university President Bruce Murphy, a retired lieutenant colonel who spent 23 years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany, Panama and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. Dr. Stephen Michot, Nicholls associate professor of history, a Marine Corps veteran and a member of the Louisiana National Guard, will provide Murphy’s introduction.

Nicholls student veterans will also take part in the patriotic program along with the Thibodaux High School JROTC, the Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia music fraternity, and students from the Generations Teaching Generations program and MAX Charter School.

Earlier this fall, G.I. Jobs magazine named Nicholls a Military Friendly School for the sixth consecutive year, an honor given annually to the top 15 percent of American universities that offer the best support, flexibility and value for active duty military and veterans. The university has made recruiting and retaining military students a priority as well as helping the veteran population adjust to college life. Currently, 158 veterans are enrolled at Nicholls.

For more information on the Veterans Day program or Nicholls veterans services, call 985-448-4208.

Dr. Todd Keller Selected as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs

Todd Keller Headshot 2014THIBODAUX — Dr. Todd Keller has been selected as Nicholls State University’s interim vice president for academic affairs.

Keller previously served as director for the College of Nursing and Allied Health’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program.

“In appointing an interim vice president for academic affairs, one of the qualities I looked for was a great relationship with the faculty,” said Nicholls President Bruce Murphy. “As a former Faculty Senate chair, Todd is well respected by his colleagues and has a reputation for being a highly competent, self-motivated campus leader. I look forward to his leadership over the next several months as Nicholls develops its strategic plan and works toward its next SACSCOC accreditation report while searching for a permanent provost.”

A native of Morgan City, Keller joined the Nicholls faculty in 1999 as an assistant professor of nursing, and has held a number of positions within the College of Nursing and Allied Health, including director of continuing nursing education; assistant to the department head; and coordinator of recruitment, retention, admission and progression.

Keller, a certified nurse educator, earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing from Nicholls; his master’s in nursing from the University of Phoenix New Orleans campus; and his doctorate of nursing science from the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center.

Keller previously served in the U.S. Navy as a hospital corpsman. His professional career also includes emergency nursing at Lakewood Hospital in Morgan City (now Teche Regional Medical Center) and intensive care nursing at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center.

He has lived in Thibodaux since 1990, and in his spare time enjoys reading and acting, directing and staging live theater.

Nicholls Foundation Presents George Bell and Friends

THIBODAUX — The public is invited to a Homecoming weekend concert featuring the musical sounds of Nicholls State University alum George Bell and Thibodaux native Thaddeus Richard beginning at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 in the Mary M. Danos Theater in Talbot Hall.

Tickets to A Homecoming Concert with George Bell and Friends, presented by the Nicholls Foundation, can be purchased for $25, and a cash bar will be available during intermission. Proceeds will benefit the Mary M. Danos Theater and a student scholarship.

Bell leads the jazz group George Bell and Friends on trumpet and flugelhorn. He plays with world-class musicians, including Herman Jackson on drums; Harry Anderson on bass; Richard on piano, sax and flute; Todd Duke on guitar; and Greg Ward on percussion and harmonica. Special guests include Aaron Fletcher on sax and Betsy Braud on sax and flute, with vocals by Kandace Washington.

Accomplished in his career as well as music, Bell, a 1981 Nicholls Hall of Fame graduate with a degree in political science, previously worked for longtime Louisiana U.S. Sen. Billy Tauzin of Chackbay before moving to Ohio to begin a career in hospital administration. Bell eventually returned to Louisiana, where he currently serves as administrator of Baton Rouge General’s Mid-City Campus.

For reservations, call 985-448-4134. Checks should be made payable to the Nicholls Foundation.

Nicholls Homecoming Festivities Planned for Oct. 26 — Nov. 2

THIBODAUX — Students, alumni, fans and community members are invited to celebrate new and old traditions during Nicholls State University’s Homecoming Week Sunday, Oct. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 2.

The festivities will begin with a Homecoming Kick-Off Barbecue at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26 in the Bollinger Memorial Student Union’s Cotillion Ballroom. This free community event will include a pep rally, introduction of 2014 Homecoming Court and live music by the band Stormy. Other events scheduled throughout the week include three home volleyball matches, a late-night breakfast and dance, a flag football tournament, a screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the annual pirogue race — a Nicholls tradition — and a style show.

A favorite past Homecoming weekend tradition will also be revived. Nicholls will host a bonfire featuring music by Mark Dufrene at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30 on the campus recreation fields. Prior to the bonfire, the Student Programming Association will host the Alive at Five concert and featuring performances by Kaelan Levy, Mia Borders and Snapper and the Fishsticks starting at 5 p.m.

On Halloween night, Nicholls has organized a Trunk-or-Treat event beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the student union parking lot, followed by a haunted house in Ellender Hall at 7 p.m.

All events lead up to the annual Homecoming football game, slated for 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at John L. Guidry Stadium, where the Colonels will take on the Incarnate Word Cardinals. Tailgating — featuring food, a kids zone and Cajun music by Soul Creole — will begin at 3 p.m. in the north end zone of Guidry Stadium.

Rounding out the week will be the George Bell and Friends Homecoming Concert at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 2 in the Mary M. Danos Theater. Tickets can be purchased for $25 by calling 985-448-4134.

For a full list of events of Nicholls Homecoming events and a look at this year’s Homecoming Court, visit nicholls.edu/homecoming. All Homecoming events are open to the public and free, unless otherwise noted.

Public Invited to Meet Election Candidates at Nicholls

THIBODAUX — The Nicholls State University Student Government Association will host a public meet and greet with candidates in the upcoming November election from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21 in the Plantation Suite of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union.

Candidates running for political offices in Terrebonne, Lafourche, Senate and Congressional races will be present to provide information about their election platforms and speak one-on-one with attendees. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, call 985-448-4557.