Computer Information instructor lauded as Outstanding Teacher

Sherry Rodrigue
(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)


THIBODAUX, La. —  Nicholls Computer Information Systems Instructor Sherry Rodrigue is the 2018 recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award by the Association of Business Information Systems.

Rodrigue was honored at the Federation of Business Disciplines Annual Awards Banquet on Wednesday, March 7, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

A member of the Association of Business Information systems since 2011, Rodrigue has served as secretary, program chair/vice president and is currently the president of the association.

“It is always rewarding to have your hard worked acknowledged by a group of your peers; knowing there are many others deserving of such a recognition,” Rodrigue said.

Rodrigue began working at Nicholls in 2000, providing computer support, but while working earned her Master of Business Administration degree and ultimately became a full-time instructor in the fall of 2010.

“Nicholls has been like a family to me,” Rodrigue said. “I love working with new faculty members to help ease their journey into teaching, as many co-workers did for me as I entered into teaching.”

Nicholls College of Business Administration Dean Dr. Marilyn Macik-Frey said Rodrigue has a keen ability to take a complicated subject such as business statistics and help students understand how to use the knowledge to make better business decisions.

“Our College owes a great deal to her for her dedication and commitment to the success of every Nicholls Business student,” Macik-Frey said. “We are thrilled that the Association of Business Information Systems selected Sherry for the Outstanding Educator Award for 2018.”


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

Nicholls bands to perform world premiere of “American Labor Songs”

THIBODAUX, La. — Music from or inspired by James Bond, Adele and The Lord of the Rings will be featured as the Nicholls State University bands present the world premiere of Dr. Kimberly Archer’s “American Labor Songs.”

The Nicholls Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 15, in the Mary and Al Danos Theater at Talbot Hall.

Dr. Archer is an associate professor of composition at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and will be in residence at Nicholls to work with the students the week of the concert.

“The work came about due to her founding of a union chapter at her institution with the financial help of Nicholls and a consortium of ten university bands and musical groups from throughout the country,” said Dr. Jason Ladd, Symphonic Bands conductor, instructor of low brass and music education. “Her music has been performed at international conferences as well as by some of the best college bands in the United States.”

Dr. Archer’s work, “Hour of the Wolves,” based on part of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, will also be featured. Additionally, students will perform two pieces by David Maslanka, one of Dr. Archer’s mentors who passed away last year and an important wind band composer.

Other works to be performed include “Second Suite in F” by Gustav Holst, “Overture to Candide” by Leonard Bernstein and a medley of selections featured in James Bond films.

The concert is free and open to the public.


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

Bayou Studies Program receives donation from Swamp Stomp

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls State University Bayou Studies Program will enhance its ability to educate students on Bayou Region culture and history, including coastal erosion and restoration, thanks to a donation from the popular local event, Swamp Stomp.

The Bayou Studies Program will receive $27,320 to enhance existing programming, like the annual Bayou Studies Symposium in the fall, as well as for new events, such as hosting guest speakers. Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Dr. John Doucet said he wants to use the money to amplify education on the environmental issues surrounding the Louisiana coast.  

“Part of the mission of the Bayou Studies Program is to conserve, preserve and teach about the culture and the history of South Louisiana, and with this money, I believe we’ll be able to do that even more effectively,” said Dr. Doucet.

Recognized for several years as a top event in the Southeast, Swamp Stomp began in 2009, stemming from research by Nicholls Librarian Anke Tonn’s research into Cajun dance halls.

In 2015, the event was transferred from Nicholls to the nonprofit Cajun Music Preservation Society, which was co-founded by Nicholls faculty and staff. The money used for the donation was the remaining profits left in the university’s Swamp Stomp Committee account.

“The Bayou Studies Program is going to keep the money in the spirit in which it was made,” said Quenton Fontenot, professor and department head of biological sciences, member of the Swamp Stomp Committee and co-founder of the Cajun Music Preservation Society. “Their values align with ours, especially when it comes to preserving the heritage of South Louisiana, so it made sense that we help support their efforts.”


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

Chef John Folse Culinary Institute partners with The Oyster Bed

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is proud to announce a partnership with The Oyster Bed, a New Orleans company making its innovative cookware available at a discount where the proceeds will help students and coastal restoration efforts.

Using the coupon code “nichollsculinary” through The Oyster Bed’s website enables purchasers to receive a 15 percent discount as well as support Nicholls culinary students. The funds donated to Nicholls can be used for student scholarships, program enhancements or even Student Culinary Association events.

“The partnership with the Oyster Bed is just another way for Chef John Folse Culinary Institute to get its name out there in the culinary industry and also give people that would like to support our program a unique way to do so,” said Hillary Charpentier, Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator. “Being that the university already does quite a bit to promote coastal restoration, I think that this is the perfect partnership for us since that is a large part of their mission as well.”

The Oyster Bed’s mission in three parts is to bring families together around the table and closer to God, help save the coastal ecosystem and cultivating creative cooking. The company creates cookware that cooks and heats foods evenly like cast iron, but without the weight and rust. The material is grill, oven and campfire safe.

“Our partnership with the Institute benefits The Oyster Bed by putting our products in the hands of up and coming chefs who will one day bring them into their own restaurants,” said Tommy Waller, The Oyster Bed co-founder. “Meanwhile, the students get the opportunity to work with cookware provided for free to the institute and tap into a nationally recognized network of other chefs who use our products, including some of the champions of the World Food Championships.”

For more information, visit The Oyster Bed online at


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

Nicholls to be honored by Special Olympics Louisiana

Special Olympics athletes pose for a photo with Nicholls tennis players and coaches.
(Submitted by Wade Faucheaux)


THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls coaches, athletes and other students have gone above and beyond in helping Louisiana athletes with disabilities, and for those actions, the university will receive the 2017 Special Olympics Louisiana Outstanding School Award.

Nicholls athletic teams and campus organizations have hosted clinics on volleyball, track and field, tennis, flag football, golf and soccer, among others, in recent years for Special Olympics Louisiana athletes.

Nicholls will be honored on May 18 at the 2018 State Summer Games award ceremony in Hammond.

“We are extremely proud to receive this honor,” Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune said. “Helping these disabled athletes excel is just another way that Nicholls is serving the community.”

Nicholls and McNeese renewed their Unified Rivalry with a basketball game on Jan. 27 at the Harold Callais Memorial Rec Center. The game featured Special Olympics Louisiana athletes and university student partners.

Special Olympics Louisiana is a nonprofit that organizes more than 100 competitions annually with more than 15,000 athletes participating. The organization raised more than $2.8 million last year with the help of more than 18,000 volunteers.

“The efforts you exhibit today will benefit those with intellectual disabilities for the future,” said Pat Carpenter Bourgeois, president and CEO of Special Olympics Louisiana. “Special Olympics Louisiana has been proudly serving people for 50 years. We appreciate people like you, who strive to make a positive impact in our community and make a difference, one hour at a time.”


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

Nicholls Players to perform new play based on Shakespeare

(Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)


THIBODAUX, La. — Take Shakespeare’s most famous characters and lines, throw them together in a plot blender, and you have “All the World’s a Grave,” a new tragedy the Nicholls State University Players will present March 8-11 at the Mary and Al Danos Theater.

The play was written by John Reed and selected by Nicholls Players Director and Speech and Theatre instructor Anna Broussard due to its likeness to the Bard’s actual works.

“This playwright took a bunch of Shakespeare’s words and created a whole new story out of it,” she said. “I love working with Shakespeare’s plays, and this is almost like a whole new play.”

In the shortened adaptation, Prince Hamlet of Bohemia goes to war for Princess Juliet of Aquitaine, the daughter of King Lear. Hamlet returns home to discover his mother has murdered his father and married her lover, Macbeth, who ascends to the throne. In the meantime, Iago persuades Hamlet that Romeo is having an affair with his new bride, Juliet. As Hamlet goes mad with jealousy and thoughts of revenge, King Lear mounts his army.

Cast and crew of the Nicholls Players are made up of Nicholls students from various majors and some community members.

Tickets are $7 for students who present their Colonel Cards and general admission is $15. Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday, March 8, through Saturday, March 10 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 11.


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

Chef John Folse Culinary Institute students take home top Louisiana Restaurant Association award, 11 other scholarships

Evan Landry (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Chef John Folse Culinary Institute student Evan Landry has continued a recent tradition of Nicholls State University culinary students in taking home the Louisiana Restaurant Association’s top prize, the Jim Funk Scholarship, worth approximately $3,500.

Landry is a graduate of Denham Springs High School and is a third-year recipient of an LRAEF Scholarship award.

The Jim Funk Scholarship is named after the former LRA President & CEO who created the educational foundation during his 30 years with the organization.

Moreover, the Louisiana Restaurant Association Education Foundation Scholarship Fund in 2018 awarded $48,000 over 19 ProStart and LRA Board scholarships, and current and future Chef John Folse Culinary Institute students earned 11 of those scholarships.

The recipients were honored Monday night at an LRAEF event “Serving the Future — Celebrating Careers in Hospitality” at Generations Hall in New Orleans. The scholarships range from about $2,000 to $2,400.

“The Louisiana Restaurant Association has been a wonderful partner to the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute, our students and future students,” said Chef John Kozar, the program’s department head. “Scholarships like this can make a big difference to students, as it enables them to spend more time focusing on learning and creativity rather than money.”

The ProStart Scholarship is presented to students who have or will receive the National ProStart Certificate of Achievement. This year’s current or future Nicholls recipients are: Sara Baiamonte, attending Hammond High Magnet School; Janesa Buras, attending Fontainebleau High School; Blane Coley, attending West Feliciana High School; Jenna Duryea, graduate of Lakeshore High School, is a third-year recipient; Claire LeBlanc, graduate of Fontainebleau High School, is a second-year recipient; and Brock Nichols, attending Sulphur High School.

The LRA Board Fund Scholarship is presented to students who intend to pursue a career in the restaurant, food service, tourism or hospitality industry. The fund is supported through an annual donation by the LRA Board of Directors. Current or future Nicholls students receiving the scholarship are: Dustin Rockwell, graduate of Slidell High School; Madison Segura, attending New Iberia Senior High School; Daniel St. Etienne, attending Brother Martin High School/New Orleans Center for Creative Arts; and Kiersten Wegmann, graduate of Chalmette High School, a third-year recipient.


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

Dr. Miki Pfeffer to discuss Southern women’s rights, suffragists at Nicholls Bonnie Bourg Lecture

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University visiting scholar Dr. Miki Pfeffer will discuss her intriguing research on women’s rights as the 2018 Bonnie Bourg Lecture Series featured speaker on Thursday, March 8.

The Bonnie Bourg Lecture, free and open to the public, will take place at 10:30 a.m. in the LeBijou Theater.

Following the lecture, Dr. Pfeffer will give the keynote address at the Women of Achievement Award Luncheon at noon in the Student Union’s Carnival Room.

Dr. Pfeffer (‘73 B.A.) is the author of the 2014 book “Southern Ladies and Suffragists: Julia Ward Howe and Women’s Rights at the 1884 New Orleans World’s Fair,” which won the 2015 Eudora Welty Prize for scholarship in Women’s Studies and Southern Studies. Presently she is transcribing hundreds of letters of Grace King for future publication.

“I have long seen the Bonnie Bourg lectures as expressions of excellence at Nicholls State University, never expecting to add my voice to that history,” Dr. Pfeffer said. “I have simply ‘followed my bliss’ when researching women’s lives and am honored by the invitation to tell about that choice.”

Before returning to academia, Dr. Pfeffer worked as a fashion illustrator in New Orleans department stores and as a manufacturer’s representative of women’s business fashions.

“The life experience Dr. Pfeffer will share through the program is a keen reminder for us that, no matter the technology, some of the richest life lessons come from stories passed on from one generation to the next,” Dean of Students Dr. Michele Caruso said. “The lecture promises to be quite intriguing as it will focus on her life’s work as well as her most recent publication, which is tied to south Louisiana history.”

At the luncheon, she will share her life experiences and speak to being the post child for “it’s never too late” after earning her doctorate in 2011, 59 years after graduating from high school.

Reservations for the luncheon are $17 and due by Thursday, March 1. For reservations or more information, email Chris Coulon with Student Services at or call 985-448-4080. Checks should be made payable to the Nicholls Foundation.


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

General education textbooks available at Nicholls library

Photo by Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University

THIBODAUX, La. — In a move designed to decrease the cost of attendance, Nicholls State University is now offering access to all required books for general education courses for free in Ellender Memorial Library.

Nicholls president Dr. Jay Clune emphasized that this is just the first step in a plan to reduce the financial burdens on students and their families.

“This initiative provides an opportunity for our students to easily access information directly related to their education,” Dr. Clune said. “I want to thank the staff at Ellender Memorial Library for helping us achieve this goal. I will continue to work with the library staff to make as many of the required books free for our students in as many courses as possible.”

General Education covers basic English, math, fine arts, humanities, science and social studies. The list of books available in reserves will evolve each semester with the required reading for each course. Previous editions will remain at the library and be available to the students.

Funded by the University, books are ready to check out immediately in the reserves section of Ellender Memorial Library, located on the second floor.


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

Nicholls to host 15th Bayou Sales Challenge

THIBODAUX, La. — Thirty-two students from eightvschools will attempt to prove their salesmanship reigns supreme at the 15th annual Bayou Sales Challenge on March 1-2 at Nicholls State University.

Six schools will join Nicholls in the competition: Florida State University, Louisiana State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, Southern University, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, University of North Alabama and Xavier University.

Team and individual students will compete in high-pressure sales simulations in Nicholls’ state-of-the-art Sales and Interactive Training Lab, with the top two students facing off head-to-head Friday. The event will also include two panel discussions and a career expo.

“The Bayou Sales Challenge gives the students an opportunity to get noticed by top businesses,” said Dr. Laura Valenti, director of the Bayou Sales Challenge and assistant professor of marketing. “And for companies, they get a first-hand look at job-ready students who are about to enter the job market.”

This year’s premier sponsors are Northwestern Mutual of Louisiana, Meyer Financial Group, Regions Bank, Unifirst Corporation, Republic Finance and Hilti. Additional sponsors include A.J. Gallagher, Quality Sitework Materials, Gartner, Raising Cane’s, Aflac and United Community Bank.

Other companies participating in the career expo are BXS Insurance, Edward Jones, Lofton Staffing, Pearson Education and Quality Sitework Materials.


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