Nicholls Library Named Top in the State

Ellender Memorial Library
Ellender Memorial Library

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University’s Ellender Memorial Library has been named the top library in the state among higher education institutions by LOUIS: The Louisiana Library Network earlier this month.

The Library of the Year award, which is handed out annually during the organization’s conference in Baton Rouge, recognizes libraries for their services, programs and projects as well as their contributions, collaborations and partnerships with the LOUIS staff and other state libraries.

“This award is a reflection of the hard work and collaboration of our team of librarians and staff along with the support of the University,” Library co-Director, Clifton Theriot, said. “We have continuously strived to provide resources and services to meet the needs of our users in this ever-changing information age. We’re honored to receive this award.”

Established in 1992, LOUIS is a consortium of public and private college and university libraries. It currently has 47 members and is funded by the institutions and the Louisiana Board of Regents.

For more information visit www.nicholls.edu/library.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 17, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Nicholls Monster Piano Concert dedicated to Mary and Al Danos

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University’s Department of Music will host the Eighth Annual Monster Piano Concert at 7 p.m. on Thursday, October 20, in the newly renovated Mary and Al Danos Theater.

This year’s concert is being dedicated to the memory of Mary and Al Danos, who were benefactors and longtime supporters of the performing arts at Nicholls.

More than 35 performers – including Nicholls faculty, alumni, community members and local high school students – will perform the “Carnival of Animals” by Camille Saint-Saens on seven Steinway grand pianos. Other program highlights include a chamber orchestra featuring piano faculty, the Nicholls Camerata and music majors, as well as works by American composers in various settings.

“The Monster Piano Concert has always been a community event where we celebrate music in our region. To play in the newly renovated Danos Theater will be an extra joyful one,” said Nicholls piano professor, Luciana Soares. “We are very fortunate to have this beautiful theater. As we return to the Danos Theater, we remember all the members of our community who contributed to bringing the Steinway pianos to Nicholls, and we honor Al and Mary Danos without whom all this would not have been possible.”

Light hors d’oeuvres and an open bar will be available for patrons during intermission.

Nicholls is the only public music school in the state to have earned the designation of being an All-Steinway School and exclusively uses Steinway pianos for performances and music education.

Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Tickets cost $25 for students and $50 for general admission. To purchase a ticket, call Kellie Gaspard at 985-448-4600. Proceeds will benefit the maintenance of the pianos.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 17, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Nicholls ranked the safest school in UL System

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University is the safest school in the University of Louisiana System and third safest university in the state, according to BackgroundChecks.org.

The website ranked 20 Louisiana public and private colleges based on campus safety in a Sept. 26 report.

Nicholls ranked just behind Our Lady of Holy Cross College in New Orleans and LSU Shreveport.

BackgroundChecks.org ranked accredited public and private not-for-profit four-year institutions using campus crime rates per 1,000 residents, graduation rates and student retention rates from the U.S. Department of Education. They also used FBI Crime Report data, student surveys, social media analysis and its own research.

Nicholls posted a crime rate of less than 1-per-1000 and recently recorded a record-high student retention rate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 17, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Matt Roan introduced as Nicholls athletic director

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University introduced K. Matthew Roan as its next athletic director at a press conference Thursday morning.

Roan, who currently serves as deputy director of athletics and special counsel to the president at Eastern Kentucky University, will officially start Nov. 15.

“Today, for Nicholls athletics, it’s a new beginning as we introduce our new athletics director, Matt Roan. These are always tough decisions, but one finalist distinguished himself above all the others,” said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy. “Matt has significant experience in strategic planning and budgeting, outstanding communication skills and diverse experience in Division I athletics. He is well-versed in compliance and can relate to student-athletes as a former Division I student-athlete himself.”

Roan described his vision for Nicholls athletics to become a premier athletic department nationally at its level and a point of pride for the community and region.

“We’re certainly going to be ambitious, and we’re going to dream big,” Roan said. “Our focus will always be on the student-athlete, and every decision will consider how we can best provide a model experience for them during their time here. We will strive to be excellent academically and athletically, and we will prepare our young people for success beyond competition.”

A former team captain on the Southern Utah University football team, Roan assisted with football operations at the University of Kentucky while working on his law degree, which he obtained from UK’s College of Law in 2012. He was then named deputy director of athletics at Southern Utah University before joining Eastern Kentucky in 2013.

“I am very excited about Matt’s opportunity in becoming the athletic director at Nicholls State University,” said Stephen M. Lochmueller, Eastern Kentucky athletics director. “What a special place for him, Mallory and family to start their next chapter in intercollegiate athletics. Matt is such a valuable member of our team here at EKU Athletics, and we will miss him. Good luck to the Roan family, and I know our paths will cross again.”
Matt and his wife, Mallory, have two daughters, Gattlyn and Radley; a son, Catcher; and are expecting a fourth child in January.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 13, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Nicholls nursing dean to be honored for contributions to the industry

Dr. Sue Westbrook (Photo by MIsty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)
Dr. Sue Westbrook
(Photo by MIsty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University Dean of Nursing and Allied Health Dr. Sue Westbrook will be honored as one of The Great 100 Nurses of Louisiana in 2016.

Westbrook, and other nurses, will be honored at 7 p.m. on Wednesday Oct. 12 during a ceremony at the New Orleans Pontchartrain Center. The celebration is open to the public and partially sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center and the Terrebonne General Medical Center.

Founded in New Orleans in 1986, The Great 100 Nurses Foundation has honored thousands of nurses across Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma.

Nurses are chosen based “on their concern for humanity, their contributions to the profession of nursing and their mentoring of others.”

“With over 60,000 registered nurses in Louisiana, I am honored and humbled to be named one of Louisiana’s 100 Great Nurses of 2016,” said Westbrook, a Nicholls alum. “Raising the level of healthcare in the region Nicholls serves has always been a passion of mine.”

After graduating from Northwestern State University, Westbrook worked as a nurse for three years before joining the Nicholls staff as an instructor. Over the course of the next three decades she added graduate degrees from Nicholls and the LSU Health Sciences Center. She was named dean in 2004.

Under Westbrook’s watch, Nicholls nursing graduates regularly pass the national licensure exam at rates greater than both the national and state average, and 100 percent of all recent graduates are employed.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 11, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Roan named Nicholls athletic director

K. Matthew Roan has been named the Nicholls State University athletic director.
K. Matthew Roan has been named the Nicholls State University athletic director.

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University has named K. Matthew Roan as its next athletic director, pending approval from the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. He will be introduced at a press conference at 10 a.m. Thursday in the Harold J. Callais Memorial Recreation Center; the public is invited to attend.

Roan, who currently serves as deputy director of athletics at Eastern Kentucky University, will start Nov. 15, replacing long-time athletic director Rob Bernardi who resigned in July. Head women’s basketball coach and senior woman administrator DoBee Plaisance has held the interim athletic director position since mid-July.

“From a highly qualified candidate pool, Matt stood out to me and the search committee for his extensive experience with strategic planning and budget management as well as his excellent communication skills,” Nicholls President Bruce Murphy said. “We are excited to welcome Matt to Nicholls and look forward to him leading the Colonel athletic program to new heights.”

A former team captain on the Southern Utah University football team, Roan assisted with football operations at the University of Kentucky while working on his law degree which he obtained from UK’s College of Law in 2012. He was then named deputy director of athletics at Southern Utah University before joining Eastern Kentucky in 2013.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 11, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator,  985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Nicholls Players to perform Shakespeare classic in newly renovated Danos Theater

THIBODAUX, La. — The Nicholls Players will perform William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” next week as their first production in the newly renovated Mary and Al Danos Theater.

One of Shakespeare’s most notable works, the comedy portrays the events surrounding the wedding of Theseus and Hippolyta, including the adventures of four young lovers and a group of six amateur actors, who are manipulated by a group of fairies who inhabit the forest in which the play is set.

“The Nicholls Players are very excited and humbled to be the first full performance in the newly renovated Mary and Al Danos Theater,” said Anna Broussard, director of the Nicholls Players. “What’s ironic is that I produced a children’s version of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for the Nicholls Performing Arts Camp in July of 2014. The day of our first rehearsal, Mr. Al Danos just happened to be touring the old theater, and stopped in to say hi. Now we are opening the Mary and Al Danos Theater with the full Shakespearean version, in perfect serendipity.”

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

Tickets are $10 or $5 for students who present their Colonel Cards.

Showings will run at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13, through Saturday, Oct. 15, with a 2 p.m. showing on Sunday, Oct. 16.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 10, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Nicholls brings back A+ Scholar Extravaganza to raise money for scholarships

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will host the 2016 Nicholls Sponsor A+ Scholar Wine and Food Tasting Extravaganza from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 12 in the Cotillion Ballroom to raise money for student scholarships.

A Nicholls tradition for almost two decades, Sponsor A+ Scholar Wine and Food Tasting Extravaganza raises money to help the university attract and support new students.

Tickets cost $50 for a single, $75 for a couple and $500 for a corporate package.

Guests will be treated to food and wine samples donated by more than a dozen area restaurateurs and beverage providers.

This year’s headline sponsors are Mark Plaisance, Attorney at Law, and Dr. DesLey Plaisance, director of graduate studies at Nicholls.

One of the most popular fundraisers averaging about 700 attendees each year, the gala has raised more than $300,000 toward student scholarships.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 5, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

New Orleans legend to speak in final Empowered Women Chefs Series demonstration

Susan Spicer
Susan Spicer

THIBODAUX, La. — The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute at Nicholls State University will continue its Empowered Women Chefs Series with New Orleans culinary legend Susan Spicer at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 7, in the Ledet Culinary Arts Building.

Launched in April, the Empowered Women Chefs Series is a new lecture and culinary demonstration series focused on encouraging women to pursue successful careers in the male-dominated restaurant industry. Funded by the Carl Perkins Non-Traditional Occupations Grant, the seven-part series provides inspiration and guidance for females aspiring to work in the restaurant industry, where only 21 percent of the jobs are held by women. With the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute’s student body at approximately 65 percent female, the series hopes to provide aspiring women chefs with industry role models and with tips for navigating challenges in the industry.

Guest chefs have included Jacqueline Blanchard, owner of Coutelier NOLA; Nina Compton, owner of Compère Lapin; Holly Goetting, executive chef of Charley G’s; Anne Kearney, owner of Rue Dumaine; Suzanne Willett, owner of Felicia Suzanne’s; and Meg Bickford, executive chef at Café Adelaide in New Orleans.

This week’s guest is Susan Spicer, owner and chef of Bayona, Mondo and Wild Flour Breads in New Orleans. The Key West native, who also opened Bistro at Maison de Ville in 1986, received a James Beard Award in 1993, appeared on the finale of Top Chef in 2009, was inducted into the James Beard Foundation’s Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America in 2010 and into the Culinary Hall of Fame in 2012.

Spicer will demonstrate how to make sweetbreads in two different styles: one sauteed with lemon caper butter and the other grilled en brochette with shallots, mushrooms and tomato, garlic, herb vinaigrette.

Seating is limited, so please reserve your spot at https://www.nicholls.edu/culinary/women-chefs.

NOTE: If you would like to cover the event, please let me know, and I’ll take care of your reservation.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 4, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu

Danos Foundation pledges $1 million to Nicholls

Mary & Al Danos Theater Grand Re-Opening 2016 (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University) 9/27/16
Mary & Al Danos Theater Grand Re-Opening 2016 (Misty Leigh McElroy/Nicholls State University)
9/27/16

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University announced a $1 million donation from the Mary and Al Danos Family Foundation to support the newly renovated Danos Theater and the academic programs that benefit from it.

The last wishes of the Mary and Al, the theater’s benefactors and longtime supporters, the donation will be drawn out over four years.

“A generous donation of this size means we’ll be able to continue to provide to the community exactly what Mary and Al Danos had envisioned,” said Nicholls President Bruce Murphy.

The four Danos children – Rene, Alyce, Andre and Marcel – presented the check during the grand reopening of the 5,500-square-foot, 240-seat theater, named in honor of their parents, and Talbot Hall. Nicholls students and faculty were featured during the event, titled an Opening Night Showcase of the Arts, with performances by the Nicholls Concert Choir, Jazz Band and Nicholls Players.

“Our dad always had everything planned and prepared. Even in his passing, he wanted to make sure this theater was taken care of. Our parents would be really proud of this,” the Danos family said. “This will forever be a special place in our hearts to remember everything they’ve done. We can’t thank Nicholls, Sen. Chabert and the community enough.”

A Larose businessman and leader on the Nicholls Foundation board, Al Danos initiated interest in the project by helping fundraise $1.5 million for the renovation of the theater, which first opened in 1971. State Senator and Nicholls alum Norby Chabert helped secure the remaining funds through the state and the project expanded to include the 73,000-square-foot facility.

“If there’s one thing Al and Mary had an appreciation for, it’s the performing arts,” Chabert said.  “I join them and their family, for thanking the Nicholls community for making this possible.”

Renovations feature structural and technological enhancements including new seating, curtains, flooring and state-of-the-art lighting and sound equipment. In addition, the campus TV studio, KNSU radio station and two Talbot Hall classrooms received technological upgrades to enhance student learning. Those upgrades will allow the university to broadcast athletic events through ESPN3 starting in the spring.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 28, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu