2023 Woman of Achievement Awards
The first all-Black female football officiating team presented as guest speakers at the Nicholls Women’s History Month Luncheon on March 1, 2023.
Dr. Adrienne Barnes has 19 years of experience officiating youth and high school sports in Mississippi, but what’s even more historic is the crew of women that joined her. Barnes’ team was the first all-female crew to officiate a high school football game in Mississippi, let alone the first to feature all Black women. The guest speakers on the officiating team included Sherri Vaughans, Fran Adams, Constance Clark, Dr. Adrienne Barnes, Phylicia Cotten, Felicia Hannah-David, Dominique Sutton, Sarah Fleming and Dr. Alona Alexander.
The Women of Achievement Awards are presented at the luncheon to a Nicholls faculty or staff member, a student and a community member who serves as a healthy role model, has contributed to the advancement of her field and to the historical legacy of women, and demonstrates this year’s national theme, “celebrating women who tell our stories.”
Ms. Deborah Raziano, director emeritus of Alumni Affairs at Nicholls, is the 2023 Community Member Woman of Achievement Winner. Before retiring in January 2013, Raziano championed Nicholls for 32 years in her role as director of Alumni Affairs. Arriving on campus as a freshman in 1969, she served as senior class president and the 1973 Miss Nicholls. Upon graduation, she worked as a consultant for her sorority, Delta Zeta, before returning to Nicholls as its fifth alumni director.
During her tenure, she led the Nicholls Alumni Federation through numerous changes including the creation of a structured membership program, the re-introduction of the Nicholls class ring, the redesign of The Colonel alumni magazine and the development of the alumni website. She created several alumni traditions, including the annual alumni crawfish boil and the Awards for Excellence ceremony.
Elnora Parker Vicks, counselor and outreach coordinator for University Counseling Center, is the 2023 Staff Member Woman of Achievement Winner. She is a provisional licensed professional counselor, serves as an anger management instructor for Bayou Council Behavioral Health Services and is the co-founder of EPIC Outreach, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating people about mental health and removing stigma.
Ms. Vicks is part of Nicholls Black History Committee and made history on the campus by planning and hosting the first Essence of Black Celebration, focused on celebrating and acknowledging the culture of being Black as well as cultivating the dynamics of diversity and inclusion in and around the Nicholls campus. In February 2023, she celebrated five years of planning and hosting a Black mental health panel, focused on educating and engaging the Nicholls Community on Black mental health and wellness as well as enhancing mental health awareness.
Claire Galloway, a senior chemistry major from Thibodaux, is the 2023 Student Woman of Achievement Winner. Claire is the president of the Nicholls State Student Chapter of the American Chemical Society. Claire has presented her research on the relationship between success in general chemistry and mathematics ability at the ACS National Meeting and Exposition.
The goal of Claire’s research was to promote retention and minimize attrition rates among students in general chemistry. Additionally, she sought to determine whether an online math intervention would increase a student’s performance in their introductory chemistry courses. She’s been described as an excellent student by her professors and advisors.
The night before the luncheon, Dr. Adrienne Barnes’ all-Black female football officiating team also gave a presentation to Nicholls’ athletes and coaches to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Title IX.
The Bonnie Bourg lecture and luncheon is held every spring to raise the level of awareness in the arts and humanities for the Nicholls community and the southeast region of Louisiana.
About Dr. Bonnie Bourg
Dr. Bourg was a native of Houma. She was a 1943 graduate of Terrebonne High School and attended H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College of Tulane University, graduating in 1947. She graduated from Louisiana State University in 1948 with a Master’s degree in Health and Physical Education and in 1979 with a doctoral degree in education.
Dr. Bourg was a charter member of the faculty when Francis T. Nicholls College opened its doors in September of 1948. She began her career at Nicholls as an instructor of health and physical education. She held various positions through her forty-two years at Nicholls. She was named the first Dean of Women. Later she became Dean of the Freshman Division and retired on January 5, 1991 as the Vice President emeriti of Student Affairs. She organized many groups and traditions that are still a part of Nicholls today. She wrote the Nicholls Alma Mater.
She was a parishioner of the St. Thomas Aquinas where she was a lector and Eucharistic minister. She was a past member of the St. Thomas Aquinas parish council and led the New Life program for many years.
In 1994, Dr. Bourg founded Thibodaux chapter of Marian Servants of the Word associated with the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. She was Director-emeritus of the group and remained active in the group to her death. Prior to Marian Servants of the Word, Dr. Bourg was active with the Bayou River chapter of Magnificat.
Dr. Bourg was a member of many professional and religious organizations on local, state and national levels.