Nicholls State University

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Nicholls State University
Former names
Francis T. Nicholls Junior College
Motto People Creating Possibilities
Established September 23, 1948
Type Public
President Bruce T. Murphy
Students 6,298[1]
Undergraduates 5,695[1]
Postgraduates 603[1]
Location Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA
29°47′25″N 90°48′10″W / 29.7903°N 90.8027°W / 29.7903; -90.8027Coordinates: 29°47′25″N 90°48′10″W / 29.7903°N 90.8027°W / 29.7903; -90.8027
Colors Red & Gray
Athletics NCAA Division I FCSSouthland
Sports 14 varsity teams
Nickname Colonels
Affiliations UL System

Nicholls State University, founded in 1948, is a public university located in Thibodaux, Louisiana, USA. Nicholls is part of the University of Louisiana System of universities. Originally called Francis T. Nicholls Junior College, the university is named for Francis T. Nicholls, a former governor of Louisiana, and member of the Louisiana Supreme Court.

The 287-acre (1.16 km2) campus, once part of historic Acadia Plantation, fronts on Bayou Lafourche, about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of New Orleans and 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Baton Rouge.

Nicholls is located in the Acadiana region, also known as "Cajun Country." It is also within the geographical bounds of the Mississippi River Delta, and close to the Mississippi River, its distributaries, Louisiana's wetlands, and the Gulf of Mexico. The school is sometimes referred to as "Our Harvard on the Bayou;" with the university bookstore selling shirts sporting this light-hearted nickname. The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) at Nicholls, is an initiative focusing on critical thinking [2]


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[3] 87 (South)
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[4] 203

The University of Louisiana System has identified the following areas as Unique Areas of Excellence at Nicholls State University.[5] These are areas of study that, because of either their unique classes or their leadership in Louisiana education, have been selected for this special honor. John Folse Culinary Institute, Biological Sciences – Marine and environmental sciences emphasis, Nursing, Allied Health Sciences, Teacher Education, Accounting and Information Systems, and Child, Family and Social Services. Other notable degree programs include: Bachelor of Arts in Art, English, Mass Communication, and Music; Bachelor of Science in Geomatics; and Master degrees in Biology, Education, and Business Administration (in addition to an Executive MBA program).

Nicholls is one of the first institutions in the United States to offer bachelor degrees in Culinary Arts. Students gain expertise in both Cajun and French cuisine. The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute is the only American member of the prestigious Institut Paul Bocuse. Students also have the opportunity to earn a bachelor's degree in Culinary Arts and then work towards earning the MBA.

Nicholls' faculty have been recognized nationally and internationally by the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Phi Kappa Lambda, the Renaissance Society of America, and other organizations and associations. In the past three years, several faculty members have been awarded grants from the Louisiana Board of Regents. The university has the only certified geneticist in the South. It also has the highest rate of librarians with PhDs in both public and private universities and colleges in the state. Nicholls is also the home of the Louisiana Center for Women and Government[6] as well as the Dyslexia Center of Louisiana.

Princeton Review statistics from 2010 list the student-to-faculty ratio at Nicholls as 20:1. Admission has become selective. The average GPA upon entry is 3.2 with an ACT score of 21. The average GPA of Honors students is 3.6 with an ACT score of 26. Almost 62 percent of the student body are women; and nearly 3 percent are international students.[7] As with nearly all academic institutions in Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina has had an impact on Nicholls' completion rate and overall ranking. During the aftermath of Katrina, Nicholls suspended its admissions selectivity in order to accommodate students from hurricane affected institutions. The university also had many matriculating students who were affected by the hurricane and did not return.

In April 2014, Dr. Bruce Murphy was inaugurated as Nicholls State University's fifth president. [8]

Division of Distance Learning[edit]

Nicholls has been offering online classes since 2000 and have had distance education courses of other types prior to that (including Course by Cassette, Satellite courses, and Video Conferencing). Nicholls State offers over 100 online courses through its Division of Distance Learning.[9] Students registered with the University can access these courses from anywhere in the world.

Nicholls Online

In January 2013, Nicholls State began to offer complete degrees online through a new initiative known as Nicholls Online. Located in the Division of Distance Education, Nicholls Online provides complete degrees online in a variety of disciplines.[10] Nicholls Online is different from regular online courses at Nicholls in that the courses are offered through 8-week sessions and have a unique fee structure.

College of Education[edit]

College of Education

The College of Education is the “educational provider” for two academic departments: Teacher Education and Psychology and Counselor Education. Several undergraduate and graduate programs are offered in each department. Most of our programs are nationally recognized through the National Council on the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS).

Undergraduate Degree programs:

Birth to Five / Early Interventionist Education Elementary Education

  • PK-3 Certification
  • 1-5 Certification
  • 4-8 Certification

Art Education (K-12) Business Education (6-12) Child Development and Preschool Management (two-year associate degree program) English Education (6-12) General Science Education (6-12) Family and Consumer Sciences Education Health and Physical Education (K-12) Mathematics Education (6-12) Music Education (K-12)

  • Instrumental Music Education
  • Vocal Music Education

Psychology Social Studies Education (6-12)

Teacher Certification Only:

  • Elementary Grades 1-5
  • Middle School Grades 4-8
  • Secondary Grades 6-12
  • Health and Physical Education K-12

College of Education Graduate Studies

Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) The Master of Arts in Teaching is a graduate program in teacher preparation for individuals who have a baccalaureate degree in the liberal arts or sciences and a desire to enter the teaching profession.

  • Elementary Education Grades 1-5
  • General & Special Education Mild/Moderate
  • Middle School Education Grades 4-8
  • Secondary Education Grades 6-12, with concentrations in: Math, English, Social Studies, and Science.
  • Vocational Education (Business Education, Family and Consumer Science Education)
  • Health and Physical Education

Master of Education (M.Ed.)

  • Curriculum and Instruction, with concentrations in: Early Childhood, High Incidence Disabilities, Reading Specialist, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education.
  • Educational Leadership with concentrations in K-12 School Leadership, Higher Education Administration, and Educational Technology Leadership
  • School Counseling

Specialist in School Psychology (Specialist):

The Nicholls State University Specialist in School Psychology program prepares future school psychologists to serve as consultants to the entire school community. The graduate program, which is recognized by the National Association of School Psychologists, trains students to provide a variety of psychological services within educational settings. Students get hands-on experience during supervised field experiences in public schools and at the Psychology Training Clinic on campus.

Psychological Counseling (M.A.)

The Nicholls State University Master of Arts in Psychological Counseling program prepares students to become licensed professional counselors in Louisiana and other jurisdictions. The curriculum also focuses on administering and interpreting psychological tests as well as using research techniques to solve practical counseling problems.

College of Arts and Sciences[edit]

The College of Arts and Sciences provides a liberal education in associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs and to students of other majors completing the university’s general education course requirements.

Here is a list of the degrees awarded in the College of Arts and Sciences.[11]

Bachelor of Arts:

  • Art
  • English
  • Government
  • History
  • Mass Communication
  • Music
  • Sociology

Bachelor of Science:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Geomatics
  • Manufacturing Engineering Technology
  • Mathematics
  • Petroleum Services

Master of Science:

  • Community/Technical College Mathematics
  • Marine and Environmental Biology

Department of Mass Communication

Nicholls State University’s Mass Communication Department is one of five mass communication programs in Louisiana accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (ACEJMC). The department offers 2 concentrations: journalism and public relations. Nicholls mass communication students and faculty employ two computer labs and a broadcast studio for learning and instruction in communication principles. Students within the department are also encouraged to apply for jobs with the KNSU radio station and Student Publications, helping to produce the yearbook or publishing the weekly newspaper, the Nicholls Worth.[12]

School of Art

Art Program Accreditation

The art program is built upon a broad liberal arts foundation and preparation in studio disciplines required for careers in the visual arts and design. The Division of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.


The Division of Art supports the university mission in offering individuals an opportunity to study the visual arts. It aims to provide studies in all visual media (photography, graphic design, printmaking, painting, drawing, ceramics, sculpture, and art history), to provide an environment in which students from the region can understand their personal place in the history of art, to provide the skills needed for both employment or continued studies in their area, and to provide a degree in visual arts, with a concentration in studio art, applied arts, or art education.

The university awards the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree with a major in art to students who, in addition to satisfying the minimum requirements for graduation from the College of Arts and Sciences, complete the art curriculum outline.

Ellender Memorial Library[edit]

The Ellender Memorial Library offers research assistance to the Nicholls State University community via 125+ databases and traditional reference books. The Library provides access to over 61,000 e-books as part of a collection of more than 245,000 books. Librarians provide library research instruction classes in all disciplines as well as individual consultation sessions. A leisure book collection with recent popular writers and 50 popular magazine titles is also available. The Library has both single and group study rooms for patron use. There is also an interlibrary loan service which acquires materials from other libraries, and a courtesy card service that allows patrons to check out materials from other Louisiana universities.

Ellender Library, through its Government Information Department, has been a selective depository for Louisiana state government publications since 1960 and a selective depository of the U.S. Federal Depository Library Program since 1962. The Library is a congressionally designated depository for United States government documents. Public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 USC). In its role as a depository, Government Information houses an extensive collection of books, periodicals, microfiche, maps, CDs, and kits published by Louisiana state and federal agencies on a wide array of topics such as health, geology, military history, laws & legislation, education, statistics and much more.

The Archives and Special Collections Department of Ellender Memorial Library is the archival repository for the historical records of the university and serves as a repository for primary and secondary material relating to the geographical, historical and cultural uniqueness of the region. The collections include personal papers, business and organizational records, historical photographs, literary manuscripts, maps, diaries and scrapbooks. Newspapers, oral histories, and numerous other formats are also represented. Many collections document the plantation era and the sugar cane industry. The Archives and Special Collections Department is also home to the library’s Regional, Rare Book, and Genealogy Collections.


Nicholls sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (Football Championship Subdivision or FCS for football) in the Southland Conference.

Nicholls' colors are red and gray (two-tone) and the athletics teams are nicknamed the Colonels.

The Nicholls State University Department of Athletics currently sponsors men's intercollegiate baseball, basketball, cross-country, football, golf and tennis along with women's intercollegiate basketball, cross-country, softball, soccer, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor) and volleyball.

Nicholls official athletics mascot is Colonel Tillou. President Stephen Hulbert stated that "The Colonel is and will remain the mascot designation for Nicholls State University and its intercollegiate athletics program" on March 31, 2004 while calling the current Colonel depiction antiquated and reminiscent of the Civil War in the South. The decision to retire the mascot was made to avoid portraying racist sentiments associated with the Civil War confederacy. Although met with criticism from the school and surrounding community who were in favor of preserving the colonel mascot, the retirement of the mascot was considered vital to the public relations outlook of the university and its policy of solidarity with The University of Louisiana System's policy on discrimination. Hulbert banned the old Colonel from the university and tasked student leaders to work on a suitable replacement. That process lasted six years. The new Col. Tillou was introduced to the campus community in August 2009, sporting a bright red uniform topped off with a contemporary-style military officer's cap.

Nicholls' primary athletic rivals are Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern State University. Nicholls' now defunct rivalry with Texas State, dubbed "The Battle For the Paddle" ended with Texas State's decision to join the FBS.

Nicholls State University Alma Mater[edit]

All hail to thee, our Alma Mater,
We raise thy glorious name on high.
The echo of thy spirit rises,
And fills devotion’s cloudless sky.
To thee we pledge our loyalty
Through all the years that are to be.
Hail to Nicholls, Alma Mater,
Our hearts are thine and thine shall be.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Summary" (PDF). Louisiana Board of Regents. September 25, 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-20. 
  2. ^ "Enhancing Education: Nicholls prepares for quality enhancement proposal". The Nicholls Worth. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Regional Universities Rankings". America's Best Colleges 2012. U.S. News & World Report. September 13, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2011. 
  4. ^ "The Washington Monthly Master's University Rankings". The Washington Monthly. 2011. Retrieved October 6, 2011. 
  5. ^ "Nicholls State University Report: Economic and Community Impact Study" (PDF). University of Louisiana System. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Louisiana Center for Women & Government at Nicholls State University". Nicholls State University. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  7. ^ "GPA of Honors students". The Princeton Review. 
  8. ^ "Humble president celebrated at Nicholls' 1st Inauguration". The Daily Comet. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Division of Distance Learning". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Nicholls Online Degrees". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Department of Mass Communication Office Site". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Robert E. Billiot". Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  14. ^ "Anthony J. Guarisco, Jr.". Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Francis Heitmeier's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  16. ^ "Sam Jones". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  17. ^ "Representative Jerome "Dee" Richard's Biography". Retrieved August 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]