Nicholls State University

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Nicholls State University
Nicholls State University seal.png
Former names
Francis T. Nicholls Junior College
Motto People Creating Possibilities
Type Public
Established September 23, 1948 (1948-09-23)
Endowment $8.5 million
President Bruce T. Murphy
Students 6,164[1]
Undergraduates 5,494[1]
Postgraduates 670[1]
Location Thibodaux, Louisiana, U.S.
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
Nickname Colonels
Affiliations UL System
Nicholls State University logo.png

Nicholls State University, founded in 1948, is a public university located in Thibodaux, Louisiana, United States. Nicholls is part of the University of Louisiana System of universities. Originally named 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. Its oldest structure, Elkins Hall, was completed in 1948 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nicholls is located in the Acadiana region. 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.


University rankings
U.S. News & World Report[2] 102 (South)
Master's University class
Washington Monthly[3] 203

The University of Louisiana System has identified the following areas as Unique Areas of Excellence at Nicholls State University.[4] 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. These include the 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's 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's 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. Nicholls is also the home of the Louisiana Center for Women and Government,[5] 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.[6] As with nearly all academic institutions in Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina affected 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.[7]

Division of Distance Learning[edit]

Nicholls has been offering online classes since 2000 and has 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.[8]

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.[9] 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 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.[10]

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.[11]

School of Art

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 Department of Art is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.

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, law and legislation, education, statistics and 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.[12]


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 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. The modern version of Col. Tillou wears a bright red uniform topped off with a contemporary-style military officer's cap.[13][14]

The Pride of Nicholls is the marching band which represents the university.[15][16] The band performs pregame and during halftime at all Nicholls State Colonels home football games, selected away games and in exhibitions at selected marching festivals during the fall semester.[17][18]

Nicholls' primary athletic rivals are Southeastern Louisiana University and Northwestern State University.

Notable alumni[edit]




Notable faculty[edit]

See also[edit]

Elkins Hall


  1. ^ a b c "Preliminary Headcount Enrollment Summary". Louisiana Board of Regents. September 2015. Retrieved 2015-10-19. 
  2. ^ "Best Colleges 2017: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016. 
  3. ^ "2016 Rankings - National Universities - Masters". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016. 
  4. ^ "Nicholls State University Report: Economic and Community Impact Study" (PDF). University of Louisiana System. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Louisiana Center for Women & Government at Nicholls State University". Nicholls State University. Retrieved June 27, 2012. 
  6. ^ "GPA of Honors students". The Princeton Review. 
  7. ^ "Humble president celebrated at Nicholls' 1st Inauguration". The Daily Comet. Retrieved November 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Division of Distance Learning". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Nicholls Online Degrees". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  10. ^ "College of Arts and Sciences". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Department of Mass Communication Office Site". Retrieved March 1, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Archives and Special Collections at Nicholls State University". Retrieved December 9, 2015. 
  13. ^ "Colonel Tillou". Archived from the original on March 6, 2012. Retrieved March 18, 2013. 
  14. ^ "New mascot at Nicholls State under fire". 2009-08-20. Retrieved 2015-08-28. 
  15. ^ "The Pride of Nicholls Marching Band". Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  16. ^ "Nicholls State Marching Band". U.S.News & World Report. Retrieved 2014-03-06. 
  17. ^ "The Pride of Nicholls Marching Band". Retrieved 2013-01-20. 
  18. ^ "Nicholls State University-Band". Retrieved 2014-03-08. 
  19. ^ "Robert E. Billiot". Retrieved May 4, 2015. 
  20. ^ "Anthony J. Guarisco, Jr.". Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Francis Heitmeier's Biography". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 22, 2015. 
  22. ^ "Sam Jones". Project Vote Smart. Retrieved April 17, 2015. 
  23. ^ "Representative Jerome "Dee" Richard's Biography". Retrieved August 28, 2013. 

External links[edit]