A New Dawn in Early Learning: Nicholls State University’s Collaborative Efforts

Nicholls State University, in collaboration with the Parish of Ascension, celebrated a significant milestone on April 3 as they joined hands to unveil the West Ascension Early Learning Center in Donaldsonville. According to this news release from Nicholls, the occasion was marked by a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by representatives from Nicholls and esteemed members of the community.

Over the years, Nicholls State University had forged a partnership with the Parish of Ascension, aiming to address a pressing need in the community – access to high-quality, affordable childcare. Recognizing the challenges families faced in accessing such services, they embarked on a journey to establish the Type III early learning center. This center aimed to not only provide childcare but also to lay the foundation for the holistic development of young minds, setting them on a path towards lifelong success and empowering families with opportunities previously beyond their reach.

Lacey Crochet, the Chief Innovation Officer at Nicholls, expressed her enthusiasm about the center’s inauguration, stating, “The opening of the West Ascension Early Learning Center marks the beginning of years of collaboration and investment in the education of children and the community of Donaldsonville. Access to early childhood education is a transformative experience that changes the fabric of communities, providing opportunities for economic and social benefits that will resonate for generations.”

Dr. Mistie Lasseigne, the Executive Director of Early Childhood Initiatives at Nicholls, emphasized the significance of the center in providing comprehensive support to families and residents within the community. She highlighted, “The establishment of the West Ascension Early Learning Center brings child care to the youngest of children within a framework that provides support, resources, workforce development, and guidance to the families and residents within the community.”

The collaborative effort between Nicholls and the Parish of Ascension ensured that the center would adhere to stringent guidelines set forth by esteemed organizations such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Louisiana Early Learning and Development Standards. This ensured that the center’s programs and operational framework would be of the highest standard, nurturing young minds in an environment conducive to their growth and development.

Central to the success of the center were the professionals from Nicholls, who would oversee its day-to-day operations. From managing staffing and curricula to fostering external partnerships with early childhood agencies, they would ensure that the center remained at the forefront of early childhood education.

Nicholls State University’s commitment to early childhood education extended beyond the confines of the West Ascension Early Learning Center. Their Birth to Five/Early Interventionist Education undergraduate program stood as a testament to their dedication to nurturing young minds. By imparting key early-learning concepts and skills to practitioners, they aimed to shape the future of education in Louisiana and beyond.

The College of Education and Behavioral Sciences at Nicholls echoed this commitment, striving to produce highly qualified professionals equipped to meet the diverse needs of the community. Through rigorous curricula and hands-on experiences, they endeavored to mold reflective decision-makers who would make a positive impact in their respective fields.

In conclusion, the inauguration of the West Ascension Early Learning Center marked a significant milestone in the journey towards accessible and high-quality childcare in Donaldsonville. Through collaborative efforts and a shared vision for the future, Nicholls State University and the Parish of Ascension had laid the groundwork for a brighter tomorrow. This initiative not only addresses the immediate need for childcare but also sets a precedent for community-driven educational endeavors that prioritize the well-being and development of future generations.

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Nicholls Foundation Give-N-Day 2024: A Journey of Generosity

The philanthropic efforts of the Nicholls Foundation  have once again garnered remarkable success, as evidenced by the remarkable outcome of its seventh Give-N-Day event in 2024. The event, which serves as a pivotal fundraising platform for the University’s departments and student organizations, has managed to amass a staggering sum of over $1.2 million in contributions, as per this news release from Nicholls State University.

In the latest installment of the Nicholls Foundation led Give-N-Day, the generosity of over 1,300 donors culminated in a total of 1,850 donations, collectively amounting to over $205,000. These funds hold the promise of significant impact, with 128 Nicholls organizations set to benefit, each assured of receiving at least one donation. What’s particularly heartening is the diverse array of contributors; not only did over 25% of donors identify themselves as Nicholls alumni, but over 38% of the gifts hailed from alumni, and more than 18% from Nicholls faculty or staff members. The spirit of generosity transcended geographical boundaries, with donations pouring in from 36 states and 11 countries. Moreover, a noteworthy 18% of donors opted to support multiple organizations, reflecting a commendable commitment to the University’s multifaceted endeavors.

Expressing profound gratitude for this overwhelming display of support, Jeremy Becker, Executive Director of the Nicholls Foundation, conveyed, “The entire Nicholls family is extremely grateful for the support from the Nicholls Community. More and more campus organizations are able to offer more experiences and opportunities for students because of the funds raised from this and all Give-N-Day events.”

The tangible impact of these contributions is underscored by the achievements of various programs that distinguished themselves on the Give-N-Day leaderboard. Topping the charts in terms of funds raised was the Bridge to Independence initiative, which garnered an impressive $19,170. Noteworthy mentions include the Colonel ESports program with $17,055, the Colonel Athletic Association Track & Field/Cross Country with $9,670, and the Accounting Program with $9,196, among others. Equally commendable was the remarkable show of support in terms of individual donations, with Bridge to Independence securing the highest number of contributions at 107.

However, behind these numbers lies a profound narrative of empowerment and inclusivity, epitomized by the Bridge to Independence program. At Nicholls State University, this pioneering initiative provides students with Intellectual Disabilities or Autism Spectrum Disorder the opportunity to immerse themselves in the college experience while honing essential leadership and social skills crucial for future employment and independent living. Positioned within the nurturing environment of Nicholls, recognized for its familial atmosphere and esteemed for being the safest campus in the UL system, the Bridge to Independence program stands as a beacon of inclusivity and support.

Certified by the U.S. Department of Education and heralded as Louisiana’s inaugural program of its kind, Bridge to Independence offers a comprehensive suite of support services, enabling eligible students to engage in regular classes, partake in campus activities, and even join organizations. Central to its success are the peer mentors, meticulously trained within the Nicholls College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, who provide invaluable assistance with coursework and foster social integration. In essence, Give-N-Day not only serves as a testament to the unwavering commitment of the Nicholls community but also embodies the transformative power of collective generosity in advancing educational opportunities and fostering inclusivity.

In conclusion, the resounding success of Give-N-Day 2024 not only showcases the remarkable generosity within the Nicholls community but also underscores the profound impact of collective philanthropy in advancing educational opportunities and fostering inclusivity. As we reflect on the achievements of this event, let us continue to celebrate the spirit of giving that propels us forward, united in our shared commitment to empowering education and enriching lives.

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From Vision to Reality: Bayou Region Incubator Welcomes Generous Support at Grand Opening

The Bayou Region Incubator and the Student Entrepreneur and Innovation Center celebrated a momentous occasion at their grand opening event, as they were presented with over $110,000 in generous support from various sponsors, as per this news release from Nicholls State University.

Among them, Chevron’s contribution of $50,000 played a pivotal role in furnishing the common areas and offices, ensuring that the space is equipped with essential furniture, office equipment, internet services, and mentoring platforms. Lisa Kliebert, the Executive Director of the Bayou Region Incubator, expressed immense gratitude, noting that without Chevron’s contribution, furnishing the space would have been a significant challenge.

In addition to Chevron’s support, Mosaic also stepped up with a substantial contribution of $50,000. This contribution focused on promoting diversity and inclusion within the incubator community. It encompassed crucial aspects such as diversity and inclusion training, roundtable cohorts, and sponsorship for the BRI to become a member of the River Region Chamber of Commerce. This sponsorship enables businesses associated with the incubator to attend River Chamber events as guests, fostering networking and collaboration opportunities. Kliebert emphasized the transformative impact of Mosaic’s contribution, highlighting its potential to benefit up to 17 businesses through various membership offerings, ranging from private office space to virtual memberships.

Premier Food Group’s donation of $7,500 was directed towards the creation of essential areas within the incubator, such as the kitchen and break room. These spaces are integral for fostering a conducive work environment, where members can recharge and enhance their productivity without having to leave the premises. Moreover, Premier Food Group has pledged to volunteer their time and expertise to conduct multiple training sessions at the BRI, further enriching the support ecosystem provided by the incubator.

Furthermore, Susanna Lamers, CEO of BioInfoExperts, contributed $3,300 to sponsor a Dedicated Desk membershipfor a full year. This sponsorship underscores the community’s commitment to supporting aspiring entrepreneurs on their journey towards success. To ensure transparency and accessibility, applications for all sponsored memberships or vouchers will be made available on the BRI website and social media platforms.

Reflecting on the significance of these contributions, Lisa Kliebert remarked, “The grand opening of this business incubator signifies the beginning of a powerful regional resource, fueled by the unwavering support of our sponsors. Chevron, Mosaic, Premier, and BioInfoExperts have fueled the Bayou Region Incubator to ignite movement – a movement dedicated to fostering innovation, launching dreams, and propelling the economic engine of our entire region.”

Looking ahead, the Bayou Region Incubator is poised to become a vital hub for entrepreneurial activity in the region. With plans to accommodate approximately 40 to 50 startups and small businesses, the incubator will offer a wide range of amenities and resources. From collaborative workspaces and meeting areas to private offices and multifunctional conference rooms, the incubator is designed to meet the diverse needs of its members at every stage of their entrepreneurial journey. Moreover, the incubator will serve as a platform for learning and growth, offering access to trainings, guest speakers, networking opportunities, mentoring, workshops, pitch competitions, and professional development initiatives.

Central to the mission of the Bayou Region Incubator is the promotion of a diverse, sustainable, and inclusive economy in Louisiana’s coastal community. By investing in entrepreneurship and small business development, the incubator aims to address the challenges posed by the coastal crisis and contribute to economic vitality in the aftermath of the pandemic and ongoing environmental threats.

In conclusion, the grand opening of the Bayou Region Incubator marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for entrepreneurship in the region. With unwavering support from sponsors like Chevron, Mosaic, Premier Food Group, and BioInfoExperts, the incubator is poised to become a beacon of innovation, collaboration, and economic growth in Louisiana’s coastal community.

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75 Years of Excellence: Nicholls State University’s Anniversary Gala

Nicholls State University recently geared up for a grand celebration as it prepared to host the much-anticipated 75th Anniversary Gala & Awards for Excellence on March 2, 2024. The festivities were scheduled to take place in the opulent Nicholls Cotillion Ballroom, commenced at 6 p.m., and promised an evening of glamor and philanthropy. According to this news release from the school, this noteworthy event, bedecked in black-tie finery, aimed to raise funds for the university’s general scholarship fund, thereby supporting the academic aspirations of future generations.

The gala kicked off with a patron social pre-event at 5:30 p.m., where attendees  indulged in the elegance of passed hors d’oeuvres and savor a specially crafted cocktail by Chef Norman Hunt. The main event followed, featuring a delightful cocktail hour and a sumptuous four-course dinner. Adding an air of excitement to the affair, were both silent and live auctions, offering attendees a chance to bid on exclusive items. The highlight of the evening was the presentation of the annual Nicholls Alumni Federation Awards for Excellence.

Paige Thomas, the Director of Alumni Affairs at Nicholls, expressed her enthusiasm for the gala, stating, “We are thrilled to announce the upcoming 75th Anniversary Gala and Awards for Excellence, a celebration of the incredible journey of Nicholls State University. This event holds special significance as it not only marks a milestone in our university’s history but also serves as a powerful opportunity to contribute to the general scholarship fund.”

Thomas emphasized the direct impact of participation, asserting that it will play a pivotal role in shaping the academic future of deserving scholars. The funds raised during the gala will contribute to the university’s general scholarship fund, providing crucial resources to support students in achieving their academic dreams. She extended a warm invitation, urging individuals to partake in an evening of fine dining, celebrating 75 years of academic excellence while honoring this year’s award recipients and ensuring the success of generations to come.

For those eager to enhance their gala experience in future years, patron social tickets were available at $250, offering additional perks such as passed hors d’oeuvres and a specialty cocktail. Individual tickets can also be purchased at $150. The event also presents sponsorship opportunities, ranging from $1,500 to $20,000, with benefits including ticket packages, reserved parking spots, promotional material visibility, end-zone tickets for Nicholls home football games, and more.

Participating in this event goes beyond a glamorous night out; it’s a commitment to ensuring the university’s continued ability to attract and retain outstanding students. The funds raised will contribute to annual scholarships, addressing unmet needs, and providing students with grants to attend academic conferences and competitions. Individuals looking to support Nicholls’ general scholarship fund and celebrate its outstanding alumni can purchase tickets at www.nicholls.edu/75thgala.

The 75th Anniversary Gala & Awards for Excellence is part of a broader series of events planned by Nicholls to celebrate its 75th anniversary in the spring. To explore more about these celebrations, visit www.nicholls.edu/celebrating75.

It’s crucial to note that the Nicholls Foundation, operating as an independent 501(c)3 corporation, plays a pivotal role in supporting the university’s mission. It seeks gifts and grants while managing funds and assets to endorse Nicholls through endowed chairs, professorships, scholarships, and various enhancement efforts. Those interested in contributing to Nicholls can find more information at nichollsfoundation.org.

In conclusion, the 75th Anniversary Gala & Awards for Excellence promised to be an enchanting evening filled with celebration and support for Nicholls State University. By participating in this event, individuals not only partake in the festivities but contribute to the longevity of academic excellence at the university.

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Nicholls and FUEL Consortium Tackle Energy Research Head-On

Nicholls State University has emerged as a pivotal player in a groundbreaking venture that is set to redefine the landscape of energy research and innovation, as per this news release from the school. The institution is part of the prestigious consortium, Future Use of Energy in Louisiana (FUEL), that has been awarded an unprecedented grant of up to $160 million by the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), marking the largest grant ever funded by the foundation. This ten-year endeavor is a collaborative effort involving more than 50 public and private partners, including Nicholls, private energy companies, universities, community and technical colleges, and state agencies.

The NSF Engines grant, announced at a press conference in Washington, D.C., is a testament to the commitment towards supporting Louisiana’s energy industry, fostering job creation in the sector, addressing energy challenges through innovative solutions, and contributing to the training of a globally competitive energy workforce.

The focal point of this monumental grant is the energy transition and decarbonization of Louisiana’s industrial corridor. Louisiana, with its world-renowned expertise and solutions in the energy sector, boasts a workforce of over 250,000 individuals engaged in energy, chemical, and petrochemical industries. The state’s strategic geographic location, coupled with an extensive infrastructure of plants, refineries, and 50,000 miles of pipelines, positions it at the forefront of the energy transition. The NSF’s substantial investment aims to establish Louisiana as the premier global hub for research and development in the ever-expanding energy industry.

FUEL’s comprehensive approach encompasses collaboration between diverse entities, including educational institutions, energy companies, and government agencies. Together, they are committed to driving technological advancements and workforce development crucial for sustaining Louisiana’s energy sector. The consortium will address emerging challenges in various areas, such as carbon capture, transport, and storage; hydrogen technologies; utilization of carbon dioxide for producing low-carbon fuels and essential carbon-based products; water use and management; sustainable manufacturing; and policy development.

Louisiana Economic Development will further bolster the project by contributing an additional $67.5 million over the next decade. These funds will support higher education partners in building a world-class team to translate research into practical solutions, fostering broad economic impacts across the state.

Nicholls State University, positioned strategically at the intersection of coastal research and energy innovations, is well-poised to secure a portion of these grant dollars. The Coastal Data Refinery, powered by HEWMEN® at the Coastal Center, is set to become a leading research facility. This center will not only play a crucial role in combating coastal land loss but will also contribute to energy transition innovations. The collaboration with industry leaders and the innovative BALANCED Media | Technology HEWMEN® platform will create environmentally and economically beneficial opportunities for the Gulf Coast region.

Nicholls State University President Jay Clune emphasizes the institution’s unique position, stating, “Nicholls is at the crossroads where coastal research meets energy innovations. We understand clearly the importance of the balance between saving our coastline with the vital role the energy industry plays in our region.”

Leading the FUEL team is LSU’s Andrew Maas, the principal investigator on the project and associate vice president for research. Maas emphasizes the transformative nature of this effort, stating, “This culminating effort is trajectory-changing for energy transition research, commercialization, and workforce initiatives in Louisiana and all organizations involved.”

Dr. John Doucet, dean of the College of Sciences and Technology at Nicholls, leads the university’s team and expresses pride in Nicholls’ historical role in training students for the energy workforce. Doucet highlights the NSF investment as a mark of confidence in the collaborative potential of higher education, industry, and agencies in Louisiana to innovate solutions for energy challenges.

As the university celebrates Nicholls’ 75th anniversary in service to the Bayou Region and the Gulf Coast, they welcome a future where it continues to play a pivotal role in shaping the energy landscape.

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Nicholls State University’s Dive into Global Communications

Nicholls State University’s Department of Mass Communications is gearing up for an exciting new venture with the impending launch of the Nancy Sanderson Matherne Institute for Global Communications. This visionary program is poised to establish a robust global communications structure, connecting Nicholls not only with the local community but also extending its reach to the wider world. According to this article from NichollsThe institute’s primary goal is to enrich the academic experience for faculty, staff, and students through international collaborations and real-world applications in the field of communications.

In a heartfelt initiative, Dr. Brian Matherne, a respected Houma physician, and his daughter Kellie Daniels, a lecturer in public relations and corporate communications at Newcastle University in England, have spearheaded the creation and funding of this groundbreaking institute. Named in honor of Nancy Sanderson Matherne, a UK native, longtime resident of Terrebonne Parish, and the first female member of the Terrebonne Parish School Board, the institute aims to celebrate Nancy’s profound impact on education in South Louisiana and her belief in the transformative power of travel to foster understanding and effective communication across diverse cultural contexts.

To facilitate the institute’s mission, Nicholls will select a group of students in its inaugural year to become institute recipients. These fortunate individuals will engage in an international campaign, working closely with an international client and embarking on a journey to the United Kingdom. There, they will have the unique opportunity to pitch their campaign to a panel of communications specialists and the project client, gaining invaluable real-world experience in the process.

Kellie Daniels, granddaughter of Nancy Sanderson Matherne and co-founder of the institute, expressed her excitement, saying, “We are thrilled to be able to open the door to international travel and global communications opportunities to the students at Nicholls State University and hope this link opens the door to further cultural programs and exchanges. Like Granny always used to say, ‘Travel really is the best education.’”

The institute’s collaboration extends beyond borders, with partnerships established with international universities, specifically Newcastle University in England. This collaboration aims to enhance the understanding and practice of international communications, broadening the horizons of Nicholls’ Mass Communication program. Dr. James Stewart,the head of the Mass Communication department at Nicholls State University, emphasized the significance of this international experience, stating, “Together, we can carve a path for world-class education to ensure our students, and as a result our communities, have a bright future.”

Funding for the Nancy Sanderson Matherne Institute for Global Communications will be derived from private donations, grants, and support from Nicholls State University. Those interested in investing in Nicholls can find more information at nichollsfoundation.org.

The Department of Mass Communication at Nicholls State University boasts a diverse range of concentration areas of study, state-of-the-art facilities, and opportunities for students to join publications or organizations. The department’s internship program is specifically designed to provide students with practical experience, complementing their classroom education. The dedicated faculty works tirelessly to develop students’ professional skills and values, aligning them with the current standards of the mass media industry.

In conclusion, the Nancy Sanderson Matherne Institute for Global Communications is not just a new chapter for Nicholls State University but a leap into a future where education transcends boundaries, and communication becomes a global endeavor. This initiative is set to shape the way students perceive and engage with the world, emphasizing the importance of cultural awareness and effective communication on a global scale.

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