Entergy Louisiana Donates to Nicholls Tour Tuesday Initiative

It was recently announced that Nicholls State University’s program that strives to bring underrepresented students to campus for collegiate tours, the Tour Tuesday initiative, recently received additional funding for its longevity, according to this news release from the school. Since its inception in 2016, Nicholls’s Tour Tuesday initiative has accounted for nearly 1,000 Bayou Region high school students to tour the campus. Luckily, thanks to a $10,000 donation from Entergy Louisiana, this exciting program can continue.

Renee Hicks is the Assistant Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness, Access, and Success at Nicholls State University, and she commented on Entergy’s contribution by saying “Entergy Louisiana has been a tremendous partner to Nicholls State University in identifying students in our region who may have thought college wasn’t an option for them. When we get students here and show them all Nicholls has to offer and explain the different financial avenues they can utilize to attain a college degree, their outlook changes to one of hope.”

The Tour Tuesday initiative allows Bayou Region high school students from underrepresented groups an opportunity to see what can be offered by higher education. In order to make the most of their program, Nicholls works with high school guidance counselors from the Bayou Region in order to identify the low-income or first-generation high school students who meet the admissions standards at Nicholls.

CEO of Entergy Louisiana Phillip May commented on investing in Nicholls’ Tour Tuesday program by saying, “a community’s quality of life is directly tied to educational and workforce opportunities, which is why it’s so important that we support initiatives like Nicholls’ Tour Tuesday program. Our youth are future leaders, innovators, and lawmakers, and this tour is another way we can provide tools and resources that can help them reach aspirations right here, at home, in Louisiana.”

This $10,000 donation wasn’t the only gift that Entergy Louisiana had given to Nicholls in 2023, as this news came just after it was announced that the company had donated $160,000 to the Nicholls State University Coastal Center.The donation was intended to support the Coastal Center Coast, Climate, and Culture Literacy Program, which is designed to bring organized presentations, publications, group tours, exhibits, and an additional web page to the program.

Nicholls’ Coastal Center, which is scheduled to begin construction in 2023, will be an institution that works directly with the Bayou Region Incubator in order to help small businesses and create jobs that are specific to the Bayou community and the Nicholls Farm to help test the real-world application of the center’s coastal research. Additionally, the Coastal Center will also serve as an educational resource that’s accessible to the public.

Entergy’s Phillip May commented on the company’s commitment to this program by saying, “this program is dedicated to preserving the Louisiana coastline. In partnership with Nicholls State University, Entergy is committed to enhancing coastal education and outreach initiatives that are impactful today and in the future. Coastal restoration and protection are not only important to us but directly benefit the communities we serve.”

Entergy Louisiana, LLC brings its service to approximately 1.1 million electric customers in 58 Louisiana parishes. In Baton Rouge, Entergy Louisiana is also able to provide natural gas service to approximately 96,000 customers. Additionally, Entergy companies employ approximately 4,5000 people in the state of Louisiana, and about 2,200 Entergy retirees reside within the state. Thanks to Entergy Louisiana’s two donations to Nicholls, future generations will be able to enjoy more of what the University’s campus and Louisiana’s coastline will have to offer.

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Nicholls’ Chauvin Sculpture Garden Received Grant to Be Restored

It was recently announced via this new release from Nicholls State University that the Nicholls Foundation was a recipient of $75,000 from Ruth Arts and the Ruth DeYoung Kohler Legacy Fund in order to repair the Chauvin Sculpture Garden.

The Chauvin Sculpture Garden is one of Nicholls State University’s most timeless landmarks, but in August 2021, it sustained damages from Hurricane Ida’s 150 miles per hour winds. And thanks to the RDK Legacy Fund, the Chauvin Sculpture Garden will soon be repaired and back to its original glory.

Dr. Gary LaFleur is the Director of the Center for Bayou Studies and an R.E. Miller Endowed Professor of Honors Studies, and when speaking about the support from Ruth Arts, he said: “We are delighted to receive support from Ruth Arts with their generous and substantial donation. We plan to use the funds in ongoing efforts to repair and restore the garden to its original state before it suffered damage due to Hurricane Ida. The funds will also be used for our continuous commitment to keep the garden open for visitors with alternating exhibits on display every weekend and of course our annual Chauvin Folk Art Festival in April.”

This past fall, the Nicholls Studio Gallery at the Chauvin Sculpture Garden had featured an exhibit of Nicholls State University Spring 2021 Graduates. The Show was hosted by the Friends of the Chauvin Sculpture Garden, and it served as a shining example of how the space lends itself to commemoration, academic showcase, and communal gatherings at Nicholls.  Located on Bayou Petit Caillou in South Louisiana, the Chauvin Sculpture Garden is a “world-class art environment created by outsider artist Kenny Hill.” The garden is “always free and open to the public: daily from 8 am to 5 pm.

When speaking about how the Chauvin Sculpture Garden aims to preserve the legacy of Kenny Hill, Dr. LaFleur said, “This generous donation is a fervent reminder that Nicholls has an international reputation for helping rescue, restore, and maintain the world-renown visionary art of Kenny Hill that can be viewed at the Chauvin Sculpture Garden. The Chauvin Sculpture Garden has helped to put Nicholls on the map within Louisiana, across the nation, and across the globe as a university that is committed to conservation and interpretation of visionary folk art.”

In its earliest form, the Chauvin Sculpture Garden was originally owned by Kenny Hill when he began to transform the bayou environment of his home into a garden that housed over 100 concrete sculptures. The most prominent piece among these was a 45-foot-tall lighthouse sculpture that was composed of 7,000 bricks in total. Prolific as he was, Hill never publicized his work, and he eventually abandoned it in the early 2000s, before the site was gifted to Nicholls. Beginning in 2002, the Chauvin Sculpture Garden has been owned by Nicholls State University, open to the public, and home to the Nicholls State University Art Studio, which was gifted by the Kohler Foundation.

As per Nicholls State University, “The mission of the Chauvin Sculpture Garden and Nicholls Art Studio is to educate the public on the value of Folk Art and its importance in the world of visual arts. The studio and site preserve and protect the creative works of Kenny Hill and display the work of contemporary artists in the 1,000 square foot exhibition space.”

The grant given to the Nicholls Foundation comes from Ruth Arts, a “new grantmaker based in the Midwest dedicated to meeting the evolving needs and lived experiences of artists, communities and arts organizations whose work is anchored by visual arts, performing arts and arts education.” Ruth Arts had announced the Ruth DeYoung Kohler Legacy fund, a grant that was designed to mirror the support that Ruth DeYoung Kohler (1941-2020) had made to arts institutions throughout her lifetime.

Karen Patterson, the Executive Director of Ruth Arts, commented on the fund by saying, “these programs are at once forward-facing and anchored in Ruth DeYoung Kohler II’s inimitable legacy. “We’re proud to honor Ruth’s lifelong commitment to the arts by continuing to fund the organizations she personally supported and to develop new programs in her spirit of experimentation and community-building.”

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Keep Nicholls Beautiful Awarded Grant for New Campus Water Bottle Refilling Stations

It was recently announced that the Keep Nicholls Beautiful (KNB) organization has been selected as a recipient of Keep Louisiana Beautiful’s University Affiliate Grant. According to this news release from Nicholls State University, the coveted University Affiliate Grant will allow KNB to install two new water bottle refilling stations on campus as well as host a water bottle giveaway. The water bottle giveaway will also serve as an opportunity for students receiving a new bottle to sign a pledge to stop single-use plastic water bottles and also sign up to volunteer at the next KNB event.

Keep Louisiana Beautiful, an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, is the state’s premier anti-litter and community improvement organization, and their University Affiliate Grant that’s been awarded to Nicholls is in the amount of $4,354.15. The University Affiliate Grant program was originally developed as part of a $500,000 five-year EPA Gulf of Mexico Trash Free Waters Grant that was secured by the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2021.

As part of that five-year Grant, Keep Louisiana Beautiful was established as a sub-recipient, and the funding has allowed for the University Affiliates Program to be launched, a litter assessment app to be developed, educational training videos or campus communities to be created, and grant opportunities for University Affiliates to be created. The program itself is operated in response to a growing interest in sustainability, waste reduction, and litter prevention that is able to occur at the university level.

Speaking on being selected as a recipient of the Keep Louisiana Beautiful University Affiliate Grant, Dr. Mitzi Jackson,the Keep Nicholls Beautiful Task Force Chair, said, “Keep Nicholls Beautiful is grateful to receive this grant from Keep Louisiana Beautiful. Nicholls students desire more water bottle refilling stations on campus, and with this grant, we will install two new stations in academic buildings. The water bottle giveaway aims to reduce the utilization of single-use plastic water bottles and will help to educate our campus on the harmful environmental effects of single-use plastics.”

Keep Nicholls Beautiful was formed during the fall of 2021 when Nicholls State University became part of the first cohort of the Keep Louisiana Beautiful University Affiliate Program. This year, the impacts of KNB were seen as over 1,200 students moved into residence halls for the Fall 2022 semester, and KNB members collected their cardboard boxes. The boxes were then donated to the LaFourche Arc as a part of their prominent cardboard recycling program.

In the forthcoming Spring Semester, Keep Nicholls Beautiful is planning to stay busy, which will include educating the campus community on proper recycling techniques and other sustainable practices that they can implement. KNB has taken the steps to arrange for two courses to partner together on a collaborative education outreach campaign. One of Dr. Juliann Allen’s marketing courses will collaborate with one of Ms. Trisha Rabalais’ graphic design courses for the planned service lending project.

At the end of the Spring 2023 semester, KNB plans to partner with the Colonel Closet to collect any unwanted items, nonperishable food items, and hygiene products from students moving out of the residence halls on campus. The nonperishable foods and hygiene products will then be donated to Mom’s Pantry and other local food banks in the area, which other items considered necessary for making a residence hall room more comfortable, such as kitchen supplies, decor and wall art, and storage containers, will be used for a Trash to Treasure sale at the start of the Fall 2023 Semester. The Task Force in charge of Keep Nicholls Beautiful consists of members from each college, various key departments on campus, SGA, and the GREEN Club.

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Grant Awarded to Nicholls for New Engineering Technology Program

In order to create a brand-new degree program in the field of engineering, Nicholls State University has been awarded a $1.8 million grant, according to this press release from the school. As an integral part of the South Louisiana H2theFuture Energy Transformation Coalition, Nicholls will offer students the Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Technology and thus provide career-ready training for students to join the emerging clean energy workforce in the state.

H2theFuture, a 25-organization large partnership of institutions and businesses across South Louisiana, of which Nicholls is a member, has been awarded a $50 million federal grant by the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

Greater New Orleans Development Foundation and its affiliate, Greater New Orleans, Inc., are leading the H2theFuture project. This project will create jobs in Louisiana by implementing a clean hydrogen cluster strategy that is designed to lower carbon emissions in the South Louisiana industrial corridor.

Nicholls University is set to develop a new engineering technology curriculum that will be focused on serving the needs of the generation and delivery of new energy in South Louisiana. As a result, the school will be supporting incumbent, dislocated, and fresh workers that have emerged from Hurricane Ida, restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the oilfield downturn.

Dr. John Doucet is the Dean of the College of Sciences and Technology as well as the Director of Coastal Initiatives and Project Leader. Dr. Doucet spoke about the grant by saying, “t​he H2theFuture grant will fund a brand new engineering technology degree program at Nicholls focused on preparing students for the emerging renewable energy industry in Louisiana. With this funding, Nicholls will be providing high-quality engineering technologists to satisfy workforce needs as well as preparing our students for high-paying technical jobs and careers.”

Multiple of Nicholls’ advisors from the energy and engineering industry have indicated that this type of program’s produced graduates will be some of the most employable in the future. Nicholls’ collaborative degree program will supply its students not only with project-based electrical, mechanical, and industrial engineering skills, but they will also be able to coordinate construction projects, conduct building and equipment inspections, and use unmanned aerial vehicles for data collection.

Recently, other non-industry partners have supported Nicholls State University in the development of its Coastal Center, which is a research and education center that will be focused on science-based solutions to problems in coastal areas and estuaries.

Because Louisiana has the highest per-capita use of industrial H2 in the United States, as well as other factors, the state may be the best choice for a clean hydrogen cluster. Some of the state’s other advantages include it having the densest pipeline system in the country as well as the largest hydrogen system that stretches over 700-miles from Galveston Bay in Texas to New Orleans. Additionally, Louisiana is home to the second-largest port complex in the entire Western Hemisphere.

The state also has the fourth-largest offshore wind energy potential in America. Lastly, outside of Louisiana partnering with various universities that are skilled in energy training, the state is also home to major private sector industrial companies that are already on the frontlines of the hydrogen revolution, such as DOW, Shell, and CF Industries.

Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune commented on the University’s new program made possible by their being a part of the South Louisiana H2theFuture Energy Transformation Coalition by saying, “we are proud to be a member of the H2theFuture initiative and so appreciative of this generous grant. Engineering Technology is a field in demand in our service region, and this will provide the opportunity to earn a degree at Nicholls for these ever-important jobs.”

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Nicholls State University Renames Two Buildings after Alumni

Recently, Nicholls State University announced that they will be officially naming two buildings on campus in honor of two alumni of Nicholls who have had a significant impact on the University, according to this news release from Nicholls. Towards the start of the Fall semester, the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System officially approved the renaming of the two Nicholls buildings, and it was announced that an official ceremony commemorating the change is set to occur later in the Fall 2022 semester.

Nicholls State University will be renaming their College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building to Dr. O. Cleveland Hill Hall. The building will be named after Dr. O. Cleveland Hill, a Mississippi native who was initially offered a scholarship and recruited to play basketball at Nicholls in 1968. Dr. O. Cleveland Hill became the first black athlete to wear a Colonel uniform, and as a sophomore, his teammates voted him team captain. This made him the first non-senior to serve in that position in school history.

After receiving his Bachelor of Arts in 1973, he joined the army and then returned to Nicholls as a student assistant basketball coach while completing his Master of Education degree. Dr. Hill served as the head basketball coach and assistant football coach at East Thibodaux Junior High School before being hired on as an assistant basketball coach at Nicholls. He stayed at Nicholls State University as an Assistant Professor of Physical Education, and in 1999, he became the Dean of the College of Education.

Dr. Steven H. Kenney, Jr. is the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, and Title IX Coordinator at Nicholls. Dr. Steven H. Kenney, Jr. commented on the appropriateness of naming the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences Building after Dr. Hill by saying, “placing Dr. Hill’s name on the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences building, from what he represents, gives all Nicholls students the audacity to hope that if Dr. Hill can go from a student to the dean of a college, I can do this as well.”

Nicholls will also be renaming the College of Sciences and Technology Building to Dr. Marilyn B. Kilgen Hall. The building will be named after Dr. Marilyn B. Kilgen, who dedicated more than four decades of her life to Nicholls. After she had received her bachelor’s degree from the university in 1966, Kilden earned her doctorate from Auburn University before returning to Nicholls. She went on to teach Biology at Nicholls for 41 years.

Outside of teaching Biology at the university, Dr. Kilgen is also known for being a nationally renowned microbiologist and seafood safety scientist who has received more than $7.5 million in research funding. Her research has been reported in over 80 presentations and over 90 scientific publications; furthermore, she has served on committees for the United States Department of Education. Dr. Kilgen served as the head of the Nicholls Department of Biological Sciences for 12 years where her substantial impact was seen in the Department of Biological Sciences winning one of only 17 Departmental Excellence Through Faculty Enhancement awards, making Dr. Kilgen’s department the only undergraduate program in the state of Louisiana to win the coveted award.

Nicholls Dean of Sciences and Technology, Alcee Fortier Professor, and Distinguished Service Professor Dr. John P. Doucet also spoke about Dr. Kilgen’s impact by saying: “not only was Dr. Kilgen one of the foremost scientists and accomplished faculty members in the 75-year history of Nicholls; she is also the architect of the modern biology department, having renovated the undergraduate curriculum and created the graduate curriculum from scratch, both of which we still use today.

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Coastal Center at Nicholls Partners with BALANCED Media | Technology

Nicholls State University has made another monumental step towards putting their soon-to-be-constructed Coastal Center on the forefront of technology development, according to this news release from the university. The monumental step being Nicholls State University’s recently signed an agreement with the award-winning technology company, BALANCED Media | Technology. The company, BALANCED, specializes in advanced data infrastructure and using AI technology in order to enable both humans and machines to work together, complementing one another’s strengths and countering their weaknesses. The agreement that was signed between the award-winning technology company and Nicholls was reportedly made possible through the Nicholls Foundation’s support.

Nicholls President Dr. Jay Clune commented on the agreement by saying, “this is a unique opportunity to change the trajectory of our region and Nicholls State University. The partnership of Nicholls State University and the Coastal Center with BALANCED Media | Technology will allow Nicholls State University researchers to use an Advanced Data Infrastructure and the patented HEWMEN technology platform to solve some of our most pressing coastal problems and create a working coast.”

Dr. Clune’s mentioning of the school’s utilization of BALANCED Media | Technology’s HEWMEN® platform, ensures that Nicholls’ state-of-the-art research being conducted at The Coastal Center at Nicholls will be able to create unique opportunities that will be able to benefit the Gulf Coast region both economically and environmentally. The research conducted at the Coastal Center will focus on studies pertaining to the Atchafalaya River and the Terrebonne and Atchafalaya Basins, so now the conducted research will be aided by BALANCED’s HEWMAN® platform and the brevy of innovative technology solutions that come along with it.

This is because the soon-to-be-built Coastal Center at Nicholls is thought to become a leading research facility as it supports a “working coast” in the Coastal Center’s right against coastal land loss. The Coastal Center’s inception was originally established in 2019 thanks to a memorandum between both the State of Louisiana, through the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, and Nicholls State University. Dr. Clune commented on the historic agreement by saying, “this opportunity will allow our researchers to collaborate globally on an unprecedented scale by leveraging the advanced tools in data refinement to access information that has been out of reach until now.”

In speaking on what the agreement signing means for their award-winning technology company, CEO of BALANCED Media | Technology Robert M. Atkins said, “Nicholls has a wealth of data, and BALANCED has the technology to unlock that data. Through our partnership, solutions to the problem of coastal restoration will move from possibility to reality. As commercial partners join us in this effort, we not only protect our coast and the industries that rely on it but also pave the way for new industry and the preservation of our heritage.”

As of now, the Coastal Center at Nicholls State University is projected to be completed and open its doors in early 2024. The Coastal Center will focus its aims and sights on research, education, and solutions to the southeasternLouisiana Gulf Coast’s coastal problems. This will include community resilience and the preservation of community culture and history.

Nicholls Foundation President Christopher Riviere said, “This is an extremely exciting time for Nicholls State University to partner with a technology company like BALANCED. The Nicholls Foundation is committed to supporting endeavors like this one that will not only benefit Nicholls, but also the entire bayou region.”

In establishing this innovative partnership between their new Coastal Center and BALANCED Media | Technology,Nicholls State University is ensuring that their absolute best efforts are being put forward towards solving the detrimental coastal problems in Southeastern Louisiana.

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