Nicholls State University, founded in 1948, is a public university located in Thibodaux, Louisiana
Nicholls State University 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 theLouisiana 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— an initiative focusing on critical thinking—has the motto “L’esprit engagé,” which means “the engaged mind.”
The University of Louisiana System has identified the following areas as Unique Areas of Excellence at Nicholls State University. 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 degrees in Art, English, Mass Communication, and Music; and Master degrees in Biology, Education, and Business Administration (in addition to an Executive MBA program). Education at the undergraduate and graduate level at Nicholls is one of the most affordable in Louisiana itself as well as in the country.
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 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 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. 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.