Nnamdi Ezema honored to continue his Colonel legacy

Taking chances, learning from each experience as they come and being prepared for the next challenge in life has helped Nicholls State University alumni and employee Nnamdi Ezema.

The Nicholls family recently welcomed Ezema as the newest research assistant in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and Assessment.

Director of Institutional Research in SACS and Assessments Leslie Dishman thinks kindly of Ezema, watching him go to from student, to graduate assistant and now a fellow faculty member. “He carries a big personality, and you can tell he loves Nicholls.” Dishman said.

While walking around campus one day, Dishman noticed both Ezema’s personality and popularity; Ezema knew basically everyone walking past him that day.
Although born in Nigeria, Ezema calls Kingston, Jamaica, where he spent the first 17 years of his life, his home. Because some Jamaican families faced difficulties getting their children and themselves into universities in America, Ezema’s family thought it was best he attend and finish high school here in the states. He spent three years at a boarding school in the birthplace of basketball, Springfield, Massachusetts. While in Massachusetts, he played several sports, including soccer, basketball, baseball and ultimate Frisbee.

The decision to come to Nicholls came down to two things, both being major influences that ultimately led to Ezema continuing his education at Nicholls.
Family was one major consideration. His two older brothers were both on campus with his oldest sibling, Ugo, graduating fall 2009, which was the semester he arrived in Thibodaux.

“We have a fairly big family of seven people, including my parents,” Ezema said. “Ugo had been here already and really paved the way for me and my four brothers in coming here, which is another great thing about the Nicholls environment because we have all been able to form our own path.”

During his undergraduate experience, Ezema was an active member of organizations such as club soccer, Nicholls International Community, accounting club and Beta Alpha Psi. The influence of different organizations in college helped Ezema become more comfortable at Nicholls, and many of his favorite college memories came during the annual International banquets. While in South Louisiana, he still enjoys both Nigerian and Jamaican cuisines when possible. Comparing native foods to food in Louisiana, Ezema thinks the food is similar and loves both types of dishes equally.

“Here, it’s just more seafood around than what I was accustomed to when I stayed in Jamaica and back in Massachusetts,” Ezema said. “If you look at a plate of food of Jamaican food and a plate from here, the food in both places are very flavorful, spicy and colorful.”

When having a craving for Jamaican food such as jerk chicken and oxtails, Boswell’s Jamaican Restaurant in New Orleans is his favorite.
Now as a faculty member at Nicholls, he believes the many opportunities that Nicholls has presented to him helped focus on going forward and achieving more professional and life goals. In fact, Ezema had an event in 2015 that lead up to his new position.

“Things happened pretty quickly after graduating; I got married in September, and at the start of this year me and my wife Whitley had our Kamaluchowu(shorten to Kamal or Carter, which means “to know God” in Nigerian) and then two weeks later getting a job here,” Ezema said. “It was just really great that I could be somewhere that’s comfortable for both my wife and I, and also my family and friends in the area,” Ezema said.

Ezema enjoys the Thibodaux area and feels working at Nicholls is his way of giving back and showing appreciation for all the opportunities that have come his way. His goals are to make sure he takes care of his family and to do everything he can to help make the place that gave him tremendous opportunities a better place.