President Clune introduces new facilities/programs at Convocation


Photo submitted by Jacob Batte

As the winter break comes to an end, that means students must once again return to school and begin the daily routine of attending their lectures and studies. 

Of course, before classes start, the professors must return to the campus, and with their return comes the University Convocation, delivered by University President Dr. Jay Clune. 

This year’s speech started with personal quips and banter between those in attendance and those close to him. He started off by pointing out several accomplishments that the university held, such as the fall to spring retention, which was at a high of 89.97. 

Clune mentioned the record-breaking GPA and retention of athletics, as well as the $500,000 that were added to the department. 

Clune’s main focus for the speech, however, seemed to be on increased government funding and several different departments or programs he is looking to implement in the school.

One of the many reasons for this push was because Nicholls State University is currently the lowest funded college in a nine college system, meaning, out of the nine colleges that we’re associated with, when we pay back our state-mandated taxes and payments, we receive the lowest amount back from the state. 

This is especially grueling when we receive 70 percent of our incoming graduates from the top 50 percent. One of the president’s main interests was pushing for an 80 percent increase in the salary of the faculty and staff of Nicholls. 

Another interesting prospect was the idea for paternity leave, allowing both parents the time off with the birth of a child. 

One of the bigger ideas that he presented was the creation of a new coastal center on campus worth $20 million. It would be used to study the effect that the Atchafalaya River has on the Barataria Terrebonne Estuary. 

The creation of this building and the program would use state granted money. Currently, they’re searching for a head of the center, someone to run the building and the programs within.

Clune also showed interest in upgrading Nicholls’ greenhouse, expanding the football field, tearing down several older buildings all across campus and he mentioned upgrading and reconstructing Barker Hall. 

He also mentioned the Op-Ed resources the school would be receiving, which would save students $200,000.

He mentioned a few new programs, most notably, some engineering computer science and cyber agricultural tech programs that would be implemented into the school sometime in the future. 

Clune rounded out his speech by inviting the past president, Dr. Halbert, to the stage to speak to the teachers and staff in attendance. 

After his speech and several awards were given, the teachers and staff were given a break. 

Speaking with Nichole Cotton, a professor for the Nicholls Online program, she showed joy in the implementation of the new computer science programs and she was interested to see where the new coastal center was headed. 

Along with Cotton, Associate Professor of Art Michael Williams, who’s time at Nicholls has spanned three presidents, stated how he has only seen improvement through all three presidents. 

Williams showed joy in the renovation of the greenhouse and the expansion of the football field. 

Clune highlighted a lot of campus and internal improvements to potentially look forward to.