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DR. JAY CLUNE

PRESIDENT, NICHOLLS STATE UNIVERSITY

Q: What is the key to being successful as a university president?

It is important to remember why we’re here. This university is here, first and foremost, to help our students. Whenever I make a decision, I always do so with our students in mind. And secondly, but almost as important, we serve our community. The students we educate on our campus are going to go back into our community as productive citizens. 

Q: Did you see yourself in this position as a young child?

To be honest, I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was younger. I have always had an interest in history but didn’t know that I wanted to work on a college campus until after I left Nicholls. Even when I was working at the University of West Florida, I was only seeking a job as a provost until I saw the Nicholls President position available. Nicholls is the only university I would ever want to lead. 

Q: Nicholls was founded in 1948. How has Nicholls State University most changed in its 70 years?

Over the years, the campus has grown. We’ve expanded, added buildings. Programs have come and gone. But the people, and the charm of this place, have remained the same. 

Q: What sets Nicholls State University apart?

Our dedication to the individual and the family atmosphere. Nicholls boasts a student-to-teacher ratio of 16 to 1. We have the state’s only 4-year culinary institute and the state’s designated site for the Louisiana Center for Dyslexia and Related Learning Disorders. In recent years, our students, faculty and staff have harvested and planted more than 30,000 mangroves in our wetlands to help restore the coast.

Q: What are your plans for the future of Nicholls State University?

Nicholls is so important to the Bayou Region and I believe we can service this community even more. We’re working to evolve our curriculum to include more programs with a specific interest to this community. For instance, this Fall we’ll add a criminal justice program that includes a concentration in coastal enforcement and security.

Q: If you could describe Nicholls State University in one word, what would you choose?

Family. It’s why our students come here. It’s why our faculty stay. It’s why our alumni come back. 

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment so far as president? 

I have only been here a short time. Any major accomplishment that has taken place since I started in January should be credited to the amazing faculty, staff, students and administration on this campus. Their dedication to making Nicholls a premier regional university is inspiring. If I had to say something, though, I would say it’s getting out and meeting the Nicholls community and the Bayou Region so I can hear directly from them what they want out of this university. 

Q: What struggles has Nicholls State University overcome to become the university it is today? 

It is unfortunate to say but no state has cut more money per student than Louisiana since 2008, which has certainly hampered our ability to grow. However, for the second consecutive year, the state legislature has fully funded higher education and TOPS and I believe this is a trend that will continue. •

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