Nicholls announces name changes to Polk Hall and Beauregard Hall

Nicholls State University announced that it has submitted paperwork seeking approval to change the names of PGT Beauregard Hall and Leonidas K. Polk Hall. 


The following statement was released from Nicholls President Jay Clune:


Dear Campus Community,


I made the decision yesterday to take down the street-side and the quad-side yard signage for “PGT Beauregard Hall” and “Leonidas K. Polk Hall.” Today, I have instructed our staff to install signs for the “College of Sciences and Technology” and the “College of Education and Behavioral Sciences” in their places. The large metal lettering on the fronts of Beauregard and Polk along Madewood Drive will remain in place, for now, for public safety reasons. 


Today, we will submit the required paperwork seeking approval to change the names of the halls from Beauregard and Polk to those of the colleges. The University of Louisiana System Board will review this proposal at its meeting later this month. Our street names will be taken down as soon as public safety and postal service requirements have been resolved. These are interim steps. We will conduct an inclusive process to permanently rename these buildings and streets.


The steps that we are implementing now demonstrate our willingness to support our diverse populations on campus and in the community. These steps also are measured in that they strategically reduce opportunities for undue negative attention to be cast upon our university at a time when growing enrollment and community support are crucial to our mission. These are mission critical objectives of our university. 


Many of our campus buildings bear the names of influential members in the history of Nicholls and our community. Beauregard and Polk have no significance to that history. The names were proposed to President Elkins in 1961 by a higher education official in Baton Rouge. The streets were named by student leaders in the summer of 1962 in recognition of tourism produced by the area plantations. 


Regarding Francis T. Nicholls and E.D. White – they are not under consideration. They are locals who distinguished themselves at the highest level of state and federal governmental service. Their names are local and regional brands that transcend the lives they lived, their faults, as well as their accomplishments.  


Although my dad was an Irish immigrant, I have deep ties to this area. I grew up in Houma, and I am a descendent of the Braud and Morvant families of Thibodaux. I graduated from Vandebilt Catholic High School and Nicholls. I understand this is a sensitive issue for many local families. 


In last Saturday’s message to you, we said, “we hear the concerns, we understand the challenges, we acknowledge the frustrations.” If we do nothing at this juncture in our history, when the need for action has never been more critical, those words will ring hollow. 


I welcome any opportunity to speak to you one-on-one. You can schedule a meeting with me via Allison Ford at (985) 448-4003.