Martin and Murphy Named Finalists for Nicholls State University Presidential Search

Interviews in Baton Rouge on Sept. 10 with Selection Expected

Thibodaux, La. – After three straight days of public interviews and on-campus meetings with six candidates, the Nicholls State University Presidential Search Committee will recommend Mirta M. Martin and Bruce T. Murphy to the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.  Plans are for the UL System Board to interview the finalists and select the new university president on Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 in Baton Rouge.

Finalist Mirta M. Martin
Mirta M. Martin serves as Dean and Professor of Management at the Reginald F. Lewis School of Business at Virginia State University.  Her prior experience includes positions as Special Assistant to the Chancellor of Virginia College System as well as Executive Vice President and Executive Director of the Foundation for John Tyler Community College.  She also has several years of experience in enrollment management, management consulting and banking.

Martin received a Bachelor of Science from Duke University and a Master of Business Administration from Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond.  She holds a Doctorate in Strategic Management/Leadership from Virginia Commonwealth University.

During her interview with the search committee on Monday, Martin said her corporate finance background gave her an edge in dealing with the budgetary challenges facing Nicholls.  She also stressed the importance of being accessible on campus.

“My background is an asset.  I am very comfortable in the classroom as well as the board room,” said Martin.  “I don’t consider myself a workaholic, but I work a 100-hour week.  I de-stress by walking the halls and talking with students.”


Finalist Bruce T. Murphy
Bruce T. Murphy has been Vice President for Academic Affairs at Air University in Alabama for the past eight years.  In prior years, he was Founding Dean of the School of Business at Point Park University in Pittsburgh.  He was also Founding Director of the Graduate Program in Organizational Leadership and Chair of the Walker School of Business at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania.  He taught military science at Vanderbilt University and leadership at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  Altogether, he spent 21 years in military service.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of California at Berkeley and a Master of Business Administration and Master of Science in Systems Management from the University of Southern California.  He also earned a Master of Arts from Teachers College at Columbia University and a Doctorate in Education from Vanderbilt University.

During his interview with the search committee on Wednesday, Murphy stressed the importance of providing opportunities for students.

“Anyone that calls itself a university has to provide a universe of opportunities,” said Murphy.  “My first priority is student opportunity and success, and that comes in many forms.  The more successful students are the ones involved in activities.  I guarantee you won’t remember the name of the president, you may remember one or two faculty, but you will remember those student activities.”

Final Interviews and Selection

The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10 at the Claiborne Building in Baton Rouge (1201 N. Third Street, Baton Rouge, LA 70802).  Plans are to hold back-to-back public interviews starting at 9 a.m. with the finalists, deliberate, and select the new president.  The meeting will be webcasted live.

“This was a very difficult deliberation process.  There were six amazing candidates and each brought something special to the forefront,” said UL System President and Nicholls Search Committee Chair Sandra Woodley.  “I encourage members of the search committee and the campus to travel to Baton Rouge on Sept. 10th for the finalist interviews and, hopefully, selection.”

“It has been a tremendous week,” said UL System Board Chair and committee member Wayne Parker.  “I have been on the Board for 11 years and served in numerous presidential searches, and I have never felt more welcome or been fed better food!”

“It has truly been an honor to serve on this committee,” said Nicholls Director Emeritus of Alumni Affairs Deborah “Raz” Razziano.  “We have worked very hard to find the next president to lead Nicholls to the very next level.”

During the public comment session of today’s meeting, Thibodaux Mayor Tommy Eschete thanked the committee for allowing the community to be part of the process.  “I was able to speak with four of the candidates, and you had a great group…I hope you take each individual into consideration and look hard at what they bring to Nicholls.  This university is an integral part of our community and economy.”

Voting members of the committee were System Board Members Andre Coudrain of Hammond, David Guidry of Harvey, Board Vice Chair E. Gerald “T-Boy” Hebert of Kenner, Student Board Member Davante Lewis of Lake Charles, Jimmie “Beau” Martin, Jr. of Cut Off, Board Chair Wayne Parker of Choudrant, Robert Shreve of Baton Rouge, Gary Solomon of New Orleans and Winfred Sibille of Sunset.  Also serving as a voting member was Nicholls Faculty Senate President Stephen Michot.

Advisory, non-voting members were community member Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger, Nicholls SGA President Melissa Cloutet, former Nicholls SGA President Matthew Jewel, Fletcher Technical Community College Chancellor F. Travis Lavigne, Jr., and Nicholls Director Emeritus of Alumni Affairs Deborah “Raz” Raziano.  UL System President Sandra Woodley served as the non-voting committee chair.

For more information about the search, including a link to the live webcast of the finalist interviews, visit  To provide feedback about the search, email

Founded in 1948, Nicholls State University is classified by Carnegie as a Master’s Medium University and by the Southern Regional Education Board as a 4-Year IV institution.


The largest higher education system in Louisiana, the UL system enrolls over 92,000 students at Grambling State University, Louisiana Tech University, McNeese State University, Nicholls State University, Northwestern State University, Southeastern Louisiana University, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and the University of New Orleans.