Nicholls Exec VP Howell Named Interim President While ULS Board Searches for a New University Leader

BATON ROUGE, La. – The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System today named Nicholls State University’s second in command, Executive Vice President Lawrence W. Howell, as the campus’ interim president until a new president is selected for the top post.  

 Howell will take over for retiring Nicholls President Stephen T. Hulbert, who led the Thibodaux university for a decade. Howell has served as executive vice president since 2011 and has worked in Nicholls administration since 2000. His career at Nicholls began as an assistant computer science professor in 1983. 

“The interim president has to maintain the day-to-day operations of the campus and manage the many challenges that inevitably fall to the president, while hosting candidates for president and preparing the campus for the transition to a new leader. It’s a big job. We’re fortunate to have someone of Larry Howell’s experience and institutional knowledge to fill this critical role,” said UL System Board President Wayne Parker.


“I embrace this opportunity to serve the Nicholls community.  It is very humbling and a little frightening,” said Howell.  “Indeed, as long as it takes I will give it everything I’ve got.”


The UL System has devoted a special section of its website ( to the Nicholls presidential search to make it easy for the public to stay abreast of activities surrounding the selection of the next Nicholls president.


In addition to quick facts and other information about the university, the page contains links to public information about the search: the advertisement, desired qualifications, the search committee, committee meetings, a tentative timeline, news releases and selected articles.


It also includes a link to the May 3 public hearing that the search committee convened on the Nicholls campus. Students, faculty, community members and other interested individuals addressed the committee about the qualifications they would like to see in the next leader.


The system will add video links to future meetings, public hearings and candidate interviews as the search progresses.


The search process began in April when Hulbert announced his retirement, prompting the Board of Supervisors to appoint a search committee to find a replacement.


The tentative search timeline calls for an Aug. 1 preferred date for nominations and applications, on-campus interviews the week of Aug. 26 and finalist interviews by the full UL System board the week of Sept. 9. Advertisements have been placed in national higher education publications.


Voting members of the committee include UL System Board Members Andre Coudrain of Hammond, David Guidry of Harvey, Board Vice Chair E. Gerald “T-Boy” Hebert of Kenner, 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 is Nicholls Faculty Senate President Stephen Michot.

Serving as advisory, non-voting members are community member Donald T. “Boysie” Bollinger, 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 serves as the non-voting committee chair.


“It was clear during our public meeting on the Nicholls campus in May that members of the university community want to be involved in the selection of the next president. The president of Nicholls is more than the leader of the university. He or she also plays a vital role in the economic and civic activities of the entire region. We encourage the public to stay informed and to provide input as we near a selection in the fall,” Woodley said.


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.