On Thursday, May 16, the excitement was palpable as a significant number of faculty and staff teams (as well as a number of students and members of our Board of Trustees) met in the new Fels Center for the first ever Leadership Design Day. The number of attendees speaks volumes about how invested our community is in providing unique learning opportunities for our students. The Nichols culture has a level of caring and commitment that is very different from any other learning institution that I have been a part of.
The goal of the day was to provide an opportunity for these groups to freely share and discuss the ways we can best develop leadership skills in our students from the moment they arrive on campus. We wanted to emerge from the day with concrete ideas about how we will redesign our first year experiences in the classroom and beyond, in order to better highlight and develop the unique leadership potential within all of our students.
The process generated a wide range of proposals which outlined interesting and innovative ways to develop this potential. The signature first-year experience for Nichols students needed to: (1) Reach all first year students; (2) Include credit and non-credit components; and (3) Provide students with practical leadership opportunities. From this broad range of ideas, we can construct new curricular and co-curricular experiences for our students that will be unique, distinctive, and an appropriate fit for our campus culture and students.
A committee will further develop these ideas into an experience to be implemented during the Academic Year 2014-2015. In addition, some ideas that emerged may be feasible to implement this coming fall.
Based on the ideas and proposals presented, I am certain that our year-long, first-year student experience will involve challenge, competition, and plenty of opportunities for students to identify their own leadership abilities in whatever form they may take.
This year’s commencement provided an opportunity to celebrate the 413 graduates of the class of 2013.
The day was dedicated to the young men and women who after four years of classes, presentations, internships, hard work, and even a little fun, arrived at one of the most important events in their lives. Given that fewer than 50% of all high school students enroll in college, and fewer than 60% actually graduate, it is a significant accomplishment for them to make it this far.
On Saturday, May 11, we heard heartfelt remarks from our valedictorian and senior class president, and welcomed Connecticut Governor, Dannel Malloy, as our commencement speaker who shared his congratulations, words of wisdom, and encouragement as our graduates begin their professional journeys.
On the Friday evening before Commencement, it was also my pleasure to recognize our Who’s Who recipients—students who have demonstrated their leadership skills and potential while here at Nichols. These students clearly distinguished themselves in and out of the classroom, on the field and ice, and in leadership positions across campus.
For those of us who have taught, counseled, and mentored these students, it is rewarding to see them develop into confident young men and women with the potential to become leaders who represent Nichols College in our community, country, and around the world.
We wish all of these students the very best in their professional careers and are now proud to call them alumni!
April was filled with ceremonies aimed at honoring outstanding students and leaders on campus. Given the value that we place on leadership, it is exciting to see the number of our students who are succeeding in academics, athletics, and service and to recognize them formally.
On April 5, we celebrated National Student-Athlete Day by recognizing 132 student-athletes with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, an event sponsored by the NCAA.
The Academic Honors Ceremony took place on April 9. The College recognized scholarship recipients and academic resource center tutors, presented departmental awards, and recognized students who passed the comprehensive business exam (CBE).
April 23 was a full day, as we congratulated eight students as recipients of the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges. Students were selected by faculty for their academic accomplishments and campus leadership. Another 18 students, as well as one club, program, and faculty member were honored with awards such as the Outstanding Leader for each class year, Shining Star awards, residence life awards, and cultural enrichment, to name a few.
On the same day, a group of students presented their projects to faculty and their peers at the Student Showcase. Awards were given to students based on their selection in the following categories: academic, service or creative.
At the end of April, we held the Academic Induction Ceremonies where nearly 100 students were inducted into honor societies based on academic excellence in their field. The ceremonies included Delta Mu Delta—business honor society; Zeta Alpha Phi—Nichols honor society; Omicron Delta Epsilon—Economics honor society; Phi Alpha Theta—History honor society; and Mu Kappa Thau—Marketing honor society.
We congratulate all of our students upon their graduation and recognize their outstanding leadership in and out of the classroom!