A Capital Idea

When it comes to making Nichols attractive, affordable, and educationally rewarding to students, we’ve come far in the past three years. Now we’re embarking on an ambitious public comprehensive campaign to raise $45 million—by far the largest such initiative in Nichols history—with an eye to continuing the College’s academic and physical growth and to making every effort to keep the education that we provide affordable.

We have named the fundraising initiative Securing a Legacy of Leadership, and we are well on our way to seeing it through. The campaign runs until the end of June 2017. Once again, the past few years have been good to us by providing a head start in the form of generous donations from Nichols alumni and trustees who have helped raise more than $35 million of our goal.

At the top of our list is dedicating $12 million for student scholarships. Our endowment has increased by $2 million, most of which will go to financial aid.

In addition, we have recently added nine endowed scholarships and are aiming for another 15 over the next two years. It’s both notable and highly appreciated that a dedicated Nichols faculty is funding one of those scholarships.

Other monies will go to curricular and co-curricular activities, as well as improvements to campus life. But what this campaign really adds up to is the confidence of its many donors in what we as an educational institution are doing.

Emerging Leaders Step Forward

Teaching students to become leaders—starting in freshmen year—holds a prominent place in the Nichols curriculum. For the second year in a row, all first-year students are taking the course Lead 101, which develops their self-awareness and skills as potential leaders. Last fall, a group of Lead 101 freshmen took that approach to heart and founded Bison Bites, a volunteer organization that collects unused food from the College’s dining hall and transports it to a local food pantry.

This fall, more than 50 of these former Lead 101 students—now sophomores—are taking the next step in their leadership education through our Emerging Leaders Program (ELP), which will take them through senior year.

Over the next three years, ELP students will complete a variety of program requirements, from attending a speaker series on leadership and analyzing case studies to taking leadership roles on and off the Nichols campus.

On Sunday, September 27th, they started that journey at the Emerging Leaders Declaration Day, the program’s induction ceremony. They heard two highly successful Nichols Trustees, Jennie Caissie and Randall Becker, share their own definitions of leadership.

This leadership program embodies the College’s mission “to transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders.” And it helps us take a giant step toward our vision of becoming a college of choice for business and leadership education.

This special group of Nichols students is off and running, and I can’t wait to see where they go.

What a Weekend!

An early fall weekend in September always serves as the annual Nichols Homecoming, this year two other events served as extraordinary bookends.

On the sun-splashed afternoon of Friday, September 18th, I helped cut the ribbon for our new $10 million academic building facing Center Road. Since the beginning of the fall term, this bright addition to the Nichols campus has provided our students with a state of the art combination of classrooms, student services, faculty offices, group study nooks, and our signature Institute for Women’s Leadership. I love the collaborative spaces throughout the building, and the elongated atrium filled with natural light.

10-1-2015-Golden-BisonOn Friday evening, the Golden Bison reception—one of my favorite events every year—brought together 20 Nichols alumni celebrating their 50th reunion. I’m always struck by the affection these folks have for Nichols and the connections they made with classmates over 50 years ago that are still strong today.

Our extensive renovation of the Chalmers Field House—vastly improving students’ athletic and recreational possibilities—earned a ribbon-cutting of its own as part of the Alumni Hall of Fame event.

The culminating event of the weekend was our Bicentennial Gala, as almost 250 Nichols students, faculty, staff, and alumni gathered in Worcester’s Mechanics Hall. For the past year, all of these stakeholders have paid special attention to our College’s history, legacy, and contributions to the larger world.