Thanksgiving is a time to reflect upon and express gratitude for the many blessings in your life. I have much to be thankful for in my life. Personally, I am most thankful for an incredible family, my husband Dave, our two amazing children (Kristy and Jason), their wonderful spouses (Brad and Erin), and four grandchildren (Grace, Liam, JJ, and Addy). I am grateful to have my parents at age 91 and my mother-in-law who is 101.
I am also thankful for our students, faculty, and staff. At Nichols, we understand the meaning of being a community. Our students are focused on leadership, integrity, and collaboration to make a difference in their lives and the lives of others. The faculty and staff provide a level of caring and guidance that encourages excellence in our students and demonstrates that our students truly come first. One quote by Melody Beattie that expresses my thoughts as I gather with loved ones to celebrate the holiday: “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
“Friends and Family” may sound like a promotional plan for a phone company. At Nichols we have our own version, a daylong visit to campus on a late-October Saturday.
This year’s sunny Friends and Family Day brought 250 visitors from more than 100 families—almost 75% of them related to the freshman class. The events ranged from a home football game to an evening “Mystery Dinner”, followed by a well-attended Bingo Night.
As usual, this special day exceeded the confines of a set schedule. I was pleasantly surprised by the steady stream of parents who came by the table where I was located. Many parents talked about how Nichols was a great choice for their son or daughter. Quite a few remarked about how it was athletics, in combination with academics, that drove the decision to attend, and they told many stories about our terrific coaches.
This part of the day began right after our Board of Trustees meeting ended, so John Davis, the Chairman of the Board, was at the table with me for the first 45 minutes, and he was in constant conversation as well. It probably helped that our table was stocked with giveaways—Bison stress balls, candy (that melted in the hot sun), Bison key chains, and other items.
Bridging the continental breakfast and the aforementioned Mystery Dinner, our guests could dine at the 3rd Annual Taste of Nichols outdoor event, where almost a dozen local food vendors showcased their fare. Not to mention the students who shared their own creations. Right beside me was a student group serving fried plantains, so I grabbed a couple of those. They were terrific!