Happy Holidays to All

While the end of the semester is always a stressful time for students, it’s fun to see them also becoming excited and gearing up for the holidays and a return to family and friends. The last week of the semester has been full of rewarding contact with those students, as well as with a recent Nichols grad and even some four-legged members of our community.

Irving Eggleston, who graduated last May, returned to campus to attend a basketball practice and talk with me about his experience this semester playing basketball in the U.K. while working on a master’s degree.

I commissioned senior Cristina Szepanski – a jewelry designer – to make pendants for my daughter and daughter-in-law from stones that I had collected from their favorite beaches. The pieces Christina created are gorgeous!

Last Tuesday afternoon, I stopped to pet some furry friends – dogs of staff members – who were in Fels Center for students, a kind of exam week pet therapy. I fell in love with Coach Gobiel’s French Bulldog. But then I’m partial to bulldogs, since I often babysit my son’s 90-pound English Bulldog.

I’ve been heartened this term to see student initiatives raising funds and donations, ranging from can drives for the Webster/Dudley food bank, to supplies for a local animal shelter, to funds for a memorial for K-9 dogs.

I also discovered that the players on the men’s hockey team have just 10 days off and return to campus on December 26th. Now that’s commitment.

I’m looking forward to spending time with my four grandkids and their parents over the holidays, squeezing in some date time with my husband, and heading to Florida for a few days with my 90-year-old parents.

I wish everyone a happy holiday with family and friends. Travel safe and return in January rested, relaxed, and ready to dive into the spring semester!

Outstanding Women

Recently I spoke at the 2016 Outstanding Women in Business awards presented by the Worcester Business Journal. I attended the ceremony in part because Nichols is one of the sponsors of the event. But a more compelling reason was to celebrate the six winners, all of them leaders in major central Massachusetts companies and non-profit organizations.

I’ve written a number of times in this blog about our College’s Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL). Over the past three years, this amazing program has shown that it means business—literally. As I explained to the audience that evening, the IWL continues to develop innovative programs—negotiation workshops, “Lean In” discussion circles, trips to New York City to meet and network with female executives, and the list goes on—all with the aim of developing outstanding women graduates.

The IWL also plays an important part of our spring conference “Empowering Women in Business,” attended by hundreds of women annually in a setting where—at least for a few hours—men are hard to find.

I told the six winners simply that they were amazing, from making dramatic career changes—and getting the higher education to do so, even in mid-life—to starting and running businesses in male-dominated fields. That strikes a familiar chord at Nichols, where for adult learners, Nichols offers bachelor’s degrees and three graduate degrees: an MBA, a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and a Master of Science in Accounting, not to mention several certificates.

All of this year’s winners have distinguished themselves in their fields, made a significant contribution to their businesses and organizations, and have proved to be—in a word—outstanding!