Nichols College

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Nichols College
Motto Learn. Lead. Succeed.
Established 1815
Type Private
Endowment $12.8 million[1]
President Dr. Susan West Engelkemeyer
Students 1,459[2]
Location Dudley, Massachusetts, United States
Campus Suburban
200 acres (0.81 km2)[2]
Athletics NCAA Division III
Colors Black & Green          
Nickname Bison
Website Nichols College

Nichols College is a private, four-year private, not-for-profit, coeducational college located in Dudley, Massachusetts. Founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy, the school has a long history in Massachusetts. Nichols’ mission is to transform today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols offers twelve specializations in its business program, five majors in its liberal arts program, and an Educator Preparation Program for middle and secondary education. The College offers associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees as well as certificate programs. [3]

Nichols has many diverse majors that mainly focus on business and liberal arts. The school also offers an Master of Business Administration (MBA),a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) program for graduate students and a number of certificate programs.[4]


  • In a 2012-2013 report, ranked Nichols College #6 nationally for business schools for Return on Investment (ROI). This ranking represents a weighted total cost of $164,900 and a 30-year net ROI of $612,000.[5]
  • In their 2012-2013 report, U.S. News & World Report rated Nichols College as the #9 “best value” school in the North region. Nichols was also ranked #27 in “Best Colleges” in the Northern region of the U.S.[6]


Nichols College offers four undergraduate degrees—the Associate in Business Administration, the Associate in General Studies, the Bachelor of Science and the Bachelor of Arts. Students interested in advancing their education may choose from either a Masters of Business (MBA) or an Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL) degree.

Schools and Programs[edit]

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
    • Accounting
    • Business Communication
    • Criminal Justice Management
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • General Business
    • Hospitality Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Sport Management
  • Bachelor of Arts
    • Economics
    • English
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
  • Educator Preparation Program (Middle and Secondary Education)
    • Business
    • English
    • History
    • Mathematics
  • Honor Scholars Program
  • Certificate in Entrepreneurial Leadership
  • Graduate College of Business
    • Master of Business Administration
      • Accounting/Finance
      • General Business
      • Management
      • Marketing
    • 4+1 MBA (Accelerated Program)
    • Master of Science of Organizational Leadership (MSOL)
    • Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies
    • Certificate in Advanced Critical Thinking and Decision Making
    • Certificate in Employee Benefits
    • Certificate in Operations Management / Six Sigma
    • Certificate in International Business

Professional Development Seminar[edit]

Nichols signature Professional Development Seminar (PDS) Program is a four-year program of one credit academic courses. Coursework logically builds on the prior year, with first-year students receiving help with the transition to college and exploring majors; second-year students exploring majors and internship opportunities, writing resumes and developing portfolios; third-year students refining their job search skills including interviewing, writing resumes and developing portfolios; and fourth-year students launching successful careers.

Global Learning[edit]

Study Abroad options; faculty-led course related travel; The Washington Center in Washington, DC; and Nichols international student population on campus


Fels Student Center[edit]

While steeped in history, the College campus brings together tradition and progress with the addition of the new $10 million Fels Student Center in 2012. Located at the epicenter of the campus, the Center sits at the crossroads of academic buildings and dormitory and apartment complexes. In addition to the student lounge, the 30,000-square-foot Center houses student services, including the Center for Student Involvement, Residence Life and Career Services; meeting space for student government and clubs; an alternative food service; and the post office, bookstore and Nichols College radio station WNRC 97.5 FM. The Center also features a state-of-the art technology classroom with a 35 foot LED scrolling stock ticker and web and video conferencing capability as well, giving students access to guest lecturers from around the world via audio or video.

The Fels Student Center

North Campus[edit]

Located in the picturesque town of Dudley, Massachusetts and an hour's drive to four major cities, the College campus is a unique blend of the old and new. The north and south campuses are divided by the Conrad Hall, which is the second oldest building at the Dudley campus. The north campus consists of ten out of the twenty-two campus buildings. The southernmost part of the campus is Conrad Hall. The westernmost part of the north campus is the Nichols Library.[7][8]

The Nichols north campus consists mostly of academic halls. Also located in the north campus is the oldest building at the Dudley campus, Conant Hall, which was built during the time of the original Nichols Academy founding. This building is often considered the focal point to the history of the college that dates back to 1815. Lastly, Academy Hall is located on the north campus.[8]

South Campus[edit]

The north and south campuses are divided by the Conrad Hall, the second oldest building at the Dudley campus. The south campus consists of twelve out of the twenty-two campus buildings. The northernmost part of the campus is Academy Hall. The southernmost part of the campus is Kuppenheimer Residence Hall. The easternmost part of the south campus is the athletic complex.[7][9]

The athletic complex is the focal point of the south campus. The complex includes Vendetti Field, the multipurpose field turf field used for football, and men's and women's lacrosse. The complex also includes facilities for baseball, softball, tennis, and soccer. In addition to the athletic field, the Athletic Center is also used for indoor events and the Chambers field house for athletic training.[9]

Worcester Campus[edit]

The Worcester campus is in downtown Worcester. This location allows the school to be part of the Worcester Consortium, which is a coalition of colleges in the Worcester area to work together for better resources, and it has helped grow the school's name.



Photograph of Conant Hall circa 1838

The college was originally founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy. The founder was Amasa Nichols, a wealthy industrialist in Dudley, Massachusetts. The school is the oldest in Worcester County, and one of the oldest in the country. Early benefactors of the academy included textile manufacturers Samuel Slater and Hezekiah Conant. Nichols Academy closed its doors in 1909, but the closing was only temporary.[10]

Conrad's reign[edit]

In 1931, James L. Conrad founded Nichols Junior College at the closed Nichols Academy location. The college was a men-only college and the first junior college in Massachusetts to be granted the authority to grant an associates degree in Business Administration. With the exception of a few years being closed during World War II when President Conrad was called to serve, the junior college would expand and grow through 1958. The expansion started in 1948 and it lasted until the school began to award Bachelor's degrees. During this ten-year span, the College purchased, constructed, and remodeled over forty-four buildings to shape most of the current campus that is seen today.

In 1958, the college became a four-year institute, and was granted authority to grant a Bachelor in Business Administration degree. 1965 saw more change when the College became accredited by the New England Association of School and Colleges. In 1970 the Board of Trustees voted to admit women to Nichols for the first time since Academy days. In 1971, the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education authorized the College to award Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration degrees. In 1974, the College received the authority to grant the degree of Master of Business Administration.[11]

History of presidents[edit]

In 2011, Dr. Susan West Engelkemeyer became the second woman to hold the position of President of Nichols College and its seventh president. She followed interim president, Gerald Fels. The president is the chief executive officer of the college and is responsible for the success of the college's mission in providing superior academic programs and research.

President Tenure
Amasa Nichols 1815–
Col. James L. Conrad 1931–1966
Dr. Gordon B. Cross 1966–1973
Dr. Darcy Coyle 1973–1978
Dr. Lowell C. Smith 1978–1996
Dr. James J. Darazsdi 1996–1998
Dr. Debra M. Townsley 1998–2010
Gerald Fels (interim) 2010–2011
Dr. Susan West Engelkemeyer 2011–present


The Athletic Department at Nichols College has a strong history of championship teams and has had a strong presence in New England Division III athletics.[12] The school has had national recognition in a number of sports. In 2012, the women's tennis team achieved its third undefeated conference record for the regular season. In the 2012-13, men's tennis claimed its second consecutive Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC).In 2014, men’s ice hockey won the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Championship.[13]

Men's and Women's Athletic teams[edit]

Nichols College athletics teams are known as the Bison. Currently, the Nichols College Department of Athletics offers ten men's intercollegiate sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and track and field. They also offer nine women's intercollegiate sports: basketball, cross country, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, and track and field. The school varsity teams compete at the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III level. Nichols is a member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference for most sports. The football team is a member of the New England Football Conference while the men's ice hockey team compete in the ECAC Northeast and women's hockey in the ECAC East. The school also sponsors a variety of club sports.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°03′N 71°56′W / 42.050°N 71.933°W / 42.050; -71.933