Nichols College

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Nichols College
Nichols College, Dudley, MA.jpg
Motto Learn. Lead. Succeed.
Type Private
Established 1815
Endowment $13.7 million(2017)[1]
President Dr. Susan West Engelkemeyer
Students 1,570[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, not-for-profit, coeducational college located in Dudley, Massachusetts. Founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy, Nichols College offers 12 concentrations in its business program and seven majors in its liberal arts program. The College offers bachelor's and master's degrees as well as certificate programs.[3]


Nichols is ranked 12th nationally among business schools for salary potential and 14th as a Best Value Business School by

In its 2016 survey, U.S. News & World Report rated Nichols College as a Best Regional College in the Northern region.

Nichols was awarded “Best Business Education” by the Worcester Business Journal’s Best of Business readers' poll in 2014, 2016, and 2017.

In a groundbreaking study, Nichols has the 13th highest success rate nationally out of 578 selective private colleges for helping students achieve a higher economic status than the one they grew up in.


Nichols College offers two undergraduate degrees—the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and the Bachelor of Arts. It also offers an MBA,[4] MSA,[5] MSOL, and MSC.[4] The College also offers several certificate and corporate programs.[6]

Schools and Programs[edit]

  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration
    • Accounting
    • Criminal Justice Management
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • General Business
    • Hospitality Management
    • Human Resource Management
    • Marketing
    • International Business
    • Management
    • Retail Management
    • Sport Management
  • Bachelor of Arts
    • Communication
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • English
    • History
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
  • Accelerated Programs
    • Master of Science in Business Administration (MBA) (2 degrees, 5 years)
    • Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) (2 degrees, 4 years)
  • Honors Scholar Program
  • Emerging Leaders Program
  • Certificate in Entrepreneurship
  • Transfer Partnerships
    • Community College of Rhode Island
    • Mount Wachusett Community College
    • Quinebaug Valley Community College
    • Quinsigamond Community College
  • Graduate and Professional Studies
    • Master of Business Administration
    • Master of Science in Organizational Leadership (MSOL)
    • Master of Science in Accounting (MSA)
    • Master of Science in Counterterrorism (MSC)
    • Dual Degrees: MBA/MSOL; MSA/MSOL; MSA/MBA
    • Certificate in Advanced Critical Thinking and Decision Making
    • Certificate in Leadership
    • Certificate in Employee Benefits
    • Certificate in Operations Management/Six Sigma

Professional Development Seminar[edit]

Nichols' signature Professional Development Seminar (PDS) Program is a four-year, award winning sequence of one credit academic courses. Coursework builds on the prior year. First-year students receive help with the transition to college, setting goals, and managing time. Sophomores develop their brands, as they build resumes and electronic portfolios, explore internship opportunities, and learn to represent themselves professionally. Juniors refine their interviewing and networking skills, and participate in employer-conducted mock interviews. Seniors launch their careers, as they learn key job search and salary negotiation techniques; personal budgeting; and professional etiquette.

Global Learning[edit]

Study Abroad options; faculty-led course related travel; international internships; short-term international programs; the Washington Center in Washington, DC; and Nichols international student population on campus.

Military Friendly[edit]

Nichols College is nationally recognized as a Military Friendly® School, which honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the United States.


Nichols College includes 200 acres separated into a North and South Campus. The North and South Campuses are divided by the Fels Student Center.

Fels Student Center[edit]

Fels Student Center opened in 2012. Located at the center of the campus, the 30,000-square-foot Center houses student services, including the Center for Student Involvement, Residence Life and Career Services; a meeting space for student government and clubs; an alternative food service; and a student lounge, post office, bookstore and Nichols College radio station WNRC 97.5 FM. The Center features a classroom with a 35-foot LED scrolling stock ticker and web and video conferencing capability, giving students access to guest lecturers from around the world via audio or video.

The Fels Student Center

North Campus[edit]

The north campus consists of ten out of the twenty-two campus buildings. The southernmost part of this campus is Conrad Hall. The westernmost part of north campus is Conant Library. The Nichols north campus consists mostly of academic halls. Also located in the north campus are three of the oldest buildings at the Dudley campus, 1881-1885, Conant Library and Observatory, Academy Hall, and Conant Hall. The north campus is also home to the newest building on campus, which is an academic building that has distinctive design elements including a three-story lobby with a water feature; four team-based classrooms; several breakout areas for studying, gathering, or group work; and a patio/garden that bridges the academic building with Davis Hall and serves as the primary entrance for students.

South Campus[edit]

The south campus consists of twelve out of the twenty-two campus buildings. The northernmost part of the campus is the Currier Center. The southernmost part of the campus is Kuppenheimer Residence Hall. The easternmost part of the south campus is the athletic complex.

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



Photograph of Conant Hall circa 1838

The institution was founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy. The Academy’s founder was Amasa Nichols, a wealthy industrialist in Dudley, Massachusetts. Early benefactors of the Academy include textile manufacturers Samuel Slater and Hezekiah Conant. Nichols Academy closed its doors in 1909. Between 1909 and 1931, the Academy buildings were used by the town and leased to other educational entities over different periods of time. Notable nineteenth century architects, Elbridge Boyden and Charles F. Wilcox designed buildings on the Nichols campus.[7]

Conrad's legacy[edit]

In 1931, Col. James L. Conrad reorganized the school to Nichols Junior College of Business Administration and Executive Training, a two-year college, at the closed Nichols Academy location. Nichols Junior College’s purpose was to incorporate a new idea in education—a junior college for men only, and an institution where a student can secure a college education in business administration and executive training and at the same time enjoy the advantages of campus life. Its program of study was to combine courses in business education, similar to those offered in the third and fourth years of four-year colleges and universities, with necessary electives and selected cultural subjects. All of this occurred in a two-year format. In 1938, the Massachusetts State Department of Education authorized Nichols Junior College to award the Associate in Business Administration degree. Over time, the College purchased, constructed, and remodeled over forty-four buildings to shape most of the current campus that is seen today. [Source: book by James L. Conrad—Nichols: A College for the Hill, 1931-1996]

In 1958, Nichols became Nichols College of Business Administration, a four-year college with the authority to grant a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. In 1965, Nichols College became accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges. The College became a member of the NCAA in 1966. In 1971, Nichols became co-educational, and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education authorized the College to award the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. In 1974, the College received the authority to grant the degree of Master of Business Administration. The College was granted accreditation by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) in 2005. In 2007, Nichols was granted authority to offer the degree of Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and in 2017, the degree of Master of Science in Counterterrorism.

In 1980, Nichols established the Institute for American Values, later renamed the Robert C. Fischer Policy & Cultural Institute in 1999, as a department of the College providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.[7]

In 2013, The Institute for Women’s Leadership[8] was established with the goal of developing the leadership potential of female students, and serving as a resource and authoritative voice on women’s leadership for the community at large.

In 2014, the new Emerging Leaders program began with the introduction of the new LEAD101 class, and Nichols began a series of events to celebrate its bicentennial.

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. The president is the chief executive officer of the college and is responsible for the fulfillment of the college's mission.

President Tenure
Amasa Nichols 1815–1823
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 W. Engelkemeyer 2011–present


The Athletic Department at Nichols College has a history of championship teams and has had a strong presence in New England Division III athletics.[9] 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) title. In 2014, men’s ice hockey won the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Championship.[10]


Nichols College athletics teams are known as the Bison. Currently, the Nichols College Department of Athletics offers 11 men's intercollegiate sports: baseball, basketball, cross country, football, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, tennis, and track and field, and volleyball. The college also offers 10 women's intercollegiate sports: basketball, cross country, field hockey, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. 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 (which will be absorbed into the CCC in 2017-18) while the women's hockey in the New England Hockey Conference. The school also sponsors a variety of club sports.

Notable alumni[edit]

  • Sullivan Ballou, Civil War soldier, Rhode Island politician and attorney
  • John R. Thayer, U.S. Representative
  • Kenny Dykstra ’16, professional wrestler
  • Robert Stansky ’78, manager of the Magellan Fund
  • Peter L. Lynch ’74, former president and CEO of Winn-Dixie Stores
  • Gerald Fels ’66, former chairman, CEO, and president of the Commerce Group, Inc., now owned by MAPFRE Insurance
  • Keith T. Anderson ’81, co-founder of BlackRock financial management and investing company
  • Joseph F. Ronchetti ’62, former president and CEO of Elizabeth Arden
  • James L. Dunbar ’51, founder and chairman of the armored transport and security provider the Dunbar Companies
  • Raymond Pecor Jr. ’59, owner of the Vermont Lake Monsters baseball team, minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals, and former owner of the triple-A Ottawa Lynx
  • Robert Sharp ’63, automobile racing driver and owner of Bob Sharp Racing
  • John Davis ’72, former chairman and CEO, and brother Stephen Davis ’80, former president and COO, of American Saw Manufacturing
  • Oliver W. Birckhead, Jr. ’42, former chairman and CEO of Central Bancorporation/Central Trust Company
  • Fred Friendly ’36, television network news pioneer and former president of CBS News
  • Neil Holt ’76, executive vice president for marketing and partner solutions for Viacom
  • Joseph Petty ’82, mayor of Worcester, Massachusetts
  • Marty Allen ’75, former president of California Closets Co. and CEO of Party America
  • Leslie “Les” Read ’55, former vice president of special marketing for HBO
  • Debra Cote ’92, news producer for Fox, CBS, and CNN


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2016 Endowment Market Value and Change* in Endowment Market Value from FY2015 to FY2016" (PDF). Retrieved 25 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b College Board School Profile
  3. ^ Undergraduate Degree Programs,
  4. ^ a b Master of Business Administration, Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  5. ^ Master of Science in Accounting, Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  6. ^ Graduate programs, Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  7. ^ a b History & Accreditation, Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  8. ^ About IWL, Retrieved 2016-08-29.
  9. ^ Division III athletic history and reclassification system
  10. ^ "Jackson's OT goal gives Bison 3-2 over Wentworth & ECAC Northeast Championship", Nichols College Bison Athletics, March 8, 2014. Retrieved 2016-08-29.

External links[edit]

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