Nichols College Magazine Fall/Winter 2021 Final

Page 1

MAGAZINE Volume 16, Issue 1 | Fall/Winter 2021


From the President

The Nichols Way Even before I began my presidency in July, I knew that Nichols College was a special place. It wasn’t just the pervasive feeling of family that attracted me and my own family to the position, or the campus sitting high atop a hill. It was the grit and perseverance in the face of adversity displayed by this small but mighty community time and again, and especially over the past 18 months of the pandemic. I call it the Nichols Way. And it’s what we gathered to celebrate when I was officially installed as your eighth president in a community-wide convocation on September 24. Former U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III referred to it in his keynote remarks when he described the “Green and Black” as “tenacious, ambitious, and willing to go the extra mile, even when it’s hard.” And I echoed his sentiment in my inaugural speech when I said that, in these historic times, when we have witnessed the greatest mobilization of U.S. society since the conclusion of World War II, Nichols rose to the occasion once again with its noteworthy desire to “win.” The Nichols Way is the drive to fight on when others are ready to give up or surrender, to work harder than before or thinkable when others get tired or lazy, to become even more ambitious when others become satisfied and content, and to seek change and innovation when others are mired in the status quo and remain dull.

It is embodied in this quintessential New England college and will be our rallying cry for confronting the challenges of today and tomorrow as we take Nichols to greatness. We will bring our collective perseverance, tenacity, ambition, and creativity to bear on increasing enrollment, highlighting our return on investment, growing our endowment, offering a dynamic portfolio of academic programs, augmenting our world-class faculty, increasing athletic dominance, and building an unrivaled residential campus. As president, I will dedicate myself, along with my wife Marla, to put our heart and soul into making this magnificent institution well known – regionally, and then nationally prominent. To start, we will sharpen our focus on becoming the business college of choice in the commonwealth, for women in particular; ensure that every Nichols graduate will have enjoyed an internship or other full experiential learning opportunity; and commit to exposing all students to data science, a critical skill for today’s workforce. The Nichols Way will get us there, and beyond. Go Books. Go Bison.

Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M President

M A G A Z I N E Vo l u m e 1 6 , I s s u e 1


Fall/Winter 2021 EDITOR



Susan Veshi VICE PRESIDENT FOR ADVANCEMENT Bill Pieczynski CONTRIBUTORS Brent Broszeit Pete Divito Rae Glispin Mauri Pelto Jillian Riches Molly Thienel

Sulmasy installed as eighth president in community convocation and celebration


Nichols hosts first artist showcase


Additional Bloomberg terminals funded by local foundation


Student Profile: Olivia Antonson’s passion for politics


From the Archives


Nichols into the age of automation Students are learning to solve business problems using Robotic Process Automation, as Nichols prepares graduates for the next industrial revolution.




Dylan Mitchell ’22 Lizzie Fontaine Ed Collier Photography Pat O’Connor Photography

Season openers: New coaches make Bison debut


8 Nichols launches the Center for

Intelligent Process Automation CIPA is a ground-breaking partnership between business education and the tech industry to showcase Nichols as a leader in digital transformation.

Brian Foley Timothy Power DESIGN Steve Belleville

Nichols College



Sometimes you just have to press play: Eric Aukstikalnis ’17


Keep calm and adapt: Alf Anderson III ’98

6 The bot builders: Students lead


PO Box 5000 123 Center Road



Dudley, MA 01571-5000 508-213-1560 8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., M–F

Nichols College MAGAZINE

Alumnus bequest supports students with learning differences: William S. Edmunds S TAY C O N N E C T E D



is published twice a year by Nichols College, Dudley, MA.

10 Nichols rides the airwaves

with community DJs




Polka Bob and Barry Wilson have been beloved fixtures with a faithful following on WNRC for decades.

12 An avalanche of media Between the Herd kicking off winter sports in a crowd full of Bison Pride, a Pink Out for breast cancer awareness, food trucks, and our first annual PumpkinFest, students enjoyed a fall full of fun.

Mauri Pelto, aka Dr. Ice, has made a media splash with recent observations on glaciers.

Nichols College Magazine



Sulmasy installed as eighth president in community convocation and celebration Nichols College hosted the “Celebration of Us” on September 24,

Her words were echoed by Shannon Spitz ’99 MBA ’01, who

an event that combined convocation, an official welcome

offered remarks on behalf of Nichols alumni. She recalled her

to the Class of 2025, with the formal investiture of

first time on campus, initially intimidated by many

Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M as the eighth president.

uncertainties. “I also remember this extraordinary feeling of being quickly enveloped by a sense of family and belonging,”

The program featured the participation of the entire campus

she said. “The kind that is

community and a keynote address by former U.S. Representative

so real you can feel it.

Joseph P. Kennedy III.

The kind that still permeates through the

The ringing of the 1883 Academy Bell signaled the start of

campus today.”

the faculty and dignitary procession over Budleigh Hill and the Class of 2025 procession from Academy Hall. Despite the

The ceremony also

occasional heavy downpour, the first-year

included the reciting

students were in good spirits as they

of the student pledge

touched the nose of the bronze bison

(“Bison Creed”) by new

statue (“Thunder”) for good luck, were

students and the reading of an original poem written for the

greeted by the cheers of hundreds of

occasion by a faculty member.

upperclassmen flanking the sidewalk, and gave high fives to President Sulmasy as they made their way to the tent on Shamie Hall Quad.

As keynote speaker, Kennedy congratulated Nichols for its accomplishments over the past year when the college was able to provide a safe campus experience for students and

Emcee Jean Beaupre, EdD, dean of business, explained that

keep COVID-19 cases to a minimum.

keeping the event’s focus on community was the idea of President Sulmasy and his wife Marla. “They recognize that

“This tiny virus shut down the world, but you persevered, and

what is special about this institution…is the community,” she

battled, and came back stronger than ever,” he said. “This is

announced. “A community that provides a sense of belonging,

particularly noteworthy as this has always been my perception

a community that both challenges and supports each other to

of the Green and Black here on the Hill in Dudley — tenacious,

grow and develop and become our best selves. A community

ambitious and willing to go the extra mile, even when it’s hard.

that gives back. And a community that is on a collective path

Especially when it’s hard. Some might even call it the Nichols

to greatness.”

Way. That is what we celebrate today — the Nichols Way.”

“The grit, the perseverance in the face of adversity, and this almost uniform desire to win — this is what represents the best of Nichols. It is that magic permeating all you do and all that is Nichols. It is the Nichols Way, and Marla and I have fallen in love with it.”


Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

Kennedy also shared his insights on Nichols’ new president, a family friend. “I know that Glenn is the perfect fit for Nichols College and his academic background, government service, extraordinary higher education leadership abilities will lead this college to unforeseen heights over the next few years,” he said. The investiture ceremony was conducted by John Davis, chair of the Nichols College Board of Trustees, with special assistance from President Sulmasy’s brother, Dr. Daniel Sulmasy. and first lady Marla Sulmasy. President Glenn Sulmasy reacts to the ovation following his inaugural

“Today…we gather in this distinguished company to honor a man of outstanding leadership, academic experience, and

speech, with, from left, his brother Dr. Daniel Sulmasy, Board Chair John Davis, and Joseph Kennedy.

energy, Glenn M. Sulmasy,” said Davis. “We are confident that President Sulmasy will embrace the culture of Nichols and foster

that magic permeating all you do and all that is Nichols. It

change that is both progressive and rooted in the college’s

is the Nichols Way, and Marla and I have fallen in love with it.”

esteemed traditions.” He then presented Sulmasy with the symbols of his office, including nineteenth-century china embossed with scenes of Nichols Academy, the academic gown, and the Presidential Medallion. To enthusiastic ovations (and the sudden end to the afternoon’s intermittent rain), Sulmasy gave his inaugural address. He thanked family, friends, and colleagues in attendance, including Ronald K. Machtley, the former

“We have begun, but today, let us commit that together we will ensure regional prominence, then national prominence of this shining college on a hill.”

president of Bryant University, where and praised the Nichols community for its

Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M

response to the pandemic: “The grit, the

education, Sulmasy outlined his charge to the campus community, which included increasing enrollment, reassuring students and their families of the value of a college degree, and highlighting the Nichols’ return on investment. “This sort of effort requires all hands on deck, meaning every aspect of our institution must buy into this vision — to shatter, once and for


Sulmasy previously served as provost,

Noting the challenges facing higher

all, that notion of Nichols being the best kept secret in higher education,” he said. “We have begun, but today, let us commit that together

perseverance in the face of adversity, and this almost uniform

we will ensure regional prominence, then national prominence

desire to win — this is what represents the best of Nichols. It is

of this shining college on a hill.”

The bagpiper leads the procession

President Sulmasy

Students enjoy the company of friends

Flag bearers lead

of students as they are greeted by

confers with Joseph

and food trucks following the ceremony.

with Loyalty, Service



and Culture.

l Nichols College Magazine



Nichols hosts first artist showcase The campus of a business school is not a typical spot for an art exhibit, but Marla Sulmasy, wife of Nichols President Glenn M. Sulmasy, wants to change that. In September she initiated an artist showcase, the first of many, aimed at enriching the student experience. “Art is simply part of the academic experience and it is essential for our students to enjoy an appreciation for all that art brings to culture, leadership, experience, and higher education,” said Mrs. Sulmasy. “The faculty, staff, and perhaps most

Additional Bloomberg terminals funded by local foundation Nichols College received a $168,000 commitment

importantly, the students have embraced this initiative. Our

from the Affinity Group Charitable Foundation,

graduates are leaders, and efforts such as this art exhibit help

supported by Dexter-Russell, Inc., to expand the

to provide an expanded education.”

number of terminals in the college’s Bloomberg Finance Lab, which was launched in 2018. The grant

The showcase, displayed on two floors of the Academic

underwrites the annual cost of increasing from

Building for the fall semester, features American painter

12 to 16 terminals, enabling more students to earn

Brian Keith Stevens and Polish-born photographer and mixed

Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) certification.

media artist Pola Esther, two internationally exhibited artists based in Connecticut.

In addition to increasing access to this experiential tool in the lab, 300 web logins are available so

Stevens’ painting of a bison will be a permanent fixture at the

students can complete their certification remotely.

college, donated by the Sulmasys.

This was particularly helpful in providing uninterrupted student access to Bloomberg during the pandemic. To date, some 850 students have earned BMC certification, a requirement for first-year business students at Nichols. Alan Peppel, president and CEO of Dexter-Russell Inc. who earned an MBA at Nichols, said, “As a leading employer in the Southbridge/Dudley community, Dexter-Russell supports endeavors that can benefit our community, employees, and their families. The Affinity Group Charitable Foundation was established to support these efforts, and we are pleased to underwrite students’ educational

Brian Keith Stevens (second from left), the artist of the bison painting, stands with fellow artist Pola Esther, flanked by President Glenn Sulmasy and his wife Marla, at the artist showcase opening on September 23.

4 Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

aspirations at Nichols College, the leading business school in the area.”

Student Profile: Olivia Antonson’s passion for politics Olivia Antonson admits that she

where I want to be, where I belong,”

flew “way under the radar” during

she says. In fall 2020, she became

her first year at Nichols College.

a teaching associate intern for that

“I didn’t take advantage of any of


the opportunities presented to me, didn’t apply myself in the way I know

Other internships followed, most

I could and wasn’t realizing my full

recently at Vote Smart, a

potential,” she states. Since then she

Des Moines-based

has skyrocketed and is poised to

nonprofit organization

continue the ascent on her way to a

that provides free,

career in politics.

factual, unbiased

“I came [to college] to take risks and to challenge myself… to take advantage of opportunities and to grow as a person. The minute I stepped out of my comfort zone is the minute I started growing. And I haven’t looked back since.” — Olivia Antonson ’21

information on

how government works and intersects with every business.”

Antonson blamed her comfort zone

candidates and elected

for holding her back. The realization

officials, and the

propelled her and was an apt theme

Massachusetts Center for

for her award-winning elevator

Civic Education, where she

speech. “I didn’t come to college

built a website from scratch.

to stay in my comfort zone,” she

In September, Antonson began an

declared before a panel of judges

internship with the Town of Dudley

on Zoom, 22 fellow participants and

to test the waters of a future in

dozens of YouTube viewers at the

local government.

April 12 event. “I came to take risks and to challenge myself… to take

This summer, she participated in

advantage of opportunities and to

the NEW Leadership conference,

grow as a person. The minute

a national bipartisan program that

I stepped out of my comfort zone

engages women in civic leadership.

is the minute I started growing.

“I met inspirational women across

And I haven’t looked back since.”

political science, law, lobbying, state and local and federal government,

Antonson took first place in that

nonprofits, academia,” she says. She

competition, adding to her mounting

also benefitted from the mentorship

list of achievements, which already

of Richard Moore, a Massachusetts

included four internships, a research

state senator from 1996 to 2015 and

presentation at the New England

long-time Nichols trustee. “Olivia

Peer Tutors Association conference,

demonstrated a clear interest in

participation in the North American

public service, and she combines

Model UN, a 3.95 GPA, and service

this commitment with integrity and

as a tutor and teaching assistant.

intellect. I expect her to be a leader in

Each experience solidifies her decision to pursue politics, Antonson notes, but none more so than being a TA and a tutor in the Academic Resource Center, where she has initiated research on best practices for peer tutors in political science. “I’ve been able to immerse myself in the academic side of politics, which is a nice contrast to the industry experience I’ve gotten from my internships,” she says. Antonson, whose parents are both Bison, will graduate in December with a degree in business administration (general business) and further concentrations in civic leadership and politics, management, and communication. Plans include graduate school leading to a career in either state/local government or academia.

the practice of government and the Confronting her fears unlocked

academic study of public administra-

opportunities that fed her passion

tion,” Moore says, adding, “I’d like to

for politics, an interest sparked in

see more Nichols students learn, as

Introduction to Political Science.

she has, that success in business is

“I knew within one week this is

enhanced by an understanding of

Will we see her name on a ballot one day? “I don’t have interest in being the candidate,” she says, “But I can see myself being the person behind the candidate.”

l Nichols College Magazine


The bot builders: Students lead Nichols into the age of automation by Susan Veshi

Nick Kolodziejczak took his first accounting class in high school, and he liked it enough but, more importantly he says, “It was one of the few classes they offered that I could see leading to a good job.” But the more courses he took, the less interested he became, and by the time he was a sophomore at Nichols College, he began questioning whether the field was a good fit for him.


Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

He was at that crossroads when Professor Bryant Richards invited him to participate in a research associate internship in the spring of 2021 on something called RPA — Robotic Process Automation. Not considering himself particularly tech-savvy, Kolodziejczak was skeptical, but remembers Richards saying, “Trust me, this is the wave of the future.”

“I’ve been working with him since February, and I love it!” says Kolodziejczak, now a junior. He is among a handful of students who have pioneered RPA at Nichols, creating “bots” to solve business problems. The skills and real-world experience they are gaining have markedly altered the trajectories of their careers and are giving Nichols a competitive foothold in preparing students for the burgeoning automation economy. Before you conjure images of the Terminator and r2d2, know that the bots Nichols students are building do not have a physical form or human characteristics. These are software bots, designed with a set of instructions to perform a task, usually one that is routine or repetitive. For instance, bots can be used to copy and paste journal entries into a general ledger or collect data from the web or other digitized format and compile it in a usable structure, like an Excel spreadsheet, for analysis and reporting. “The easiest way I explain it to people is I create a computer process to reduce the repetitive tasks of a job that a person really shouldn’t have to do, that a computer should be able to do anyway,” says Christopher Haverty ’21, who has been hooked on RPA since also taking the internship last spring. He has developed dozens of bots. He programmed one to identify which Nichols professors have or have not uploaded their syllabus to the college’s course management system, and he is working with the Mohegan Sun Casino on one that ensures check requests have the appropriate approvals — jobs typically requiring a manual process now made more efficient and reliable. Haverty and Kolodziejczak, along with fellow pioneer Jacob Ortega, are quick to point out that RPA is not intended to replace jobs, but to help people work smarter. “Most RPA tools are not capable of making decisions, but it can simplify data gathering and processing

to help humans make better decisions based on data.” Kolodziejczak offers, “It saves people brain space.”

pave the way for the Center for Intelligent Process Automation (CIPA). (See page 8.)

With its ability to perform tedious and rules-based tasks, RPA has transformed the accounting industry — PwC surveys state that 73 percent of all internal processes can be automated. It was at the urging of firms like PwC and Deloitte that prompted Richards, associate professor of accounting and finance, to investigate further. “We were hearing from big accounting firms that RPA is something they’re training their folks to understand and use now, and if students learn how to do this, it would be very useful to them in their careers,” he says.

“The data science field is revolutionizing the business landscape, and we intend to be at the forefront of tech business and leadership education,” say Nichols President Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M. “Bryant and our RPA students have laid an excellent foundation for my vision of ensuring that all students are exposed to this critical skill set.”

The college became part of the UiPath Academic Alliance, which gave students access to free software, and by 2019, started to introduce RPA into the undergraduate accounting curriculum. “We found quickly that this technology was a great fit at Nichols,” says Richards. “Our students loved it and became successful at it. Within weeks they were building bots and by the end of the semester they were designing automated solutions for small accounting firms, large banks, and even Nichols.” Providing consulting services to local business and nonprofit organizations took RPA education at Nichols to the next level. “Of the 80 U.S. colleges and universities within the UiPath Academic Alliance, few have expanded as quickly as Nichols into curriculum advances, student programming and consulting,” states Richards. “And there is currently no school that has a full circle deployment of automation tools to support training, education, and consulting.” In 2020, Nichols entered another stratosphere when it partnered with NICE Ltd. to provide the software and

RPA software became the fastest growing segment of the global enterprise software market in 2019, according to NICE, with growth accelerating in 2020 when the pandemic forced organizations to abruptly change practices. The technology research and consulting company, Gartner, predicts that 90 percent of all large enterprises will adopt RPA in some form by 2022. And McKinsey and Company says automation technologies, such as RPA, will have a potential economic impact of nearly $6.7 trillion by 2025. “RPA is a game changer for Nichols,” says Fran Carlo ’90, vice president for global services at NICE, who was responsible for getting Nichols free resources and consultation. “The opportunity to learn about and be hands-on with a complimentary technology that truly solves business and operations problems will give students a competitive advantage in the job market and add significant value immediately in their careers.” Amahl Williams ’02, a partner at the Reveal Group and founding advisor of CIPA, goes even further in saying, “We have created a scenario where Big 4 firms will come to Nichols to compete over talent,” he says, contending, “Our student capability is better than MIT’s now.”

Continued on page 8

l Nichols College Magazine


Continued from page 7

Williams, a self-described “zealot,” estimates there are currently 80 million RPA jobs in the U.S. With his extensive knowledge and background in marketing new technologies, he motivated Nichols towards exploring partnerships with industry leaders. “We are talking about transforming lives,” Williams adds. “We are changing the way people feel about their ability to drive their careers in the future of work.”

Graduates like Bethany Faford ’19 MSA ’20, a senior accountant at AAFCPAs who is credited with building the first bot at Nichols, are already seeing the impact. Shortly after she joined the firm, the managing partner began talking about investing in company automation. “I was only there for three months at this time, but I decided to set up a meeting with her to discuss my experience and how RPA might be useful to gain efficiencies at the firm.”

Nichols launches the Center for Intelligent Process Automation Nichols College has taken a major step toward preparing students to capitalize on the emerging technologies that are transforming business with the launch of the Center for Intelligent Process Automation (CIPA). CIPA is the result of a ground-breaking partnership between the business education specialists at Nichols and the internationally recognized tech leaders at NICE Ltd. to bring Robotic Process Automation (RPA) training and implementation to businesses at every scale. “CIPA provides students with an unrivaled immersive opportunity in the data science field and showcases Nichols as a leader in digital transformation and a hub for training, data analytics, automation development, and research,” said Nichols President Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M. “In addition to advancing data and tech-related buisness skills, experience, and career prospects of students, CIPA will be an invaluable resource for the

Jacob Ortega ’21


While driven by industry needs, CIPA is fueled by the passion, creativity, and leadership of students who have learned to build bots that perform audits, reconcile accounts, collect stock data to automate portfolios, and support the admissions call center, among others. “Through our training, consulting, and methodology development, CIPA has prepared me to lead in an ever-evolving business landscape,” said Jacob Ortega ’21, a current MBA student. “I feel that through this work I have accomplished the goal I set out on when I first arrived on the Hill in 2017, to be the most effective resource possible in helping businesses operate and make better decisions towards achieving their goals.” Ortega serves as the lead intelligent process automation analyst for CIPA, joined by analysts Nick Kolodziejczak ’22, Chris Haverty ’21, Cody Roberts ’22 and Kendra Annis ’22.

Chris Haverty ’21

Kolodziejczak ’22,

8 Nichols College Magazine

greater educational and business communities.”

l Fall/Winter 2021

Cody Roberts ’22

Kendra Annis ’22

For Haverty, who came to Nichols in his senior year from a 3+1 Program with Mount Wachusett Community College, RPA training will be the key to unlocking opportunities in accounting and finance. “Every job over the next 10 to 15 years, every company is going to have some amount of RPA in their business. This puts me ahead of other applicants,” he says. “I am glad to have found it when I did and look forward to a bright future for this field,” adding, “My curiosity got me into it and my passion will make me stay.”

Bryant Richards, associate professor of accounting and finance at Nichols and CIPA director, notes that a student-run center of excellence is highly unusual in higher education, making CIPA an unparalleled opportunity. “The depths and layers of experience our students are getting will uniquely prepare them for a digitally transformed workplace,” he said. The NICE alliance also opens the door to student-involved research in business applications of emerging technology. Nichols has relationships with research fellows from other institutions who are working with students on two projects: identifying complex factors in automations that cause increased development time and deployment challenges; and exploring best practices around Citizen Development, a process that encourages non-IT professionals to become software developers. “Both of these will put us on the cutting edge of solving problems for industry,” says Richards.

For more information on how Nichols is elevating its profile in the field of data science, visit

From the Archives a

The Hill was alive with the sound of… Singing. For several decades, dating back to the founding of Nichols Junior College, vocal groups were a big part of the campus culture. Ensembles, such as the Glee Club, performed on campus, entertained the region and even took their talents to the airwaves. They were seen as ambassadors of good will for the college, united by a pure love of singing. The first Glee Club was formed in 1931, drawing 37 members, but hit an immediate snag when fire struck Budleigh Hall, destroying their music and other materials. (“An impromptu rehearsal was held,” reported the Budget newspaper, “but it was necessarily hindered by a lack of music.”) Over the next decade, the Glee Club was recognized as an asset to Nichols. They performed at convocations, dances, and the annual Winter Carnival and at off-campus concerts, rotary events, church suppers, garden clubs, places such as the Worcester Art Museum and on WTAG radio. The Glee Club rehearsed often in pursuit of perfection, which they often achieved, according to student reviews. Other times, practice didn’t always make perfect, as in this 1956 depiction from the yearbook: “In the beginning, the sounds heard could not exactly be called music, but as the sessions wore on, the melody became discernable. The end result was most satisfying.” Some years, due to insufficient interest, the Glee Club went silent, but not singing. The Metronomes, a dapper octet comprising Glee Club members, made its debut at the Freshman Frolics in 1949. Later performance highlights included the Hotel Touraine in Boston, a sales convention at the famous Toots Shor night club in New York City, and a televised talent show. One of the more celebrated vocal groups was the Nicholodians (spelled variously as Nicholodeans, Nicholodiens, and Nicholodeons). Formed in the fall of 1956,

the Nicholodians wowed audiences with barbershop melodies and modern swing, producing a tight harmonic sound. They became a favorite on and off campus, “spreading the name of Nichols across New England,” at other colleges, nightclubs, private parties and social functions. Then there was their appearance on The Nicholodians, who made their debut in fall 1956, were often called the “Tonight Show back for many encores. Starring Jack Paar,” a story retold by the late Reverend Paul Undoubtedly, music — and even singing — Price ’58 in a 2016 visit to campus with his commanded its place and presence in wife: While taking a break from performcampus life in the ensuing decades, but ing with the Glee Club at a school in New by the early ’70s, formal vocal groups had York City, a few of the Nicholodians toured all but reached a coda, save for yearbook NBC studios. Clad in their nifty vests, they evidence of a Glee Club in 1977 and caught the attention of Paar, who asked Nicholodians in 1996, and talk of launching them to sing a few notes during the show. the Bison Singers in recent years. “It was very brief,” recalled Price, “but we were hometown heroes when we returned It’s also difficult to pinpoint why. Perhaps to Nichols.” waning interest coincided with the emergence of other clubs at Nichols, Throughout the ’60s, the Glee Club especially those catering to professional performed predominantly with and at activities, such as the American Marketing other colleges. As in previous years, Association or Finance Club. Perhaps they relished the opportunity to travel college glee clubs had passed their prime to all-female schools, such as Annhurst, and only the most stalwart, robust, and Endicott and Mt. Ida, or sing with their historic choral groups, at places like female counterparts. In the words of a Harvard and Yale, survived. Or maybe the 1942 club member, these occasions enjoyment of music itself had become “provided many pleasant associations too personal an experience, appealing to with the opposite sex.” The Nicholodians a range of diverse tastes and delivered also stayed busy, typically as an octet, through earbuds. and formed a campus quartet toward the end of the decade, adding folk music to Whatever the reason, the Hill still echoes their repertoire. with the memory of those intrepid voices, raised in song to the sounds of music. From then, unlike Don McLean’s “American Pie,” it’s difficult to pinpoint the day this type of music died on Dudley Hill.

l Nichols College Magazine


Nichols rides the airwaves with community DJs by Susan Veshi Bob Guyette may be 100 percent French Canadian, but he

“There was peer pressure and he received prank calls,” says

has polka music in his blood. In the early ’60s, when other

Guyette of his son, a fan of the genre since the age of 5. “But

teenagers were bopping to the Beatles, he was begging his

he said, ‘I love my music. I don’t care what they say.’” He and

older brother to tag along at polka dances. It’s a passion he

Jeffrey, who graduated in 1993 and received an MBA in 2001,

has fully and proudly stoked for 57 years.

continued to cohost until 2006 when the younger Guyette married and moved away. By then, Polka Bob had long estab-

Barry Wilson, on the other hand, is a little bit country and a

lished another polka program on his own.

little bit rock and roll. He has deep roots in the music industry, with a career as a prolific promoter, a drummer in multiple

Wilson’s first contact with the college may have been in

bands, and a disk jockey for clubs and commercial radio that

1979 when, as a music promoter, he brought Dr. Hook & the

dates to the ’60s.

Medicine Show to campus for two sold-out performances. His daughter Cynthia graduated from Nichols in 1983 — and

They are the living legends of WNRC Radio — community

is believed to be the first female president of the Radio Club

DJs who have delighted local audiences for years — 30 for

— but Wilson’s WNRC debut was still yet to come. The radio

Guyette and 14 for Wilson – with their passion, playlists,

veteran worked at several stations in Worcester and Boston

and perspectives. Now, in the age of streaming, they claim

until an attack of sudden retinal degeneration rendered him

devotees across the country, bringing the

legally and instantly blind at the age of 59.

Nichols name on the airwaves with them. Guyette, also known as Polka Bob, hosts two live shows a week, “Polka Festival” on Monday evenings and “Polka A-Go-Go” on Wednesday evenings, and can be heard daily from 6 to 7 a.m. on a pre-recorded show. His WNRC odyssey began in 1990 as a co-host of a polka program launched by his son Jeffrey when he was a freshman at Nichols.


Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

“I dropped out of everything completely

that, having worked in commercial radio.

and was at the height of depression,”

If you go up and down the dial and listen

says Wilson. He reconnected with the

to country music, you hear the same

college, staging concerts through the

40 songs over and over. He is playing

Fischer Institute and serving as a guest

stuff that you don’t find on the dial.”

speaker for arts and entertainment classes before finding a home on WNRC.

In addition to playing “deep cuts,” Wilson gives extensive background on

“Nichols was a savior to me, giving

the songs he plays from a lifetime of

me back what was left of my sanity,”

experience in the business.

he says. With just a little bit of sight in his left eye, he learned to operate the

“Barry is a walking encyclopedia on

board, with labeling assistance from

music,” adds Andrea Becker ’96 MSOL

Justin Dolan ’09 MBA ’14, a student at

’10, assistant dean for academic affairs

the time who is now assistant director

and co-advisor to the Radio Club.

of campus services at Nichols and co-advisor to the Radio Club.

Guyette’s shows are driven by listener requests, for which he taps into his vast

Polka Bob Guyette (page 10) and

Wilson relies on a contingent of drivers

collection of 2,500 albums, 2,000 CDs,

Barry Wilson (above) give WNRC listeners

to get him to and from the studio.

and 1,500 cassettes. If he doesn’t have

a unique blend of beats and background.

“Running the station isn’t the hardest

the requested song in the studio? “I’ll

part, it’s getting there,” he jokes. On

find it,” he says. “It might take a week,

Tuesday afternoons he hosts “Groovers’

but I write it down, and play it. That’s

Paradise,” a show dedicated to all types

the extra mile I do.” Guyette has been

of Americana music, and on Saturday

nominated in the top 55 radio and

mornings it’s the “Country Hall of Fame

internet disk jockeys of the year by the

Show.” He also hosts the “The Time

United States Polka Association for

Capsule!” which airs on WXRB 95.1,

three years. Though he’s never won, he’s

the former home of Nichols radio still

come close to the top 10.

Guyette boasts followers from California,

“People who like polka music are really

New York, and even Canada.

exploded for both Guyette and Wilson, whose shows can generate upwards of 100 clicks. “I have regular listeners from Maine, Amarillo, Texas, and Chicago. It’s amazing and helps put the college on the map so to speak,” Wilson contends. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Texas, Florida,

located at the top of Academy Hall. Both Wilson and Guyette provide a

dedicated,” he says. “They will go above

unique service...for their listeners and

and beyond to listen to the music.”

for the college.

Dolan can attest — during a recent power outage on the campus, he received a

Their impact is also economic. When WNRC holds its annual radiothon in March, the bulk of donations are made in honor of Guyette and Wilson.

“We are like the liaison between Nichols

number of calls from fans who were

and the senior people in the community,”

missing their morning jolt of polka.

Together, they have raised thousands

himself “the oldest kid on campus.”

And sometimes, it’s more than just the

station operations, such as licensing and

“A lot of people wouldn’t know about

music that keeps them coming back.

Nichols then, all of a sudden, there’s

Becker received a letter from a daughter

the connection to polka music and

whose mother listened to polka and

old-time music. It’s funny that a college

has since passed. “For her, it keeps her

is presenting music that some of these

mother’s spirit alive,” she says. “It was a

older people couldn’t find anywhere

beautiful and touching letter that shows

on the dial.”

there is history here and a tendency for

says Wilson, who, now at 79, calls

some of the next generation to be inter-

of dollars among listeners to support streaming fees. And they are here to stay. Though Guyette laments that interest in polka may be waning, he is committed to promoting the music he loves for as long as possible. “To put it bluntly, they are going to have to carry me out of

ested. I don’t think polka is going away.”

here,” he quips. Wilson approaches

you can’t find it anywhere else on FM

In fact, when the 100-watt station

14 years and I haven’t missed a day.”

radio,” he says. “Barry is cognizant of

began streaming in 2004, the fan base

That’s a definite part of their appeal, notes Dolan. “Their shows are popular because

his work with the same zeal: “It’s been

l Nichols College Magazine


AN AVALANCHE OF MEDIA Mauri Pelto, PhD, professor of environmental science, has studied the impact of climate change on glaciers, including heat waves, for four decades. His research has caught the attention of organizations such as NASA and news media outlets such as the Washington Post, BBC, and most recently, National Geographic. Here, he looks at how an increase in heat waves has led to even greater interest among the press. Heat waves and glaciers don’t usually

Earth Observatory (EO). This same

go together; however, in the last two

heat event led to the observation that

years an increasing number of heat

the snow lines on Taku Glacier in Alaska

on Easton Glacier, where the team annually

waves have affected glacier regions

were the highest they had been since

measures the snow and ice layer thickness.

around the world. The impacts of heat

tracking began in 1946. This decade of

Above, Pelto with his daughter Jill who,

waves have been a focus of my research

high snow lines indicating increased

over the last four decades on glaciers.

melting, causing the retreat of this

The duration of these studies has not

glacier for the first time since the

escaped the attention of the media

glacier was first observed in the 1880s.

in recent years. In 2021, for the third

The work was published in the journal

consecutive year, I have responded to

Water and shared with NASA’s EO,

well over 100 media requests.

which generated interview requests from media in five continents. Of the

The beginning of this “heat wave”

250 glaciers I have worked on, this was

of observations of a heat wave on

the last one to begin retreating. I was

glaciers in the Yukon that generated

quoted as saying, “That makes the score

snow swamp. The observations were

global warming: 250 and glaciers: 0.”

published in a joint project with NASA’s


Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

At top, Mauri Pelto, with Ann Hill, Clara Deck, and Abby Hudak approaching icefall

between them, have spent 50 field seasons in the range, are below Columbia Glacier, one of three World Reference glaciers they monitor.

An all-time temperature record for Antarctica in February 2020 prompted a search for the immediate impacts on glaciers. My observation of the rapid formation of melt ponds on Eagle Island Ice Cap was reported to NASA EO, which published the results within two weeks of the event, leading to further global media coverage.

When record warmth spread over the Mount Everest region in January 2021, I noted that the snow lines near Mount Everest had remained at nearly 6,000 meters, including the key glacier passes from Nepal into China being snow free into late January. I reached out to a National Geographic team who had put up weather stations at high elevations on Mount Everest in 2019. This led to a joint project with Prajjwal Panday, assistant professor of environmental science at Nichols, and researchers from Loughborough University in the United Kingdom and Appalachian State University. Temperature observations and reconstructions of daily weather conditions, dating back to 1950, indicated that the region had experienced the five warmest winter days since 1950. Even in the highest mountain range in the world, we are seeing melt conditions during the winter. This study was first published by NASA EO within a month of the event, and then in the journal Remote Sensing. The next warm weather event was the Pacific Northwest record heat in late June 2021 that set all-time records at almost every location. For glaciers, this rapid snowmelt event attracted the attention of scientists and the media.

The team camps below Easton Glacier on Mount Baker, where they spent over 750 nights in a tent during the project.

As a result, as we headed into the field

outreach, including the Seattle Times.

in the North Cascades in August to

Mount Shasta in California fared even

monitor 10 glaciers, I knew that our

worse, losing all of its snow cover on

results would be noteworthy. A National

glaciers by September 6. The largest

Geographic reporter joined us for the

glacier on the mountain and in California,

first four days as we observed the

Whitney Glacier, began to separate. In

impact of this heat wave. (The article

all, the glaciers here had lost 50 percent

was released on October 13.) It had

of their area and volume this century,

stripped the snowpack from the glacier

including 10-15 percent this summer,

earlier in the season than usual, exposing

and had fragmented from six into

the dirtier ice that lies underneath the

17 glacier pieces. This was reported

snow and melts more rapidly than snow

in the San Francisco Chronicle and

under the same weather conditions.

Washington Post.

The resulting volume loss during this summer season has been the highest

The bottom line is I have been asked to

we have observed in our 38 years of

provide all too many hot takes on the

monitoring North Cascade glaciers. We

impact of heat events on glaciers, each

observed stunted alpine plant growth,

illustrating that glaciers are simply not

experienced days of smoky air limiting

compatible with recurring heat waves.

visibility and had to navigate and mea-

This is true from Arctic Canada to the

sure more open crevasses than

Himalayas from the Andes to Antarctica.

usual. On Mount Baker, a 10,700-foot

This year, for the 34th consecutive year,

stratovolcano, we observed four glaciers.

Alpine glacier volume in the world will

By the end of August, they were 90

decline; their business model is not

percent stripped of their snow cover,

sustainable with our climate. I’ll

instead of being 60 percent snow

continue to document this around the

covered in a balanced-weather year.

world and report relevant results, which

Mauri Pelto traversing through seracs at

The mountain itself is noticeably less

will be featured by science and media

the front of the Lower Curtis Glacier.

white, which prompted more media


l Nichols College Magazine



Season openers: New coaches make Bison debut by Pete DiVito, Sports Information Director

The 2021-22 academic year at Nichols College will mark the coaching debut of nine new head coaches in the athletic department, all of whom were hired over the last 18 months. Some joined the Nichols community last year, when all Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) competition was cancelled due to COVID-19, while others arrived on campus just a short time ago. Let’s meet the newest leaders of our student-athletes:

Men’s Basketball

Women’s Basketball

Brock Erickson

Dan Nagle

A native of Worcester and graduate of Assumption College, Erickson most recently worked at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he spent the 2020-21 campaign as an assistant coach responsible for recruiting. He was the associate head coach at nearby Division I Bryant University for two seasons, during which he helped three student-athletes earn Northeast Conference All-Conference honors as the Bulldogs finished 11th in the nation in rebounds/game. He has been at Kent State and Iona, where he helped the Gales capture the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference championship in each of his final two seasons to advance to the NCAA Tournament after earning National Invitational Tournament bids in his first two years.

Nagle comes to Nichols following a two-year stint as the head girls’ varsity coach at King Philip Regional High School. He helped the Warriors qualify for the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Tournament following a 12-8 season in 2019-20, setting program records for steals, turnovers forced, three-pointers made, and single-game points (84). Previously, he spent three years as the head women’s basketball coach at Fitchburg State, where he inherited a winless team and brought them to consecutive nine-win seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. He recruited and coached a pair of Massachusetts Small College Athletic Conference Rookie of the Year award winners and spearheaded the program’s involvement in the Special Olympics.

Women’s Soccer Caitlin Pickul Pickul came to Dudley after spending the previous four seasons at The College of Holy Cross, first as an assistant coach before rising to


Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

associate head coach and, since March 2020, interim head coach. The Crusaders’ coaching staff was named Patriot League Staff of the Year in 2019 after posting the best record in program history while also recording the highest cumulative GPA in the athletic department. Pickul was an assistant women’s soccer coach for five seasons at Wellesley College where, after posting a combined record of 11-22-6 during her first two seasons with the program, the Blue went 25-21-12 over the next three, finishing above the .500 mark in each campaign.

Men’s Hockey Michael Parnell ’17 A member of the 2015-16 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Northeast Championship squad, Parnell returned to Dudley as an assistant coach in 2019 before being named head coach in July 2020. As an undergraduate at Nichols, Parnell amassed 19 points in 69 games during

his time in black and white and served as team captain as a senior, when he received the Hal Chalmers Memorial Award for Dedication and Sportsmanship. Parnell, who was a member of the ECAC Northeast Academic All-Conference Team in 2015-16, also served as the recruiting coordinator upon his return to the Hill, effectively recruiting junior hockey leagues throughout the United States, Canada and Europe to the tune of 13 freshmen this fall.

hockey program and later took over the head coaching reins of the women’s ice hockey program, where he spent six seasons. Barrett took over a women’s program in its second year of varsity competition and guided it to a pair of 10+ win seasons. Barrett, who worked as a color analyst on QU women’s and men’s broadcasts from 2008-19, began his collegiate coaching career at Sacred Heart in 2000 when he took over a women’s team that was transitioning from Division III to Division I.

was named Commonwealth Coast Conference Men’s Tennis Coach of the Year on four occasions during 17 seasons at the helm of the men’s program. After guiding ENC to a back-to-back appearance in the CCC Championship match, the Lions captured the 2019 Greater Northeast


Athletic Conference Championship in

Mariah Vasquez

match. Popa also guided the women’s

Vasquez comes to Nichols from Medford High School, where she served as the cheerleading coach during the 2018-19 season. She guided the Mustangs to a Grand Championship in a competition in West Springfield and a second-place finish at the Greater Boston League in 2019. The Mustangs later advanced to the second round of the Massachusetts School Administrators Association Regionals and just missed qualifying for the state championship. The Grand Championship was the first co-ed title for Medford in school history.

Women’s Hockey Michael Barrett Barrett was hired to lead the women’s ice hockey program in September after spending the better part of the last 30 years as a member of the Quinnipiac University athletic department, most recently as the director of athletic and School of Communications development. He began his tenure in Hamden as an assistant coach with the men’s ice

2019 and won their NCAA First Round tennis program for 13 seasons and, after advancing to the GNAC Semifinals in 2018 (13-5 record), the Lions captured the 2019 GNAC Championship.

Men’s and Women’s Volleyball

Field Hockey Laura-Ann (“LA”) Lane A three-time Colonial States Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and the 2018 Atlantic East Conference Coach of the Year, Lane came to Nichols in the summer of 2020 from Gwynedd Mercy University, where she spent the last 13 years as the head field hockey coach, senior woman administrator, athletics work-study coordinator, and mentor for the Student Athlete Advisory Committee. Lane guided the Griffins to nine consecutive championship games — including four-straight CSAC Championships (2011-14) — and six NCAA Tournament appearances. She mentored 89 all-conference studentathletes (45 first-team selections) during her time in Gwynedd Valley with seven earning Player of the Year nods and two receiving Rookie of the Year accolades.

Casey Fitzpatrick Fitzpatrick, who spent the 2018-19 campaign as an assistant with the men’s program at Nichols, returned to Dudley in August following a two-year stint as the men’s volleyball head coach at Division III Adrian College. While in Michigan, he was named the Midwest Collegiate Volleyball League Coach of the Year in his first season in 2020 after guiding the Bulldogs to a 10-9 mark and a firstplace finish. The Bulldogs led the conference in both kills/set and digs/ set. At Adrian, Fitzpatrick coached five MCVL

Men’s and Women’s Tennis

All-Conference student-athletes,

Cris Popa

received the Team Academic Award

including the 2020 Offensive Player of the Year. This past season, the Bulldogs

Popa came to Nichols from nearby Eastern Nazarene College, where he

from the U.S. Marine Corps/American Volleyball Coaches Association.

l Nichols College Magazine





Class Champion:

These Bison never leave home without a Nichols banner, from left, Dan ’83 and Pam Murphy ’84, Mark Fagan ’84 “Bubba“ Battaini ’84, Bob Barry ’83.

Mark Alexander

1973 Class Champion: Jay Reese (508) 359-7862 A note was received from Richard Barber, who reports that he has been spending time in Aruba: I have been retired for 24 years and am enjoying every minute of my retirement. With seven grandchildren and one headed to UConn to be a pharmacist this year, I can’t be any prouder of what my children and grandchildren have accomplished. Fred Fogel says that he retired and is living in Reynolds Lake Oconee in Greensboro, GA: For all you golfers, I am sure you are familiar with the community. If you are ever in the area feel free to look me up! I am getting married on 2/22/2022 and going to the Maldives for a honeymoon. If anyone has been to the Maldives, please give me a heads up. Gregory Pogue shares that he retired from The College of New Jersey in July and now holds the title of vice president of human resources, emeritus. Andy Rich shares that he too was retired for one year, but then they called him back. Now he is working part time, spending time with his three grandchildren and traveling as COVID permits. He reports that he thinks of Nicky U often and would like to attend Homecoming soon.

1985 Class Champion: John Donahue 609-257-8717 Sue (McElroy) Bacarella reports: Ross ’84 and I are doing well, splitting our time between Connecticut and Palm Beach Gardens, FL. We have six kids and four grandchildren. We own a logistics company called BTX Global Logistics based in Shelton, CT.

to a college in Florida that I was accepted to. Lou Testa ’84 helped shape my attitude about working. When he hired me in the Boston office for U.S. Lines, I attribute my excellent work ethic to him. He taught me well and started me on a lifelong journey of success in all positions I have held. John Donahue shares: I became a grandfather to this bundle of happiness in October 2020. That’s a rice cake in his mouth. He was just starting to break teeth and has a good start with the team of choice on his bib. Mary Carlson Mangano says hello! She was on her way to Ohio State University to drop off her son Chris who will enter his freshman year and serve under the Naval ROTC Program. Joan (Koonce) Stearns says: We have moved to Vero Beach, FL, and I am still in the golfing world. I am the controller for Riomar Country Club. If ever in the area, please let me know.

Nancy L. (Russo) Davis shares an update: I received my MBA from Nichols in 2014 and a doctorate from Nova Southeastern in 2019, and I’m currently enrolled in law school. Yes, I am a professional student; it certainly feels like that. If I continue, I will complete my JD in 2024. It’s a long time away, and I’m reinventing the wheel!


A couple memories from my time at Nichols: The first person I met was Debbie Cassella, who was my roommate at the time. She made an impression on me because she convinced me to stay at Nichols and not transfer

Class Champion: Donna Small 336-692-5157

1992 Class Champion: Keith Hofbeck

1994 Class Champion: Danielle Troiano Sprague

Please send your Class Notes news directly to your class champion. If you do not have a class champion, news may be forwarded to classnotes@nichols. edu. Digital images are preferred, but please do not crop them! The higher the resolution the better — 300 dpi (dots per inch) is best. Digital images may be sent directly to the Alumni Relations Office Prints may be sent to: Nichols College, Alumni Relations Office, P.O. Box 5000, Dudley, MA 01571.


Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

2000 Class Champion: Andrea Sacco

2001 Class Champion: David Twiss 978-979-7658

2002 Class Champion: John Larochelle Robert Cleary, president and CEO of ClearComIT Solutions, announces that, after facing one of the most challenging economic setbacks in their 20-year history, the company has been recognized with two business awards. It was named No. 3662 on the Inc. 5000 list of the most successful, independently owned businesses in the U.S., out of over 7 million businesses. With 92 percent three-year growth, ClearComIT has expanded to manage the IT of over 100 organizations along the East Coast. It was also chosen for the fifth consecutive year by the editors at Channel Futures as one of the technology industry’s top-performing providers of manager services, based on annual sales, recurring revenue, profit margins, revenue mix, growth opportunities, innovation, technology solutions supported, and company and consumer demographics. He says: To be included on these two prestigious lists is a testament to the amazing team we have and the wonderful clients we partner with. The landscape regarding cybersecurity has shifted immensely in the past year. In response, we have expanded our cybersecurity services to keep our partners safe and secure. We are now protecting against treats that didn’t exist 10, five, or even two years ago. Educating our clients

on safe email practices and data protection with ongoing training has been key in keeping everyone protected. ClearComIT is focused on delivering ongoing, exceptional service and support, responding to our clients’ evolving IT needs and demands quickly and effectively. The children of Heather (Bassett) Pike and Erin (Hickie) Gaffny show their Bison Pride.

2003 Class Champion: Jillian (Hayes) Smerage

2005 Class Champion: Melissa Jackson Kerry (Barnes) Cole and husband Steven welcomed Elizabeth Grace on August 16. Jeremy Lemoine was promoted to AVP, Northeast region distribution leader, at Chubb.

2006 Class Champion: Erica Boulay Sheen Farner MBA ’14 was promoted to director of budget & financial reporting at Day Kimball Healthcare.

2007 Class Champion: Meaghan Larkin



Class Champion:

Class Champion:

Nicole Curley

Stacie Converse

2010 Class Champion: Katelyn Vella

2012 Elizabeth Sullivan welcomed Rowan Charlotte O’Donnell on July 27, 2021, saying, “We are overjoyed and couldn’t be more in love with our future baby Bison!” Christopher Pagliccia welcomed a new baby to the family, Leonardo Hugo. A potential fourth-generation Bison! Courtney and Michael Simoni are now a herd of four! Tyler Michael was born on June 28, joining big sister Carey Marie.

2013 Class Champion: Ryan Flavin

2014 Ryan Foley MBA ’16 was named to the Worcester Business Journal’s 40 Under 40.

Alycia Allard adopted a puppy, Mocha.

Caitlin Peloquin welcomed a baby girl, Dakota Gloria, on March 29. Mackenzie Scheer was promoted to senior manager, human resources business partner, at Karyopharm Therapeutics Inc. Kim Whalen was promoted to risk management examiner III at the Massachusetts Division of Banks. Colin Whitney, a former Nichols College golfer, played in the Golf Fights Cancer Golf Marathon on June 3 to help raise awareness and funds for DetecTogether (formerly 15-40 Connection). The organization was founded by Nichols Trustee James W. Coghlin Sr. ’67 and his wife Nancy to teach people how to recognize the earliest warning signs of cancer. Colin played 100 holes at Juniper Hill Golf Course in Northborough, MA, to honor his sister Caitlin, who was helped by the organization to detect breast cancer in the early stages; today she is seven years cancer free. A highlight of the day was Colin’s hole-in-one on a par 4 hole, a first for that hole in Juniper Hill’s history. Pictured is Colin with his father, Mark, and Jim Coghlin.


Nikki LaBrack, Gina Petruzzi, Lindsay Baker, Cally Audet, Ali Hanlon, Julia Zawacki Andrew Pelc is engaged to Cynthia Zayas Torres.

2018 Ryan Meagher was promoted to senior manager of premium seating at the Worcester Red Sox.

2019 Class Champion: Brian O’Riodan boriordan78@gmailcom Nicole “Kiki” Guerin was promoted to branch manager at Enterprise. Taylor Kerr and Miles Meacham ’20 are engaged!

Class Champion: Andrew Haas & Mike Ricci Matt Taylor and Jenn Townsend ’17 have adopted a puppy, Roo.

Nikki LaBrack was promoted to account coordinator for Enterprise Fleet Management, working on the corporate side of the business. She spent the last two years working for Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

2020 2017 Class Champions: Nicole LaBrack & Gina Petruzzi

Michael Battaini was promoted to college unit director at Northwestern Mutual, where in 2020 he was named as one of the Top 100 Financial Representative Interns in the country.

l Nichols College Magazine



Sometimes you just have to press play Eric Aukstikalnis ’17 Eric Aukstikalnis ’17 holds a Bachelor

Makes You Beautiful’ and thinking,

time, working full time, and spending

of Science in Business Administration

‘Wow, that is so catchy. I want to

as much time as possible creating

with a finance major from Nichols

create music like that.’”

music. He’d go to class, get to the library to do his schoolwork and then

College and is now following his dreams by pursuing a career in the

With a proficiency in math and an

work on his music, often staying until

music industry. Today the Worcester

interest in the investment world,

the library closed at 2 a.m. Sometimes

native splits his time between Los

Aukstikalnis enrolled at Nichols to

he’d crash with a friend or even take a

Angeles, Atlanta and Massachusetts.

pursue a concentration in finance. Music

nap in his car and do it all over again.

He has achieved over a million monthly

continued to be a big part of his life,

For him, as long as he could work on

listeners on Spotify and has worked

starting in his freshman year as a resi-

his music, he was happy.

with notable artists such as Dolly

dent of the beloved Budleigh Hall. “Our

Parton, and this is just the beginning!

floor was a tight knit group, a strong

Upon graduating in 2017, Aukstilkalnis

community,” he shares with a smile. “I

was at a crossroads as he contemplated

Aukstikalnis’ interest in music started

used to do open mic nights at Nichols

his options: “I could take the safe

at the age of 10. “I asked Santa for

and even won the talent show with a

route and live a great life as a finance

a PlayStation, instead I got a piano,”

song that I wrote. All of my Budleigh

executive and maybe play in a cover

he recalls. “The piano sat in my room

friends knew I created music. They

band with my buddies on Thursday

for months until I was bored enough

were supportive and always wanted to

night or I could give music a real shot.”

to give it a try. Once I started, I was

know what I was working on.”

He thought about his father, who always advised “follow your dreams.”

hooked. I spent hours listening to music on YouTube and teaching myself

After his first year, Aukstikalnis

He also recalled a speaker at Nichols, a

how to play.”

commuted to Nichols, attending full

fisher who tried for six years to turn his passion into a career. The moral of the

The interest intensified in high school

story was that he went for it, lived his

when, in addition to the piano, he

dream and, even when it didn’t work

learned to play the trumpet, and even

out, he was only 28 and could quickly

led the school orchestra. He was also

pivot his future. Aukstikalnis decided

a competitive golfer, winning several

to go all in with music, to live a life

New England PGA junior tournaments

with no regrets that his father would

and starting to gain attention from

be proud of.

D1 schools. But in his junior year, he suffered a back injury, which turned

In 2018 he moved to Los Angeles to

out to be a pivotal moment for his

be closer to the music community. His

future. “While recovering from my

friend, manager, and fellow Worcester

back injury, I turned to my music. It

native, Ernest Osei, invited him to stay

was during this period that I started

with him while he got his career started.

to create my own songs,” Aukstikalnis

The move proved to be critical to

reflects. “I was very inspired by pop

building the right network of people needed to create the music, like

icons like Justin Bieber and One


Direction. I can remember clearly

Eric Aukstikalnis is following his dream

pulling together the puzzle pieces of a

hearing the One Direction song ‘What

and making it in the music business.

song. He worked hard and started to

Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

Two alumni named to Board of Trustees Jaime Paris Boisvert ’98 and Amahl H. Williams ’02 have been elected to the Nichols Board of Trustees, beginning their terms in May and October, respectively.

see success. Notable records include

experiences that I know help me in

“Faith,” featuring Dolly Parton and DJ

my career today.”

Galantis, “Losing My Religion,” featuring MKLA, “Get Like Me,” with Bhad

As for his goals, Aukstikalnis

Bhabie and featuring NLE Choppa,

confidently states, “I want to be the

“Stars In My Eyes,” “Wasted On You,”

biggest DJ and music producer in

“Missing You,” featuring DJ Tez Cady,

the world.” This self-proclaimed

and “Monsters” featuring 24KGoldn.

underdog says he may not be the most gifted person in the room,

Aukstikalnis considers himself a music

but he will certainly be the hardest

producer. “I like to work directly with

working with a can-do attitude and

an artist from the ground up and

charisma to back it up. True to his

collaborate on every element of the

decision, he harbors no regrets.

song,” he says. His creative process

And, echoing his father’s wisdom,

starts with an idea, which he develops

he advises, “No matter what, it is

to its fullest potential so that it sounds

never too late to follow your dreams.

as good as it can based on his vision.

If you have a dream don’t be

Then he works to present this as a

afraid of failure. If you live your life

product that others would want to buy.

fearing failure you will never truly achieve success.”

Skills he learned and honed at Nichols. “College taught me how to think,

Eric Aukstikalnis shares his music

how to think outside the box, how to

under the name Aukoustics. Search

carry myself, interact with different

“Aukoustics” on Spotify or any music

types of people from all walks of life,”

streaming service. Follow his journey

he remarks. “When you submerge

on social media @aukoustics.

Paris Boisvert is the director of the Higher Education Vertical Market for Johnson Controls, which is well known for delivering solutions that optimize buildings and infrastructure by improving energy efficiency, data analysis, comfort, safety and security. Previously she was the general manager of the Boston Branch at Siemens Smart Infrastructure, where she served in a number of capacities over 12 years. She began her career through the Nichols Career and Professional Development Center as an account executive at AT&T, moving onto MAC Systems, followed by a stint as director of sales & marketing for Chace Building Supply of Conn. Williams, a three-sport varsity captain at Nichols, has spent his career in sales and marketing leadership roles focusing on the monetization of new and adjacent technologies for the Fortune500 and Global2000. He is currently a partner at Reveal Group, as well as a contributor at Forbes as a member of the Forbes Communications Council. He serves as a volunteer mentor at BUILD, which provides hands-on entrepreneurship training and college prep to help stem the high school drop-out rate. He was also a member of the Nichols Board of Advisors, a member of the Colonel Conrad Society, and is a founding advisor for the Nichols College Center for Intelligent Process Automation.

yourself in the college experience you naturally gain valuable experiences,

– Jillian Riches Paris Boisvert


l Nichols College Magazine



Keep calm and adapt


Alf Anderson III ’98 If recessions were rodeos, this isn’t

irreparably. When his position was

Alf Anderson’s first. As the executive

eliminated, his next job was one he

director of the Bar Harbor Chamber

calls “one of the most rewarding

of Commerce, Anderson has been

experiences he’s ever had” as a crew

guiding the New England magnet

member at Trader Joe’s. Empowered

businesses and members through

by positivity, Anderson overcame

the challenges brought to the iconic

what should have been a challenging

coastal New England tourist desti-

time in his career journey.

nation by the pandemic.

These Bison friends from the Class of 1998 adapted to a virtual reunion during the pandemic. On the call were Kosta Haveles, Stan Crosby, Jeff Haffty, Mike LaVigne, Ken Stockhaus, Dave Sokolnicki ’97, Kevin

By digging deep into past

With these professional

Fournier ’96, and Alf Anderson, feeling it was

career and life experience

changes came flexibility, so

as if not a day, let alone more 20 years, had

from a decade ago in the

when his wife, Heather, had a

passed since they were all together.

Great Recession, Anderson

job opportunity that meant

has ensured Bar Harbor

relocating to Mount Desert

Chamber supports businesses year-

business members recovery

Island, Maine, Anderson was

round. The pandemic put Anderson

in. Heather had grown up in southern

and his team to the test but the

Maine and they celebrated their

success of members adapting and

Anderson grew up in Connecticut,

wedding in the state six years prior.

overcoming challenges feels like

living with two older sisters, his mother

However, the one and only time Alf

the chamber’s own success. Their

and stepfather. Those who know him

had been to Bar Harbor before moving

marketing and social media has

best describe him from a young age

there had been seven years earlier.

greatly contributed to engaging

as calm, focused, devoted, caring and

The Andersons had escaped Boston

visitors in all seasons. The chamber’s

very funny. A happy teenager and

to enjoy a quintessential getaway

site,, is not just a

hard-worker, Anderson doesn’t recall

down east where they indulged in

resource for tourists; local visitors

much more of an influence to attend

lobster on the water, hiked in Acadia

and residents can find all there is to

Nichols College aside from two of his

National Park, drove to the summit

experience year-round.

close high school friends were going

of Cadillac Mountain. They’ve since

there. He thoroughly enjoyed his time

settled near Bar Harbor, along with

Anderson’s advice to Nichols graduates

on campus and classes and made

their Great Dane, Pippy. Home, he

starting out in their careers is a

connections he holds dear to this day.

says, is “one of the most beautiful

powerful reminder for all: “It’s so

places in the world. It’s an amazing

important to listen to people.”

place to live, and I’m very fortunate.”

He also says to stay positive and

and success.

With a longtime interest in marketing

open-minded. And, when faced with

and advertising, his professional pursuits following graduation landed

When the Bar Harbor Chamber

a recession or other career changes

him on Boston’s North Shore for the

was seeking someone to run their

and challenges, be adaptable. “If

next 15 years. Anderson started out

events program, Anderson applied.

you’re not adaptable, you’re probably

in event planning for a publishing

His potential to lead was clear and

going to get left behind,” he adds.

company which grew into a role

his role developed into marketing and

“You’ve got to be able to roll with the

in advertising sales. He thrived,

membership responsibilities with a

punches.” Or find a way to stay on

overachieving against targets while

promotion to executive director in

that bull the whole ride.

managing a team and an $8 million

2019. Outside of promoting the town

annual budget. By 2012, the recession

as a global destination for tourists

had impacted his company and industry

in summer and fall, the Bar Harbor

20 Nichols College Magazine

l Fall/Winter 2021

– Molly Thienel


IT’S YOUR FUTURE. Earning a master’s degree is like giving yourself a raise. Discover just how affordable your master’s degree can be, and just

Beth Piuze, M.Ed.

how big an impact it can make on your earnings and your life.



Master of Business Administration

Master of Science in Accounting



Master of Science in Counterterrorism

Master of Science in Organizational Leadership

Director of Graduate Enrollment and Student Success



MNI ALU UNT O DISC Rachel Ferreira, M.A. Director, Institute for Women’s Leadership Director of Graduate Enrollment and Student Success









* Once they start their first class

l Nichols College Magazine



Lester R. “Rally” Thomas ’48, of Montpelier,

Gerald T. LaMarque ’54, of Edgartown, MA,

David P. Benson ’67, of Villalba, Spain, formerly

VT, March 28, 2021: He served in the U.S.

on January 12, 2021: He was president of

of Riverside, RI, August 22, 2020: A veteran

Army in the Pacific Theatre during World War

LaMarque Marine Services Inc., a marine

of the U.S. Air Force, where he was stationed

II. He worked in the banking industry for 40

survey business he started in 1976. His business

in California and then Madrid, he worked at

years, spending much of it as a vice president

was active in both the New York/Connecticut

the Veterans Administration in Providence.

at Worcester County National Bank. Among

areas, Solomons, Md., and Martha’s Vineyard,

his many volunteer commitments, he was a

where he spent summers from 1973.

past trustee at Nichols College.

Jack C. Hult ’54, of Branford, CT, June 28,

Edward C. Wheaton ’48, of Millville, NJ,

2021: He served in the tank division of the

August 3, 2021: He was a member of the

U.S. Army and spent many years as a driver

U.S. Army Air Forces from 1945 to 1948. He

for Shell Oil.

retired in 1992 as the president of Wheaton

Kenneth D. Walters ’67, of New Haven, CT, July 18, 2020: He served two years in the U.S. Army with the 82nd Airborne Division and worked in Greenwich and Stamford in sales, tree service, and construction until retiring in 1996.

Scientific, where he worked for 42 years.

Bruce Bartlett ’55, of Winchendon, MA,

Roy Zabriskie ’49, of Vero Beach, FL, July

and his family reports that Nichols laid the

21, 2021: He was a veteran of the U.S. Air

groundwork for a successful career in

John M. Harrison ’68, of Woodmere,

Force, stationed at Sheppard Air Force base

business and a love of sports.

NY died on April 24, 2021. He was

in Texas. He was the owner and president of Zabriskie Chevrolet in Paterson, NJ, before

July 2, 2021: He was a U.S. Air Force reservist

James P. Russell ’55, Verona, NJ, April 6,

John M. Harrison ’68

a longtime volunteer leader at Nichols College, first on the Board of Trustees

retiring in 1978.

2021: He started as an insurance executive

Carl J. Kurtgis ’51, of Fort Lauderdale, FL,

Jersey Life and Casualty Insurance Co. He

March 9, 2021: A veteran of the Korean

then founded Spectrum Lighting. An inventor

in 2016, and was a member of the

War, he worked in the family businesses,

and manufacturer, he held several patents on

Colonel Conrad Legacy Society.

including wholesale floral supply, and retired

corner lighting concept.

Harrison enjoyed a successful career

at MetLife and continued his career at New

from Berkeley Floral Supply in Miami.

Harold P. “Pick” Jurgens ’58, of Hudson,

and most recently on the Board of Advisors. He endowed a scholarship

in marketing as a partner or principal at several firms, including Harrison

John H. Perry ’51, of Hutchinson Island, FL,

NY, March 29, 2021: He worked at J. Kenneth

April 10, 2021: He served in the U.S. Army

Frasier & Associates as a consulting

and worked 50 years for Araban Coffee Co.,

engineer and was the owner and operator

president for 20 years. Survivors

starting as a salesperson and retiring as its

of the Cairo Water Co. and owner of the

include his wife, Carol, two daughters,

sole owner.

Torchlite Campsites.

two grandchildren, and two siblings.

Peter M. Polstein ’51, of Oxford, CT, January

Harry Clemence ’60, of Albuquerque, NM,

5, 2021: He served in the U.S Army, where he

August 4, 2021: A member of the U.S. Marine

posted in the Far East during the Korean War.

Corps, he served three combat tours in

He was an insurance broker in New York City

Vietnam, flying the UH-34D helicopter and

and worked for Alexander and Alexander for

KC-130F, earning 43 air medals (860 combat

20 years, retiring in 1997.

missions) and the Navy Commendation Medal.

John A. Chesebro Jr. ’53, of North Providence, RI, March 9, 2021: He was a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving overseas during the

Retiring as a major in 1982, he flew for Muse Air, Transtar Airlines, and then Continental Airlines until he retired in 2000.

Leifer DiMarco where he was

Michael J. Carney ’68, of Naples, FL, May 24, 2020: He served in the U.S. Air Force as a T-38 Jet instructor pilot during the Vietnam War. He was a professor at Bentley University, later serving as vice president of human resources and retired as HR VP at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He was inducted into the Nichols Athletic Hall of Fame for baseball and football in 1976.

Korean War. He worked as a civil engineer for the City of Providence for many years before retiring.

Alvah O. Rock ’63

David R. Eisner ’53, of Niskayuna, NY, September 25, 2019: He served in Japan

Alvah O. Rock ’63 of Bay Shore, NY, died on August 31, 2021. He worked in banking

during the Korean War. He worked for

before transitioning to real estate in 1981 and then facilities management and

General Electric doing early research work

services at The McGraw-Hill Companies, retiring in 2003. An ardent supporter of

on television, and later at the GE corporate

Nichols, he and his wife Susan endowed a scholarship in 2016 and helped complete

R&D Lab, where he was part of a team that

the extension to the college’s Bicentennial Campaign. Rock was a charter member

developed Doppler ultrasound, CAT scanner,

of the Board of Advisors and has served on the Board of Trustees since 2018. In

and MRI system.

22 Nichols College Magazine

addition to his wife, he leaves four children and nine grandchildren.

l Fall/Winter 2021

Robert J. Cassella ’69, of Albany, NY, April 3, 2021: In addition to his Nichols degree,

Margaret I. Duquette ’93, of Worcester, MA,

Eugene J. Kerrigan ’80

March 10, 2021: She was employed by Melville

he earned an associate degree in civil engineering and spent his professional life as a manufacturing plant manager.

Shoe and Assumption College before

Eugene J. Kerrigan ’80, of Hyde

beginning a long career in banking as a

Park, MA, died on July 31, 2021.

human resource manager, working 19 years at Bay State Savings Bank and 10 years as

Donald S Labonte ’72, of Rochester, NY,

He had a career in finance, most

August 18, 2021: He was a management

recently as a financial advisor for

specialist for the New York State Office of

Bay State Financial. As a dedicated

Temporary and Disability Assistance in a career that 48 years at various agencies in New York State.

an officer and trustee of Westborough Bank, before retiring in 2007 from Avidia Bank.

volunteer at Nichols, Kerrigan served as the president of the Alumni Board and a member of the Board of

George F. Cressey II ’74, of Kennebunk, ME, May 20, 2021: He was the co-founder of W.C. Cressey & Son, Inc., where he and his father

Millicent P. Maziarski MBA ’96 of Melrose, MA, March 2, 2021: For the past 24 years, she was the manager of finance and administration at MilliporeSigma in Burlington.

Trustees. He was a frequent participant in the annual alumni golf

Kristopher M. Johnson MSOL ’16, of Charleston, SC, March 20, 2021: He was

served as distributors for Thomas Built Buses

tournament. His survivors include his

in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont. In

wife Joyce and four children, among

2019, he was presented with a Meritorious

them is Christopher, a 2012 graduate

Service Award in honor of 53 years serving

years as head basketball coach at Lawrence

of Nichols.

Academy. Most recently, he was an athletic

Kennebunk Fire Rescue.

the assistant basketball coach at Eastern Connecticut University, followed by four

director and basketball coach at West Nottingham Academy, where he led them

Garrish J. Sloat ’74, of Norwalk, CT, April 5,

to the 2018 championship season.

2021: He was a member of the Greenwich

James K. Urban MBA ’90, of Southborough,

Police Department, and following retirement,

MA, March 21, 2021: He served in the U.S. Army

was the owner and operator of Sloat Security

in Vietnam and worked for several companies


Services LLC, providing security, driving

in his career, including Brown, Brothers

George C. Proulx, of Southbridge, MA,

instruction, and transportation.

Harriman, Bay Bank, and Data General.

June 29, 2021: Former assistant director

Timothy C. Paddock ’77 of The Villages, FL,

Richard H. Ayres MBA ’91, of Ringoes, NJ,

career as a high school counselor and guidance

June 27, 2021: He served in the U.S. Navy in

May 21, 2021: He served with the U.S. Navy

administration at Acton Boxborough,

aviation ordnance. He owned a real estate

from 1978 to 1982 and was vice president of

Minnechaug, and Shepherd Hill.

development company, and, after working for

operations and plant manager for Mold-Rite

of admissions, he previously had a 36-year

a time with Ernst & Young, started his own CPA firm in 2005.

Plastics in Somerset, and formerly at 3M in Southbridge, MA, and Indianapolis, IN.

The next Golden Bison Bulletin is coming this winter! Be sure to send your submissions and any updated seasonal address information to: Nichols College Attn. Jillian Riches PO Box 5000 Dudley, MA 01571 or Catch up on past editions and the happenings of alumni who have celebrated their 50th reunions and beyond.

l Nichols College Magazine


Alumnus bequest supports students with learning differences At 6 feet 8 inches, William S. Edmunds ’62 was well known as “Big Bill” in his community. His family describes him as a sociable person with lots of friends, a “gentle giant” almost, and a successful salesman who was admired and appreciated by clients for his professionalism and integrity. Edmunds, who lived in his native

At Nichols College, however, Edmunds

Vermont his entire life, was a car

flourished. Like many students of his

method of ensuring they get the

enthusiast and collector who loved

generation, he was taken under the wing

support they need to reach their

travel, sports, and eating at diners.

of Nichols president, Colonel James

academic goals. But with Kolek

Conrad, Sr., and given the support and

conducting all the meetings —

confidence he needed to confront his

approximately 40 a week, with most

struggles. Embracing his stature, the

students on a weekly basis — help was

management major even played varsity

needed with other services, such as

and intramural basketball.

proctoring exams for students who

“The college and Learning Services Office is very thankful and appreciative for this financial support to be able to better serve our students during these very difficult times.”

require additional time or resources. So, shortly after his passing in January 2019, when the college received word of

Using the Edmunds bequest, Nichols

a generous bequest from the Edmunds

is in the process of hiring a learning

estate, his sister reached out with the

services coordinator who will oversee

idea of using the six-figure gift to expand

the Testing Center, assist Kolek with

services for Nichols students with learn-

student meetings to advise, coach, and

ing differences.

mentor students, and explore resources to benefit the greatest number of

The college currently

students with learning differences.

Edward Kolek, PhD

offers outreach, academic

Assistant Dean

counseling, and course

for Learning Services

accommodations to students

Office is very thankful and appreciative

who document learning

for this financial support to be able to

But his family also

needs. That number has

better serve our students during these

remembers more

grown 55 percent in the past

very difficult times,” says Kolek.

challenging times. In the

five years, according to

1950s, when Edmunds

Edward Kolek, PhD, assistant

Bill Edmunds at

towered over the other

Nichols College in 1962

dean for learning services, with more than 60 students

children at school, he was teased and bullied for his unusual

receiving learning accommodations this

height, and dealing with a learning


disorder that would have likely remained undiagnosed and

Kolek has found individual meetings

unaccommodated back then.

with students to be the most effective

24 Nichols College Magazine

“The college and Learning Services

l Fall/Winter 2021

If you are interested in learning more about including Nichols College in your legacy, please contact Jillian Riches at


Together Again: Homecoming 2021

Moments in Time Your alma mater and classmates want to keep in touch with you! Sign up for the alumni email newsletter Nichols & Sense by sending your email address to: | l Nichols College Magazine @NicholsAlumni ` Nichols.College


l Nichols College Magazine




P.O. Box 5000 Dudley, MA 01571-5000

Thanks to the support of donors, I have had


incredible experiential learning opportunities at Nichols College, such as volunteering at Super Bowl LIV in Miami. Now, I am pursuing my Master of Science in Organizational Leadership while working as a graduate assistant. Nichols has given so much to me, and it’s my goal to pay it forward

now and beyond my time on the Hill. Cari Cyr ’21 Sport Management Major Hospitality Management Major Emerging Leaders Program Graduate Assistant

Your contributions make a difference for future leaders like Cari. Please consider making a gift to Nichols College before Dec. 31, 2021.