Nichols College Magazine Spring/Summer 2021

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MAGAZINE Volume 15, Issue 2 | Spring/Summer 2021



From the President

Memories to take, a wish to leave behind For the past 10 years, I have enjoyed connecting with you through the Nichols College Magazine, to report on our triumphs and challenges, engage you in the exciting and innovative ways Nichols is evolving, and elicit your support of and pride in this special place. But the printed page is no substitute for the personal experiences that I have shared with so many of you – students, families, alumni, faculty and staff – throughout my tenure. It’s the stuff of memories I will cherish most when I retire at the end of June. Here are but a few: Adorning our newest batch of Golden Bison with their 50th reunion medallions; greeting the Florida faithful who gather each winter for the Naples reception; meeting alumni from across the country and making dear friends; kicking off and closing our bicentennial celebration, with a special appearance from founder Amasa Nichols; cheering on our athletes and catching playoff fever; swapping duties with an ambitious student each spring on President for a Day; challenging students to foosball games in the Fels Student Center, winning, and playing “Are You Smarter Than the President;” welcoming new students to campus and congratulating them as they cross the stage four years later and marvel at the leaders they have become. As you can imagine, the demands on a college president are many, but the rewards are infinite. They exist in those moments that remind me why I chose higher education as a career: to transform lives. Being president of Nichols College has allowed me to be part of a

community that is united toward this singular endeavor and focused on the success of each student. To be honest, I never thought much about bison before I began my Nichols journey in 2011, but from day one I understood what it means to be embraced by a herd. And time and again, over the past decade, I have recognized in our Nichols herd the resilience of the American bison, who have endured for tens of thousands of years. Nichols is no longer the little college that could… we are the college that did – raise the academic profile of students, quadruple the endowment, buck enrollment trends, increase retention, boost the graduation rate, complete a $66 million campaign, build a modern campus, advance leadership opportunities, and thrive during a pandemic. We demonstrated our grit and fortitude in perilous times and left no doubt that Nichols is here to stay. But not just to stay, to flourish. As I sail off into retirement (more accurately, sea kayak), my wish is for Nichols to continue its trajectory, to face the challenges of today and tomorrow with the same grit and fortitude it has mustered for more than 200 years. It has been my pleasure and privilege to lead the Herd for 10 of them. And, as an honorary Bison, I know that no matter how far I roam, I will always have a home back on the Hill.

Susan West Engelkemeyer, PhD President

M A G A Z I N E Vo l u m e 1 5 , I s s u e 2


Spring/Summer 2021




Bill Pieczynski CONTRIBUTORS

Nichols names Bryant University provost as its eighth president


Nichols returns to a spring rite: in-person commencements


College completes historic bicentennial campaign


New women’s leadership index highlights steady progress but uncertain future in Massachusetts


Brent Broszeit Tom Davis Rae Glispin Jillian Riches Ron Schachter Molly Thienel PHOTOGRAPHERS Dan Desrochers Lizzie Fontaine

6 How to spot a liar Professor Thomas Davis, author of the new textbook, Forensic Psychology: Fact and Fiction, looks at the history of lie detection, from as early as 300 B.C., and a variety of methods based on superstition, physical manifestation and word choice, but not, oddly enough, pants afire.

Pat O’Connor Photography Timothy Power Wright Photo Studios DESIGN Steve Belleville

Nichols College PO Box 5000 123 Center Road



Serial entrepreneur: Brooke Packard ’18


A legacy family legacy: Bountiap Ketnouvong ’03 MBA ’05 and Nicholas Douangchandy ’22


Going the distance: Kurt Grimmelmann ’74


9 The Engelkemeyer era:

Dudley, MA 01571-5000 508-213-1560



Rick Blankley’s view from the Hill: Life and afterlife


8:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., M–F

Nichols College MAGAZINE is published twice a year by



With Susan West Engelkemeyer at the helm, Nichols College made both measurable and immeasurable strides in building its leadership brand, revitalizing the campus, and securing the strength and vitality of this 200-year-old institution in challenging times. Read more about Engelkemeyer’s decade at Nichols and how she personified leadership for the next generation of Bison.



Nichols College, Dudley, MA.

A decisive decade

16 Adventures in Thailand

Campus was in full bloom with weekly fire pits, a fun-filled Bisonfest, the annual Elevator Speech Competition, and a successful Relay-for-Life.

Peter and Meghan Lynch have made homes from the Midwest to the Far East. As expats, they are embracing the beauty, culture, and people of Thailand and giving their four children an adventure of a lifetime.

Nichols College Magazine



Nichols names Bryant University provost as its eighth president Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M, acclaimed international law

managing undergraduate and graduate academic programs,

and national security expert with experience in academics,

curriculum, and chairing the Academic Review Board. During

law, and government service, has been named the eighth

his tenure, he initiated and implemented several academic

president of Nichols College. He succeeds Susan West

programs, including a Bachelor of Science in Data Science,

Engelkemeyer, PhD, who has retired following a decade at

a Digital Marketing Program, a fully accredited Physician

the helm of Nichols. Sulmasy comes to Nichols with 24 years

Assistant Program, a Graduate Certificate in Innovative Health

in higher education, most recently as provost and chief

Care Leadership and an online MBA.

academic officer of Bryant University. Sulmasy has been a law professor at the U.S. Naval War “President-elect Sulmasy brings a distinguished record of

College and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where he led the

administrative leadership and academic achievement to

Department of Humanities, and additionally was a lecturer

Nichols. He is uniquely qualified to build on the success

at the UConn School of Law, Roger Williams Law School,

Nichols has experienced under President Engelkemeyer’s

UC Berkley School of Law, and Harvard University. He is a

leadership and drive us further toward a position of greater

visiting fellow at George Mason University School of Law.

regional and national prominence,” said John H. Davis ’72, chair of the Nichols Board of Trustees. The appointment

He has lectured on the law of armed conflict, international

followed a six-month national search, led by Trustee Randy

law, and national security matters and is widely published on

Becker ’83 MBA ’96.

national security matters. He has been a subject commentator for numerous news media outlets, including the Los Angeles

“I am honored to join the Nichols College community as

Times, CBS News Radio, National Public Radio, CNN

its eighth president,” said Sulmasy. “The Nichols reputation

International, US News & World Report, the New York Times,

of offering a dynamic and results-oriented business and

the San Francisco Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, MSNBC,

leadership education has grown measurably stronger under

and Fox News.

the leadership of President Engelkemeyer and is perfectly positioned to continue its trajectory. I look forward to working

Sulmasy was educated at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, the

with the Board of Trustees, faculty, and staff to expand

University of Baltimore School of Law, UC Berkeley School of

opportunities for Nichols students to learn, lead, and

Law, and the Harvard Kennedy School.

succeed…Discere, Duces, Stabit!” He and his wife, Marla, have seven children. For more information, Sulmasy has served as the number two official of Bryant

and to view a welcome video with the president-elect, visit

University since 2015, with primary responsibility for

“The Nichols reputation of offering a dynamic and results-oriented business and leadership education has grown measurably stronger under the leadership of President Engelkemeyer and is perfectly positioned to continue its trajectory.” 2

Nichols College Magazine

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Nichols returns to a spring rite: in-person commencements At a virtual graduation celebration

The ceremonies marked the last for

requirements. Your future entails all

last May, Nichols President Susan West

President Engelkemeyer, who earlier

electives,” she continued. “Choose

Engelkemeyer promised the class of

in the academic year announced her

them wisely, develop new dreams,

2020 an in-person commencement as

plans to retire in June 2021. “As I ride

think about those four Ps.”

soon as pandemic safety protocols

off into the sunset into retirement in a

permitted. A year later, the class got

few weeks, I will always remember my

For both the class of 2021 and class

its wish. On May 16, 124 members of

decade on the Hill,” she said, followed

of 2020 undergraduate ceremonies,

the class returned, to don cap and

by, “It has been the honor of a lifetime

Henry M. Thomas III, JD (pictured

gown, celebrate with family, and

to serve as your president.”

below), president and CEO of the

exchange fist pumps with President Engelkemeyer on their long-awaited walk across stage. The ceremony was one of three inperson graduations held that weekend on Vendetti Field. On May 14, 83 master’s degrees were awarded in business administration, accounting, counterterrorism, and organizational leadership to the classes of 2020 and 2021, and on May 15, 261 graduates in the class of 2021 received Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees.

Urban League of Springfield, Mass., Engelkemeyer delivered the keynote address for the Graduate and Professional Studies Commencement on May 14. She described her dashed childhood dream of becoming a bareback rider in the circus, later finding her passion in education, and connected it to her position as a college president. “There are four Ps that have guided me

delivered keynote remarks.

“Please remember, no matter how far our Bison roam, they will always be welcomed home on the Hill.”

“My advice to you is fundamental. Whatever your aspirational dreams are, you should set your sight for it, go out and fight for it, use all your might for it. You can do it. Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t!” said Thomas, who was also awarded an honorary

President Susan West Engelkemeyer, PhD

doctorate in social welfare.

over my career. I hope they In compliance with guidelines from

might give you some inspiration. They

As she closed each ceremony, President

the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,

are passion, perseverance, positive

Engelkemeyer was emotional as she

masks were required, and graduates

attitude and play,” she said, describing

offered her signature message to the

were seated six feet apart and were

how each has factored into her life.

graduating classes: “Please remember, no matter how far our Bison roam,

allowed two guests. Each ceremony was livestreamed for friends and family

“One exciting thing about your life

they will always be welcomed home

unable to join in person.

now is that you no longer have course

on the Hill.”

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BICENTENNIAL CAMPAIGN Nichols College completed its bicentennial campaign, Securing

specializations, experiential learning programs such as the

a Legacy of Leadership, raising more than $66 million to

Nichols Consulting Group and the Center for Intelligent Process

support capital projects, endowment, and brand-elevating

Automation, and co-curricular initiatives such as the Institute

curricular and co-curricular initiatives.

for Women’s Leadership and the Emerging Leaders Program.

“The Bicentennial Campaign has left an indelible mark on the

“The Bicentennial Campaign has shown what we can achieve

Nichols experience, from state-of-the-art facilities to critical

with visionary leadership, an engaged community, and a

scholarship aid to new programs that solidify the college’s

compelling case for support,” says Davis. “By preparing

position as a leader in business and professional education,”

Nichols for the next stage in its evolution, it has funded a

says President Susan West Engelkemeyer, PhD. “It’s a proud

wealth of resources to prepare our students for theirs —

achievement for Nichols, to be shared by our donors and the

modern facilities, life-changing scholarships, distinctive learning

students who benefit most from their generous investment.”

experiences, and purposeful leadership development.”

The campaign was publicly launched in 2015 with a $45 million

Fels adds, “The campaign’s impact on the future of Nichols

goal, which was surpassed with $46.1 million in 2017. It was

cannot be overstated. The celebration of our bicentennial was

then extended by an additional $20 million and was recently

a turning point, and the campaign allowed us to aspire to that

completed with a total of $66.1 million. It represented the

next milestone — a third century of educating leaders.”

largest campaign in the institution’s 200-year history — the initial goal of $45 million was more than triple the college’s

The campaign inspired an unprecedented level of giving

previous campaign.

drawing more than 20 gifts over $1 million, including four gifts of $5 million, and more than $8 million in deferred gift

Under the leadership of President Engelkemeyer and Campaign

commitments to help secure the college’s future. Gifts under

Co-chairs John Davis ’72, chair of the Nichols Board of

$1,000 amounted to more than $2.2 million. “Through their

Trustees, and Gerald Fels ’66, trustee emeritus, the campaign

generous contributions, our donors have demonstrated their

funded the Fels Student Center, a new academic building,

commitment to our mission and endorsed our vision of

and major renovations and upgrades to athletic facilities and

Nichols as a college of choice for business and leadership

the Lombard Dining Hall. The number of endowed scholar-

education,” says Bill Pieczynski, vice president of

ships rose from 21 to 83. The college added new academic

advancement at Nichols.

Fels Student Center

Athletic Facilities

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Academic Building

l Spring/Summer 2021

Nicon Plaza

New women’s leadership index highlights steady progress but uncertain future in Massachusetts The Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL)


has released the fourth edition of its Massachusetts Women’s Leadership Index (MWLI), a biennial report that assesses and monitors the status of

women in power, giving the commonwealth a score of 45 out of 100. The index looks at women’s

face burnout; remote professionals

developing and

representation in leadership

attest to working more hours than

supporting women,”

positions across multiple sectors —

ever. And, given the additional time

Beaupré added.

political, corporate, nonprofit, and

spent on household duties and home

educational — and compares that

schooling, more than one in five

The Institute for Women’s Leadership

to both gender parity and national

working mothers with children under

was founded by Nichols President

averages to calculate the composite

10 are considering opting out of the

Susan West Engelkemeyer, PhD, in 2013

score. Since the index was first

workforce altogether.

to develop the leadership potential of female students and serve as a

released, the Massachusetts score has been ticking up, from 36 (2015)

At the same time, countries with

resource and authoritative voice on

to 39 (2017) to 40 (2019).

female leaders have shown better

women’s leadership for the community

COVID outcomes, and female bosses

at large.

Jean Beaupré, EdD, associate professor

tend to have more engaged staffs, a

of communication and marketing at

critical component for employee and

Nichols College, was the lead

organization success.

researcher on the MWLI, assisted by student interns Victoria Palkon and

This year’s MWLI findings show that

Madison Perrotti. She points to a rise

women comprise 51.5 percent of the

in female CEOs and public and elected

Massachusetts population, yet:

officials as a contributing factor to the higher score, but cautions that the 2021 edition does not yet reflect the impact of the pandemic on

• 31 percent serve in the state legislature; • 8 percent are corporate CEOs and

women in the workforce and leader-

24 percent hold board seats;

ship. “This past year has seen layoffs,

• 26 percent are nonprofit CEOs

stalled careers, and stress for all

(including education).

workers, but more so for women,” said Beaupré, who noted that, at

In addition, the gender wage gap

the time of the MWLI publication

in Massachusetts is 81 percent.

women’s representation in the workforce was at its lowest since 1988.

“Given the many positive impacts

“Given the many positive impacts that female leaders have on their organizations and staff, it is in the best interest of all that we maintain and strengthen our focus on developing and supporting women.”

that female leaders have on their According to the report, in the

organizations and staff, it is in the

U.S., women lost more jobs than

best interest of all that we maintain

men in 2020. Those still working

and strengthen our focus on

Jean Beaupré

Photo: Matt Wright

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How to spot a liar By Thomas Davis

In anticipation of the new degree in criminal psychology at Nichols College, Professor Thomas Davis, PhD, examines the more extreme methods of lie detection throughout ages, its modern predecessors, and some tell-tale signs of lying. He is the author Professor Thomas Davis


of Forensic Psychology: Fact and Fiction (2021).

Nichols College Magazine

l Spring/Summer 2021

os Angeles County Superior

deception, these signals of lying could

reaction is the fight-or-flight response,

Court Judge Patrick

be useful. However, neither of these

where experiencing fear and anxiety

Couwenberg had impeccable

common beliefs have research support

causes decreased salivation and a

for detecting deception.

dry mouth.

an undergraduate degree in physics, a

Ancient methods: From burned

Ancient Sparta used ruthless methods

master’s degree in psychology, and a

tongues to beating hearts

of detecting the truth. To qualify

law degree from Loyola University. He

For as long as there have been lies, there

for admittance to certain schools,

earned a Purple Heart in the Vietnam

have been methods of lie detection.

Spartan men were required to pass the

War and secretly served as a CIA

Over time, our talents for practicing

selection criteria. The young men were

operative in Laos in the 1960s. Before

deception have outpaced our detection

ordered to stand on the edge of a cliff

serving as a judge, he worked for one

ability. The origins of our current

and were asked if they were afraid.

of the most prestigious law firms in

approaches for lie detection began as

The required answer was always “no,”

Los Angeles, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

early as 300 B.C. with the notion that

but the men’s complexion determined

lying produces physical side effects.

their truthfulness. It was assumed that

As impressive as his achievements

Past methods of detection used rituals

the men with the pale complexions

were, none of them were real. When

that invoked supernatural aid through

lied, and they were pushed off the

confronted, Judge Couwenberg blamed

sacred signs and totems. However,

cliff. In Ancient Rome, bodyguard

a condition called pseudologia fantastica,

these techniques relied more on the

screening was conducted using a

a compulsion to tell stories containing

belief in their effectiveness to condemn

similar method where candidates were

facts interwoven with fantasy often

the deceitful rather than their ability to

asked provocative questions. Those

called pathological lying. His excuse did

separate liars from truth tellers.

who blushed were selected for the


qualifications and impressive achievements. His education included

job. It was believed that if a person

not save him from being removed from the bench. His story raises the question,

The Bedouins of Arabia required the

blushed in response to provocative

how can we be so effective at deception,

tellers of conflicting statements to lick

questions, they wouldn’t take part in

yet so easily deceived?

a hot iron. The teller whose tongue was

plots against authority.

not burned was considered truthful. In Honesty is among the top five charac-

China, around 1000 B.C., subjects put

Another method exploited the power of

teristics people want in a leader, friend,

dry rice powder in their mouths and

superstitious beliefs. Suspected thieves

or lover. From social media to online

then spit it out. If the powder was dry,

were led into dark tents with donkeys

dating, identifying and coping with

the individual was lying. The reasoning

whose tails were coated in black lamp

lying is a common topic of most

behind these methods was that the

soot. The suspects were told that the

conversations. Yet, although we are

anxious and nervous person (the one

donkeys would bray if touched by

skilled at producing lies, we are terrible

lying) has less saliva (a dry mouth

thieves, and that the suspects should

at detecting them because we’re

and tongue). Today we know that this

now pull the animals’ tails.

looking for the wrong signs. Before you read further, ask yourself, “How do I know when someone is lying?” Check to see if your answer matches the Global Deception Research Team’s survey findings. They asked this same question and found the most common belief about deception is that liars avoid eye contact. Also mentioned was the idea that liars are nervous, and this causes excessive movements of the liar’s body. As obvious indicators of

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Those who left the tent with clean hands

your experience matches forensic

(indicating that they had not dared to

research, you probably used evidence

touch the animals for fear of being

like third-party information (i.e., a

found out as thieves by the donkeys’

friend told you about the lie), physical

braying) were considered guilty.

evidence (i.e., a text message or photo), or the liar’s confession. Unlike what’s

During the middle ages, a suspect’s

shown in the entertainment media,

pulse rate was used to expose unfaithful

discovering the lie takes time. On

wives and their lovers. The testing

average 4.1 percent of lies are detected

technique was quite simple. A trained

in less than an hour, 20.6 percent in less

individual placed a finger on a wrist of

than a day, 20.6 percent in less than a

a woman suspected of infidelity, while

week, 20.6 percent in less than a month,

mentioning names of men, who could have had an intimate relationship with her. When the examinee’s pulse accelerated, it was obvious that she was reacting to the name of her lover. The modern-day version of these techniques is the notorious polygraph which relies more on the belief in its effectiveness than its actual ability to detect lies. It’s sometimes described as a “lie detector,” “fear detector” or even as an “emotion detector.” In fact, no reliable signs of deception have ever been identified. Even worse, there is no evidence whatsoever that what the polygraph actually measures — heart rate, blood pressure, sweating, and breathing — are linked to whether or not you are

15.5 percent in less than a year, and 1.5 percent more than a year after they were told! Do these results match your experience? If so, you now understand the advantages of using evidence over behaviors to detect deception. Forensic Psychology: Fact and Fiction

Revealing language

is a research-led textbook written

Unlike telling the truth, telling false

by Thomas Davis Ph.D. professor of

stories requires more imagination to

psychology at Nichols College, that

describe events that didn’t happen in a

offers students the tools they need to

style that appears sincere. As a result,

engage critically with the psychological

stories based on imagined experiences

dimension of the criminal justice

are different from stories based on real

system. It is published by Red Globe

experiences. One way to capture the

Press, an imprint of MacMillan

differences between true and false

International Higher Education.

stories is to examine the language people use to tell them. The specific

her confession. Smith told police about

word choices and grammar often reveal

stopping at a red light on Monarch

more than the surface content of their

Mills Road. She said that she saw no

story. Take for example, the case of

other cars on the road. Yet the light

Susan Smith appearing on television

turned red, contradicting the fact that

claiming that her two young children

the light on Monarch Mills Road was

were kidnapped at gunpoint. She

always green and only turned red if

person lied to you. Describe the event

tearfully pleaded for her children to be

it was triggered by a car on the cross

where you were lied to: Where did it

returned, telling reporters, “My children

street. Since she said there were no

happen? What was the lie about? Can

wanted me. They needed me. And now

other cars on the road, there was no

you remember what the person said to

I can’t help them.” Her choice of past

reason for her to come up to a red

you? Now think about how you found

tense was strange because, normally,

light. This subtle verbal contradiction

out you were lied to. What evidence

relatives will speak of a missing person

eventually led to Smith confessing that

revealed the lie? Finally, how much time

in the present tense. The fact that Smith

she drowned her children by pushing

passed between the time when the lie

used the past tense in this context

her car into the lake with them buckled

was told and when you knew that the

suggested that she already viewed her

securely in the back seat.

person had lied?

missing children as dead.

telling the truth. Evidence over behavior We have all been on the receiving end of a lie. Try to remember a lie that you detected in the past. Recall as much as you can about the situation in which the

So, the best way to spot a liar? Consider your evidence again; was it

But it was a small yet significant

based on behavior or information? If

contradiction in her story that led to


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Look less and listen more.

The Engelkemeyer era: A decisive decade by Ron Schachter


ver the past decade, Nichols College students immersed in the study of effective leaders needed to look no further than Dr. Susan West Engelkemeyer as a prime example. Her accomplishments speak volumes — from elevating the student profile to developing significant leadership programs to building and modernizing the physical campus to completing a $66 million fundraising campaign. But it’s also the quieter qualities of leadership, in the words of students, faculty, staff, and alumni, that have defined her presidency: Caring. Empathetic. Dedicated. Accessible. Visionary. Engelkemeyer will retire from Nichols on June 30, after ably navigating Nichols through one of the most challenging periods in higher education, which included a spate of college closures and a global pandemic. “Ten years in this role is a long time, well above the [six-year] average for a college president,” says Engelkemeyer, who points to the opportunity to spend more time with Dave, her husband of 47 years, her young grandchildren, and 94-year-old father. “It’s time for some fresh eyes for the college.”

What Engelkemeyer saw through her own eyes posed a challenge even before being named the college’s seventh president — from buildings that “looked tired” to student enrollment, achievement, and retention metrics that were wanting. “We were looking for someone to move us forward, to professionalize the administration of the whole school. She had the experiences at other schools that she could bring with her,” recalls John Davis ’72, chair of the Nichols Board of Trustees, who brings the perspective of almost three decades as a trustee. “She had a really good understanding of what needed to be done to take us to the next level,” concurs Gerald Fels ’66, trustee emeritus, former board chair, and the interim president of Nichols for a year before Engelkemeyer’s arrival. Davis and Fels note that Engelkemeyer came with an academic background strong on business and leadership, with the added ability to market. “She had a long career as an administrator at Babson,” Davis explains. “She had worked at different colleges that

were all growing and weren’t static.” Engelkemeyer had served as dean of both the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Ithaca College business schools. It did not take her long to impress the faculty and administrators she would be leading. “She came in with a vision,” says Associate Dean for Business Luanne Westerling. “She jumped in and got to know everyone. She’s very warm. She’s been great for Nichols.” Measures of success Engelkemeyer promptly took aim at the college’s admission standards, as well as its 59 percent retention and 36 percent graduation rates. “I knew it was not a sustainable situation,” she emphasizes. “So, in 2012, we raised admission standards and set a threshold on SAT scores. “We took a one-year hit on enrollment,” Engelkemeyer admits, “but rose to nearly 1,200 students two years later.” That’s compared to the 700 to 800 students Davis estimates were typically enrolled years before. Fast forward to the end of the decade and the

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third-semester retention rate had climbed to 76.4 percent, headed towards a target of 80 percent. Even through the pandemic, the momentum continued — in fall 2020, fifth-semester retention (students returning for their junior year) climbed to an all-time high of 67 percent. Meanwhile, the four-year graduation saw a 50 percent increase, and the average GPA and SAT scores of incoming first years have reached the highest levels in the school’s history. More challenging to Engelkemeyer was her push for accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), a designation that applies to more than a dozen undergraduate majors and several of the college’s master’s programs. The Initial Self Evaluation Report was accepted in 2018, and the college is working toward meeting all nine standards for accreditation. “AACSB is the gold standard for business accreditation,” she explains. “The decision to pursue the accreditation was the most difficult for which to get buy in, support, and consensus.” The process has meant finding professors with advanced degrees in business disciplines — almost a dozen in the past three years alone — and helping to subsidize doctoral degrees for current faculty members. “One of the things it does is put more emphasis on research by the faculty. So, folks have to think about publications as an important goal,” Engelkemeyer adds. That chapter in Engelkemeyer’s tenure has proved instructive. “One thing I’ve learned is to have a little more patience than 10 years ago,” she says. “We’ve implemented a lot of change here. Change is hard and is an individual process. I’ve learned the ‘nudge and wait’ approach.” Leadership education Along the way, Engelkemeyer launched several high-profile programs that have helped define the college in the


Nichols College Magazine

new millennium. “We put a stake in the ground on leadership,” she says, offering a simple sentence that covers an extensive initiative touching every Nichols student and faculty member. “We revised our mission statement around leadership.” “Eight years ago, she approached me and said, ‘I have this idea. We have leadership in our mission statement, but we don’t have programs that promote it,’” says Westerling. What emerged was a required course for all first-year students — nicknamed Lead 101 — that put the words into action. The curriculum, taught by faculty from all Nichols majors, ranges from real-world case studies; to self-evaluation of leadership qualities and styles; to practicing leadership classroom activities. Engelkemeyer has led by example in teaching one of the 10 sections offered each semester. “It’s good for our students to see our leader in the classroom,” says Westerling. “She’s a very participative leader-manager.” The education continues beyond the first year, with many courses containing a leadership component and an option for students to join the co-curricular Emerging Leaders Program, which offers a host of activities, guest speakers, volunteer opportunities, and field trips. At about the same time, Engelkemeyer turned her attention to the goal of raising the profile of women’s business education by founding the Institute for Women’s Leadership (IWL) in 2013. “It was part of the president and board’s vision for how Nichols could impact not only our students but also the community,” says Jean Beaupré, associate professor of communication and marketing and faculty advisor to the IWL, which she directed for its first six years. While the IWL was having an impact through its speakers, dinners hosted

l Spring/Summer 2021

by alumnae or other female business leaders, and field trips to their workplaces, there was no guarantee that the fledgling program would take root, Beaupré points out. “The biggest thing was her willingness to put the weight of the college presidency behind it, even to the point of giving us a high visibility location in the new academic building.” The IWL has become a go-to authority on issues in women’s business. The annual Empowering Women in Business Conference hosted by Nichols has expanded. And the IWL Massachusetts Women’s Leadership Index — a biennial survey which grades Massachusettsbased businesses, nonprofits, and government organizations on their promotion of women to the highest ranks — has underscored the distance that these entities need to go and generated the media coverage to get the message out more widely. Capital investment Nichols wasn’t built in a day, but Engelkemeyer has contributed a hefty chunk during her 10 years here. “Even when I came to campus during the interview process, it looked a little tired,” she recollects. The construction of the Fels Student Center was underway when she assumed office, but she soon got busy with new construction and renovations. The centerpiece was the new academic building. The nearly $10 million LEEDcertified project, completed in 2015, features state-of-the-art, technologyenabled classrooms that facilitate group learning, faculty offices, a multimedia recording studio, and more visible locations for the Registrar’s Office and the Institute for Women’s Leadership.

Engelkemeyer also has managed to avoid what she calls an “arms race” among colleges to build high-priced facilities which they can ill afford. Much of the college’s construction efforts have gone into major additions to and a complete makeover of the Athletic Center, as well as the extensive renovation of several residence halls and — most recently over a multi-year period to avoid disruption to its everyday use — the Lombard Dining Hall. “In terms of facilities we’re now competitive on a limited budget with other schools. The projects were well-thought-out,” says Davis. “Plus, she had to go out and help raise the money for them.” Speaking of which, Engelkemeyer presided over the largest capital campaign in the college’s history, which exceeded its $45 million goal by the time it ended in 2017 and raised a total of $66.1 million following an extension. “She recognized right away that if we were going to get the school to progress, it was going to take money. And we didn’t have much,” Davis admits. “We had talked about fundraising for 10 years.” “There are a lot of business school deans becoming college presidents partly because of the financial challenges schools face today,” observes Engelkemeyer, who began visiting individual alumni early on to ask them to make big donations — “more in dollar amounts than they had given before,” Davis notes. That’s how longtime trustee Robert “Kuppy” Kuppenheimer ’69 befriended Susan, as the successful first stop on her fundraising itinerary. “She flew around to about 95 percent of the folks who made large gifts,” he points out. “She got right in there and asked for the money.”

COVID-tested Finishing up her Nichols career, however, has not been a gentle trot through the meadow. For more than a year Engelkemeyer has had to harness her managerial abilities to lead a college through the COVID-19 pandemic in an educational world that combined social distancing on campus and distance learning off campus. “I never in my wildest dreams thought of a COVID reality in my final year,” she admits, “especially in an institution like Nichols. We’re a close-knit community used to interacting. There was no more bantering with students on the sidewalk or in the dining hall.” After dispersing students in March 2020, Engelkemeyer brought them back to campus for the fall term and beyond following an extensive and expensive preparation for their return. Frequent COVID testing — which helped limit cases to the dozens — as well as the strategic closing of campus before Thanksgiving and delaying of the spring term until a late February start — have made a difference. Davis says that Engelkemeyer has passed her administrative COVID test. “Her presidential abilities have come through spectacularly and have come through much better than most institutions. She was able to achieve safety and good education at the same time.” The students’ president Less measurable but as impactful are Engelkemeyer’s normally wide-ranging interactions with Nichols students. “She’s very involved. She comes into the classroom for our mock interviews in PDS [Professional Development Seminar]. The kids love it,” reports Westerling. “She goes to sports events. She never says no when I ask her to

come to other student events,” from leadership events to the college’s annual Elevator Speech Competition (for which she serves as a judge). “I walked around campus, and I swear to you that there wasn’t a student that she didn’t know by name — first name and last name,” remarks Kuppenheimer, who also points to Engelkemeyer’s interest in extracurricular events. “I can’t tell you how important it is for students to know that the president is involved with them on a day-to-day basis.” Former IWL Director Beaupré suggests that Engelkemeyer also makes a big contribution as a role model. “It’s made a big difference for female students to see a strong female leader,” Beaupré says. Lexxus Andrews ’20, who is working as a graduate assistant and earning her master’s degree at Nichols, ticks off the qualities that she has noticed. “Just the way she carries herself on campus. Her style. The way she dresses. Her public speaking and her confidence with words — that’s what’s so inspiring,” Andrews says. When it comes to Engelkemeyer’s overall contribution to Nichols students, Kuppenheimer gives a succinct assessment. “She’s leaving in place a college that’s turning out a student who can hit the ground running at a corporation. She’s turning out a product that can be turned out at a higher level.” Adds Fels, “She’s made the connection to the real world and what’s needed from the standpoint of education.” Recent graduate Andrews, meanwhile, offers her own bottom line. “She’d better visit.”

The two have since vacationed together, along with Trustee Tom Hall ’69 and his wife Denise, which includes fly fishing for the enthusiasts and trail riding for Susan, an accomplished equestrian.

l Nichols College Magazine




Speaking of those fellas, Pat

behind the bar at Leitrum’s Pub

grandchildren in this journal and

Hoey ’79 has lived a life of leisure

upon graduation, Andy took

Bill wins, as he has nine of them,

since the day he graduated. He

over his father’s ceramic firm

eight boys and one girl, ranging

will tell you it has been a life of

(International Ceramics) and has

from 1 month to 15 years old. Bill

hard knocks and sweaty brows,

built it into an industry power.

has been a recruiter/headhunter

Mark Alexander and Jose Luis

but don’t you believe him.

Class Champion: Mark Alexander

Veluntini ’74 catch up at Delray Beach, FL.

for 40 years since graduation

Professionally, he has owned Pat

Marty Power has been a Nichols

and is mostly retired and living

Hoey Productions with services

trustee and so very generous

as a kept man as his wife is an

ranging from fundraising to the

with his time and donations to

entrepreneur who just founded

running of flower shows. It says

the Hill. Upon graduation, Marty

her sixth company within the

right on his business card: “Let

went to work for an independent

last year.

me get one thing straight, I don’t

oil and gas firm as an accountant.

do any of the work, I tell you all

Then over a beer, he met someone

what to do.” It is like a mission

in the oil trading department


of said firm and, all of a sudden, Marty was the only Nichols

Mike Villanova ’79 lives in the

College oil trader in a room

Lowell area and is married to

full of Texas, Texas A&M, SMU

his wife Maura. Michael works in

and TCU graduates, and Marty

the technology industry and has

was in charge.

no interest in explaining exactly


what he does. They have three

Billy Strobel lives in the Houston,

daughters with just one of them

TX area and has been a home-

still in college.

builder for 40 years.

Tom Loricco ’79 never moved

Gary Guglielmello ’79 is a

from his hometown of New

financial advisor.

Jay Reese reports: After

Haven, CT. Tom has been married

Class Champion: Jay Reese (508) 359-7862

47.5 years in the workforce, I have retired! I made it official in December 2020. For now, I’m waiting out the pandemic but look forward to traveling with my wife, kayaking on the Charles River and am

to his lovely wife Trish for more

Gary Godin, Larry Bean and Phil

decades and they have two

Robinson help round out our

wonderful children, daughter

group. Larry lives in Manchester,

Nina, a pediatric nurse at Yale,

NH, and plays out of Manchester

and son Thomas, in his early 20s

Country Club. Larry has worked

and the apple of Tom’s eye.

for most of the last decade at the IBM Corporation. Gary is the

Mike Nelson ’80 and Andy

controller at Canal Toys and

next for me.

Higgins ’80 function as the

has spent most of the years

underclassmen of the group.

since Nichols at that level of


Andy has been named ‘Newcom-

accounting control. Phil is a

Bill Fraser shares: For the past

er of the Year’ for all five of these

member at Plymouth Country

trips. That is a hard award to win

Club and has had a very long

more than once. Mike is still an

career as a producer at Liberty

ad man and, after years of living


starting to think about what’s

half a decade, a herd of Bison alumni from the late ’70s/early ’80s have been meeting for a summer weekend on the links in southern Maine.

across the globe, has settled on the Mississippi River in Wisconsin.

That brings me to Bill Fraser

After living the life of a gypsy

(me). Bill has talked about

1985 Class Champion: John Donahue 609-257-8717

1986 Sherry (Harris) Bryant, associate executive director of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association, was one of eight leaders in state high school associations to receive a citation from the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The award honors individuals who have made contributions to the NFHS, state high school associations, athletic director and coaching professions, the officiating avocation, and fine arts/ performing arts programs and is one of the most prestigious achievements in high school athletics and performing arts. Sherry is a former field hockey student-athlete who ranks among the all-time leaders in defensive saves.

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 Spring/Summer 2021

Building Success Brooke Packard ’18 When asked to describe her profession,

estate licenses, further enhancing her

Brooke Packard ’18 confidently replies,

brand and differentiating her sources

“I sum it up in four words — entrepreneur,

of revenue. “Real estate is by far my

investor, realtor and educator.” A teacher

passion,” she shares. “There are so many

by day and an entrepreneur by nights

avenues of this business to explore,

and weekends, Packard started her first

selling a client their dream home,

business at the age of 18, as a freshman

owning investment properties, home

at Nichols College, and aims to reach

renovations or even being on HGTV!”

financial freedom by the age of 30. In addition to B.P.’s Easy Living and real Packard, a Dudley native, felt it was

estate business, Packard decided to

important to stay close to family when

make the most of her newly found time

searching for colleges, so she enrolled

stuck at home during the COVID-19

at Nichols as a commuter. Her life

pandemic to create another business.

revolved around academics, women’s

One inspired by a class at Nichols. In

basketball, and working. Her path to

the Death, Dying, and the Living course,

business started as a convenient and

students participated in a deep med-

flexible way to accommodate her college

itation to access past life memories.

schedule, cleaning a few residential

Packard remembers experiencing a

houses. Today her business, B.P.’s Easy

clear vision of being abducted. This

Living, has over 100 customers and 12

triggered the development of Trifecta

hard-working employees whom she

Protection, a 3-in-1 safety device

graciously credits for its success and

containing a knife, repellent spray, and

growth. Her mentor has played a critical

alarm, the only product like it on the

role in her professional development,

market with this level of protection.

“Watching someone who is bigger than

The business aims to make protection

you, better than you, more successful

a priority for women and donates 5

than you, opens your eyes to a whole

percent of its proceeds to the Women’s

new lifestyle, a whole new world. Then

Self-Defense Association. The brand

in my case, I told myself, ‘if this person

also launched a podcast, “Real

can do it, so can I.’ Nothing is out of

People, Real Stories,” providing a safe

reach.” With the support of her mentor,

platform for victims to tell their stories

Packard has continued to grow B.P.’s

and raise awareness.

possibilities when it comes to their careers.” With Packard’s eyes on financial freedom and a schedule filled with business commitments, her truest goal is to be happy and healthy because, in her words, “Without it, you can’t do anything.” She continues, “If I do reach financial freedom, I would still work. As you can tell, I like to stay busy. In the future, I’d like to combine my skills in education and entrepreneurship to provide consulting services for small businesses. I’m also interested in building my investment portfolio to include the purchasing of stocks and cryptocurrency. In my personal life, I hope to have a big family with plenty of time to watch them grow up.” Reflecting on her time at Nichols, Packard credits a public speaking class

Easy Living expanding the client roster from residences to a variety of others,

Packard brings her entrepreneurial

including wedding venues, schools

spirit into the classroom, where she

and corporate offices. She has also

is in her third year as a full-time

expanded her service offerings to

7th grade English teacher. “I love

landscape and construction, personal

education, I adore children, and I enjoy

chef and catering, and pet care. Her

English. It is an important skill to learn,

mission is simple and noble: make

and I instill this in my students,” she says,

life easier for clients, empowering

adding, “With my varied professional

them to live their best life without

interests, I think I’m able to offer my

the added stress.

students a unique perspective. I share the importance of relationships, the

Packard recently received her

value of building a network and I en-

Massachusetts and Connecticut real

courage them to always be open to all

with giving her the confidence she has today. “At the time it was awful! I would sweat, and I’d black out and couldn’t even remember what I said, but those lessons and tactics helped me tremendously,” she notes. “Now I can speak in front of anyone and feel very confident. I even make my 7th graders do public

speaking assignments. They feel the same way I did, but I tell them, ‘You’ll thank me one day when you are on Shark Tank!’”

– Jillian Riches

l Nichols College Magazine



EJ Landry III has been appointed co-chair of the Nichols College Board of Advisors (BOA), a volunteer board established in 2007 to advocate for and engage with the college in multiple ways in support of the college’s strategic objectives. He is a seasoned


and a member of the executive

I hope to be

Class Champion:

leadership team at Common-

ordained a

wealth National Bank in Worcester.

priest sometime

Located in Somerville, MA, Naveo

in June 2021

Credit Union is the former

and am looking

Cambridge Portuguese Credit

forward to

Union, incorporated in 1928 by

ministering to

27 Portuguese Americans.

the people of

Keith Hofbeck Deb Cote ’92 provides a photo of the 1991 softball team, recently inducted into the Nichols

financial expert

College Athletic Hall of Honor.

with significant

Six members of the team were

experience in auditing and consulting with companies in

from the Class of ’92, including

Class Champion:

Deb Cote, Deann (Desrosiers)

Danielle Troiano Sprague

Wisuri, Jenn (Yitts) O’Brien,

Sarah Mitchell, Linda (Rose)

life sciences,


God somewhere in Worcester County. Brad Bemis shares: Since leaving the Hill, lots has changed. I can’t believe it has been almost 19

Roseberry, and Joanne (Staros-


years since we all graduated. I

ta) Grzembski.

Class Champion:

the Class of 2002 due to some

His career spanned 34 years

Andrea Sacco

very unfortunate issues, mainly

at Deloitte, retiring as partner

my severe motorcycle accident,

technology and manufacturing industries.

in fall of 2020. Landry was

know I was kind of an add-on to

which pushed me back six

named co-chair of the BOA

Derek Frazier MBA was named

months, and being deployed for

with Christine Scarafoni ’06.

offensive line coach at the

9/11 after the terror attacks. That

University of Wyoming. Most

was a long time ago.


recently, he was the assistant

Tracy (Donham) Smith was recently promoted to director

Pam (Burnham) Ganley shares

of undergraduate research for

that her eldest son Patrick gradu-

Johns Hopkins University. She

ated Parris Island, SC, U.S. Marine

and her husband Al have lived

Corps in December.

in Maryland for about 25 years raising their four kids, aged 27,

Cliff and Donna (Cross) Whynott

25, 24, and 19.

offer an update: Cliff has taken his

offensive line coach with the

So, I guess some cliff notes for

New York Jets for two seasons.

changes since Nichols, right? I

Previously, he spent four seasons

moved to Myrtle Beach, SC, six

at Central Michigan University

years ago. I took a full-time job

as offensive line coach and later

as a firefighter paramedic with a

run-game coordinator. He and his

great department. I got married

wife Taryn have two children.

in 2017 and then had a baby girl



passion for boating and started Twilight Canvas Company Inc. in

Class Champion:

Richard Wright MBA, CEO and

Ipswich, MA. As a skilled craftsman,

David Twiss

treasurer of RTN Federal Credit

Cliff provides customers through-


Union, was selected CEO of the

out the North Shore with quality

Year at the Cooperative Credit

marine exterior/interior canvas

Union Association 2020 Awards

upholstery, including seat covers,

of Excellence, held virtually

boat covers, dodgers, bimini tops,

October 14-16. In Wright’s video

enclosures, and more.

acceptance remarks, he said


in 2019, Ella Rose. I have been promoted to lieutenant and have written several successful FEMA grants for my department. I wish you and your families well and hope you are all staying safe with all this last year has brought upon us.

Class Champion: John Larochelle

Princess R. Tucker reports: In October 2020, I started my own

that while he was humbled and


honored by this award, no

Andrea J. (Michaud) White MBA

Update from John Larochelle

Healing (EDH), offering intuitive

was appointed president and

CPA: After spending just over 13

readings, dream interpretation,

CEO of Naveo

years in public accounting, I left

chakra cleansing/balancing and

Credit Union,

the field five years ago to pursue

reiki healing sessions. All services

the first woman

the call to become a Roman

are offered via email and/or from

to serve in that

Catholic priest in the Diocese of

a distance. I am certified as an

position in the

Worcester. Last June, after five

advanced reiki practitioner and



years of academic and pastoral

so excited to finally be using my

93-year history.

studies, I was ordained a deacon

gifts and skills to help others!

Class Champion:

Previously, she

by Bishop Robert McManus and


Donna Small

served as senior vice president of

am now in my final year at Saint


community banking at Freedom

John’s Seminary in Boston.

National Bank in Rhode Island

one individual represents an organization and that the award was given in recognition of RTN’s success and achievements as an organization. Wright currently resides in Marlborough.


Nichols College Magazine

l Spring/Summer 2021

business, Evolution Distance

A legacy family legacy Bountiap Ketnouvong ’03 MBA ’05 and Nicholas Douangchandy ’22 In the tightly woven fabric that is Nichols College, legacy families — generations of families with multiple Bison — are among the strongest fibers. Such are the ties that bind Bountiap Ketnouvong ’03 MBA ’05 and her son, Nicholas Douangchandy ’22. Their Nichols experience may be non-traditional, but their story of grit, hard work, commitment to service, and family above all is anything but atypical. Ketnouvong came to the United States from her native Laos when she was 14. The family’s journey as refugees was not easy. Her youngest brother suffered from nearly fatal malnutrition. When they settled in Southbridge, Mass., her parents, both veterinarians, had to completely start over, finding work at Dexter-Russell. The oldest daughter of a close family of six children, Ketnouvong remembers acclimating quickly, especially as she learned English. Small for her age, she was placed three grades behind at school (“They thought I was a genius,” she quips), but even when the situation was righted, she continued to flourish. Her parents taught her and her siblings to take nothing for granted and stressed the importance of education and family. Lessons that followed Ketnouvong to Nichols. As a single mother to two school-aged sons, Ketnouvong attended classes mostly at night. “I used to bring Nicholas with me,” she says. “There were many willing students who would babysit for him or show him around.” She also worked 40-hour weekends as a home healthcare coordinator and provider, to accommodate the boys’ schedules. Earning not one but two Nichols degrees during that time was a big achievement for this double Bison, who is currently an analyst at Saint-Gobain in Worcester. “I love my job,” she says, noting that she works for fellow double Bison Jennifer Corridori ’99 MBA ’04. The example she set also made a distinct impression on Douangchandy. “My first memory of Nichols is being in the classroom while my mom presented her final project for a class,” he says. But before becoming a Bison himself, Douangchandy enlisted in the U.S. Army, following in the bootsteps of

multiple family members, including an aunt who served in the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm, as well as a great uncle who fought alongside American troops during the Vietnam War. With specialized airborne training, he served with the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, Sapper Company, headquartered in Anchorage, Alaska. “Alaska was beautiful,” he says, adding, “I’ve never been so cold in my life, but it was worth it,” even on four- to five-mile runs in temperatures as low as minus 10 degrees. Why airborne? “I had a fear of heights, and I wanted to overcome that fear,” he explains. Of his 36 jumps, he counts #6 as is favorite. “It was a Black Hawk jump in the middle of the summer in Alaska. I saw the mountaintops and the city of Anchorage from a helicopter view.” Helicopter jumps are among the most sought after, Douangchandy points out. “It’s limited seating, you sit on the floor of the helicopter with your feet hanging out and the door is open.” After his last jump, with his feet firmly on the ground, he followed in his mother’s footsteps back to the Hill, utilizing his GI bill to study business and economics at Nichols. Now entering his senior year, Douangchandy reflects on the experience. “Transition from the military is mentally and emotionally really challenging,” he admits. “Professor [Boyd] Brown, a former marine, reached out and helped me adjust to the new environment.” He also admires Visiting Assistant Professor Rob Russo, who battled cancer, twice, while still teaching his courses. “Nothing can stop Professor Russo, in my opinion,” he says. The same may be said for Douangchandy, who is setting his sights on finding “the perfect job that doesn’t make it feel like I’m going to work.” Until then, he says, “A house would be nice, too.” Make that two; Ketnouvong hopes to eventually have a vacation place in Laos where she can reconnect with family still there.

– Molly Thienel and Susan Veshi

l Nichols College Magazine



Adventures in Thailand Peter Lynch ’02 and Meghan (McKenna) Lynch ’03 In a recent issue of Expat Life in

the Midwest. Indiana was more than

Bison Shannon Spitz ’99 MBA ’01,

Thailand, Meghan Lynch ’03 writes

800 miles away from home and the

human resource manager. The Lynches

about her experience running a khlong,

Hill and gave them the first taste of

resided in nearby Sturbridge, enjoying

one of the more than 1,600 canals that

life a long distance from everything

proximity to family and friends, and

pulse through the city of Bangkok. It’s

they knew. The young New Englanders

their family grew by three children

a practice that she adopted shortly

quickly learned and appreciated the

over the next five years. The same

after arriving in Thailand six years ago

differences while living there for the

week that they found out they were

when she tired of her regular route.

next six years. They note two perks

expecting their third, Peter received an

The khlong poses a series of challenges,

of post Indianapolis winter: “The golf

offer to manage a lens manufacturing

even to a seasoned runner, like dodging

season starts early March, you are at

facility for an affiliated company.

pedestrians, motorbikes, and the

the pool in May, and running in shorts

The catch? It was in Thailand. After

occasional duck, lizard or snake, while

on Thanksgiving Day.”

a 10-day “look see,” they decided to take a chance on what has become a

running on paved walkways and uneven and sometimes unsteady paths. But

The draw to be near family and possibly

seven-year career and life change

the khlong bustles with activity —

start their own was beckoning them

in southeast Asia.

boats, homes, shops, eateries — and

back home. After exploring offers in

warm and welcoming people whom

Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New

Despite the long days and commute

Meghan has come to befriend.

York, the couple took an opportunity

(Bangkok traffic is world renowned),

at Gentex Optics in Dudley, Mass., part

Peter has enjoyed his professional

of the Essilor Group, where Peter met

journey. He still draws on lessons

In no small way, the experience on the khlong is much like her journey

taught by Professor Tom Leland

acclimating to and embracing her life

on emotional intelligence in his

in Thailand. In the article, Meghan, a

leadership role overseeing teams

frequent contributor to Expat Life,

producing 140,000 lenses a day.

shares its broader meaning: “A story

“I help people solve problems and help

of what the khlong has brought to

them succeed. By helping people be

me, as a previously bored runner

successful, I’m successful,” he says.

to a girl living amongst culture and communities that offer richness and

Meanwhile, Meghan, managing a

kindness at every bumpy, uneven,

family of six and all that comes with

and lively step.”

it, practices the multitasking skills she used at Nichols to juggle school, athletics and a full-time job.

How Meghan and her husband, Peter Lynch ’02, came to be living and raising their four boys in Thailand

Though a larger contingency of

is another story.

Americans abroad lives a little further north, they settled in a home and

Following Meghan’s graduation from Nichols in 2003, their jobs in management and sales took them to


Nichols College Magazine

On Samui Island and on safari (above, right),

subdivision closer to Bangkok, where

the worked Lynches find adventure in Thailand, and hand in hand with fellow

they are surrounded by a community

making the most of their expat life.

l Spring/Summer 2021

of international diversity and “amazing

2003 Class Champion: Jillian (Hayes) Smerage


humans.” While they made some of their best friendships at Nichols,

Class Champion:

Meghan and Peter are grateful for

Melissa Jackson

their supportive local network, which

has provided “grace and compassion”


in times of a loss, illness, or a happy

Class Champion:

milestone, making the distance from

Erica Boulay

loved ones more manageable. These

friends are now their global family.

Christine Scarafoni MBA/MSOL ’16 has been named co-chair of the Nichols College Board

A perk for the emigrant family is the

of Advisors, a volunteer

immersion in Thai and international

board established in 2007

culture that travel adventures to

Student Dean and current Professor

the country’s beautiful beaches and

Brian McCoy were profoundly

with the college in multiple

islands have afforded them. Their

influential during their Nichols

ways in support of the

children attend a British international

journey. “Brian McCoy was someone

college’s strategic objectives.

school because it is closest to home

I had coffee with right before we

and their experience is a global one.

left for Thailand,” shares Peter. “He

“We wish we could go back to school

always believed in me and reminded

public accounting firm that is ranked among

with them!” Meghan exclaims. A very

me what I was capable of.”

the top 100 firms in the U.S. She is also an

to advocate for and engage

She currently serves as the chief human resources officer at KLR, a New England regional

adjunct faculty member at Nichols and Suffolk

active couple since their college days,

University. Scarafoni was named co-chair of the

the Lynches have enlisted their four

Though they may consider

sons in activities every day like

opportunities that could bring

soccer, rugby, gymnastics and

them back to the states someday,


baseball. Like Meghan, Peter is a

their family values their trips back

Class Champion:

runner, and while the heat can deter

home in the meantime. Due to the

Meaghan Larkin

her from the competitive track, Peter

pandemic, this year has been the first

has accomplished personal goals, like

in seven that they have been unable

competing in an Ironman in Western

to return to the U.S. freely, though

Australia at the end of 2019.

they hope to plan to soon.

To this day, they remain close with

No matter what the future holds,

their college friends and remember

Meghan and Peter, looking back from

their start at Nichols as “feeling like

the beginning of their story as students

home.” Meghan, who was recruited

on the Hill to the recent celebration

for sports, found the campus right

of Meghan’s 40th birthday, have

sized. “You were a part of something

learned to take their journey on life’s

that wasn’t overwhelming; you were

khlong one step at a time.

BOA with EJ Landry III ’86.

2008 Class Champion: Nicole Curley Nicole and John Curley welcomed Riley Alice on September 21, 2020, saying “She is a joy and the light of our lives.”

never just a number,” she recalls. 9/11, former Athletic Director Charlie Robert,

– Molly Thienel

Professor Larry Downs, and then

l Nichols College Magazine



s Going the distance

Kurt Grimmelmann ’74 As a former member of the Nichols

As a self-described all-around athlete

the end of the journey which teaches

College cross country team, Kurt

with a natural affinity for running,

you the most important things…

Grimmelmann ’74 knows how to go

Grimmelmann enjoyed campus sports

sometimes it’s the process of getting

the distance and has shown it in his

at Nichols, whether playing intramurals

there. There is a lot of pain involved

life, career, travels, and even mountain

or watching varsity games with friends.

in cross country running, and sports


taught me how to move past the Then, in junior year, he got the opportunity to join cross country.

to the age of 13. “I remember looking

“The team lost some runners and

After Nichols, Grimmelmann built

at stock prices with my father who

then-captain Rich Desjardins asked me

a career in the finance industry,

worked for American Express at the

to go out for the team,” he explains.

starting with American Express while

time,” he shares. He says he chose

“I joined around their second meet

he earned an MBA at Pace University.

Nichols because it was far enough

that year and was determined to beat

He went on to work as an investment

away from his home in New Jersey but

everyone on the team’s finish times

analyst in the trust department at

close enough to drive back and forth.

from the first meet in order to prove

United Jersey Bank but found the

And, it felt like home. “The best way to

myself.” How did that work out? “It

setting “a little too buttoned up,

describe how Nichols felt to me was

was a five-mile course, and I was well

quite literally. There was a rule that

‘warm,’” he recalls. “The people were

ahead until the last quarter mile when,

employees could not remove their

all nice and friendly, and I found that

all of a sudden, I found myself losing

jacket while working,” he says. That,

the professors were willing to go out

my lunch on the side of the road.

combined with a desire to control

of their way to help.”

Welcome to the team, right? At the

his own destiny and earning his

end of the first year, I finished as the

professional designation as a Certified

Grimmelmann credits Nichols

#1 runner and won the Unsung Hero

Financial Planner, led him to Merrill

for helping him grow as a student,

Award and in my senior year, I won the

Lynch where has was one of the top

particularly after he found himself on

MVP Award.”

producers in municipal bonds and

academic probation in

managed a half billion-dollar book of

his first year. “My junior

Grimmelmann says his

clients. He retired in 2016 after

and senior years, I was

time as a college athlete

38 years with the company.

a straight-A student.

was important to him.

I needed time to

“If you are going to be

These days, Grimmelmann and his wife

mature and grow up,”

committed to a team,

Debbie stay busy travelling, a passion

he says. “My time at

you have to set goals,

supported by Debbie who worked for

Nichols was a big part

as I did as a runner,” he

Pan Am Airlines when they met. “We

in helping to shape

offers. “Sports gives you

could travel the world at very little

how I grew and worked.

the discipline to go after

cost,” he says.

It played a big part in

those goals. I always

my future success as I developed my career.”


discomfort without slowing down.”

His interest in business can be traced

Nichols College Magazine

Kurt Grimmelmann ’74 and his

wife Debbie enjoy one of

their many travel excursions.

l Spring/Summer 2021

think of success being

“We honeymooned in Tahiti in

like a trip. It’s not always

1979 and have since explored seven

2010 Class Champion: Katelyn Vella

continents together.” While

Chris Fraczek reports that he married his best

attending a leadership course

friend, Alex, and they have just had their first

through the Wharton School,

daughter, Mia Grace. The family is currently living in Needham.

Grimmelmann visited Kangchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world. He has summitted Mount Kilimanjaro, Grand Teton, Grand Paradiso in Italy, and has been to the Himalayas several times and on safari. He hopes to do an Amazon River Cruise next year. As far as his favorite

of Technology in the first round of the

places to visit, “Patagonia and

NCAA Division III Tournament. Jessica (Morgan) Smith and

Antarctica are right up there,” he says.

But it’s the cross country programs at Nichols, which he generously supports

family welcomed son, Milo, on September 14, 2020. She says she hopes one day he

He and Debbie moved to Idaho last

through annual contributions, that are

year for the skiing and golf. They

nearest and dearest to his heart.

have two children, a son in New

“It’s very impactful personally to be

Jersey and a daughter in Wisconsin

able to donate towards an area of

Alexandria Hallam

with a granddaughter they connect

the college which greatly impacted

with a few times a week on Facetime.

me, and I can see that my contribu-


tions are helping the teams move the Grimmelmann also stays connected


with Nichols. He recently spoke to

will join the Herd!

2011 Class Champion:

Charles Walker MBA was named a football analyst for the Atlanta Falcons. He served as an assistant recruiting coordinator for personnel and recruitment on defense at Penn State University for the past two seasons and, prior to that, he was a special teams coordinator for the University of Massachusetts, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2007.

an event planning class which was

Grimmelmann has enjoyed seeing

researching the viability of hosting

Nichols go the distance over the years.

a cross country event at Nichols.

“The campus still has a beautiful

“They wanted me to talk about my

New England style small town feel,

experience with the old course and

but I was amazed at all the new

Will Wolfburg was promoted to deputy chief

the sport in general,” he says. He also

technology Nichols has invested in.

of the Plainfield Police Department. He joined

participated in a Zoom class of fi-

The college has really stepped up its

the department in 2013 after a stint working

nance students presenting selections

game,” he says, adding “I would really

for the Thunder Fund, the college’s

encourage my classmates to support

in 2017. His new

student-managed investment fund.

Nichols, if they are able to, and ap-

duties include

And he and Debbie showed their

preciate all the things that the college

Bison spirit cheering on the men’s

has done for them which maybe they

basketball team last year when they

didn’t think about at the time.”

played New Jersey’s Stevens Institute

– Brent Broszeit

patrol with the Groton City force, became a detective in 2015 and a detective sergeant

overseeing professional standards, helping craft the department’s budget and updating policies.

l Nichols College Magazine



2013 Class Champion: Ryan Flavin


Mikayla Castro is a marketing

Class Champion:

IT company in Rocky Hill, CT, and

Stacie Converse


communications manager for an also recently accepted a position at Mercy High School as a girls’ hockey coach.

Class Champions:

Kaylin Goncalves reports that

Nicole LaBrack & Gina Petruzzi

she is the marketing director for

a real estate company in Sharon,

MA, The Needle Group, which is under the brokerage Real. She

2018 Logan Mary Ebbets MSOL, was named to the Greater Northampton Chamber of Jennifer Braga and Garrett Miccile were married on October 5, 2019, with Bison in attendance, and welcomed son Maverick Garrett almost exactly a year later on October 6, 2020.

Commerce board. She is a physician/ advanced practitioner recruiter at Cooley Dickinson Health Care.

also works for a startup called Hoamsy with a few of her fellow Babson graduate alumni. Seth McCarthy is a loan officer assistant at Fairway Independent Mortgage. Jerard Rice is chief operating officer at Hustle Work Grind Records, which he co-founded with his brother M-Ezy. He


says: Working on branding and from start to now. After listening

awareness and have truly grown



Class Champion: Brian O’Riodan

to my podcast interview, I had

David Chapin Jr., a financial

Class Champion:

not experienced something that

advisor with Morgan Stanley

Andrew Haas & Mike Ricci

Wealth Management, was named

Leah Baxendale reports: I have

the most significant event I have

to the Board of Trustees for

been working as a managed

done in my life and, although as

accounting solutions staff

an indie artist I charted on the

JRI, a social service agency that

changed my life. BLM is not just

partners with individuals, families,

Lindi Bedore reports that on

accountant at AAFCPAs since

billboards along with top 50 of

communities, and government to

September 14, 2019, she was

June 2019. I am currently working

official European independent

pursue the social justice inherent

married to her best friend of

on my MS in counterterrorism

music charts since I dropped

in opening doors to opportunity

nine years.

and homeland security at

my last song, I believe that

and independence. He also

Southern New Hampshire

moment in history will be so

became a member of the Nichols

University’s online program as

significant to me for a long time.

College Board of Advisors in fall

well. I am trying to build my


resume to apply for the FBI in

“Stuntin For Da Money” (#36),

2022 (once I have three years of

my song, and “Down to Ride”

Danny Smith and Melissa Gill

work experience). I am currently

(#40), M-Ezy, both represent

were married in October 2018

living in Westborough, MA, with

the strength of the HWG label.

and welcomed daughter

my dog Lola, and we both miss

Charlotte Rose in June 2020.

the Hill!

Danny is presently a facilities associate at Centerview Partners in New York City and Melissa is a physical therapy assistant.

20 Nichols College Magazine

l Spring/Summer 2021


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l Nichols College Magazine



Robert S. Blumberg ’49, of The Villages, FL,

of J.L. Marshall and Sons, a family-owned

George R. Daggett ’74, of Pomfret, CT,

December 27, 2020: Following a managerial

construction business involved in projects

December 30, 2020: He was an account

career in New York City, he moved to Fort

such as Gillette Stadium, Boston’s World

executive for Hallmark Cards and later owner

Lauderdale in the early 1970s and ran his own

Trade Center, T. F. Green Airport and Fenway

of Dowe’s Hallmark in Danielson. A volunteer

commercial design firm for 40 years.

Park renovation. He was noted for promoting

firefighter and EMT, he became administrator

labor-management partnerships in Rhode

and chief of service for K.B. Ambulance

Island and was a founding member

Corps, which he grew from a small volunteer

of BuildRI.

operation to an essential service provider in

Robert C. Hill ’50, of Fort Myers Beach, FL, November 11, 2020: He served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War, stationed in

CT’s “Quiet Corner.”

Germany and France. A native of Naugatuck,

Richard C. Knoener ’62, of Springfield, MA,

CT, he began his career at the John M.

December 20, 2020: He worked several

Walter R. Ronald ’74, of Rio Rico, AZ,

Sutherland Insurance Inc. in 1955, became

decades in the chemical industry before

August 26, 2020: A resident of western

vice president, and retired in 2011. He was

starting his own business, K&S Associates, a

Massachusetts for a large portion of his life,

active in and honored by many civic and

manufacturer’s representative for garden and

he worked as a flooring sales manager

charitable organizations throughout his life.

lawn centers in New England. Among his sur-

covering the Northeast.

Kenneth B. George Jr. ’51, of Raleigh, NC,

vivors is grandson Andrew Skowronek ’24.

James S. Wilbur ’74, of Leominster, MA,

October 10, 2020: He was a retired banker,

William R. Roy ’62, of Florence, SC,

September 9, 2020: He earned a master’s

originally in New York City, whose career and

September 9, 2020: A veteran combat

degree from Cambridge College and worked

retirement took him to New Jersey, Florida,

engineer of the U.S. Army, he served as an air

at Lesley University’s Threshold Program

Texas, and North Carolina. He served in the

traffic controller with the Federal Aviation

for young adults with diverse learning,

U.S. Army during the Korean War and a term

Administration and a right of way agent with

developmental, and intellectual disabilities,

as mayor of Colt’s Neck, NJ.

South Carolina Department of Transportation.

retiring in 2016 as executive director after

Jerome E. Casey ’54, of Hyannis, MA, September 29, 2020: He served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and worked in sales at IBM for 31 years. Retiring in 1986, he ran Jerry’s Tennis Camp for over 26 years. In the late ’70s and early ’80s, he announced U.S. and World figure skating championships at the Hartford Civic Center.

PA, January 29, 2021: He served as a medic in the U.S. Army and built a 34-year career with Herff Jones, publishing high school and college yearbooks in New England and the Mid-Atlantic. An accomplished drummer and aficionado of jazz music, he formed the Mike Gilroy Quartet in 1958 and performed across

Frederick W. Wiseman Jr. ’55, of Delray Beach, FL, March 28, 2020: He had a long career in operations management at IBM and retired as a new product administrator. Peter M. Deutsch ’55, of Pawleys Isle, SC, November 8, 2020: He began as a wholesale furniture representative before owning Adams Interior Design Center, then C&P Enterprises.

New England. William D. Hyde ’63, of Ware, MA, October 3, 2020: He retired after 30 plus years as a machine operator at Kanzaki Specialty Papers and later worked for the Hardwick Water and Recycling departments.

May 18, 2020: A retired physical education teacher, he was once a crew member on a clipper ship that sailed the world in 180 days, scaling sails of more than 90 feet. He was a dedicated class scribe/champion for the Nichols Class of ’56.

November 22, 2020: He served in the U.S. Coast Guard and was president and chair

November 14, 2020: She was the first female graduate of Nichols College. She worked in corporate personnel in San Francisco before returning East and serving as a teacher of psychology, Shakespeare and English at Bartlett High School in Webster for 30 years, retiring in 2013. Paul J. Gannon ’76, of Shrewsbury, MA, February 5, 2021: He earned an MBA from Clark University, and a certificate from the International Institute for Management Development in Lausanne, Switzerland, and worked as an accountant for the former Jamesbury Corp., retiring as vice president/

February 4, 2021: He is a veteran of the U.S.

treasurer in 2019 after 41 years.

the Vietnam War, and had a career as a salesman for the Lowell Corp. for nearly 20 years. After a move to Florida, he increased his golf-playing and had two holes-in-one at the age of 73. Ronald H. Friend ’69, of Detroit, ME, November 21, 2020: He spent over 60 years

Leo V. Marshall ’59, of Westport, MA,

Janice A. Ducharme ’75, of Worcester, MA,

Neil C. Curtis ’67, of The Villages, FL, Air Force, serving in the Philippines during

Wayne (Tom) Keith ’56, of Pocasset, MA,

22 Nichols College Magazine

25 years. Michael A. Gilroy ’64, of East Springfield,

at Friend Motor Sales, retiring in 2008. Among his survivors is son, Aric Friend ’01 MBA ’05, and family.

l Spring/Summer 2021

Richard J. Wojtkowski ’76, of Westerly, RI, September 5, 2020: He worked for construction companies, including Zecco Inc. and Dixon Construction, and later ran Wojo’s Handyman Services. He retired from Cable Components in Pawcatuck, CT, in May 2020. Edmund “Ed” H. Fournier ’77, of Charlton, MA, October 17, 2020: He was vice president of Knight-Dik Insurance Co. and an inductee of the Nichols College Hall of Fame for football.

Robert E. St. George ’78, of Oxford, MA,

Vincent W. Nanfito III ’88, of New Britain, CT,

Barbara A. (Powell) Crawford ’00, of Inman,

January 19, 2021: A U.S. Air Force veteran, he

November 7, 2020: He was an employee at

SC, July 4, 2020: She was a transaction

served in the Vietnam War. He owned and

Gro Well Inc. in Cheshire for 22 years, serving

support coordinator for Resurgent Capital

operated The Country Kitchen in Oxford for

farmers in the state of Connecticut.

Services and a past member of the Greenville

five years then started The Sound of Music Disc Jockey Service, performing events for

James K. Urban MBA ’90, of Southborough,

Realtor Society.

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

Bryan J. Fletcher ’05, of Milford, MA,

Army during the Vietnam War and worked

December 11, 2020: He enlisted in the U.S.

for several companies in his career, including

Army Reserve in 1997 and was deployed to

Stephen R. Strout ’79, of Worcester, MA,

Brown, Brothers Harriman; Bay Bank; and

the Middle East in 2003-2004. He served

August 28, 2020: He was employed by

Data General.

as an active duty guard soldier in the

30 years. In 2012, he retired after a long career at NSTAR.

several public accounting firms and then assisted businesses and individuals as owner and operator of a computer and accounting business.

Richard P. Smith ’91, of Flagler Beach, FL, January 21, 2021: He was a U.S. Marine who served in Vietnam twice. After retiring from a long career as a DEA and ATF agent, he

Gary J. Walsh ’79, of Dalton, PA, January

ran the Guardian ad Litem Program in Flagler

31, 2021: He began his career as a masonry

County and was a court mediator for Flagler

contractor and continued the family business,

and Volusia counties.

Robert Walsh Masonry Contractor, after his father’s death.

Massachusetts Army National Guard from 2007, attaining the rank of master sergeant. STAFF Irene A. Zajac, of Dudley, MA, September 21, 2020: She was an acquisitions librarian at Nichols College for nearly a decade in the 1980s. She died at the age of 100.

Marilyn Remington ’92, of Webster, MA, October 17, 2020: She moved to Webster

Olga Pappas MBA ’81, of Webster, MA,

in 1970 and worked at local banks for 40

December 25, 2020: She worked in the family

years, as a teller and then a customer service

market, Park ‘N’ Shop, until she was in her

representative at Santander Bank, retiring

early 40s and taught high school business for

in 2014.

John P. Listro, of Hartford, CT, December 16, 2020: A veteran of the U.S. Air Force, he served in Japan during the Korean War. After earning a Ph.D. in accounting, he was a professor at several colleges and universities, including Nichols College.

33 years, mostly at Bartlett High, where she opened a school store where students could

Cindy A. Poirier MBA ’94, of Sturbridge, MA,

get a hands-on approach to marketing and

October 9, 2020: She held several managerial

retail sales.

positions at Bose Corp., retiring in 2017.

Pauline M. Sroczynski, of Dudley, MA, January 18, 2021: She was the evening circulation desk librarian at Nichols College for 30 years, retiring in 2017.

The next Golden Bison Bulletin is coming this summer! 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


Rick Blankley’s view from the Hill: Life and afterlife Have you ever seen a hearse pulling

took special interest in their students,

a U-Haul? Doubtful. It was once the

serving as a great influence to mold

belief of ancient Egyptians that you

me into the man I am today. They often

and your possessions could be taken

bent over backwards to ensure that I

with you to the afterlife. Today our

was prepared for the professional world.

global population has many beliefs

I especially remember my statistics

about religion, spirituality, death,

teacher, Professor Sargent, who helped

but we have evolved to believe that

me many times, as I was clueless at

“things” can’t come with us.

statistics! In my junior year, my buddy and I both got the measles. We

Ultimately, I want to continue to see Nichols thrive, because Nichols College is part of me; it helped me become the person I am, and I hope the continued success of this fine institution will do the same for future students.

Paying it forward: Rick Blankley ’65 and his wife Mary Ellen greet Joshua Jones

conveniently had to miss our midterm

’22, recipient of the Class of ’65 Endowed

statistics exam. When I returned to


school, Professor Sargent required that I complete the exam. I confided in him

been especially impressed with the

that I was feeling very lost and having


trouble understanding the concepts. I asked him for a couple minutes of

Ultimately, I want to continue to see

his time. He happily agreed. During

Nichols thrive, because Nichols College

this one-on-one session a light bulb

is part of me; it helped me become the

went off and it clicked, I understood!

person I am, and I hope the continued

I passed the exam and ultimately the

success of this fine institution will do

course. Something I wouldn’t have been

the same for future students.

able to do without getting the damn

That leads one down

measles and Professor Sargent’s

I decided that when my time comes to

help! This is just one example of

enter the afterlife, I want to help my

the counsel I received while at

fellow man or woman of Nichols College

Nichols that I am grateful for.

by including a bequest in my estate plans. With this commitment, I hope my

the path of thinking about if “things” are

Since my time at Nichols, I

legacy will live on at our little school

what truly matters in our

have followed the journey

atop Dudley Hill.

life. I have found that as

of our little school on Dudley

I have gotten older and

Hill. Nichols College is so much

Please consider joining me as a member

wiser that “things” don’t

more than it was 50 years ago

of the Colonel Conrad Society.

bring me as much joy as experiences or

in terms of the facilities, quality of

helping my fellow man.

education, and the addition of women.

Rick Blankley ’65

Despite the differences, I know from Looking back at my experience as

conversations with students and staff

a student at Nichols College, the

that those serving the students of

community on the Hill personified the

Nichols College are still bending over

sentiment of helping their fellow man.

backwards to help them. For the past 10

During my time, 1961-1965, it was still a

years, under the leadership of President

very small school. The faculty and staff

Susan W. Engelkemeyer, PhD, I have

24 Nichols College Magazine

l Spring/Summer 2021

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


Reunion classes: remember when...

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

The Susan West Engelkemeyer, PhD

The Board of Trustees at Nichols College has announced the naming of The Susan West Engelkemeyer, PhD

Institute for Women’s Leadership in recognition of a visionary leader and passionate educator. Congratulations and thank you for your decade as leader of the Herd! To make a gift to the Institute in President Engelkemeyer’s honor, please use the enclosed reply envelope or donate online at

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