THE BICENTENNIAL CAMPAIGN: INSPIRATION AND IMPACT
Nichols College President’s Report 2020
PRESIDENT’S REPORT 2020
In this Issue 1
2020 in the rear view
Securing a Legacy of Leadership: the Bicentennial Campaign
8 Campus modernization 9 Endowment growth 11 Leadership education 13 Bicentennial Campaign by the numbers
Editor Susan D. Veshi Creative Director Steve Belleville Contributors Bill Boffi, Brent Broszeit, Dan Desrochers, Pete DiVito, Rae Glispin, Eric Gobiel, Len Harmon, Mauri Pelto, Bill Pieczynski, Emily Reardon, Jillian Riches, Bryant Richards, Molly Thienel
A challenging year ends in a defining moment COVID-19 did not define Nichols College in 2020 so much as present us with a defining moment. With all that this year has taken away – the pandemic caused unimaginable loss for far too many – it has given Nichols an opportunity to demonstrate the drive to thrive that makes us a special place on the Hill.
Nichols faced and overcame the struggles of this year as it has for the past 200 – as a community. There was no playbook to guide us, no road map to follow. While continually monitoring the health and safety updates and recommendations of the CDC and meeting the state’s restrictions, we called upon the faculty and staff to fashion a safe and engaging environment to facilitate what they do best – educate the leaders of tomorrow – and we entrusted our students to adapt to the new normal and assume responsibility for keeping themselves and others safe. Our plan was comprehensive and, as a community, we completed the in-person portion of the fall semester at the Thanksgiving break as scheduled. We succeeded where many other colleges and universities could not. It wasn’t easy, which makes us relish the achievement even more. In 2020, Nichols College was also pleased and proud to successfully complete the Bicentennial Campaign. More than $66 million has been raised from this historic effort, which has made
an indelible impact on the Nichols campus and experience. We are grateful to the donors who have so generously invested in our vision as a college of choice for business and leadership education. A special thanks goes to campaign Co-chairs John Davis and Gerald Fels. Read more about the initiatives on page 6. This year, I announced my plan to retire as Nichols College president in June 2021. Given the constant uncertainty and unprecedented challenges posed by the pandemic, I would likely not have chosen this as my final year as your president. But, upon reflection, I would not trade it. To lead Nichols through this time, as it shows, once again, its spunk and strength of character — whether in responding to a global health crisis or completing a transformative campaign – is a privilege I will treasure among the many in my decade of service here. And why I will remain a proud honorary Bison for life.
Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D. President
2020 President’s Report
2020 in the rear view 2020 had just barely begun when the COVID-19 pandemic overturned any hopes of the perfect vision the year might have brought. Thrust into the deep end of uncharted waters, Nichols College continued to carry out its mission, albeit with a few adjustments, and found ways to thrive while doing it. Here are a handful of highlights. Present but not here Starting in mid-March, the college moved to remote learning, delivered through the HyFlex technology successfully used by the college’s evening classes for several years. Students were able to attend class synchronously – same time, teacher, and classmates as their in-person classes – and appreciated this sense of certainty during an unsettling time. To better engage students and ensure the connectedness of the face-to-face experience in a digital environment, Nichols received a $25,000 grant from the Davis Educational Foundation (stanton and Elisabeth Davis) to help faculty gain the student perspective, address problems their students may encounter, and increase their own social presence.
Campus re-opening Over the summer, President Engelkemeyer assembled a Safe Campus Task Force to prepare the campus for a safe reopening in the fall. Classrooms, the Lombard Dining Hall, and other common areas were reconfigured to accommodate social distancing. The college drew up policies to ensure mask wearing, limit visitors, and pause large-scale events; established cleaning protocols; distributed personal protective gear; and set up a quarantine wing to isolate affected students unable to return home. Amid national news of college’s abandoning in-person plans due to increasing COVID-19 cases, Nichols completed the semester as planned – on campus until the week before Thanksgiving when we ended in-person classes and went remote until December 11. Engelkemeyer credits the students for their role in keeping the “Herd” safe, despite the semester’s many restrictions. “They seem truly grateful to be here, and they were committed to keeping themselves and each other safe,” she said. 2
2020 President’s Report
Testing, testing As part of its comprehensive plan, the college provided free weekly COVID-19 testing to students, faculty and staff – twice-weekly for residents and student-athletes. In 16 weeks of testing, the college performed more than 25,000 tests resulting in 28 positive cases, for a positivity rate of .01 percent. Nichols’ rigorous safety measures and successful outcomes caught the attention of the local media, namely Spectrum 1 News and the Worcester Business Journal, which reported, “As the semester went on and other schools began moving courses online or restricting the movement of students – a list including Assumption and Clark universities, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester State University and Fitchburg State University – Nichols made it to its Thanksgiving break able to look back and exhale a bit that all the precautions largely worked.”
Total Tests Performed
Total Positive Results
Virtual reality To keep students connected to their campus community during the pandemic, Nichols employed a range of online opportunities, from student favorites like virtual bingo to annual events such as the Elevator Speech competition and Empowering Women in Business conference. The college hosted a celebratory mini-Commencement on YouTube as well as virtual open houses and accepted student events. Student services, such as advising and career and mental health counseling, seamlessly moved online.
President announces retirement… This fall, President Engelkemeyer announced plans to retire in June, following the 2020-21 academic year and a decade at the helm of Nichols College. Under her leadership, enrollment has been
increased by 20 percent, retention by 30 percent, and the graduation rate by 50 percent. The college completed a historic $66 million comprehensive campaign, and the endowment has been nearly quadrupled. Trustee Chair John Davis ’72 called Engelkemeyer a “visionary and strategic leader who has steadily advanced Nichols College through one of the toughest periods in higher education” and whose “dedication to this institution is matched only by her genuine affection for the students it serves.”
…Board commences search In response to Dr. Engelkemeyer’s announcement, the Board of Trustees named Trustee Randy Becker ’83 MBA ’96 chair of the Presidential Search Committee and contracted with Isaacson, Miller in
Boston to direct the national search for her successor. In October, Becker announced the composition of the search committee representing “a community with wide-ranging interests but a singular desire to choose the right leader for Nichols.” The committee comprises trustees, alumni, faculty, administration, and students, who Becker believes will “bring a wealth of knowledge, insights, experience, diversity and energy to this process, and will offer thoughtful guidance to our search firm.”
Super Bowl(ed) over
Collin Gilligan ’20 is interviewed by ESPN while at the Super Bowl Experience in Miami.
Photos: Dan Desrochers
Nichols College students described the opportunity to volunteer at Super Bowl LIV in Miami last February as “once-in-a-lifetime,” “unreal,” and “awe-inspiring.” Nichols was one of only 26 colleges and universities to participate, sending 16 students and two faculty members as part of a new course, The Super Bowl Operations Experience Practicum. Nichols students, representing the largest contingency, were among 100,000 volunteers who assisted with events before and during the Super Bowl.
David Foster ’22 eyes a receiver downfield at one of the NFL’s passing mini-games at the Super Bowl Experience in Miami.
Professor Priscila Alfaro-Barrantes and Cari Cyr ’21 jump for joy while working at one of the festivities for Super Bowl LIV in downtown Miami.
2020 President’s Report
Sports wrap-up Several Bison teams found success in the 2019-20 season, before regular and championship games were called on account of COVID-19. A total of 122 student-athletes garnered Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Academic All-Conference honors and seven members of the women’s ice hockey program were named to the Colonial Hockey Conference All-Academic Team. Men’s basketball captured its fourth-straight CCC Championship, defeating top-seeded Endicott College and later Stevens Institute of Technology in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Women’s tennis beat Endicott College to win its fourth-consecutive CCC Championship. Men’s ice hockey program advanced to the semifinals of the CCC Tournament for the fourth time in five seasons with an overtime win at Salve Regina. Women’s soccer opened the season 9-2-0 and finished with a winning record for the first time in nearly a decade. Baseball was off to the best start since the 1998 campaign at 8-2 before the NCAA cancelled spring sports. Men’s soccer advanced to the CCC semifinals for the eighth time in program history. Football started the season 3-1 for the first time since 2007 and finished with a 6-4 record, marking the third time in four seasons the Bison have finished at-or-above the .500 mark. Men’s volleyball won 13 of its first 18 matches in just their second season of varsity competition, while women’s volleyball closed their fourth season with a program-record 12 wins and a .500 winning pct. Softball won a pair of games on the final day of competition at the PFX Spring Games to close its abbreviated season with a record of 3-3.
2020 President’s Report
$2 million contribution As the Bicentennial Campaign neared its close in 2020, Nichols received a $2 million gift toward its endowment from a global financial services leader who wishes to remain anonymous. Among the projects the gift will support is the launch of a business consulting center to formalize and advance the professional-level work Nichols students are already conducting in their classes, and an endowed scholarship for students in southern Worcester County. Additional support provided by the donor will be used directly to augment the Student-Managed Investment Fund, which was created last fall through donations from three alumni. See page 11.
Enrollment and retention: advances amid uncertainty
Record student success rates:
Despite the uncertainty imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic on an already steeply competitive higher education landscape, Nichols made some historic inroads. • Full-time undergraduate enrollment was down 3.4 percent, far less than expected. • Retention rates remained solid and well above historical averages. • Graduate enrollment increased 22 percent.
• Student retention in fifth semester (sophomore to junior years) •
Seven consecutive years with a third semester (freshman to sophomore) retention rate above 70 percent. (Prior to this streak, the college had never experience two consecutive years.)
• Five consecutive years of 50 percent or greater 4-year graduation rate, a level never achieved before 2016
Retention by starting cohort
Strong enrollment performers, based on new academic initiatives:
■ 2010 ■ 2011 ■ 2012 ■ 2013 ■ 2014 ■ 2015 ■ 2016 ■ 2017 ■ 2018 ■ 2019
• Finance: Up 39 percent. A corporate finance and investments concentration was added last year. • Marketing: Up 47 percent. Two marketing concentrations were added last year. • Criminal Justice: Up 13 percent. A BA degree in criminal justice was added as an alternative to the BSBA in criminal justice management.
90% 80% 70% 60% 50% Term 2 Retention
Academic quality of Fall 2020 incoming class at an all-time high:
Term 3 Retention
Term 5 Retention
Grad rates by starting cohort ■ 2010 ■ 2011 ■ 2012 ■ 2013 ■ 2014 ■ 2015 ■ 2016
• Highest average GPA
• Most number of students above 1200 SAT Athletics scores big:
• The 155-205 goal for student-athlete recruitment was exceeded when 210 student-athletes matriculated this fall.
20% 4 Year Grad Rate
5 Year Grad Rate
6 Year Grad Rate
Timely and well-positioned marketing campaigns that hit “close to home”: Room to Roam Campaign
Close to Home Campaign
Facebook 1200 x 626
Facebook 1200 x 626
Google 300 x 600
Google 300 x 600
ROOM TO ROAM BIG CAMPUS. SMALL COMMUNITY. HUGE HEART.
Google 1910 x 1000
2020 President’s Report
SECURING A LEGACY OF LEADERSHIP:
THE BICENTENNIAL CAMPAIGN
It began quietly, as most campaigns do, with a purpose and a promise. In anticipation of the institution’s bicentennial in 2015, Nichols College set out to chart a bold course for the future built on the achievements of its past. Before long, Securing a Legacy of Leadership: the Bicentennial Campaign became a transformative force reverberating through the campus and prologue for the next chapter of Nichols enduring and unique history.
It succeeded on multiple levels. The initial goal of $45 million – triple the goal of the previous campaign – was surpassed in 2017 with $46.1 million, and the campaign was extended to raise an additional $20 million. In 2020, the campaign officially closed with a total of $66.1 million. “We knew the goal was ambitious, particularly in light of our two previous campaigns, but we also knew that it was time to take a dramatic step to ensure our continued success, security and longevity. We were confident our loyal donors would appreciate the impact of this investment and generously support the cause,” says John Davis ’72, chair of the Board of Trustees. He and Trustee Emeritus Gerald Fels ’66 co-chaired this historic fundraising effort and were among the first, along with Robert Kuppenheimer ’69, to commit $5 million.
2020 President’s Report
Under the leadership of its co-chairs and President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., the campaign focused on the strategic priorities of endowment growth, campus modernization, and expanded educational programs, and propelled Nichols toward a new vision as a college of choice for business and leadership education. Capital projects, such as the newly constructed Fels Student Center, academic building and renovated athletic facilities, have become the most visible symbols of change. But the meteoric rise in the number of endowed scholarships and permeation of brand-elevating curricular and co-curricular initiatives fueled by the campaign have created ripples of incomparable opportunities for students and added immeasurable value to a Nichols degree. “The campaign’s impact on the future of Nichols cannot be overstated,” says Fels, who also played a pivotal role as interim president of Nichols in 2010-11. “The celebration of our bicentennial was a turning point, and the campaign allowed us to aspire to that next milestone – a third century of educating leaders.”
With the sustained and unprecedented support and enthusiasm from alumni, friends, parents, faculty, staff, and students, Securing a Legacy of Leadership exceeded its goal and moved Nichols closer to that milestone, says Bill Pieczynski, vice president for advancement: “Through their generous contributions, our donors have demonstrated their commitment to our mission and endorsed our vision of taking Nichols to the next level while staying true to the core beliefs and traditions that have characterized the Nichols education since 1815.”
The campaign delivered on that promise to prepare Nichols for the next stage in its evolution and, in doing so, funded a wealth of resources to prepare students for theirs – modern engaging facilities, life-changing scholarships, distinctive learning experiences, and purposeful leadership development. Turn the page to a new chapter.
Every donor, every dollar counts
Giving by purpose Deferred
26% Leadership Education
42% Number of Gifts
Giving Level ■ $5m+
■ < $1k
A history of campaign success ■ Goal ■ Committed
Dollars in Millions
Total Gifts and Pledges
A match by any other name The Bicentennial Campaign gave birth to fundraising initiatives embraced by hundreds of donors each year. The Bison Blitz, for example, the March campaign
during which Trustee John McClutchy Jr. ’72
matches gifts to Nichols up to $100,000, has
been enormously successful in supporting
class scholarships, academic programs,
and athletics. The effort even spawned
a separate athletics-only Bison Blitz in
September, sponsored by an anonymous donor, while the March campaign was
0 Campaign for Nichols (1988-1995)
Securing a New Century for Success (1999-2004)
Bicentennial Campaign (2010-2020)
renamed March Match.
2020 President’s Report
Campus modernization The physical environment impacts student engagement and success as much as the learning and living activities it enables. The campaign supported several game-changing capital projects which elicit more than just a wow factor. Fels Student Center (2012)
The Fels Student Center convenes student services, such as the Career and Professional Development Center, Student Involvement, and the bookstore, into one spot and offers snack bars and casual seating areas. But its greatest asset is the high-tech finance classroom, now home to an array of Bloomberg terminals, which, in turn, drove the creation of new academic concentrations and a studentmanaged investment fund.
student board room to promote team-based learning. The visual media studio provides a contemporary training ground for professional presentations, and the Institute for Women’s Leadership suite is a welcoming space and resource for campus and community.
Center Road Project (2016)
Campus curb appeal has long been improved (remember diagonal street parking?), but today’s Nichols College also has presence. A state-funded Center Road reconstruction project commissioned by the Town of Dudley was enhanced with stone pillars at the college’s entrances, period lighting, and prominent crosswalks, safety and style.
Athletics and Recreation Renovations (2016)
Academic Building (2015)
The academic building was designed with technology-rich collaborative classrooms, breakout areas, and a
the 17 conference championships and trips to the NCAA earned by Bison teams since 2014-2015.
All students, and especially studentathletes, experience a deeper sense of Bison Pride and appreciation for the new and improved athletic and recreation facilities, featuring new locker rooms, fitness center, weight room, and addition to Chalmers Field House, as well as significant upgrades to the tennis courts. Competitive success may also be a feature, given
Lombard Dining Hall Renovations (in progress)
On-campus dining provides sustenance and socialization and is one of the most scrutinized aspects of the college experience. The multi-phase renovation of the Lombard Dining Hall launched in 2017 is already making a favorable impression with its open spacing, huge windows, cathedral ceilings and expanded service areas; coming soon is a brick oven and continued enhancements to décor and kitchen efficiencies.
“Let’s keep it going” When the Bicentennial Campaign had exceeded its original goal in 2017 by raising $46.1 million, Trustee Chair John Davis ’72 and Trustee Steve Davis ’80, who were so impressed by what had been accomplished, said, “Let’s keep the momentum going!” They committed $5 million on the condition that it be matched by other donors and proposed that the college raise an additional $10 million, a $20 million extension. 8
2020 President’s Report
In summer 2019, President Engelkemeyer announced that their match had been secured, and Nichols proceeded to the final phase of this historic endeavor. The matching donors: Keith Anderson ’81, Robert Kuppenheimer ’69, Peter Lynch ’74, John McClutchy Jr. ’72, Tom Niles ’63, Al Rock ’63, and Robert Stansky ’78.
Endowment growth The proliferation of scholarships during the campaign has had a significant impact on recruitment and retention efforts, endowment growth, and more profoundly, the personal journeys of Nichols’ most motivated students. An inspirational (and fruitful) challenge Roughly 80 percent of all endowed scholarships created during the Bicentennial Campaign resulted from the Inspirational Challenge, a program initiated by John Davis ’72 in 2015. For each new scholarship commitment, Davis supplemented $2,000 a year for five years so students could benefit as the scholarship fund generated the interest to award from its own income.
Khrisan Grant ’21 Recipient: Kathleen M. MacPherson Endowed Scholarship in Business Administration Khrisan Grant has taken her college experience by the reins, steering toward a bright future – and not just for her. She plans to start a non-profit organization called The Village that offers life skills mentoring to today’s youth. “There are millions of children who have no proper guidance and support. They don’t have a village to raise them,” she says. Nichols has given Grant the opportunity to write a business plan for her venture and be a member of the Emerging Leaders Program, Institute for Women’s Leadership, Student Alumni Society, and office assistant in Alumni Relations. The scholarship, she says, has given her the means to pursue the dream.
MAJOR: CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Melissa Owusu ’24
Matthew Owen ’21
Recipient: Randy ’83 MBA ’96 and Donna ’83 Becker Endowed Scholarship; Fels Commuter Scholarship
Recipient: Pat and Al Houston Endowed Scholarship; James L. Dunbar Endowed Scholarship for Criminal Justice Management
Melissa Owusu says, “The college’s ability to help students succeed no matter what and to encourage them to excel was one of the main things I loved about Nichols.” As only the second person in her family to attend college, Owusu does not take the experience for granted. The scholarships she receives allow her to “focus more on the most important aspect of school…studying,” as she pursues a possible career in actuarial sciences, and inspire her to say, “I hope one day I will be able to give back to my community and help students like me achieve their goals.”
Matthew Owen lives by the motto, “We don’t deserve anything. Work for it, then no one can say you haven’t earned it.” With a 3.8 GPA, Owen is earning his success at Nichols as a member of the Criminal Justice Club and an inductee in the Zeta Alpha Phi, Phi Alpha Theta (History), and Alpha Phi Sigma (Criminal Justice) honor societies. He appreciates the small class size at Nichols and the professors who have helped him to excel. He says that scholarship support has helped relieve the financial burden on him and his family, and he is honored and proud to have been awarded this charitable gift. MAJOR: MARKETING
Jenna DeLorenzo ’23 Recipient: Gus Alexander and Linda Sargent Endowed Scholarship Simply put, Jenna DeLorenzo is happy to be at Nichols College: “Waking up in the morning and stepping foot on the paved sidewalks which lead to class reminds me of how grateful I am to be here. Our campus is so welcoming. Every time I pass by one of my peers, we smile.” The aspiring entrepreneur hopes to one day own an advertising agency. In the meantime, she is practicing her leadership skills as class president, teaching assistant, student manager of the Fels Student Center, and a member of the Relay for Life Club. To DeLorenzo, the scholarship makes it all possible. 2020 President’s Report
Endowed curricular and co-curricular funds In addition to the more than 60 scholarships added during the campaign, Nichols received gifts to create or support these initiatives: • Keith T. Anderson Professorship of Economics and Finance • Nichols Consulting Group • Helen Chrobak Endowment for the Institute for Women’s Leadership • Davis Endowed Fund
assets EndowmentAssets Endowment (Dollars in Millions) Endowment Assets (Dollars in millions) (Dollars in Millions)
22 22 20 20 18 18 16 16 14 14 12 12 10 10 8 8 6 6 4 4 2 2 0 0
• Educational Enhancement Fund
FY15 Year FY16
• Emerging Leaders Program • Hertzfeld-Moore Faculty-Led Student Travel Fund
• Robert E. Stansky Professorship of Accounting or Finance
• Michael J. and Joan F. Vendetti Endowed Fund
80 90 70 80 50 60 40 50 30 40 20 30 10 20 0 10 0
FY15 Year FY16
Class endowed scholarships
Class Endowed Scholarships
The class legacy Class scholarships began as a special way to commemorate a 50th reunion. But, in later years, some classes decided they didn’t want to wait that long before leaving their legacy on Nichols. During the campaign, class scholarship gifts have contributed more than $1 million to the endowment.
thousands) (Dollars (Dollars inin Thousands)
300 250 200 150 100 50 0
2020 President’s Report
Leadership education Annual support is the backbone of any operation, and throughout the campaign, Nichols Fund and programmatic gifts have enabled the college to expand curricular and co-curricular resources and have given rise to a host of improvements, initiatives and innovations designed to keep Nichols at the forefront of leadership education. New degrees and concentrations
Teams winning conference championships
Bachelor of Science in Business Administration: • Corporate finance and investments • Digital and social media marketing • Integrated marketing communication • Marketing analytics
• Men’s basketball • Men’s ice hockey • Men’s soccer • Tennis (Men’s and Women’s)
Bachelor of Arts: • Communication • Criminal justice Master of Science: • Accounting • Counterterrorism
Bison Club The Bison Club was created in 2016 to ensure that today’s student-athletes get the opportunities they need to realize their fullest potential, as student-athletes, team players, and leaders. More than $750,000 in gifts have supported upgrades to facilities, gear for student-athletes, additional equipment, extra recruiting trips, tournament enhancements, and expanded travel for the college’s 22 varsity teams.
New athletic teams • Cross country (Men’s and Women’s) • E-sports • Track and field (Men’s and Women’s) • Volleyball (Men’s and Women’s)
Institute for Women’s Leadership The Institute for Women’s Leadership was founded by President Engelkemeyer in 2013 to recognize and cultivate the unique leadership potential of female students. Students engage with the campus, alumni, and local communities to raise awareness of and confront the challenges facing women in business. Its Empowering Women in Business conference draws hundreds of professionals to Nichols each year to build skills and confidence and discover opportunities through practical presentations and dynamic networking.
Thunder Fund In 2018, Nichols launched the Bloomberg Finance Lab giving students access to and certification in industry-leading software. Soon after, three notable alumni financiers committed a total of $150,000 to start a student-managed investment fund, later named the Thunder Fund: Keith Anderson ’81, founder, chair and chief investment officer for Anderson Global Macro; Wayne Archambo ’81, CEO of Monarch Partners Asset Management; and Robert Stansky ’78, group leader and portfolio manager at Fidelity Management and Research Co.
Nichols Consulting Group Over the past three years, faculty and students have completed 46 consulting projects for business, non-profit and local, state and federal government clients. Among them are Frisbie’s Dairy Barn, Special Olympics, and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. With campaign support, the college formed the Nichols Consulting Group in 2020 as a hub for these transformational experiences that create a sustained positive impact on the community and serve as a strategic differentiator for Nichols.
Center for Intelligent Process Automation An initiative driven by industry needs but fueled by student passion and inspiration, the Center for Intelligent Process Automation partners Nichols with a world leader in robotic process automation (RPA) software to provide students access to free RPA design software. They have created bots that perform audits, reconcile accounts, research scholarships, evaluate the tone of headlines using artificial intelligence, and collect and format municipal data for analysis.
2020 President’s Report
Advancing faculty scholarship For several decades, Trustee Robert “Kuppy” Kuppenheimer ’69 has supported the professional development activities of Nichols College faculty by underwriting expenses such as travel and conference fees. In 2018, as the college focused greater attention on building a culture of scholarship, Kuppy made a five-year commitment to support faculty publication. For its first three years, 87 stipends have been awarded. This has led to a doubling in the number of faculty publishing articles and a three-fold increase in the number of articles being published. In 2015-2017, nine faculty authors submitted 21 peer-reviewed journal articles; in 2019-2020, 18 faculty authors published 31 peer-reviewed journal articles.
Smith, the newly appointed Robert E. Stansky Distinguished Professor, is working on a new book of her own, Service About Self: Women Veterans in American Politics, inspired by the record number of women veterans entering public office as second careers. By increasing opportunities for faculty to pursue and promote their scholarly interests, Kuppy’s gift has – and continues to – advance the professional development of faculty and Nichols as a thought leader.
Associate Professor Erika Cornelius Smith, Ph.D., is one of the more prolific beneficiaries of “Kuppy money,” as author or co-author of more than two dozen books, articles, book chapters, and book reviews during that time. This year she contributed the chapter, “Speaking from the ‘Velvet Pulpit’: The Media Relations of Laura Bush,” for the book Media Relations and the Modern First Lady: From Jacqueline Kennedy to Melania Trump. In it, she examines the role Bush’s communications strategy played in conveying the first lady’s identity and priorities. Bush was a natural choice for Smith. “She hasn’t received as much scholarly attention as the other first ladies,” she says. “She is sometimes overshadowed by Hilary Clinton and Michelle Obama, who preceded and followed her.” In addition, Smith interned at the White House during the George W. Bush administration and had firsthand knowledge of operations. “Laura Bush was a big part of my introduction to life and service at the White House. I have always respected her and the work she did as a first lady,” says Smith, who notes Bush’s approval ratings made her one of the most popular first ladies in U.S. history.
2020 President’s Report
Growth in faculty publications ■ Faculty authors ■ Peer-reviewed journal articles
Bicentennial Campaign by the numbers New endowed scholarships
New academic programs
330% Growth in endowment
Major capital projects
$66.1 Million Amount raised during the campaign
2,245 First-time donors
7 New varsity athletic teams
>$13K Student giving
2020 President’s Report
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