History & Accreditation

Nichols College has always embodied Yankee ingenuity and practicality. As we near our 200th anniversary, the College continues this legacy with education that actively prepares students to succeed in today’s workforce. Below you’ll see some of the Nichols legacy, thus far. It’s easy to see we’re headed in a good direction.

1815

Nichols Academy was founded by Amasa Nichols, a wealthy Dudley industrialist. Samuel Slater, “the father of cotton manufacture in the United States,” who owned mills in the nearby town of Webster, was an early benefactor.

Textile manufacturer Hezekiah Conant donated three buildings during the 1800s; Academy Hall, Conant Hall and the Chapel. Nichols Academy closed in 1909.

1931

Nichols Junior College was founded on the Academy campus by James Lawson Conrad.

The first junior college for men in the East, Nichols was also the first junior college in Massachusetts to grant an Associate’s degree in Business Administration. Nichols closed during World War II, when President Conrad was called into service.

1946

Nichols Junior College was reopened by President Conrad.

1954

The School of Forestry at Nichols College was established, offering business management together with forest management. At the time, it was the only such undergraduate program in the country.

1958

Nichols became a four-year college and offered the degree of Bachelor of Business Administration. The College added four new dormitories and a new library building.

Nichols athletics gained a home with the Chalmers Field House, including swimming pool and facilities for varsity and intramural sports. The former gymnasium was renovated into a 700+ seat auditorium.

1965

Nichols earned accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

1970

The Board of Trustees voted to admit women to Nichols for the first time since Academy days.

The College began to offer programs leading to degrees other than the Bachelor of Business Administration.

1971

Nichols was granted authority to offer the Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA) and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. It also offered a new Educator Preparation Program.

1974

Nichols first offers the degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA).

1980

Nichols established the Institute for American Values (renamed the Robert C. Fischer Policy and Cultural Institute in 1999) as a division of the College, providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.

1997

Sports Management was initiated as a new academic business specialization.

1998

Dr. Debra M. Townsley was named as the College’s sixth, and first female, president.

Nichols established an innovative new curriculum including a Current Issues Symposium and Professional Development Seminar.

1999

The Educator Preparation Program was re-established as an academic specialization.

2002

Criminal Justice Management and Business Communication were initiated as new academic specializations.

2004

Nichols collaborated with the Alabama-based United States Sports Academy to deliver a MBA degree with an emphasis in Sports Management. It was the first accredited Sports Management MBA in the country to be available 100% online.

2005

The MBA program celebrated its 30th anniversary. Beginning in 1974 with an enrollment of 11 students, the College now offers one of the largest MBA programs in Central Massachusetts.

Nichols dedicated Lombard Dining Hall and Vendetti Field at Homecoming and opened a new multi-purpose stadium.

The Board of Commissioners for the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) granted accreditation for Nichols College business and business-related degree programs.

2006

Nichols Student Government Association celebrated its 30th anniversary and the Fischer Institute celebrated its 25th.

2007

The START youth leadership training program brought 90 ninth graders from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island to campus, demonstrating Nichols’ commitment to leadership education.

Two new academic programs were introduced: a Master of Organizational Leadership (MOL) and an Arts & Entertainment business specialization.

2008

At 1,088 day students, the fall semester marked the largest day enrollment.

The first apartment-style residence hall, Copper Beech I, opened and Olsen Hall was transformed with a “green” renovation.

The “A to B” Business Program was implemented with four Massachusetts Community Colleges: Quinsigamond, Massasoit, Mount Wachusett and Cape Cod.

2009

Copper Beech II, the second apartment-style residence hall on campus, opened.

The “A to B” Business Program expanded to include MassBay Community College.

Nichols opened a satellite campus in Palm Beach, Florida.

2010

In April, President Debra Townsley resigned. The Board of Trustees appointed Trustee Emeritus Gerald Fels as Interim President and formed a President Search Committee.

Attendance at Fischer Institute events passed the 50,000 mark.

2011

Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., was officially installed as the seventh Nichols College president during an inauguration ceremony on October 21, 2011.

2012

The Fels Student Center, named in honor of Gerald ’66 and Marilyn Fels, was dedicated on November 16, 2012.

2013

A Certificate in Entrepreneurship is initiated.

The College receives approval from the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to retitle its Master of Organizational Leadership degree to Master of Science in Organizational Leadership.

Accreditation

Nichols College is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), a non-governmental, nationally recognized organization and has received specialized accreditation for its business programs through the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), located in Lenexa, Kansas, USA, as well as the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

The business programs in the following degrees are accredited by the IACBE:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with concentrations in:
    • Accounting
    • Business Communication
    • Criminal Justice Management
    • Economics
    • Finance
    • General Business
    • General Business Education
    • Human Resource Management
    • Management
    • Management Information Systems
    • Marketing
    • Sport Management
  • Associate of Business Administration