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Nichols College Receives $1 Million Gift to Support Scholarships

DUDLEY, Mass.—Nichols College has received a generous gift of $1 million from alumnus John H. Davis ’72, chairman of the College’s Board of Trustees; and chair and CEO of Springfield-based Ventry Industries.

A resident of Longmeadow, Davis has designated his gift to fund scholarships for current Nichols College students. A portion of the gift will support direct scholarship aid.

“Direct scholarship aid can make a difference in the lives of Nichols students,” said Davis. “Part of my gift will go to help 25 current Nichols students for whom a scholarship of $5,000 will make the difference between dropping out and graduating. These students are doing well academically, are involved in the College and want to stay, and they have done everything they can to succeed at Nichols.”

In addition to supporting direct scholarships, Davis’ gift includes a challenge to other donors that they establish endowed scholarships during the College’s current Bicentennial Campaign, which ends in June 2017. For each endowed scholarship created with a commitment of $25,000 between now and June, an annual scholarship of $2,000 will be immediately awarded to a student in the donor’s name. This will occur for a maximum of five years, or until the endowed scholarship fund reaches the threshold of $25,000 and can begin to sustain the scholarship from earned income.

“The impact of endowed scholarships is undeniable,” said Davis. “They help attract students who want to pursue their educational and career aspirations with a Nichols degree; they motivate and enable students who otherwise could not afford college to stay at Nichols and graduate; and they build the College’s endowment for a stronger competitive and financial position.”

Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., said: “On behalf of the Nichols College community—students, faculty, staff, alumni, and his fellow trustees—I thank John Davis for his commitment to our undergraduate students. John’s generosity will allow the next generation of Nichols College leaders to complete their degree, which is essential for their professional development and lifetime of success.”

The gift marks the third time in the past year that Nichols has received a $1 million contribution—the first one from an anonymous donor to support the College’s accounting and finance programs and the second from John Davis’ brother Stephen A. Davis ’80—as part of its Securing a Legacy of Leadership campaign. To date, the campaign has raised over $40 million to support endowment, capital projects, and leadership education.

 “The Davis family has been exceedingly loyal and generous to Nichols College for more than 30 years, and we have been a grateful beneficiary of John and Stephen Davis’ leadership on the Board of Trustees, as well as their philanthropic commitment,” said President Engelkemeyer. “John’s $1 million gift will provide a direct and lasting impact on students, and it leaves a legacy of leadership for future generations.”

John Davis graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Science degree in business and finance from Nichols College—which also bestowed upon him an honorary doctoral degree. He serves as chair of the College’s Board of Trustees and co-chair of the legacy campaign.

Prior to his role as chair and CEO of Ventry Industries, Davis was chairman and CEO of the American Saw & Mfg. Company in East Longmeadow. He is involved with many civic and community organizations, serving on the Baystate Health Board of Trustees, and as co-founder of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley, co-chair of Springfield Business Leaders for Education, trustee of Westminster School, and on the boards of the Baystate Academy Charter School and the Springfield Empowerment Zone. 

The Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, of which Davis serves as a director, has long supported Nichols as well as other non-profit endeavors throughout Massachusetts.


Nichols College is a college of choice for business and leadership education as a result of its distinctive career-focused and leadership-based approaches to learning, both in and out of the classroom. Founded in 1815, Nichols transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols serves students interested primarily in a comprehensive business education that is supported by a strong liberal arts curriculum.


Lorraine U. Martinelle
Director of Public Relations and Social Media
Nichols College
Learn. Lead. Succeed.
123 Center Road
Dudley, MA 01571
Twitter: @NicholsNewsroom