Nichols College receives $2 million estate gift from Dunbar Armored founder

June 10, 2024

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College received a $2 million bequest from the estate of James L. Dunbar, founder of Dunbar Armored, Inc. and a 1951 alumnus of the College.

A portion of the gift will be used to underwrite experiential learning initiatives and scholarship in the College’s criminal justice program, which Dunbar helped launch in 2002 and supported until his death in 2020. In recognition, the College will name the program in his honor.

“Jim Dunbar was an ardent benefactor of Nichols for six decades, supporting scholarships, capital projects and impactful professional development opportunities for criminal justice students,” said Nichols College President William Pieczynski. “He continually expressed his gratitude for the education he received at Nichols, and we are excited to be able to express ours with the naming of the James L. Dunbar Criminal Justice Program.” The College will also be naming the reading room in its library in honor of Dunbar.

Among his many contributions, Dunbar covered the costs for selected Nichols students to attend the now-named Global Security Exchange, the annual conference of ASIS International, the premier professional association for the security management field. In addition, he typically arranged exclusive tours and activities to deepen the student experience.

He also created two endowed scholarships at Nichols and made a major gift to a scholarship supporting students with dyslexia, a condition he himself faced as a student.

Dunbar founded Dunbar Armored in 1956 and served as its chair until it was acquired by the Brinks Company in 2018. It was considered the largest independently owned armored transport, cash vault services and full-service security firm in the U.S., and Dunbar, the most widely respected authority on the armored car industry. Today the Dunbar family continues the trusted Dunbar brand with a focus on security products and security solutions and operates the Federal Armored Museum in Cockeysville, Maryland, which features Dunbar’s collection of industry artifacts.

“The insights and opportunities Mr. Dunbar and Dunbar Armored have afforded our students over the years through his time and generosity have been game changing, especially the sponsorship of the GSX conference,” said Boyd Brown, associate professor of criminal justice at Nichols. “Our students gain access to invaluable knowledge and a network of thousands of industry professionals. The students consider this one of the most impactful experiences they have during their time at Nichols College.”

Pictured: Ryan Spitz ’24 who recently graduated magna cum laude with dual degrees in criminal psychology and criminal justice management. Spitz also won the Zeta Alpha Phi Award for outstanding achievement in criminal justice management. 

About Nichols College

Nichols College has earned business accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network connecting learners, educators, and businesses worldwide. Founded in 1815, Nichols College transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols offers real-world learning focused on professional depth – combined with vibrant living, competitive athletics, and an unmatched alumni advantage – equipping students to exceed their own expectations. To learn more about Nichols College, visit

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