Nichols College officially welcomes the Class of 2025 and new president at Convocation and Investiture ceremonies

October 5, 2021

DUDLEY, Mass. – Nichols College gathered to officially welcome the Class of 2025 to the campus community and install Glenn M. Sulmasy, JD, LL.M as the eighth president of Nichols on Friday, September 24.

The event, called the “Celebration of Us,” combined the traditional Convocation, or ceremonial start of the school year, with the formal investiture of President Sulmasy and featured a keynote address by former U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III.

Kennedy congratulated Nichols for its accomplishments over the past year when the college was able to provide a safe campus experience for students and keep COVID-19 cases to a minimum.

“This tiny virus shut down the world, but you persevered, and battled, and came back stronger than ever,” he said. “This is particularly noteworthy as this has always been my perception of the Green and Black here on the Hill in Dudley – tenacious, ambitious and willing to go the extra mile, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. Some might even call it the Nichols Way. That is what we celebrate today – the Nichols Way.”

Kennedy also shared his insights on Nichols’ new president, a family friend. “I know that Glenn is the perfect fit for Nichols College and his academic background, government service, extraordinary higher education leadership abilities will lead this college to unforeseen heights over the next few years,” he said.

The ceremony incorporated historic elements, such as the ringing of the 1883 Academy Bell to start the proceedings, and introduced new traditions, such as first-year students touching the nose of the iconic bronze bison statue (“Thunder”) for good luck. Despite the occasional heavy downpours, the Class of 2025 was in good spirits as they processed to the tent on the Shamie Hall Quad, greeted by the cheers of hundreds of upperclassmen flanking the sidewalk and giving high fives to President Sulmasy.

With a focus on the Nichols community, Convocation included the participation of students, faculty, staff and alumni, including the reading of an original poem written for the occasion by a Nichols faculty member.

The investiture ceremony was conducted by John Davis, chair of the Nichols College Board of Trustees, with special assistance from President Sulmasy’s brother, Dr. Daniel Sulmasy. and first lady Marla Sulmasy.

“Today…we gather in this distinguished company to honor a man of outstanding leadership, academic experience, and energy, Glenn M. Sulmasy,” said Davis. “We are confident that President Sulmasy will embrace the culture of Nichols and foster change that is both progressive and rooted in the college’s esteemed traditions.” He then presented Sulmasy with the symbols of his office, including nineteenth-century china embossed with scenes of Nichols Academy, the academic gown, and the Presidential Medallion.

To enthusiastic ovations (and the sudden end to the afternoon’s intermittent rain), Sulmasy gave his inaugural address. He thanked family, friends, and colleagues in attendance, including Ronald K. Machtley, the former president of Bryant University, where Sulmasy previously served as provost, and praised the Nichols community for its response to the pandemic: “The grit, the perseverance in the face of adversity, and this almost uniform desire to win – this is what represents the best of Nichols. It is that magic permeating all you do and all that is Nichols. It is the Nichols Way, and Marla and I have fallen in love with it.”

Noting the challenges facing higher education, Sulmasy outlined his charge to the campus community, which included increasing enrollment, reassuring students and their families of the value of a college degree, and highlighting the Nichols’ return on investment.

“This sort of effort requires all hands on deck, meaning every aspect of our institution must buy into this vision – to shatter, once and for all, that notion of Nichols being the best kept secret in higher education,” he said. “We have begun, but today, let us commit that together we will ensure regional prominence, then national prominence of this shining college on a hill.”