Nichols College is a private college in Dudley, Massachusetts. Founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy, Nichols College offers 12 concentrations in its business program and seven majors in its liberal arts program. The college offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as certificate programs.
The institution was founded in 1815 as Nichols Academy. The academy’s founder was Amasa Nichols, a wealthy industrialist in Dudley, Massachusetts. Early benefactors of the academy include textile manufacturers Samuel Slater and Hezekiah Conant. Nichols Academy closed its doors in 1909. Between 1909 and 1931, the academy buildings were used by the town and leased to other educational entities over different periods of time. Notable nineteenth century architects Elbridge Boyden and Charles F. Wilcox designed buildings on the Nichols campus
In 1931, Col. James L. Conrad reorganized the school to Nichols Junior College of Business Administration and Executive Training, a two-year college, at the closed Nichols Academy location. Nichols Junior College’s purpose was to incorporate a new idea in education—a junior college for men only, and an institution where a student can secure a college education in business administration and executive training and at the same time enjoy the advantages of campus life. Its program of study was to combine courses in business education, similar to those offered in the third and fourth years of four-year colleges and universities, with necessary electives and selected cultural subjects. All of this occurred in a two-year format. In 1938, the Massachusetts State Department of Education authorized Nichols Junior College to award the Associate in Business Administration degree. Over time, the college purchased, constructed, and remodeled over forty-four buildings to shape most of the current campus that is seen today. [Source: book by James L. Conrad—Nichols: A College for the Hill, 1931-1996]
In 1958, Nichols became Nichols College of Business Administration, a four-year college with the authority to grant a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. In 1965, Nichols College became accredited by the New England Association of Schools & Colleges. The college became a member of the NCAA in 1966. In 1971, Nichols became co-educational, and the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education authorized the College to award the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, and Bachelor of Science in Public Administration. In 1974, the college received the authority to grant the degree of Master of Business Administration. The college was granted accreditation by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE) in 2005. In 2007, Nichols was granted authority to offer the degree of Master of Science in Organizational Leadership, and in 2017, the degree of Master of Science in Counterterrorism.
In 1980, Nichols established the Institute for American Values, later renamed the Robert C. Fischer Policy & Cultural Institute in 1999, as a department of the College providing a forum for the free exchange of ideas.
In 2013, The Institute for Women’s Leadership was established with the goal of developing the leadership potential of female students, and serving as a resource and authoritative voice on women’s leadership for the community at large.
In 2014, the new Emerging Leaders program began with the introduction of the new LEAD101 class, and Nichols began a series of events to celebrate its bicentennial.
Nichols College includes 200 acres separated into a North and South Campus. The North and South Campuses are divided by the Fels Student Center.