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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
March 28, 2017
Canadian Excellence


Fred Nichols, Staff/Honorary Degree Recipient

Fred Nichols’ devotion to helping students has made him a living legacy at Laurier.

The university’s director of student activities and placement services from 1963-1968 and dean of students from 1968-1997, Nichols has worked with eight Laurier presidents and many more student presidents. He is considered the catalyst for student leadership at Laurier, and a key player in launching the spirit of volunteerism that is ingrained in Laurier’s culture. Many alumni regard him as the face of the university.

In addition to holding the distinction of being a Laurier father and grandfather (his three sons are alumni and two of five grandchildren are current students), Nichols has been recognized as a Laurier honorary alumnus and was inducted into the Laurier Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2008, he received an honorary doctor of laws degree from the university.

Nichols helped establish career services on the Laurier campus, and brought the Florida-based organization Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students (BACCHUS) to Laurier — and Canada — in the early 1980s. It has since grown into a national association.

As the dean of students, Nichols’ efforts to raise money to build a campus centre were so appreciated by students that they fought to name the building in his honour. To this day, Nichols holds the Fred Nichols Campus Centre as the highlight of his career.

Nichols has volunteered on many Laurier committees, including the Board of Governors, and for several community organizations. He also established an annual Fred Nichols BACCHUS bursary for student leaders at Laurier.

More than 10 years after his formal retirement in 1997, Nichols is still in his Alumni Hall office every morning and most afternoons, working tirelessly in alumni relations and fundraising. He travels across the country to meet with alumni and has personally raised millions of dollars for Laurier over the past decade.

“It’s a way of life,” he says of volunteering. “Give what you can, while you can."