Oct. 15, 2022
The Wilfrid Laurier University community mourns the passing of former dean of students Fred Nichols. Nichols passed away peacefully the evening of Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, surrounded by family.
Nichols was hired as the director of student activities and placement services in 1963 by then-president William Villaume – the first of eight Laurier presidents Nichols would work with over the course of his career.
Nichols became Laurier’s dean of students in 1968 and continued as dean until he retired from the role in 1997, after which he devoted his time to fostering connections with alumni and fundraising for the university until 2016, at the age of 84.
Nichols’ role as a tireless champion of student causes as dean of students was recognized – in what he held as the highlight of his career – when students advocated to name the new campus centre on the Waterloo campus in his honour. Today, the Fred Nichols Campus Centre remains a hub of student activity on Laurier’s Waterloo campus.
Nichols is credited with establishing career services at Laurier, playing an instrumental role in developing Laurier’s Athletics program, and being tireless in his support and advocacy for students. He also created the Dean’s Advisory Council, allowing students the opportunity to oversee student discipline.
Nichols served on 30 university committees and oversaw the financing and architectural plans for the new Students’ Union Building. He did it all while involving students in every possible aspect. In 1995, Maclean’s magazine dubbed Nichols the “surrogate grandfather to thousands” in its annual University Rankings edition.
In support of student wellness, he brought the now-national organization BACCHUS (Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students) to Canada in the mid-1980s. He also established a student bursary, the Fred Nichols BACCHUS Bursary for Student Leaders.
For his efforts and the impact he made, Nichols was named an honorary Laurier alumnus (his three sons and two of his five grandchildren attended Laurier), was inducted into the Laurier Athletic Hall of Fame, and received an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Laurier in 2008.
Flags have been lowered at all of Laurier’s locations. Fred's family will receive relatives and friends at Westmount Memorial Celebration Centre, 1001 Ottawa St. S, Kitchener on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. The funeral service will be held in the chapel Oct. 19 at 11 a.m. Online condolences and a livestream of the service will also be available. In lieu of flowers, The family requests those who wish to express sympathy consider making a donation to Hospice Wellington, 795 Scottsdale Dr., Guelph. For those wishing to make a gift to Laurier to honour Fred, please consider a donation to the Fred L. Nichols Award.
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