UNH Dedicates Health Center to Alumnus Alexander W. Nicholson Jr.

Elissa Sanci

The University of New Haven dedicated Health Services in honor of Alexander W. Nicholson Jr. Sept. 20, at 3:30 p.m.

Photo Provided by UNH Today News
Photo Provided by UNH Today News

Nicholson and his wife Karen, their family, friends, members of the Board of Governors, alumni, students and faculty alike gathered at the entrance of the newly appointed Nicholson Health Center to honor Nicholson’s generous donation to the university.“Al Nicholson’s gift has transformed the health center,” President Steven Kaplan said as he opened the ceremony. The entrance of the Nicholson Center may look modest, Kaplan said, but the inside is a huge expansion of what it was before.

The Nicholson Health Center is located on the ground floor in the northeast corner of Sheffield Hall and is the primary provider of medical care on campus. The Nicholson family’s donation was used to update the medical equipment and state-of-the-art exam rooms in the Health Center.

Nicholson grew up in New Haven, and after returning from tour in Korea with the U.S. Army in 1961, he attended the University of New Haven, which was called New Haven College at that time. He earned an associate degree in 1963, and, two years later, received his bachelor’s degree in business administrative. In 1978, he returned to the university and received his EMBA.

Nicholson was successful in his career, setting an all-time record in Connecticut as a first-year agent at New York Life. He later founded his own fire and casualty insurance agency with his uncle in 1971.

Despite all his success, Nicholson was still heavily involved with UNH. Since his time as a student here, he has contributed to more than twenty UNH programs.

“I’ve always been a lucky man,” Nicholson said. “I can trace every good thing that has happened in my life to UNH; they’ve been like one big family ever since I got here 52 years ago.”

Nicholson has been working with the people in the health center for over 30 years, and he received constant requests from Paula Cappucia, Director of Health Services, for help. “Thanks to Al and Karen, our number one goal of providing excellent high quality care to the students is possible to achieve,” Cappucia said in celebratory remark.

“It is no question in my mind that Paula is the glue that held the health center together for the past 30 years, and it’s time I gave back,” Nicholson said.

Zani Imetovski, President of the Undergraduate Student Government Association, said the Nicholson’s gift impacts and improves the lives of many students on campus, and regards Nicholson as an “excellent alumni role model.” Nicholson received three degrees from UNH and was extremely successful in his career, but never forgot his roots as a Charger.

The new, updated sign was unveiled to a drum roll, and plaques were gifted to both Nicholson and his wife.

The marching band, directed by Jason DeGroff, played as guests arrived for the ceremonial unveiling of the center, and students stood around, holding hand-made signs bearing the message “Thank you, Mr. Nicholson!” Members of the athletics department including the men’s basketball team and the men’s and women’s cross country teams also showed their gratitude by attending the ceremony.

“Al Nicholson instills the importance of giving back to the UNH community,” said Phil Bartels, chair of the UNH Board of Governors.