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Nichols, Raymond F., 1903-1999



The 12th chancellor of the University of Kansas, Raymond F. Nichols of Lawrence, died at age 95 on Oct. 12, 1999 at Presbyterian Manor in Lawrence.

Nichols served as chancellor from 1972 to 1973, between chancellors E. Laurence Chalmers and Archie R. Dykes. Raymond Nichols Hall, KU's Space Technology Center, was named for Nichols in recognition of his promotion of significant research, educational and service activities at KU. It was dedicated in May 1976.

Nichols retired in 1973. During his 44 years of service to KU, he witnessed and influenced major changes on the Lawrence campus. In the early 1920s, when Nichols arrived at KU to study journalism from his hometown of Larned, Jayhawk Boulevard was a dirt road. About 3,500 students were enrolled at the university.

"Raymond Nichols' involvement with the University of Kansas spanned more than 70 years," Chancellor Robert Hemenway said Wednesday. "No one cared more about KU than he did.

"His death is a great loss for the university and for me, personally," Hemenway said. "When I was named chancellor, Raymond took time to explain the university's history and traditions in a way that I will never forget. I am deeply appreciative of the time I was able to spend with him and of his contributions to KU."

Nichols earned a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1926 and a master's in journalism in 1928, both from KU. As a student, he was named to the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and he was editor of the University Daily Kansan, the student newspaper, and the Jayhawker, the university yearbook. He also reported for the Larned Tiller and Toiler and Kansas City Kansan newspapers.

In 1929, Nichols joined the KU staff as executive secretary to the chancellor, where he served until 1938. From 1938 to 1972, he worked as executive secretary to the university. In 1962, he became the university's first vice chancellor for finance, serving through 1969. In 1969, he received KU's Distinguished Service Citation, and, in 1977, he received the Fred Ellsworth Medallion, the KU Alumni Association's highest award for service to the university. After his retirement, Nichols' interest in keeping KU history alive inspired him to propose an oral history project to the KU Retirees' Club. The project includes the voices and words of people who have lived and worked at KU.

At the 1973 convocation, Nichols said, "The University of Kansas is greater than any single individual or group. It has reached its level of recognition by its ability to steer a steady course through good times and bad.

"Our business is young people; our business is to convert young men and women to mature men and women, creating the kinds of men and women who will take their places in greater society as responsible and creative individuals."

In 1977, he established an endowment scholarship fund in memory of his wife, Clytice Nichols, who died Jan. 20, 1977. They were married in 1931. The KU Endowment fund provided undergraduate scholarships to KU freshmen with a preference for prospective students from Larned. In 1992, during a fund-raising campaign, Raymond Nichols added to that fund and provided an additional $20,000 for unrestricted use by the university.

He is survived by a son, Raymond Lindley Nichols of Lawrence.

Arrangements are being handled by Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, Lawrence. Services will be 11 a.m. Friday at Plymouth Congregational Church, 925 Vermont, Lawrence. Private inurnment will be at KU's Pioneer Cemetery.

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