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Nichols, Stephens Announce Retirement Plans

Two long-time Southwestern College administrators have announced their plans to retire at the end of the academic year. David Nichols, vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, and Bill Stephens, director of athletics, both are Southwestern College graduates with involvement at the school spanning six decades.

Nichols, who graduated from Southwestern in 1960, has worked in a variety of positions at the college. He had been a faculty member in the social science and business management areas; chairperson of the division of management from 1979 to 1985; and vice president for development from 1985 to 1991, before assuming his current position in 1992.

Nichols has overseen several of the major transitions in the college's academic life, including spearheading the successful 10-year reaccredidation by the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges in 2001. He is known as a champion of faculty concerns.

In retirement Nichols plans to return to work as a full-time historian, work that has resulted in publication of Lincoln and the Indians: Civil War Policy and Politics in 2000 by the University of Illinois Press. (He earned his doctorate in history from the College of William and Mary.)

Nichols' latest book, tentatively titled The Second Civil War: Eisenhower, Little Rock and Civil Rights, is intended to be a fresh interpretation of the Eisenhower administration's record in Civil Rights. It will be published in time for the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court school integration decision of 1954 (Brown vs. Topeka).

Bill Stephens arrived at Southwestern as a freshman in 1959, returning to his alma mater a decade later as assistant basketball coach under Bob Hower. A year later Stephens was named head basketball coach, taking on the AD position when Hower was killed in a car accident in 1972.

Over the years he has coached basketball (11 years), tennis, football, and golf, and despite numerous conference championships (three in basketball and 14 in golf) the achievement of which he is the most proud is the graduation rate of his basketball players.

"Every basketball player I coached who finished out his eligibility here went on to graduate, one hundred percent of them," he says. "Not many programs can say that."

During the three decades of his leadership, small college athletes have seen sweeping changes, Stephens says. The most obvious of these is the increase in women's sports, due to Title IX legislation that mandated equal opportunities for women athletes.

The coaching staff (which numbered four when Stephens began, all of whom taught half-time) now includes nine coaches, plus 16 assistant coaches. Recruitment of student-athletes has become a highly-competitive, year-round activity. Upgrade of facilities has become almost routine.

Stephens is proud of the fact that SC has been able to retain tradition during upgrades of playing sites, especially in the case of Stewart Field House.

He will continue to be involved at the college on a part-time basis as he moves toward full retirement.

Do you know a future Moundbuilder?

Todd Moore is sending out a call for help to Southwestern College friends and alumni.

As director of admission, Moore has access to the names of thousands of potential Southwestern students, but he knows the most influential voices in a student's college decision often come from persons outside the college.

"Our alumni, who had great experiences here and love the college, have the potential to make a major impact on the size of the incoming freshman class," Moore says. "In many cases, these alumni and friends are the best link we have to new SC students."

Moore is suggesting several ways volunteers can have an impact on Southwestern's recruitment efforts:
" Alumni can participate in a college fairs held near where the alumni live, usually a geographic area that is out of the college's general recruiting area.
" United Methodist church members are encouraged to set up tables at their home churches, using SC-provided materials.
" Receptions for prospective students can be hosted in alumni homes.
" The alumnus can work with the director of admission to draft a letter to send to prospective students, talking about the school experience.

Moore also provides fee waiver coupons to alumni, who can give them to prospective students for a $20 reduction in application fees.

"As hard as our admission staff works, we know our success depends on finding new students who feel good about choosing Southwestern College," Moore says, "and alumni can help make this happen."

For more information on the admission volunteer program, contact Moore at Southwestern College, 800-846-1543, ext. 6210, or e-mail him at tmoore@sckans.edu

SC Tops List for Academic Quality

The quality of Southwestern College's academic program was affirmed in the latest version of the U.S. News and World Report's annual fall guide to "America's Best Colleges": Southwestern was ranked top among private colleges in Kansas in terms of academic reputation.

Evaluation and voting on the academic reputation is done by Midwestern college presidents, academic deans, and admission directors.

"We know the college has made significant strides forward in the quality of its academic program - our students are better, our faculty is stronger, we use technology well, our curriculum is well thought out - but it was gratifying to learn that others are noticing," said President Dick Merriman.

The college also came out on top among Kansas colleges, and in the top 20 among Midwestern comprehensive colleges, as a best value in private higher education. That reflects a favorable mix of quality, cost, small classes, and the college's financial aid efforts on behalf of students, Merriman explains.