Former Williams Baptist president Jack Nicholas dies
WALNUT RIDGE – D. Jack Nicholas, former president of Williams Baptist University (WBU), died Nov. 29, in Little Rock.
Nicholas, who was 86, is one of the historical icons of Williams, serving as the second president from 1973 to 1991, and leading the college to become a four-year institution in 1984.
A Williams alumnus, Nicholas brought about the construction of several prominent campus facilities during his presidency, and also served as a professor of psychology at WBU both before and after his 18 years as president.
“Dr. Nicholas is a towering figure in the history of WBU. He guided the institution safely through some very challenging times, and he led the way to some of its greatest achievements. He was a tremendous man of God who held Williams firmly to its Christian foundations. He will be sorely missed, and our prayers are with Mrs. Nicholas and their family,” said Stan Norman, president of Williams.
Kenneth Startup, former academic dean and professor emeritus of history at Williams, said Nicholas presided over the college at a critical time in the institution’s existence.
“Jack Nicholas came to the Williams presidency at a time of great challenge and change for the institution. The early 1970s required careful mobilization of institutional resources and careful planning for the future. Dr. Nicholas made hard and difficult decisions necessary for Williams's future. He was determined and dedicated and sacrificial in his service. A successful boxer in his youth, Dr. Nicholas needed a full measure of toughness and resilience to guide Williams through some turbulent times,” Startup said.
“Of all his many worthwhile achievements, it has to be said that his initiation of Williams's move toward comprehensive senior status was certainly his greatest legacy,” Startup added. “A man of deep faith, great integrity, and high intelligence, Jack Nicholas was the right leader at the right time in the history of Williams.”
Nicholas is survived by his wife, Martha (Williams) Nicholas, who was the longtime librarian at the university.
A memorial service was held Dec. 3 at Immanuel Baptist Church in Little Rock. The family requests that memorials be made to WBU. Memorial gifts can be made online at https://williamsbu.edu/give/.