The beloved former first lady of Anderson University, Dr. Dorothy Nelis Nicholson died Feb. 7, 2011. She was the wife of President Emeritus Dr. Robert Nicholson. Born in Piqua, Ohio, and growing up in Dayton, Ohio, it was during her time as a student at Anderson University in the 1940s where Dorothy met another AU student, Robert Nicholson. They were married June 17, 1944. She served as first lady of Anderson University from 1983 to 1990. Together, their service to Anderson University extended across more than 45 years.
"This campus and community have been blessed across these many years to have this gracious and gifted woman in our lives," said Dr. James L. Edwards, president of Anderson University. "Dorothy Nicholson brought warm care for the university so generously expressed in a welcoming hospitality, especially in the years she graced the president's home. Across many years of her professional life she shared a loving concern for so many as a teacher and model of development for children and families. Deanna and I honor all she has brought into our lives and we will miss her greatly."
[Photo: Dr. Dorothy Nelis Nicholson and AU President Emeritus Dr. Robert Nicholson.]
With a degree in early childhood education, Dorothy began writing curriculum materials and reference books for teachers, as well as Bible storybooks. And when Park Place Church of God opened a nursery school in 1952, Dorothy began teaching and later served as the director for 11 years.
As more mothers entered the work force, she realized the half-day nursery school was not meeting the needs of the Anderson community. Under Dorothy's leadership, the school initiated all-day kindergarten and day-care programs, which have benefited thousands of Anderson families.
Dorothy Nicholson received her bachelor’s degree from Anderson University in 1946 and later earned a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University. Mrs. Nicholson invested her life working with children. As an educator, she worked as the director of children’s work for the National Board of Christian Education of the Church of God. For 15 years, she served as a curriculum writer and adviser for Warner Press. She is the author of four books.
Dr. and Mrs. Nicholson often worked together as a team. They taught a Sunday school class together at Park Place Church of God for many years. Together they led the first Tri-S trip to Japan. During the presidency of Dr. Robert Nicholson, both he and Mrs. Nicholson hosted countless students in their home as well as church and community leaders. In 2001, Anderson University honored Dorothy Nicholson and Dr. Robert Nicholson with the annual Heritage Award. In 2006, Dorothy Nicholson was honored once again by Anderson University with an honorary doctorate (Doctor of Letters).
Besides her husband, Dorothy is survived by her two sons, Paul (BA ’71) and Gary (BA ’77), their six grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.
Services will be Friday, February 11, at 10:30 a.m. at Park Place Church of God with Dr. David Markle and Dr. David Coolidge officiating. Friends may call on Thursday, February 10 from 3-7 p.m. at Rozelle-Johnson Funeral Service and Friday, February 11, from 9:30 a.m. until the service at 10:30 a.m. at Park Place Church of God.
Memorial contributions may be given to Park Place Church of God Children's Center or the Robert & Dorothy Nicholson Endowment Fund at Anderson University.
E-mail condolences may be sent to RJFuneralSvc@aol.com.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson continues to be recognized as a top Christian college: in 2010, U.S. News and World Report ranked Anderson University among the best colleges and universities in the Midwest for the seventh consecutive year. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.