“Al has been a strong supporter and volunteer for the University of New Haven for more than 50 years,” says UNH President Steve Kaplan. “We are so pleased to be able to dedicate our health center in honor of him and his many contributions to UNH and our students.”
Nicholson grew up in the Westville section of New Haven and graduated from West Haven High School. Following a three-year stint in the U.S. Army, he entered New Haven College in 1961 and earned an associate degree in 1963 and a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1965. Nicholson worked in the housing and placement office as a student and upon graduation was hired as director.
As a student, he also started the golf team and continued on as coach for 12 years. An avid golfer and member of the New Haven Country Club, he noticed a group of successful men who seemed to be at the club quite often. When he learned they were in the insurance business, his career path was set.
In 1968 he joined New York Life, where he set an all-time record in Connecticut as a first-year agent. Three years later he and his uncle founded Nicholson Associates, a fire and casualty insurance agency. Over the years he started other businesses, including Connecticut Insurance Group, Nicholson Insurance Agency and A&N Realty (for his growing real estate investments).
Though Nicholson was working hard on his own career, he never lost touch with his alma mater.
He returned for an EMBA degree in 1978 and was inducted into the UNH Athletics Hall of Fame in 1979. He served on the University’s Board of Governors from 1978 to 1999 and on the Alumni Association board from 1970 to 1983, including a year as president. In 1996 he was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award. Over the years he has contributed to more than 20 UNH programs, from men’s basketball and the Alumni Scholarship Fund to the civil engineering program and the Peterson Library.
The Student Health Center is special to him because of his insurance career. “The health center ties in with my profession,” says Nicholson. In fact, he was chosen to design the student health insurance program in 1978.
Paula Cappuccia, RN, director of health services for the University, says “Mr. Nicholson has always been very supportive of health services. Thanks to him, we now have state-of-the-art exam rooms and medical equipment.”
“Whatever success I have enjoyed has a direct correlation to UNH,” says Nicholson. “It was there I met my wonderful friends and mentors who influenced my life.”
Posted Summer 2013