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Col. George Nicolas Jr. Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

George Nicolas Jr.Col. George Nicolas Jr., director of the Biomedical Sciences Corps and Chief of the Senior Leader Management Division of the Force Management Directorate, Office of the Surgeon General, has received the Ferris State University Distinguished Alumnus Award.

The Ferris Alumni Association’s tradition of recognizing outstanding graduates is an important one, said Jeremy Mishler, director of Alumni Relations.

“This recognition helps to highlight wonderful examples of individual success and fulfillment that our students and fellow graduates can aspire to and be proud of,” Mishler said. “It also keeps alumni connected to the university faculty and administration in a way that supports Ferris through their expertise, professional networks and personal philanthropy.”

The 1983 graduate of Ferris’ Michigan College of Optometry received the award during the Alumni Association’s annual spring reunion in May at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Conference Center in Big Rapids.

Nicolas, of Alexandria, Va., formulates and executes policy for the BSC force development, promotion, education assignments, recruitment and retention for more than 2,300 officers in 18 specialties. Additionally, he manages the education, command screening boards and assignment of nearly 900 senior medical service officers.

In addition to numerous in-garrison and deployed command assignments culminating in command of the 325th Medical Group, Nicolas served as the Deputy Assistant Surgeon General for Healthcare Operations, Office of the Surgeon General, where he oversaw the execution of healthcare policies and programs in support of Air Force global capacity, national security strategies and 43,000 personnel serving 2.4 million beneficiaries through 75 medical treatment facilities worldwide with a budget of $5.1 billion.

Nicolas, who graduated from Big Rapids High School, was commissioned a Biomedical Science Corps optometry officer. His optometry credentials include residency-training, board-certification and fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Air Force Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal with one oak leaf cluster, Air Force Achievement Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.

Ferris’ Distinguished Alumni Award is given to alumni who demonstrate leadership and service to their profession, to society by promoting and celebrating diversity, to community and service organizations by promoting health and well-being of its members, and to the university. All Ferris alumni are eligible for the award.

Recipients are chosen by a committee of nine alumni representing the different academic colleges. Since 1961, they have had the challenging task of choosing from the outstanding graduates who have been nominated for our Alumni Association’s highest honor – that of being called “Distinguished.”