A longtime advocate of access to and the pursuit of quality higher education, Dennis Nickels feels right at home as one of the newest appointees to The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors.
Nickels, seasonally of Grand Haven, Mich. and Ft. Myers, Fla., is a 1969 graduate of Ferris State University’s College of Pharmacy. After briefly practicing as a pharmacist, Nickels’ strong commitment to higher education led him to the University of Notre Dame where he earned a Master of Business Administration from UND’s Mendoza College of Business in 1988. Nickels, to this day, remains committed to the missions of his two universities, Ferris and Notre Dame. He currently serves as a member of both the Ferris MBA Advisory Board and the Pharmacy Forward Steering Committee. Also, Nickels was a founding board member of the John Cardinal O’Hara Society supporting MBA education at Notre Dame.
Nickels’ present-day involvement is built upon two terms of service on the Ferris Pharmacy Alumni Board and two terms as President of Regional Notre Dame Alumni Clubs.
This latest appointment, to The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors, is in line with his passion for higher education.
“I am honored and humbled to be named to The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors,” Nickels said. “I look forward to working with the Board to advance the value proposition of a Ferris education. Namely, one which creates graduates that are academically and socially prepared to be leaders in both their careers and is service to the broader community.”
After earning his MBA at Notre Dame, Nickels began his career as a principal with the global financial services firm Deloitte and Touche LLP. At Deloitte, Nickels focused on consulting engagements with commercial and public sector client enterprises. After his retirement from Deloitte, Nickels formed a closely-held consulting firm that provides strategic advice to corporate and governmental clients focused on the intersection of health care and government.
Nickels remains affiliated with Deloitte and holds the title “Partner, Deloitte Consulting LLP—Retired.”
An advocate for community involvement and citizenship, Nickels serves on the Michigan State Waterways Commission, the Great Lakes Foundation, the West Michigan Policy Forum and numerous religious, charitable and maritime service organizations.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Denny to The Ferris Foundation Board of Directors. His passion for Ferris, his belief in the value of education and his commitment to access to higher education are so inspiring,” said Carla Miller, executive director of The Ferris Foundation. “Denny’s diverse professional experiences will bring great perspectives to The Ferris Foundation’s work.”
Nickels and his wife, Randi, who graduated from Ferris’ Business Education program in 1970, are the parents of two adult daughters and two granddaughters.
Nickels is a graduate of Wayland Union High School, in Wayland, Mich., south of Grand Rapids.