"Think of what it must be like to look forward to going to work every day for almost 30 years," muses Rick Hilliard, as he sums up his successful career as an associate professor of management at Nichols College. Hilliard, who retired in 2015, has been sharing his gift for teaching and connecting with students since 1987. "I have joyfully maintained contact with many of my 22,000+ students for almost 30 years," he says. "I delighted in watching my undergraduate students move on to successful careers and in watching my graduate students enjoy career success ... and retire. Many retired before me!"
Before joining Nichols, Hilliard had a prosperous and diversified career in corporate America. And before his corporate life, Hilliard casually offers that he "served on intelligence missions abroad as a field counter-intelligence officer with the U.S. Army." Who knew the unassuming, tweed-blazer-wearing, distinguished professor had a secret life of spy?
While he's lived in many glamorous cities and has experienced exciting adventures, Hilliard still feels most connected to his teaching career at Nichols, a school he did not attend yet is so proud of just the same. "I loved being part of the Nichols family... working with a superb group of people ranging from the facilities management team who make the 'old' look new, my caring and gifted fellow faculty members who use the 'old' to explain the 'new,' and our devoted and competent staff, including the five Nichols presidents I served under, who helped link the 'old' and the 'new,'" Hilliard says.
Despite the fact that he has retired, Hilliard regularly visits campus to work with faculty and staff. "We seek Rick's sound input regularly on various affairs that affect the Nichols community," offers Bill Pieczynski, vice president for advancement. "His perspective, developed after 30 years of teaching at Nichols, is invaluable. He has the same level of passion for the institution that we find in our most dedicated alumni."
It is this passionate devotion that made Hilliard link his legacy to that of the college he loves so much. "I am proud to have been part of the Nichols College success story," he states. "I am delighted to be able to continue helping the college that has meant so much to me, by joining the Colonel Conrad Society because of the provision I have made for the college in my will. I encourage others to consider giving to Nichols College in this way."
As a former field counter-intelligence officer, Hilliard shuns the spotlight. He initially wanted his planned gift to remain anonymous; but, after privately learning from Colonel Conrad Society Chair Henri David, Jr. '64 DBA (Hon.) '09 that telling his story could possibly inspire others to make similar plans, Hilliard made his intentions known. "We are grateful to Rick for making the college one of his beneficiaries, and we are pleased that he has allowed us publicly to share his story," says David. "This lesson in giving is another one that Professor Hilliard will teach the Nichols community."
If you would like to learn about ways that you can make donations to Nichols through your will or other planned gift vehicles, please contact the Advancement Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 866-622-4766. We welcome all inquiries and considerations.