"I am grateful to Nichols for accepting me when I was an average student," explains Conrad Society member Lee McNelly '69. "While I was enrolled, one semester I became very ill and missed some classes near finals. Dean Eaton 'cut me some slack,' and weighted my finals less. I firmly believe that this type of individual attention and assistance I received from Nichols was what got me there, enabled me to stay and successfully graduate. I have never forgotten that assistance," remembers Lee.
Lee has been repaying Nichols for 'cutting him some slack' with his volunteerism since he started the first Nichols phonathon. After graduation, he and fellow 1969 classmates Jim Kerley and Bob (Kuppy) Kuppenheimer used the telephones and office space at New England Mutual Life Company donated by then Trustee and VP Dick McLellan '40. Between his phonathon days and now, he has actively volunteered through his involvement and presidency of the Alumni Board of Directors and membership on the Board of Advisors. But when it came time to make his will, he knew from his financial planning background that through a bequest he would continue to help his alma mater. Lee explains his decision to include Nichols in his will: "It's an easy way to help Nichols in the future, and it does not impact my current cash flow."
What motivates Lee to donate so much of his time, talent and treasure to Nichols College since his graduation in 1969? "My involvement and bequest show my strong appreciation for the many things I received at Nichols College. I saw [the provision in my will] as an opportunity to give back," says Lee. He intends his generosity to strengthen the future of the school by improving academics and the physical plant of Nichols. "I have so many wonderful Nichols memories, from walking to the dining hall and seeing the beautiful foliage down the hill to being captain of the tennis team. The intramural programs and the great comradery at Merrill Hall, along with enduring friendships with professors and other Nichols students, helped make my college experience extremely positive," says Lee fondly.