The world lost a passionate advocate for educational equity and justice on January 26, 2021, when Dr. Andrew Howard Nichols passed away. Born on July 5, 1981, in Huntsville, Alabama, Andrew dedicated his life to fighting for the rights and opportunities of low-income and first-generation college students. To honor his remarkable legacy, his parents, Bob and Myrtle Nichols, have established the Dr. Andrew Howard Nichols Memorial Scholarship.
Andrew Nichols began his journey in a life dedicated to education and social justice at an early age. At twelve years old, he accepted Christ and was baptized at Living Word Church in Huntsville, Alabama. He began his education in the Madison County Public School System and graduated with distinction from Grissom High School in 1999 where he was a team member of the boys’ basketball state championship team.
Continuing his educational pursuits, Andrew earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt University in 2003. Determined to deepen his knowledge and contribute further to the field of education, he pursued a Master of Education degree from the University of Southern California in 2005. Andrew’s academic journey culminated with a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Penn State University in 2009, solidifying his expertise and commitment to advancing education.
Andrew’s professional career was marked by his tireless efforts to improve college access, affordability, and success for underserved students. As the Senior Director of Higher Education Research and Data Analytics, he played a pivotal role in developing strategies to identify patterns and trends in college access. Andrew’s work focused on improving outcomes for underprivileged students, striving to create a more equitable educational landscape.
Prior to his time at The Education Trust, Andrew served as the Director for Research and Policy Analysis at the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Leading the research division, he produced analytical reports that examined crucial higher education issues. Additionally, Andrew worked at the Pell Institute for the Study of Opportunity in Higher Education, where he conducted research aimed at enhancing educational opportunities for low-income and first-generation college students.
Dr. Andrew Howard Nichols’ life continues to serve as nspiration for students striving for a brighter future through education. Through his extensive research, advocacy, and commitment to equity, he made a lasting impact on the lives of many. Following their son’s death, Bob and Myrtle Nichols established the Dr. Andrew Howard Nichols Memorial Scholarship. This legacy gift ensures that Dr. Nichols’ vision and passion for educational equity continue to flourish. By providing opportunities for marginalized students in Huntsville, Alabama, the fund serves as a beacon of hope, empowering the next generation to achieve their dreams and carry on Andrew’s remarkable legacy. This scholarship aims to support the educational attainment of students and increase access and success in higher education for Black and other minority students from low-income backgrounds in Huntsville, Alabama.
Bob and Myrtle Nichols lovingly supported their son’s career work in higher education and are honoring his legacy through this scholarship. Andrew’s passion for helping underprivileged students pursue their educational dreams resonated with all who knew him, and this scholarship serves as a testament to his unwavering dedication.