Rick Blankley’s views from the Hill: Life and afterlife

Have you ever seen a hearse pulling a U-Haul? Doubtful. It was once the belief of ancient Egyptians that you and your possessions could be taken with you to the afterlife. Today our global population has many beliefs about religion, spirituality, death, but we have evolved to believe that “things” can’t come with us.

That leads one down the path of thinking about if “things” are what truly matters in our life. I have found that as I have gotten older and wiser that “things” don’t bring me as much joy as experiences or helping my fellow man.

Looking back at my experience as a student at Nichols College, the community on the Hill personified the sentiment of helping their fellow man. During my time, 1961-1965, it was still a very small school. The faculty and staff took special interest in their students, serving as a great influence to mold me into the man I am today. They often bent over backwards to ensure that I was prepared for the professional world. I especially remember my statistics teacher, Professor Sargent, who helped me many times, as I was clueless at statistics! In my junior year, my buddy and I both got the measles. We conveniently had to miss our midterm statistics exam. When I returned to school, Professor Sargent required that I complete the exam. I confided in him that I was feeling very lost and having trouble understanding the concepts. I asked him for a couple minutes of his time. He happily agreed. During this one-on-one session a light bulb went off and it clicked, I understood! I passed the exam and ultimately the course. Something I wouldn’t have been able to do without getting the damn measles and Professor Sargent’s help! This is just one example of the counsel I received while at Nichols that I am grateful for.

Since my time at Nichols, I have followed the journey of our little school on Dudley Hill. Nichols College is so much more than it was 50 years ago in terms of the facilities, quality of education, and the addition of women. Despite the differences, I know from conversations with students and staff that those serving the students of Nichols College are still bending over backwards to help them. For the past 10 years, under the leadership of President Susan W. Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., I have been especially impressed with the improvements.

Ultimately, I want to continue to see Nichols thrive, because Nichols College is part of me; it helped me become the person I am, and I hope the continued success of this fine institution will do the same for future students.

I decided that when my time comes to enter the afterlife, I want to help my fellow man or woman of Nichols College by including a bequest in my estate plans. With this commitment, I hope my legacy will live on at our little school atop Dudley Hill.

Please consider joining me as a member of the Colonel Conrad Society.

Rick Blankley ’65