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Office of Trusts, Estates, and Gift Planning
Cornell University
130 E Seneca Street, Suite 400
Ithaca, NY 14850
Phone: 1-800-481-1865
Fax: 607-254-1204


Making a World of Difference

donor_13.pngFrom county extension officer to USDA leader, Andrew “Jack” Nichols BS AGR ’34 acted on Cornell’s land grant mission of serving the world.

Through their estate, Jack and his wife, Grace, have endowed their gift to entomology and plant pathology in perpetuity for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). Their generous gift gives Cornell the support it needs to remain a leader in international agricultural research and education.

“Our family was surprised by the extent of Uncle Jack and Aunt Grace’s bequest, but not its purpose,” said John P. Nichols ’63, PhD ’69, their nephew. “Our family remains in the fruit-growing business in Niagara County, New York. We are proud of Uncle Jack and Aunt Grace’s gift, and eager to see how it impacts agriculture.”

Jack and Grace grew up in rural communities in upstate New York. Jack came to Cornell in 1930. He was a member of Theta Kappa Nu, played freshman lacrosse and wrestled, and was a cadet major in ROTC field artillery.

After graduation, his first job was as assistant county agricultural agent in Orleans County, where he met Grace. They married in 1936.

Jack’s mission to improve agricultural methods kicked into high gear after he served active duty during World War II. He spent three years in postwar Germany as an agricultural and food aid administrator on behalf of the U.S. government.

After returning from Europe, Jack accepted a Carnegie Fellowship targeted at agricultural extension professionals across the country. He studied at Harvard, where he rubbed elbows with influential economists such as John Kenneth Galbraith and John D. Black.

Earning an MPA in 1950 and a doctorate in 1952, Jack went to Washington, D.C., to work on foreign technical assistance and training programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He retired as director of the Latin American technical assistance program in 1972, and was honored with an Agricultural Department Superior Service Award. He died in 1997.

After Grace’s death in 2007, the bequest to CALS became known. CALS will direct the gift to establish the Andrew J. and Grace B. Nichols Professorship, with the professorship awarded to a faculty member in either the Department of Entomology or the Department of Plant Pathology.

Through this professorship, the Nichols’ dedication to public service through better agriculture will continue to help people all over the world.

“As a graduate of Cornell and a faculty member and administrator myself, I know how much this gift can mean to program development in higher education,” said John P. Nichols, head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at Texas A&M University. “Uncle Jack and Aunt Grace would be pleased to see how their gift will produce a bumper crop of opportunities for future faculty and students in the study of entomology and plant pathology, not only in New York but around the world.”