"If you serve you last." - Toni Morrison 2013 Nichols-Chancellor's Medal Award Winner

The Nichols Humanitarian Fund

Since it was established, the Fund has awarded scholarships to 186 Vanderbilt students to enable them to go on humanitarian missions to virtually every part of the world.

About the Nichols Humanitarian Fund

"Demand things of the world and if they don't do it then change the world to suit the demands."

The Nichols Humanitarian Fund was established in 2006 by the E.C. and Lucile Hamby Nichols Trust, and by Edward C. Nichols, Jr. (JD ’70) and his wife, Janice Nichols. The Fund is a companion scholarship fund to the Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal, and encourages Vanderbilt students to become better citizens of the world and to broaden their thinking by volunteering for humanitarian efforts.  The Fund enables students to volunteer for local, domestic, or international humanitarian service opportunities by making support available for educational, travel, and living expenses during their time of service.The fund awards scholarships based on merit and need to Vanderbilt students to pay the expenses of their humanitarian activities.

It was established by Edward and Janice Nichols in honor of Laura Bush’s speech on Senior Class Day in 2006. The $100,000 cash prize that accompanied The Nichols-Chancellor’s Medal that Mrs. Bush accepted was given to Vanderbilt to start the fund. The fund also receives substantial contributions each year from The Edward and Janice Nichols Endowment Fund. The first scholarships were awarded in 2007.

Students are encouraged to develop their own service opportunities in communities where they can work to address an area of need.   In past years, students have served in communities all over the world, including Australia, Cambodia, Costa Rica, New Orleans, and India.  Funding can also be used to participate in established Vanderbilt offerings, including:

  • The Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) Programs
  • The Vanderbilt Initiative for Scholarship and Global Engagement (VISAGE)
  • Chinese Studies and Service Learning in Beijing
  • Service Learning at the University of Cape Town
  • Summer Public Health in the Dominican Republic

Humanitarian Service Awards from the fund are allocated yearly.  In the fall semester, applications are available to fund service projects that will be implemented during winter and summer breaks. Please continue to visit this page for updated information, and to access and submit your funding application when it becomes available.   If you have any questions about the Nichols Humanitarian Fund or the award application process, please contact Erika Larson in Vanderbilt University’s Office of Active Citizenship and Service at erika.l.larson@vanderbilt.edu .