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

The Nichols Humanitarian Fund

Since the Fund was established, 261 scholarships have been awarded to Vanderbilt students, enabling them to pursue humanitarian missions to virtually every part of the world. The following table shows the number of scholarships awarded each year.

2006/2007—14 2007/2008—21 2008/2009—21 2009/2010—23 2010/2011—23
2011/2012—15 2012/2013—26 2013/2014—42 2014/2015—36

About the Nichols Humanitarian Fund


"You won't waste your talents and education if you use them in service to others."

“You won’t waste your talents and education if you use them in service to others.”

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 domestic or international humanitarian service opportunities by making support available for educational, travel, and living expenses during their time of service.The Fund distributes awards 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 awards were granted 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:

“Demand things of the world and if they don’t do it then change the world to suit the demands.”

  • The Office of Active Citizenship and Service (OACS) Global Service 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 made yearly.  In the fall semester, applications are available to fund service projects that will be implemented during the summer academic break. Applications become available on October 1st and are due November 15th. If you have any questions about the Nichols Humanitarian Fund or the award application process, please contact Meagan Smith in Vanderbilt University’s Office of Active Citizenship and Service at meagan.smith@vanderbilt.edu .