Skip Navigation

Patsy Nichols “Heart of Service” Endowed Scholarship Established at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

Patsy Nichols
Patsy and Mason Nichols '34

The loss of a close friend is never easy, and on October 3, 2012, Texas A&M University lost not only a treasured friend, but also an ardent supporter, leader, and devoted Aggie fan. Patsy Nichols, who with her husband Bruce was named 2006-07 Texas A&M University Parents of the Year, died as a result of a brief acute illness. Her love of Aggieland and her visionary leadership will continue to impact students at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences (CVM) for years to come with the establishment of the Patsy Nichols "Heart of Service" Endowed Scholarship. This special award, funded by the Texas Pioneer Foundation and through generous donations from friends of Patsy and Bruce, will be given to veterinary medical students based on financial need and leadership activities. A preference will also be given to those students who have served in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets, are Eagle Scouts or Girl Scout Gold Award recipients, are a veteran, and/or is married to or a child of a current military service member.

"Patsy and Bruce are unique and embody the Aggie core values as well as anyone I know," said Dr. Eleanor Green, Carl B. King Dean of Veterinary Medicine. "We are humbled for them to have been so involved with and supportive of our college. They exuded such warmth and sincerity, that they naturally engaged and embraced everyone, gathering friends by the armful. By sharing their passion for our programs and our people, they helped our college forge new relationships and made our college stronger. These talents made them superb members of the CVM Development Council."

"I was overwhelmed when I heard about this special tribute to Patsy," Green said, "who touched so many lives with her perpetual Aggie spirit. It is fitting that outstanding veterinary students with the soul of service will represent Patsy in perpetuity and will get to know her in a meaningful way. I envision the students selected to have many of the same qualities as Travis Nichols, Patsy and Bruce's son and one of our remarkable graduates. While we will always miss Patsy, we know the seeds she planted through her many contributions to our university will continue to grow and have a significant impact on generations of students to come."

Patsy and Bruce were first introduced to the Aggie family through Travis, who came to Aggieland with his heart set on becoming a veterinarian. During his undergraduate years, Travis demonstrated great leadership qualities serving as Deputy Corps Commander for the Corps of Cadets. As a family, the Nichols developed the annual Nichols Rising Leaders Conference for the Corps of Cadets that is now in its 10th year.

"Leadership is part of the education that Texas A&M provides," said Bruce Nichols. "We came up with this idea of how to support that endeavor through the establishment of the Nichols Rising Leaders Conference which helps sophomores in the Corps develop the leadership skills they need to not only take on important roles in the Corps, but also in the real world outside of college. Patsy was a very smart and strategic thinker with great vision, and she saw the impact that Texas A&M made on Travis, and wanted to make sure that other students had the opportunity to learn and grow as well."

Patsy Nichols
Bruce, Travis '03 DVM '07,
and Patsy Nichols
After his undergraduate degree was completed, Travis was admitted to the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences professional program to pursue his life-long goal of becoming a veterinarian. During his time there, Travis and his wife, Katy, nominated Bruce and Patsy for Parents of the Year. When they were honored with this prestigious award, they were the first parents to be nominated by a graduate or professional student to win this recognition.

Patsy's contributions to Texas A&M did not end with the Nichols Rising Leaders Conference or the Parents of the Year award. She developed a deep love of Texas A&M University across the board, and was involved in supporting the Corps of Cadets, the University Libraries, the Bush School, the Federation of Texas A&M Mothers' Clubs, the Singing Cadets, and International Programs through the Office of the Provost.

"Patsy was simply an amazing person," said Bruce. "She cared about people, yet remained a humble, regular person in spite of her accomplishments. She put her family first, including her Aggie family."

The devotion Patsy felt for Texas A&M is something she felt important to share with others. Her 36-year career as an attorney with Fulbright & Jaworski led her to work with many non-profit organizations such as the Central Texas Higher Education Authority, a non-profit student loan organization, where Patsy met Fred and Marilyn Markham and began a life-long friendship. With Patsy's help, Fred started the Texas Pioneer Foundation, a non-profit organization that provides financial support to educational programs.

"It is inspiring to me, all the things Patsy has done," recalled Markham. "Patsy had a profound effect on the Texas Pioneer Foundation and on me. I learned so much from her about connecting with people and connecting people together."

Those that know Patsy the best will agree that one of her greatest gifts was connecting people with projects that they can be passionate about. She possessed a unique ability to recognize people who might have a common interest in things and bring them together.

"Patsy introduced me to the heart and soul of Texas A&M." said Markham. "Through her, I came to admire and respect the university, and I have developed relationships and friendships within the university that have changed my life. That's what Patsy was so amazing at doing…bringing the right people together to do impactful things."

In true Aggie spirit, Patsy was laid to rest in the cemetery in Aggieland with Ross Volunteer honor guards and a contingent of the Singing Cadets singing at her graveside service. Together, Bruce, Travis, Katy, and Fred wanted to make sure that the spirit of Patsy, that commitment to leadership and service that she exemplified would live on.

Through the generosity of the Texas Pioneer Foundation, and donations from family and friends, the Patsy Nichols "Heart of Service" Endowed Scholarship was created, and established within the CVM in recognition of Travis' veterinary medical education.

"The Texas Pioneer Foundation is honored to be able to support and create this endowment," said Markham. "It is out of our love and respect for her, and the love and respect for Texas A&M she shared with everyone that makes this such a fitting way to help her memory live on and to positively impact the education and leadership development of students for years to come."

For more information on the Patsy Nichols "Heart of Service" Endowed Scholarship, or to make a contribution, contact the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences Development Office at (979) 845-9043 or by email at nvance


Patsy Nichols
Katy Nichols '03 (pregnant with Mason '34), Travis Nichols '03 DVM '07, Tyler Nichols '32,
and Bruce and Patsy Nichols (Aggie Parents of the Year 2006-07')