Hundreds from the DeKalb, Sycamore and Northern Illinois University community joined together at NIU’s Barsema Alumni and Visitors Center to say goodbye to NIU Vice President Bill Nicklas, whose retirement officially began at 4:30 p.m. Friday, October 31.
NIU President Doug Baker presented Nicklas with several gifts, including an Altgeld Hall blanket to keep himself warm. Angie Bollinger presented him with woodwork art commissioned by his colleagues.
After drawing laughter by “thanking the academy,” the ever-humble Nicklas thanked the community for “adopting” him into its family, especially during a time of need.
Prior to joining NIU, Nicklas served 13 years as chief administrative officer for the City of Sycamore, where he had responsibility for the city’s management, finances, planning and economic development and oversight of the municipal public safety functions. Before that, he had similar responsibilities as city manager in DeKalb from 1992 to 1997.
Nicklas was hired by President Emeritus John Peters as associate vice president for institutional planning and sustainability in October, 2011. He served as acting director of public safety for a brief period beginning Nov. 2012 before being named vice president of public safety and community relations in March, 2013. Last June, Nicklas was named liaison to the NIU Board of Trustees. President Baker tabbed Nicklas for the job of vice president of operations and community relations on February 28, 2014, adding the oversight of Facilities and Human Resources to his duties.
Most recently, Nicklas has overseen transformative projects on campus that include the ongoing deconstruction of Douglas Hall and Lucinda Ave. extension project, the Stevens Building renovation, widening of sidewalks around campus and the implementation of Huskie Pup electric tram service.
A graduate of Bucknell University, Nicklas holds both a master’s and a Ph.D. in American history from NIU.