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Scotland Co. business owner named Richmond Community College Foundation’s Citizen of the Year

Dr. Dale McInnis, president of Richmond Community College, shakes hands with Dean Nichols, who was named the College Foundation’s Citizen of the Year. Nichols is a Board of Trustee and a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors.
Richmond Community College

HAMLET — Richmond Community College’s Foundation has named local business owner and long-time college supporter Dean Nichols as its Citizen of the Year for 2019. He will be honored at the Foundation’s Gala on Saturday, April 13, at the Cole Auditorium.

Nichols of Laurinburg has been a member of the College’s Board of Trustees since 2009 and has served on the Foundation’s Board of Directors for the past two years.

“It is a great honor to receive this award. Richmond Community College is a great place that touches my heart,” Nichols said. “When you get to watch people’s dream start to come true through education and training, that’s a pretty impressive thing to see. Dr. Dale McInnis and his staff here at the College do an amazing job in making things happen for many people.”

Dr. Hal Shuler, who is over the RichmondCC Foundation, said he was glad they could recognize Nichols’ many years of support of the College.

“It is people like Dean Nichols who make our job easy.  He cares about all the people in our region and has made a huge difference through his generosity,” Shuler said.

Nichols owns the convenience store chain, Nic’s Pic Kwik, which his father, Charlie, started in 1971 with one store. Nichols and his brothers, Ken and Phil, now own and operate 16 stores in Scotland, Hoke, Moore and Robeson counties and Marlboro County in South Carolina. He also owns Nichols Propane in Laurinburg.

Nichols is very community oriented and is a member of many local boards and clubs, serving in various leadership roles. A past president for the Laurinburg Optimist Club, he is a member of the club’s Board of Directors. He is a past chair of the Scotland Area Chamber of Commerce and also serves on the local Board of Directors for First Bank. In addition to his dedication to RichmondCC, he also serves on the Foundation Board of Directors for the University of North Carolina-Pembroke.


Nichols is a graduate of Scotland High School. He attended UNCP and Elon University before returning home and starting his business. He is very passionate about his hometown community college and the pathway it provides people to affordable, quality education.

“If more of our young people would take the path of doing their first two years at RichmondCC, it would save them a lot of money, and it would also give them a chance to be fully prepared to succeed at the next step, whether it’s a university or a job,” he said.

Nichols and his wife, Candy, have two children, Charles Nichols and the late Joseph Nichols; a grandson, Hudson, 5; and a granddaughter, Harper, 3.

The Gala: Scholarship Fundraiser

Nichols and his family will be special guests at the Gala on April 13. The Gala is the Foundation’s key fundraising event for the Working Student Scholarship, which helps students who are working while in college and do not qualify for federal financial assistance. Since its inception in 2013, the scholarship has helped more than 600 students make ends meet while working and going to college. 

Providing live entertainment at the Gala this year is Jim Quick and the Coastline band. Guests will also enjoy cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres as they dance the night away to some classic beach music and other favorite party tunes.

The Gala is held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. at the Cole Auditorium, located on the College’s main campus in Hamlet. Admission is $50 per person with corporate sponsorships beginning at $1,000. All proceeds go the RichmondCC Working Student Scholarship. Call Dr. Hal Shuler at 910-410-1807 or email whshuler@richmondcc.edu for tickets or sponsorships.

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