Nickoll Meets Challenge to Endow New Professorship
When President Mary Sue Coleman announced a University-wide challenge grant program last fall to encourage the creation of new endowed professorships, John F. Nickoll, '60, of Los Angeles, was among the first to respond.
"By getting outstanding professors, you can really help the Law School and the students," says Nickoll who, as a member of the Law School’s Campaign Steering Committee, understands the critical importance of recruitment and retention of first-rate faculty. “I think it is a very good cause, and I’d like to see the School’s rankings stay up there.”
In December, Nickoll made a $1.5 million gift to endow the John F. Nickoll Professorship through the President’s Donor Challenge Fund. Under the terms of the challenge, which began Oct. 1, 2006, the Fund provides a match of $500,000 for each of the first 20 fully endowed professorships secured by gift agreements between the start date and Dec. 31, 2007.
Nickoll remembers his years at the Law School as enjoyable, and says his favorite professors were L. Hart Wright and Roy L. Steinheimer.
After graduation Nickoll was admitted to the Wisconsin bar. He never practiced law but chose instead to forge a business career, starting with a job as house counsel for a Milwaukee-based financing concern.
Nickoll moved to Los Angeles and 1970 co-founded The Foothill Group, Inc., a specialized financial services company engaged in asset-based commercial lending and money management services, of which he was also chairman and chief executive officer. In 1995 Foothill was acquired by Norwest and in 1998, the company became a unit of Wells Fargo & Company via the Norwest/Wells Fargo merger. When Nickoll retired last year, Wells Fargo Foothill was the nation’s largest bank-owned asset-based lender.
In addition to the professorship, Nickoll has made generous gifts to the building construction fund and the Law School Fund. He served on the host committee for the Law School’s campaign kickoff in the Los Angeles area.