The first time I visited Robert Morris University, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Like many people, the only part of campus I’d ever seen was the football stadium, which is visible from University Boulevard. I had no idea what lay just over the hill.
The building that really caught my eye was the Edward A. Nicholson Student Center. As you drive along Campus Drive, this 78,000-square-foot brick structure, with its distinctive dome and cupola, appears on your left at the end of an expansive lawn. Built in 1999, today it’s the centerpiece of the RMU campus, providing a gathering place for students, faculty, staff, alumni, and visitors.
The Nicholson Center is always buzzing with activity. Down on the first floor, you’ll find the Barnes & Noble Bookstore, featuring a wide selection of RMU gear and apparel. Walk up the rotunda’s spiral staircase to the second floor and you’ll find the Food Court and dining area, the Office of Student Life, and other student-based services. The third level houses the Admissions Office and RoMo's Café, and on the fourth you’ll find the School of Communications & Information Systems, along with various faculty offices and study lounge areas.
Originally known simply as the “student center,” it soon became clear that such an important building was deserving of a more significant designation. The name chosen was that of Edward A. Nicholson.
Edward A. Nicholson served as president of RMU from 1989 to 2005. During this time, Nicholson helped RMU grow from a specialty business college into a leading broad-based university by focusing on the expansion of graduate programs, the development of more research programs, and the creation of significant community service initiatives.
In October 2005, RMU honored Nicholson with the university's prestigious Patriot Award for both his leadership to RMU and his significant contributions to the greater Pittsburgh region. He has served on the boards of the Greater Pittsburgh Council-Boy Scouts of America, Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, Pennsylvania Economy League, Pittsburgh Symphony Society, Ohio Valley General Hospital, and Pennsylvania Partnership for Economic Education, to name a few. He is a corporate member of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, chair of the Airport Market Area Taskforce, training chair and board member of the United Way of Allegheny County. He also serves on the advisory board for the Bayer Center for Nonprofit Management.
Nicholson retired as president of RMU in July 2005; however, he has remained active with the university, including teaching as a professor of management. The Nicholson Center stands today as a tribute to this man who did so much to help RMU become what it is today.