Ab Nicholas currently co-manages Nicholas and Nicholas Equity Income Funds, headquartered in Milwaukee. He began his career as an investment analyst with Northwestern National Insurance Company and Marshall and Ilsley Bank from 1955 to 1967 before founding Nicholas Company, which has seven no-load mutual funds. His flagship fund, the Nicholas Fund, has been on Forbes’ Honor Roll for nearly two of the last three decades, been highly regarded by mutual fund analysts, and provided the impetus for the Nicholas Company’s reputation.
While earning a Bachelor’s in Economics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Nicholas played guard for the Badger basketball team and was twice named all-conference and once to the all-American team. After spending two years in the military, he returned to the university for an MBA in Finance and Investment. He is a member of the Milwaukee Investment Analysts Society and is a Chartered Financial Analyst.
In October 2003, Nicholas made a $6.4 million gift to establish the Nicholas Center for Applied Corporate Finance at the Wisconsin School of Business. In addition, his lead gift during Grainger Hall’s construction led to a lecture hall in Grainger Hall bearing his name. Nicholas and his wife, Nancy Johnson Nicholas, also a UW-Madison graduate, previously gave the university $10 million for construction of the Nicholas-Johnson Pavilion, a practice facility adjoining the Kohl Center.
Nicholas served a term as Regent of the University of Wisconsin System and has been president of UW-Madison’s national “W” Club that supports the university’s program of intercollegiate athletics. He also has served on the Board of Visitors for the Wisconsin School of Business. Nicholas is a director of the Wisconsin Sports Authority, Inc., which promotes major athletic events in the state; is a corporate director; and a participant in many civic activities. He was named a Wisconsin Distinguished Business Alumnus in 1985 and received the Wisconsin Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumnus award in 1993.