Milwaukee County War Memorial

Farewell to a Wisconsin Legend: Ab Nicholas

Ab Nicholas

With sadness and great respect,  the WMC bids farewell to Albert “Ab”  Nicholas, a legendary college basketball player, U.S. Army Veteran, entrepreneur and educational philanthropist, who touched the lives of so many of his fellow Wisconsinites over his remarkable life.

Visitors to the Eternal Flame will always be reminded of “Ab” upon glancing at the plate donated by his family in 2015 for the flagpole in the Veterans Courtyard shown below. It is the WMC’s most sacred place.

About Albert Nicholas

Albert Nicholas, founder of the Nicholas Company, Inc., a Milwaukee-based investment advisory firm that manages the Nicholas mutual funds, established the Ab Nicholas Scholarship Foundation  in 2012 with a $50 million endowment. The Foundation seeks to make a college degree affordable for Wisconsin high school students who participate as players or managers in their school’s basketball program.

Ab Nicholas Flagpole PlaqueNicholas was born in Rockford, Illinois in 1931. He received an athletic scholarship to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and, later, an MBA in finance and investments.

As a guard on the UW-Madison basketball team, he was twice named to the All-Big 10 team and once to Look Magazine’s All-American team. Nicholas was the highest scoring guard in UW history when he graduated and was inducted into Wisconsin’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2010.

After college, Nicholas was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals of the NBA but went into the Army instead, then later turned down an offer to play for the NBA’s Milwaukee Hawks, choosing instead to go to graduate school to study finance and investments.

Nicholas firmly believed his UW education made a difference for him, on and off the court. His foundation’s objective is to give Wisconsin student athletes that same kind of opportunity, helping them open doors to a better world.


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