George was born and grew up in Johnson City and graduated from Langston High School
in 1958 as Salutatorian of his class. After graduating from Langston, he was a member
of the first undergraduate class to integrate East Tennessee State College, now ETSU,
in the fall of 1958.
At ETSU, Nichols majored in biology and minored in chemistry. During his senior year,
Nichols was the first African American to be accepted into the college’s marching
band. In his junior year he enrolled in Advanced ROTC, and was invited to join Scabbard
and Blade. George graduated from ETSU in 1962 and became the first African American
to be commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant from the ETSU ROTC Program.
Prior to active duty, he was assigned to the Field Artillery Branch. After completion
of the Artillery Officer Basic Course and Airborne School, he was assigned to the
XVIII Abn Corps Artillery where he held a variety of positions, some of which were:
Asst S3, Battery Executive Officer, and Battery Commander. His next assignment was
in Vietnam where he served as the Division Artillery Intelligence Officer in the 1st
Infantry Division. After a year in Vietnam, he attended the Artillery Officer Career
Course followed by an assignment at the Artillery School as Chief of an Instructional
Unit. His decorations include: two awards of the Bronze Star; six awards of the Air
Medal, two for Valor; two awards of the Army Commendation Medal; the Vietnamese Cross
of Gallantry with Palm; and the Parachutist Badge.
Nichols began his civilian career at Citibank in New York, NY. During a 37 year corporate
career, George also worked at Dime Savings Bank of New York, Summit Bank, and the
Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York. In the Banking Industry, he started
as an entry level officer and progressed up to Senior Vice President. He managed operations
with budgets of $15+ million and staffs in excess of 5,000, located in 5 states and
Puerto Rico. His responsibilities included: Debit and Credit Card Operations; off-site
ATM networks; Web and Telephone Banking; and Call Centers. At the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority, George was responsible for conceptualizing, developing, and managing a
start-up Customer Service Organization to support the introduction of a new type of
fare collection system for a transportation system that transports six million ethnically
diverse people per day.
He is a charter member of The Urban Financial Services Coalition, an international
organization to assist African American Bank Officers to navigate and excel in a predominately
white environment with known glass ceilings. He was selected as a “Corporate Achiever”
by the Minority Business Journal of New York and New Jersey. At Summit Bank, he was
one of 25 Senior Vice Presidents who formed the bank’s High Potential Management Group.
He has been named to Who’s Who in New York State.
George Nichols received his MBA Degree from Adelphi University, Garden City, NY.