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City of Santa Ana honors Nicholas Academic Center founders

Henry Nicholas III and Judge Jack K. Mandel are presented with the Keys to the City

by Caitlin AdamsPublished: July 11, 2012 03:30 PM

L to R: Retired Judge Jack Mandel,
Henry Nicholas III,
Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido
The City of Santa Ana has honored local businessman and philanthropist Henry Nicholas III and Judge Jack K. Mandel during a special ceremony, presenting the two founders of the Nicholas Academic Centers with the Keys to the City for their contributions to Santa Ana’s youth.

The key to the city is considered one of the highest municipal honors. It is awarded at the discretion of the mayor and represents significant service to the city. This is the first time Santa Ana has presented its key in more than a decade.

“The Nicholas Academic Centers are transforming education as we know it,” said Mayor Miguel Pulido, who elected to bestow the honor on Nicholas and Mandel. “I have personally witnessed Dr. Nicholas applying his fierce tenacity and competitiveness, which were key drivers in his ability to redefine the technology industry globally with Broadcom, to these Centers and what they provide for our students. Dr. Nicholas and Judge Mandel have already profoundly improved the lives of hundreds of families here in Santa Ana and I am confident that will affect thousands if not millions nationally in the future.”

Nicholas, a cofounder of Irvine-based chipmaker Broadcom, and Orange County jurist Mandel came together to establish the Nicholas Academic Centers in 2008, to provide tutoring and mentoring services to high school students in the Santa Ana Unified School District.

In four years of operation, the centers have provided hundreds of students with after-hours education through programs offered at two locations in Santa Ana. More than 230 local students have earned scholarships to prestigious universities across the country, including the University of Notre Dame, Georgetown University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Irvine and Chapman University. Many of these are full-ride scholarships, allowing students to attend school with tuition paid for.

“These Centers have a profound effect not only on the students, but their families and the community as a whole,” Mayor Pulido said. “NACs has single-handedly transformed the success rate of the Santa Ana school system and we are eternally grateful. The potential domino effect that NACs can have on the future of the American school system is a tangible reality. It’s an honor to have piloted this model in our city.”

The Nicholas Academic Centers have provided students with not only much-needed academic guidance and assistance, but also cultural and entertainment experiences that they may not otherwise have access to. Students participating in the NAC programs have been invited to performances at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts and Lakers and Angels games, as well as special presentations and talks by Nobel Prize winners and Emmy Award winners.

“Our nation’s educational system is craving innovative thinking. The NACs model elevates a deserving student’s ability to obtain direct access to colleges throughout the United States. Our results speak for themselves,” Dr. Nicholas said at the presentation ceremony.

The centers are supported largely by grants from the Henry T. Nicholas, III Foundation, which has committed $10 million to the program for its continuing operations. Scholarships earned by seniors graduating from the NAC program have already amounted to $2.7 million.

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