Kathy Niccolls Peterson, who served as the adviser to the UW's student body presidents from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s, died June 17, 1995. She was 47 when she died of breast cancer.
A fixture on campus for more than 20 years, Niccolls first came to the UW in 1975 as a counselor in the minority affairs office. But she was most well known for her years as the director of student activities and union facilities, where she was the official adviser for ASUW presidents and other student government leaders.
"She was honest, direct, loving, and extremely committed to students," says Judy Nicastro, a UW law student who was ASUW president in 1992-93 and met weekly with Niccolls. "She was always respectful, never patronizing. She was like a mentor to me."
Known for her quick wit and sense of humor--she often asked student government officials "What are you kooky people up to today?"--Niccolls was devoted to helping students become good citizens. "She complemented the academic mission of the UW perfectly," says Rene Singleton, assistant director of student activities. "She also had a refreshing way of seeing things, even in tough times."
A native of Napa, Calif., Niccolls graduated with honors from Napa High School and went on to earn a bachelor's degree in history and political science from the University of California, Berkeley in 1969. Two years later, she earned an elementary teaching credential. She spent five years as a UW minority affairs counselor before joining the student activities office in 1980. In addition to her duties with the UW student government, she was in charge of the HUB and the South Campus Cente--one of the largest student facilities in the nation--overseeing a $2.5 million budget, 75 employees, 300 registered student organizations and countless unpaid student workers.
"She was the consummate educator," said Ernest Morris, UW vice president for student affairs. "She touched the lives of thousands of students."
Remembrances may be sent to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center for Breast Cancer, 1124 Columbia St., Seattle, WA 98104.--Jon Marmor
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