Howard Payne University’s Guy D. Newman Honors Academy awarded John Nickols, assistant professor of history and political science and special assistant to the athletic director, the Douglas MacArthur Freedom Medal at a recent luncheon held on campus. Nickols, who has served at HPU for 22 years, will retire in May.

The MacArthur Freedom Medal honors individuals who share Dr. Guy D. Newman’s vision of promoting Judeo-Christian values, Western civilization, free enterprise and civic engagement. HPU’s Honors Academy, formerly the Douglas MacArthur Academy of Freedom, was founded in 1962 under the leadership of Dr. Newman, who served as president of the university from 1955 to 1973.

In addition to teaching and coaching basketball at HPU, Nickols’ storied career includes time spent as an agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and 25 years as a high school teacher and coach. He has additionally served as a Sunday School teacher and as a board member for the Brownwood Independent School District.

Nickols received the medal from Dr. Bill Ellis, HPU president; Dr. W. Mark Tew, provost and chief academic officer; and Dr. Matthew McNiece, chair and professor of history and government and director of the Academy. Also present were Nickols’ wife, Barbara, and son Eric, who serves on the Board of Directors for the Academy.

“John Nickols is most deserving of this recognition,” said Dr. Ellis. “It’s been an honor to serve alongside him at HPU and to witness the tremendous impact he’s had on the lives of his students and everyone with whom he’s come in contact.”