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Celebrating all things paper: The wonder and the legacy, continued
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Gordon A. Nicholls

Ladies and gentlemen, the first class of inductees to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wisconsin was inducted more than two decades ago in 1995, and today, more than 139 papermaking innovators and legends have been enshrined. This month, we profile Gordon Nicholls, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.

Gordon A. Nicholls was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1926, to Leonard and Wilhelmina Nicholls. While at a country primary school in Pukekawa, he received a boarding school scholarship to King's College, Auckland, beginning in 1939. He entered Auckland University College at age 16 in 1943 and completed his BSc in 1945, MSc (Honors) in 1946, PhD in Organic Chemistry in 1948. He was subsequently awarded a DSc degree in 1985 on the basis of published research.

Dr. Nicholls held a US Public Health Service, National Cancer Institute post-doctoral fellowship at The University of Rochester in 1950-52. There he met his future wife Mary, and they married in Brattleboro, Vermont in 1952 before moving to London, UK where Gordon held a chemistry research position at the National Institute for Medical Research at Mill Hill. He returned to New Zealand in 1955 to work at NZ Forest Products Ltd (NZFP), as Chief Research Chemist. Along the way, he was seconded to the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Division of Forest Products in Melbourne, Australia for nine months. In 1960 Dr Nicholls was a visiting research worker at the University of California, Forest Products Laboratory in Richmond, and developed significant contacts with the US pulp and paper industry.

In 1966, Dr Nicholls joined the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton, soon becoming Professor of Pulp and Paper Technology and Senior Research Associate. During 1966-76 he led significant research in oxidative pulping and bleaching, taking in account earlier research into dry process hardboard manufacture at NZFP. His course on Pulping and Bleaching Processes developed from a minor elective to the "must do" course at the Institute.

During 1976, Dr Nicholls returned to Auckland, NZ and worked as a consultant for the next decade. He has been an enthusiastic hiker and fisherman as well as an inspiration to his grandchildren, encouraging them through travel to understand their international heritage. Gordon and Mary live in Auckland, New Zealand, and have three daughters, five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren.

Steve Roush is Vice President, Publisher and Editor and in charge of the International Desk at Paperitalo Publications. Many thanks go to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc., for biographical information on Hall of Fame inductees.

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