Pave the Way to honor Ambassador R. James Nicholson
Pave the Way Foundation
will bestow it's "Defender of Faith Award" to Ambassador R. James
Nicholson at the Metropolitan Club, Washington, DC on Thursday
evening October 29, 2009
James “Jim” Nicholson, Senior Counsel for the
of Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, is the past
Veterans Affairs. He was sworn into that office in
2005 and served through September 2007. As Secretary
Veterans Affairs, Mr. Nicholson was the principal
for veterans in the U.S. government, ensuring that
they received the care, support,
recognition and dignity they deserve for their service to
our country. As VA Secretary, Nicholson also directed the
federal government’s second
largest Cabinet Department, responsible for a nationwide
system of hospitals, health care clinics, benefits programs,
and national cemeteries for
America’s twenty-five millions veterans. The VA employs over
240,000 people with a budget of
approximately 100 billion dollars.
Prior to serving in the Cabinet, Mr. Nicholson served
as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from
2001 to 2005. In that position he became a well-known advocate in
Rome for the elevation of human
dignity, giving special emphasis to human trafficking, religious
freedom, starvation and
bio-tech food, HIV-AIDS and international terrorism. He was knighted
by Pope John Paul II in October 2003 for his work
representing the U.S. to the Vatican.
Mr. Nicholson was born in 1938 and grew up on a
tenant farm in northwest Iowa in a
family of seven children. He is a 1961 graduate of
the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
He served eight years on active duty as a paratrooper and Ranger,
then 22 years in
the Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel.
While serving in Vietnam, he earned the Bronze Star Medal, Combat
Infantryman Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, Republic of
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry and two Air Medals.
Mr. Nicholson earned a master’s degree from Columbia
University in New York and a law
degree from the University of Denver. He practiced
law in Denver, specializing in real estate,
municipal finance and zoning law. In 1978 he founded
Nicholson Enterprises, Inc., a developer
of master planned residential communities, and in
1987 he bought Renaissance Homes, which
became an award-winning builder of quality custom
1986, Mr. Nicholson was elected to be the Republican National
Committeeman from Colorado. In
1993 he was elected vice-chairman of the RNC, and in January 1997 he
was elected chairman of
the RNC, where he served for four years, overseeing the elections of
including the election of President George W. Bush.
Nicholson has been awarded seven honorary doctorate degrees, and was
named a Distinguished Graduate
from his alma mater, West Point, in 2005. He currently serves on the
board of directors of
the Federated Investors Fund, the Daniels Fund, and the Horatio
Alger Association. He is married to the former Suzanne Marie
Ferrell of Highland Falls, New York, who is an accomplished artist.
They are the parents of three adult children.