Friends Memorialize Alumnus with Endowed Scholarship
Nick Dovolis ’02 applied to one college: the University of St. Thomas. During his first 12 hours as a freshman, he introduced himself to everyone he encountered, explored two campuses, and was invited to six parties and 10 organizational meetings, recalls roommate Josh Mahlen ’01. Once classes commenced, Nick made friends at every turn while pursuing a degree in entrepreneurship with passion.
His parents, John and Dianne, saw their youngest son grow in confidence and maturity. “He started feeling good about what he could accomplish and do at St. Thomas. In the entrepreneurship program, he saw that he had skills others didn’t,” Dianne says.
After graduation, Nick partnered with his father and brother Jim to create the Spartan Group, a distributor of environmentally-friendly products. He excelled in sales and customer development.
Outside of work, Nick loved to golf with his grandfather, father and St. Thomas friends. His strong faith in God was part of his daily life. Nick was enjoying life to the fullest when, at age 29, he died suddenly of heart failure in July 2008.
Immediately St. Thomas friends reached out to Nick’s parents. A website of remembrances was established where loved ones described Nick as compassionate, funny, creative, sensitive, inclusive, and devoted to his Greek heritage and to his family.
Joe Loftus ’01, Nick’s closest friend and roommate of 10 years, initiated the idea of an annual memorial golf tournament, with proceeds going to establish and support the Nicholas J. Dovolis Endowed Scholarship at St. Thomas. For generations to come, entrepreneurship majors will benefit from this permanent scholarship.
Endowing a scholarship was a fitting way to remember his friend who was always giving to others and sharing his brilliant smile, infectious laugh and love of life, Joe says. “We wanted to carry on Nick’s legacy, and we’ve combined his love of golf and having a good time with giving back to St. Thomas.”
Friends and family say that Nick created a wonderful example of what St. Thomas students are taught to strive for: a rich and thoughtful life that challenges oneself and others to improve the world.