BY LORRAINE U. MARTINELLE
DUDLEY, Mass.—Nichols College has announced that Hollywood film producer Louis A. Stroller ‘63 will deliver the address at the College’s Commencement exercises on Saturday, May 5, 2018, at the DCU Center in Worcester. During the ceremony, Stroller will also receive an honorary doctoral degree in communications and media from the College. The event starts at 5 p.m.
“Nichols College provided me with a nurturing environment that enabled me to grow as a person, a businessman, and a filmmaker,” said Stroller. “My education and experiences there served as my foundation for my career. I hope the graduates of the Class of 2018 will be inspired to know that no matter where you come from, you can achieve your desires if you put in the time and effort. I also hope students will understand how instrumental Nichols was in providing me with the tools I needed to reach my dreams and goals.”
Stroller has been an assistant director, production manager, and producer on more than 40 films, working with some of Hollywood’s most renowned actors, including Denzel Washington, Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Al Pacino, Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, and Sissy Spacek. His notable list of film credits includes “The Bone Collector,” “Snake Eyes,” “The Rock,” “Carrie,” “Scarface,” “Sea of Love,” and “Carlito’s Way.”
Brooklyn-born and a 1963 graduate of Nichols College, Stroller humbly began his storied career as a gopher, sweeping stages and fetching coffee and Danish for the crew at a New York City television studio. (One of his early assignments was to chauffeur Harry S. Truman to the studio for a documentary production on the former president.) He became the unit manager of the Mel Brooks comedy classic, “The Producers,” and served as first assistant director on films such as “Charly,” Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run,” and “Lovers and Other Strangers.”
In 1978, following a move to California, Stroller began an association with producer Martin Bregman and actor/director Alan Alda, and teamed with them for “The Seduction of Joe Tynan.” He went on to produce four more Alda films.
For television, he produced HBO’s “Half a Lifetime,” which won four Cable ACE Award nominations, and the reality series, “Grease: You’re the One That I Want.”
Stroller is president of Lucky L. Productions, a charter member of the Directors Guild of America, and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“In many ways, Louis Stroller is anything but the quintessential Nichols alum’” said Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D. “Alumni Commencement speakers during my seven years at Nichols included individuals who founded major investment management firms and who turned around major retail chains. I imagine Lou is the first member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to whom we have awarded an honorary degree. Lou found his passion, started on the ground floor, and found success. I hope students see Nichols College’s vision statement—Learn. Lead. Succeed.—come to life through Lou’s remarks. I hope they also see that the skills, abilities, and confidence gained at Nichols prepare them for success, no matter which career they choose to pursue.”
Stroller lived in California for many years and now resides in Maryland, outside of Washington, D.C., with his wife, Evelyne; and daughter, Leah.
HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS
In addition to Stroller, two other accomplished individuals will receive honorary degrees from Nichols College; M. Marcus Moran Jr. ‘66, recently retired CEO of W.E. Aubuchon Co. Inc.; and Marilyn Fels, an inspirational humanitarian and philanthropist.
Moran will receive an honorary doctoral degree of science in business administration.
Marcus Moran, Jr. is a business and civic leader who has dedicated his career to the success of W.E. Aubuchon Co. Inc., the oldest family-owned and -managed chain of hardware stores in the U.S.
Moran joined Aubuchon in 1970 and served in a variety of positions, including personnel manager and treasurer, before being named president in 1993 and CEO in 2011. Under his leadership, Aubuchon has grown to more than 125 hardware stores throughout New England and New York, which stock about 30,000 products, including plumbing, hardware, housewares, paint, and tools, effectively competing against national home improvement retailers.
A 1966 graduate of Nichols College, Moran earned a Master of Business Administration at Babson College in 1967 and was an instructor at Fitchburg State University, the National Retail Hardware Association (NRHA), North Shore Community College, and Mount Wachusett Community College. He co-authored a business mathematics textbook for community colleges.
A devoted volunteer leader, he has served a number of educational, human service, and cultural institutions. Among them are Cushing Academy, Nichols College, Fitchburg State, Fitchburg/Leominster Boys & Girls Club, United Way of North Central Massachusetts, Thayer Symphony, and the St. Paul Consortium of Catholic Schools Inc.
Moran served on the Board of IC Federal Credit Union for 29 years and as its chairman for 10 years.
In recognition of his contributions, Moran received the Key to the City of Fitchburg/Saving a Life as well as awards from Fitchburg State College, Mount Wachusett Community College, Boy Scouts, and the Bishop of Worcester.
He lives in Westminster, Mass., with his wife Tonia. They have three children and six grandchildren.
Marilyn Fels will receive an honorary doctoral degree of humane letters for her contributions to the lives of Dudley and Webster residents. Her commitment to the community is pervasive and unparalleled.
Fels provided the primary funding for new facilities for the Webster-Dudley Boys and Girls Club, the Community Cat Connection in Webster, and the Webster Animal Shelter—organizations she continues to significantly support. She was a major donor to the construction of the Pearle Crawford Memorial Library in Dudley as well as to the new Webster public library, which is under construction. She was among the chief benefactors for the renovated Harrington Hospital Emergency Room in Webster, and her multi-million-dollar grant to build a new police station in Webster was hailed by the town administrator as an “unprecedented show of philanthropy.”
In addition, Fels’ contributions have helped secure a new vehicle for the Dudley Police Department, an echocardiograph machine for Harrington Hospital, and July 4 fireworks for the town of Webster for many years. She also supports the Worcester County Food Bank, the Webster-Dudley Food Share, area animal shelters, Webster and Dudley public schools, and is a dedicated congregant at St. Andrew Bobola Church in Dudley.
Although she’s not a graduate of Nichols College, Marilyn and her husband Gerald Fels—a 1966 Nichols graduate and a trustee emeritus—are equally credited for creating educational opportunities for area residents here at Nichols, through scholarship aid to hundreds of local students, and their support of the Bartlett Honors Academy, Remillard Hall, the Fels Student Center, and other Nichols initiatives.
They live in Webster, Mass., and have two children and two grandchildren.
Lorraine U. Martinelle
Director of Public Relations and Social Media