We were honored that R. James "Jim" Nicholson will be our featured speaker at
Catholic Charities' 2nd Annual Veterans in Need Dinner on Friday, April, 26, 2013.
R. JAMES "JIM" NICHOLSON
Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs of the United States of America
Jim Nicholson was born during the Great Depression in 1938, the third child of seven, and raised in poverty on a tenant farm in Struble, Iowa. He earned an appointment to the United States Military Academy. After graduation from West Point, Jim Nicholson served eight years as an Army Ranger and paratrooper, then 22 years in the Army Reserve, retiring with the rank of colonel.
Jim Nicholson earned a Master in Public Policy degree from Columbia University in New York and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Denver College of Law. He practiced law with a major Denver law firm and after two years became a partner, specializing in real estate, municipal finance, and zoning law. In 1987, he bought Renaissance Homes, which became a nationally known, award-winning builder of high quality, custom homes.
In January 1997, Jim Nicholson was elected chairman of the Republican National Committee. Under his leadership, the Republican Party won the presidency, the Congress, and a majority of governorships and state legislatures, a feat not achieved by Republicans in nearly fifty years.
After appointment by President George W. Bush in 2001, Jim Nicholson was sworn-in as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See, and presented his credentials to Pope John Paul II on September 13, just two days after the deadly terrorist attacks. Nicholson built a reputation as a forceful advocate for human rights with particular emphasis on ending human trafficking, religious freedom, food technology in Africa, and thwarting international terrorism.
Jim Nicholson was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He was unanimously confirmed by the Senate and was sworn into office on February 1, 2005. He transformed the department so that it was better prepared to address the demands placed on it as veterans returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.
He resigned as Secretary in 2007 and now serves as special counsel with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Shreck LLC. His practice areas include public policy, health care, international law, state and federal regulatory law, real estate, oil and gas, and alternative energy.
Secretary Nicholson and his wife Suzanne are parents of three children and four grandchildren.