STEPHEN LUCID ROBERT MCNICHOLS, Colorado’s 35th governor was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 17, 1914. He graduated from Regis College in 1936, and earned a LL.D. degree in 1939 from the Catholic University in Washington, D.C. He worked for one year as a field representative for the Federal Bureau of Investigation in their Baltimore and Boston offices. McNichols entered politics as Denver’s deputy district attorney in 1941. His political career was interrupted in 1942, when he enlisted in the amphibious corps of the U.S. Navy. McNichols had an illustrious naval career, earning a Bronze Star, and rising to the rank of lieutenant commander by the time he was discharged.
After his military service, McNichols returned to his political life, and served for the next two years as special assistant to the attorney general in the U.S. Department of Justice. He was a member of the Colorado State Senate from 1948 to 1954, and was Colorado’s lieutenant governor from 1954 to 1956. On November 6, 1956, he was elected Governor of Colorado, and on January 8, 1957, he was sworn into office. He was reelected to a four-year term on November 4, 1958. During his tenure, an administrative department was established to study and manage the state’s resource growth, and institutional restructuring was sanctioned for the state penitentiary and the state hospital. Salaries were raised for faculty members of the state university system, and financial support was made available for a long-range highway development program. After an unsuccessful reelection bid, McNichols left office on January 8, 1963. He was a member of the 1963 Democratic National Committee; he secured a successful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1968, and was the U.S. Commerce Director of the Rocky Mountain Regions in 1977. Governor Stephen McNichols died of heart failure on November 25, 1997.