In the Nancy Drew
books, Ned Nickerson
is Nancy's boyfriend
He goes to Emerson College, somewhere near Nancy's home town of River Heights. At college, he lives in the same fraternity house as Dave Evans and Burt Eddleston, the boyfriends of Nancy's friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne.
Ned is useful to escort Nancy to ice carnivals, dude ranches, and boating parties on the lake. He wears sweaters a lot, and is very practical and steadfast. He never gets in her way or usurps her position while she is sleuthing.
At times of crisis, when Nancy has been chloroformed, knocked on the head, tied up and left to die slowly of hunger in the secret basement of a haunted mansion, Ned is on the job with a quick, efficient rescue. But he is not in every book -- sometimes her dad, Carson Drew, does the rescuing.