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Nelson, Betty M., 1935-



  • Existence: March 17, 1935 -

Biographical Information

Originally from West Virginia, Betty Nelson received a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology from the Women’s Division of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and then a Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration from Ohio University. She served over 30 years on the staff of Purdue University, beginning in the Psychology Department before being asked to join Helen Schleman’s staff in the Dean of Women’s office. Nelson succeeded Barbara Cook as Purdue’s Dean of Students in 1987 and served as Dean until her retirement in 1996. As Dean, Nelson helped create the Disability Resource Center, established the Student Leadership Development Program, and served in leadership positions in the National Association for Women Deans, Advisors, and Counselors, and in the Indiana AWDAC. Nelson has also been active in numerous community activities, serving in leadership roles with the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, the Lafayette Rotary Club, the Lafayette YWCA and other local service organizations. Some of Dean Nelson’s awards and honors include the Sagamore of the Wabash, the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion, and the Amelia Earhart Award.


MSO 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.

Found in 17 Collections and/or Records:

Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSO 1
Scope and Contents The Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection documents the history of Purdue University. The collection consists of recordings and transcripts of oral history interviews conducted with individuals associated with Purdue University. This is an active collection and will be frequently added to on an ongoing basis.
Dates: 2006-

Betty Nelson Collection of Purdue University related items

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSP 266
Scope and Contens This collection consists of three items: one decorated storage box with a photo of University Hall on the front, one Purdue University matchbook cover with the 1975 football schedule on the back, and one Purdue-themed painted display plate with the inscription "Purdue 01." The three items were retrieved from a Westminster Village Retirement Community garage sale in 2017.
Dates: 1970's

Betty Nelson papers

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20170328

Betty Nelson papers, addition 01

 Unprocessed — Box: Communal Accessions 16
Identifier: 20120515.2

Betty Nelson papers, addition 02

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20150311

Betty Nelson papers, addition 03

 Unprocessed — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 20150619.1

Betty Nelson papers, addition 04

 Unprocessed — Box: Box 1
Identifier: 20150915

Betty Nelson papers, addition 05

 Unprocessed — Box: Box 1
Identifier: 20150917

Betty Nelson papers, addition 06

 Unprocessed — Box: 1
Identifier: 20170602

Betty Nelson papers, addition 07

 Unprocessed — Box: 1
Identifier: 20190401
Dates: 2008 - 2019; Majority of material found within 2018 - 2019

Betty Nelson papers on Janice Voss

 Unprocessed — Box: Communal Accessions 16
Identifier: 20111014.1

Lafayette Rotary Club records

 Unprocessed — Box: Communal Accessions 32
Identifier: 20181206.1

Marylu McEwen Sculpture Dedication materials honoring Betty Nelson, Sandra Monroe, and Linda Ewing

 Collection — Box: Box 1
Identifier: MSK 3
Abstract These sculpture dedication materials capture information on how the sculpture came to be, why it exists, and whom it honors.
Dates: 2014-2014

Purdue University Dean of Women papers, addition 01

 Unprocessed — Box: 2 items
Identifier: 20090806.1

Purdue University Retirees Association (PURA) records, addition 07

 Unprocessed — Box: Communal Accessions 32
Identifier: 20181206
Dates: September 28, 2018

Helen B. Schleman papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 334
Overview The Helen Schleman papers contain papers, clippings, speeches, and photographs documenting Helen Schleman’s life. The collection has particular emphases on her role as Purdue's Dean of Women and as an adovcate for women's rights.
Dates: 1920 - 2003; Majority of material found within 1934 - 1980

Significant People, 1950 - 1989

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 334, Series 4
Scope and Contents Series 4 contains records pertaining to individuals who were important to Helen Schleman. These files contain clippings, manuscripts, correspondence, and epehemera that Schleman collected and that document the lives and careers of several important women in her life.
Dates: 1950 - 1989