Nelson, Betty M., 1935-
- Existence: March 17, 1935 -
Originally from West Virginia, Betty M. 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 Office of the Dean of Women. She served as Assistant and Associate Dean before being appointed Dean of Students to succeed Barbara I. Cook in 1987. During the 1970s and 1980s, much of Nelson's administrative energy was focused on the civil rights of those with disabilities and ensuring that campus was an accessible place for all students, faculty, and staff members. She was instrumental in the creation of Adaptive Programs (now the Disability Resource Center), which formed in response to the needs of students with disabilities. Nelson founded and chaired the Advisory Council on Disability Issues, a faculty and student advisory group to raise awareness of disability issues in the classroom. She was also a charter member of the Association on Higher Education and Disabilities (AHEAD) and a founding member of the Indiana Higher Education Committee on Disabled Students (later named IN-AHEAD). In addition to her advocacy efforts for the disabled, Nelson was instrumental in the establishment of the Student Leadership Development Program in the Office of the Dean of Students. She served in leadership positions in the National Association for Women Deans, Advisors, and Counselors; the NAWDAC Foundation, and the Indiana AWDAC. Nelson is active in community service, having served in leadership roles with the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, the Lafayette Rotary Club (as its first woman president), the Lafayette YWCA, Leadership Lafayette, and other local service organizations. Since her retirement, Nelson has provided leadership for the Purdue University Retirees Association. Some of Dean Nelson's awards and honors include the Sagamore of the Wabash, the Grand Marquis de Lafayette Award for Community Service, the Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion, and the Special Boilermaker Award.
CitationMSO 1, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program collection, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries.
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