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Nelson, Betty | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Nelson, Betty

Historical Note: 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.
Sources: Purdue Univeristy Archives and Special Collections Oral History Program
Note Author: Jonathan McConnell

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