SALINA – Kansas Wesleyan University is pleased to announce that it has received a $100,000 gift from Jim ’77 and Charlotte Nelson that will benefit the university’s signature Teacher Education program, as well as a variety of student success initiatives. The Nelson family has a tremendous legacy at Kansas Wesleyan, as more than 80 members of the extended family have attended KWU.
“Since my hiring, under Jim’s leadership, Jim and Charlotte have been an immense source of support and inspiration for me. Their love and commitment to Kansas Wesleyan is energizing. We are deeply grateful for their on-going support,” said President Matt Thompson, Ph.D.
A portion of the donation will go toward the Dr. Albert ’50 and Elizabeth Street ’49 Nelson Endowed Scholarship Fund. The scholarship fund was established in 1981, by Jim’s parents, Albert and Elizabeth. Since its inception, the scholarship has benefitted 37 Teacher Education students from Kansas.
Dr. Albert Nelson was the director of Teacher Education at Kansas Wesleyan for 32 years and was awarded the Alumni Service Award in 1979, the Alumni Achievement Award in 1982 and Distinguished Service Award in 1995. He and his wife Elizabeth were beloved members of the campus community.
“Kansas Wesleyan’s Teacher Education program is building on the legacy of Dr. Nelson to serve the next generation of teachers for Kansas,” Dr. Kristy Rodriguez, chair of the Division of Teacher Education, said. “This generous gift will ensure we can continue to recruit high-quality students that will be tomorrow’s educators.”
The Nelsons’ donation will also go toward facility planning for expanding the Albert Nelson Student Success Center, also named for Jim’s father, and Memorial Library, as well as other facility upgrades. All of these projects are focused on providing a high-quality living and learning environment for KWU students.
Jim retired from the law firm DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary US LLP. He was chief felony prosecutor for Dallas County District Attorney Office 1982-87, and was formerly assistant district attorney for Dallas County. Jim was chair of the KWU Board of Trustees 2011-12 and vice chair 2010-11. At KWU, he played football and basketball, and was a resident assistant.
Charlotte pursued a very successful career in finance, breaking several gender barriers. She then went into nonprofit work with the Community Foundation of Dallas.