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Dr. Nelson, a renowned anthropology professor and researcher who has received the university’s highest accolades for excellence in teaching, is retiring from the honors college this month. She leaves an unmatched legacy of academic excellence, warm collegiality among her peers, and high achievement in her field. But, perhaps most importantly of all, she leaves an example of outstanding service to students, listening to their aspirations and helping them achieve their dreams.
Dean Nelson has made significant connections with thousands of students in her decades-long career at Arizona State University and no doubt has helped develop generations of critical thinkers.
She has used her own critical thinking skills to contribute to the development of Barrett Honors College, the largest college of its kind in the United States, which has been labeled “the gold standard” by the New York Times.
The annual Celebrating Honors Symposium of Research and Creative Projects, an event at which honors students showcase their theses and research projects, is Dr. Nelson’s creation. Under her leadership, the symposium grew over the last 15 years to be one of the most highly attended signature events at Barrett.
A thank you note from a community college transfer student who joined Barrett as an upperclassman, sums up Dr. Nelson’s connection with students well: “Thank you for trying your best to provide the most opportunities for transfer students. Thank you for listening to our thoughts during multiple luncheon events and other activities for transfer students. I never thought that I would have had a chance to represent ASU at the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science) conference or had a chance to work in a lab with renowned scientists or shadow doctors at the Mayo Clinic. I never thought a girl who spoke rudimentary English and worked in a nail shop is now going to attend UC San Diego for her Ph.D. degree. All thanks to Barrett, ASU and your efforts. Thank you again and I wish you all the best in the future.”
The entire Barrett family extends its heartfelt thank you and best wishes to Dr. Peggy Nelson for helping to make the honors college what it is today.