Private gifts ensure continuation of Nelson professorship

June 2, 2015

Thanks to the generosity of private donors, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies will be able to continue to award the Gaylord Nelson Distinguished Professorship despite its deletion from state law during the budget process.

The professorship, which honors faculty members for significant contributions to the institute’s interdisciplinary academic, research and community service programs, has never received state funds. It was established through a private fundraising campaign to endow a professorship to honor the late U.S. Senator and former Wisconsin governor. The professorship is awarded every four years.

“We’re very fortunate and grateful to have received extraordinarily generous donations from alumni and friends of the institute that allow us to support and honor the outstanding work of our faculty,” said Nelson Institute Director Paul Robbins. “These private gifts enable us to continue a legacy of excellence in education, research and outreach during these fiscally challenging times.”

The Nelson Distinguished Professorship is currently held by Steve Ventura, a professor of environmental studies and soil science who is widely known for his work in land and food systems. He also serves as director of the Nelson Institute Land Tenure Center and the Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility. Ventura will hold the professorship until fall 2017.