Sandy Nelson: 25 Years at SMSU

Kim Watkins, News Editor

She has worked with various student organizations, she’s been the adviser of the International Students Organization (ISO) for 12 years, she’s the coordinator of International Student Services (ISS), and has worked with many students in events such as the International Art Festival, the International Food Festival, the International Craft Sale and Flea Market, and the International Sash Ceremony. After 25 years at Southwest Minnesota State University, Sandy Nelson will be retiring on Feb. 1.

A reception was held for Nelson on Tuesday, Jan. 29 in celebration of her hard work and dedication to SMSU. The event was hosted by ISO, the Black Student Union, and other organizations.

Nelson made her start here in 1988 and remembers the hard work she has seen in her students and her coworkers since then.

“People are great to work with…the students are wonderful. They are and always have been wonderful…I’ve learned a lot from them. I can’t say enough good things,” Nelson said.

She stated that one of the most rewarding moments for her at SMSU was when she received the Alumni Award.

“It’s a huge honor to be given that award. I was amazed at myself…that was a milestone,” Nelson said.

In the majority of her time at SMSU, Nelson has worked with ISO and other various clubs relating to diversity. Nelson likes to keep in contact with her students after they have left SMSU.

“I like to see what they do and accomplish after they leave here. The students in Cultural Diversity…go back to their homes and become directors, principals, professors, teachers…they give back to their communities,” Nelson said.

Nelson recalls the effort and pride that students put into events such as the International Food and Art Festivals, as well as the Sash Ceremony.

“I work with them and see how hard they work…they want to do it right. They are proud of where they come from and want to share that,” she said.

“For the Sash Ceremony, [we] invite families…how far the parents travel…shows how proud they are. I will make sure to come back for that.”

After retiring, Nelson plans to spend some time outside, some time traveling, and some time with her children and grandchildren.

“I want to thank everyone for the good times…for everything. Don Robertson and I have worked together for 20 years in Cultural Diversity and the ISS. I’ll miss the students and the staff,” Nelson said.

“It’s a global world; we need to learn about other cultures. When I started, I didn’t know anything…I learned a lot…it’s been very rewarding,” Nelson said.