Aven Nelson is one of the original founding faculty members of the University of Wyoming. Nelson came to UW in its founding year, 1887, and served UW for 55 years, when he retired in 1942. Nelson served UW gloriously as the first professor of Botany and as UW’s 10th President.
A devoted and exciting teacher, Nelson shared his expertise with UW students, as well as the Wyoming public. As secretary of the State Board of Horticulture, Nelson wrote numerous publications geared toward the lay population. In 1893, he co-founded the Rocky Mountain Herbarium—today one of the finest in the United States—and the Colorado-Wyoming Academy of Science. Nelson served as president of the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, Phi Kappa Phi, and the Botanical Society of America. Nelson’s achievements led to his receiving an honorary doctoral degree from the University of Colorado and an honorary doctor of laws degree from UW.
The Aven Nelson Memorial Building is named in his honor.
Content courtesy of the College of Arts and Sciences. Image courtesy of the UW American Heritage Center.