Robert Nelson, of Fort Scott, has been selected as the 2007 Fort Scott Community College Outstanding Alumnus. A native of Fort Scott, Nelson graduated from Fort Scott High School in 1952. He attended Fort Scott Junior College in 1952-54, leaving after completing 58 credit hours-two credit hours short of the requirements for a diploma. In 1969, Nelson transferred a two-credit hour course back to Fort Scott Community College and officially received his Associate of Arts degree.
In 1955, Nelson enlisted in the U.S. Army and received training as an army medical corpsman. While serving in Germany, he became interested in x-ray technology. After completing his active duty service, Nelson returned to the states and was accepted into the radiography program sponsored by the Alexian Brothers Hospital in Chicago.
After completing the two year program in radiography, he accepted a position in the radiology department at the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor. In 1966, Nelson was approached to head up the radiography program for a new community college that was being formed in Ann Arbor's Washtenaw County. He accepted the position for this new college that did not even have a campus, teaching his first classes in the basement of a church. The first year, 1200 students enrolled in the college and today the college rests on a 285-acre campus and serves over 28,000 students annually.
At Washtenaw he was president of the Michigan Society of Radiological Technologists and was named Technologist of the Year. While employed at Washtenaw, he earned a second associate's degree to qualify for admission into the Occupational Teacher Education Program at the University of Michigan where he went on to earn his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education.
Currently, Nelson serves on the FSCC Board of Trustees and on the board for the Kansas Association of Community College Trustees (KACCT). Since its inception, Nelson has been a member of the FSCC Gordon Parks Celebration Steering Committee. He is also a member of the "Students First-Community Always" capital campaign committee and the FSCC Alumni Association Board.
Nelson remains an active member at the United Missionary Baptist Church where he is a trustee. A committed volunteer to the community, he is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and many other organizations. Nelson also shares his outstanding singing voice as a member of the Fort Scott Community Chorus.
He and his wife Evelyn have six children: Estella, Robert, Joyce, Gloria, Ronald and William and 10 grandchildren.