Eugene Walter (Gene) Nelson, a professor emeritus at The University of Texas, was born in Austin, Texas in 1914. He grew up on his family’s farm and in 1931, he enrolled in The University of Texas to study Government and Economics. The Great Depression had Eugene in and out of school, working to support his education. An excellent student, he received his bachelor’s degree with highest honors in 1936 and a J. D. degree from UT’s School of Law in 1939.
Before joining UT’s full-time faculty, Dr. Nelson practiced law in Austin and taught part-time as an Assistant Professor at UT (1939-42). In 1941, he married Rose Helen Sussdorf. They had three sons—one of the joys of Gene’s life. During World War II, Dr. Nelson trained airmen in meteorology at the Coleman Flying School in Midland, Texas from 1942-44. He also taught in the School of Law at Southern Methodist University from 1944-46.
Friends and colleagues recommended Dr. Nelson to the Dean of the College of Business Administration (CBA) to teach business law at UT. He was hired as an Associate Professor in 1946. Knowledgeable on many topics and devoted to service, Dr. Nelson was always readily available to assist others.
Organizations frequently sought Dr. Nelson’s advice. He was often asked to give seminars to various associations, advised multiple student organizations, served on many committees, and was a consultant to the University of Texas Development Board. Dr. Nelson also taught Bar Review Sections and taught at the Colorado Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado-Boulder campus (1968-69).
Dr. Nelson’s love for teaching was recognized by the CBA Student Council Teaching Excellence Award in 1959, the Standard Oil of Ohio Teaching Excellence Award in 1967, and the Alpha Kappa Psi Teaching Excellence Award in 1977. He was appointed to the William D. Blunk Professorship (recognizing devotion to student guidance) for the 1979-80 academic year.
Dr. Nelson wrote two textbooks. The first, Business Law – Text and Cases, was co-authored. The second, The Practical Aspects of Texas Real Estate Law, was authored solely by Dr. Nelson in 1978.
From 1954-70, Dr. Nelson was continuously reelected as Secretary of the General Faculty. He served on committees to advise the President or Board of Regents on the selection of academic administrative appointments, including: the Dean of the CBA (Chairman, 1956-66), the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences (1967-68), the Vice President for Academic Affairs (1970-71), the Dean of the School of Law (1973-74, 1978-79), and the President of The University of Texas (Chancellor’s Committee, 1974-75).
In appreciation for Dr. Nelson’s contributions, the College and Graduate School of Business presented him with two of its most prestigious awards: the CBA Foundation Advisory Council Distinguished Scholastics Contribution Award (1978) and election into the McCombs Hall of Fame (1991).
Dr. Nelson passed away on February 20, 1997. A memorial service at the College and Graduate School of Business Hall of Honors was held in his honor.