FLORENCE – Larry E. Nelson of Florence has been selected the J. Lorin Mason Distinguished Professor for the 2008-09 year at Francis Marion University.
Announced at a campus banquet April 23, this award has been given since the 1975-76 school year and is based upon a faculty member’s contributions to teaching, professional service and scholarly activities.
The award, named in honor of the former chairman of the FMU Board of Trustees, is the highest honor to be bestowed upon a faculty member. It will be presented at FMU’s spring commencement Saturday, May 9. The award carries a cash prize.
As a result of his selection, Nelson will be the Francis Marion University nominee for the Governor’s Professor of the Year Award competition next fall.
“This award is given annually to one member of this faculty whose career work is regarded as being truly distinctive and distinguished. Larry Nelson has excelled in every effort that he’s undertaken at this university for the past 30 years. He’s an extraordinary teacher and a prolific scholar. He has also devoted immense time and effort in service to the university and the community. He has earned our respect and admiration and is richly deserving of this recognition.”
A 1967 graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Utah, Nelson began his professional career as a high school teacher in Ogden, Utah, teaching courses in English and history. Upon completing his Ph.D. at Duke University, Nelson accepted a position at Francis Marion University to teach courses in both American and European history. In particular, Nelson has taught United States History to 1865, United States History Since 1865, Honors United States History to 1865, The American West, History of the United States in World Affairs, Reform Movements in American History, Emergence of Modern America, 1865–1898, Historiography, and a graduate-level course, Reconstruction after the Civil War.
Nelson currently serves as Francis Marion’s History Chair, and coordinates National History Day in South Carolina’s Pee Dee area. He also coordinates Francis Marion’s History Program Institutional Effectiveness Plan, and in years past has served as FMU’s National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education liaison between the University’s History Program and School of Education. Presently, Nelson is active with Francis Marion’s Teacher Education Advisory Committee.
His primary off-campus service includes work with the Program Review Meeting, where he reviewed and made recommendations on undergraduate and graduate Teacher Education Programs submitted to the State Department of Education for accreditation; the South Carolina Curriculum Conference, in which he participated in a state-wide conference on the proposed Social Studies curriculum for South Carolina public education; and the Social Studies Licensure Committee, where he chaired the committee, which reviewed licensure requirements, and made recommendations regarding the licensure of social studies teachers in South Carolina public schools.
Nelson is a member of the Pee Dee Heritage Center’s Board of Directors, and the Vice President of the Pee Dee Heritage Center. He gives lectures and presentations to local community groups such as the Pee Dee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Florence Rotary Club, and the Marion County Historical Society.
His publications include, but are not limited to, Sherman’s March through the upper Pee Dee Region of South Carolina, The Pee Dee River, Black Leaders and the Presidential Election of 1864, and Utah Goes Dry. Nelson’s current principal research involves his study of ordinary South Carolina farmers’ reactions to the boll weevil, and their efforts to cope with the insect.