“Making a donation in my father’s honor while he is still living was not a difficult decision,” says Bruce Nelson, ’71. “The Center for Science, Business, and Religion is something I believe in. When you get to a certain age and believe in something, then you want to be a part of it.” Bruce and his wife, Kathy, have pledged $25,000 to the CSBR.
Bruce’s father, Edor Nelson, ’38, has earned their honor in several ways. Born in Dawson, Minnesota, Edor was the first man in Lac qui Parle County to be drafted for World War II. He was inducted in August 1941, assigned to Gen. George Patton’s Third Army, and captured in 1944 while trying to cross the Moselle River in France. He spent several months as a POW in Poland before escaping with four fellow prisoners and making his long way home by foot, boxcar and boat to reunite with his wife and high school sweetheart, Dorathy.
Super coach influences many
In 1946, the couple bought a house in south Minneapolis, where they raised Bruce and his brother. Edor joined Augsburg as an instructor and coach, or, you might say, super coach. He coached football for 23 seasons (1947-1969). He coached baseball for 34 seasons (1946-1979). He brought hockey back to Augsburg as coach in 1956-57. And he was Augsburg’s first wrestling coach, from 1949 through 1963. Edor Nelson Field is named for him.
So it’s no surprise that Bruce wants to honor his father. In fact, the fruit didn’t fall far from the tree. Currently president of the Augsburg A-Club, which his father launched with three colleagues in 1936, Bruce was football team captain while at Augsburg, then spent 36 years as a high school teacher and coach. Now retired and passionate about fundraising, he was instrumental in convincing not only the A-Club but also the Augsburg coaches—all of them—to support the CSBR capital campaign.
Augsburg in a great place
“It’s a very exciting time. Augsburg has never been in a better place,” Bruce says. “The major change I see is that instead of us having to go out and seek new students, they will come and seek us out. The CSBR will be a draw, even for student athletes. It will be a showcase.” About 480 student athletes—80 more than last year—play sports at Augsburg, which enjoyed a 70% winning season last fall, earning much national respect, and is home to the first women’s lacrosse program in the Upper Midwest.
“For a tuition-driven school, that’s a great situation,” Bruce says. It’s also a situation made great by the contributions of many, including both father and son.