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Sister Ann Nelson papers

Biographical note

Sister Ann Nelson, RSM (1931-2014), former professor of History, Politics, and American Studies at Salve Regina, served as an educator and community leader for fifty years. Born in Coventry, Rhode Island, she entered the Sisters of Mercy in 1949, and was known as Sister Mary Harold Nelson until 1969. After earning her B.A. in history at Catholic Teachers College and her M.A. at Niagara University, she pursued doctoral research at Fordham University and traveled to Nigeria in 1968 to study government in the post-colonial era. She completed her dissertation, "Constitutionalism and Nigerian Nationhood: A Study of the Process of Nation Building in a West African State," and received her Ph.D in 1970.

Beginning in 1963, Sister Nelson began teaching as an instructor at Salve Regina, eventually achieving the rank of Professor. From 1969-1984 she served as Chair of the Department of History and Politics. During that time, Sister Nelson was named an Outstanding Educator in 1974 and also served on the Rhode Island state committee for International Women's Year in 1975. As the recipient of a Fulbright Award, in 1982 she was appointed a Visiting Fellow at The Australian National University for a year. From 1984 to 1988, she served as Chair of the Department of Politics. She retired from teaching in 2002.

Sister Nelson encouraged education about less-understood areas of the world, including the Middle East and Africa. She led alumni trips abroad, taught internationally, and welcome foreign student groups to the Salve Regina campus. Her other geographical interests were much closer to home, and she was a sought-after speaker on Newport and Rhode Island history as well, serving on the Board of Directors for the Rhode Island Committee for Celebration at Newport and the Rhode Island Heritage Commission. Sister Nelson also researched and spoke on foreign policy and American government.