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Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350
Email: lola@opsu.edu

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Sam Nelson, center, pauses for a photo at his recent retirement party held at the Church of Christ Student Center. Next to Sam are daughter Heather Castlebury and son Scott Nelson-Archer–Photo by Sam Collins

*For Immediate Press Release*

Distinguished Faculty Member Retires
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 05-17-05

Sam Nelson wasn’t certain what he wanted to be when he grew up. Armed with both a bachelor’s and a master’s of arts degrees in history, he arrived on the OPSU campus for an interview 35 years ago. The person he planned to meet was not in the office, and he ended up visiting with Miss Muller in the Admissions office. Sam didn’t know that Miss Muller served not only as registrar, but also as head of the social science department. While he thought the visit was casual, Miss Muller recommended him to fill the history instructor position and he was subsequently hired. “After the first day of class, I knew I was in the right place,” he said.

Nelson currently serves as Mayor of Goodwell, a position he has held since 2003, and he has served on the City Council for 18 years. In addition to his civic service, he enjoys reading and plays bridge regularly with the Hilltoppers every Monday night. He also plays bridge with a group that started in Hooker in the 1930s.

When asked what he likes best about OPSU, he replied, “Freedom. I have academic and personal freedom that I might not have at a larger school where there’s a high a demand for conformity. I believe this is truly one of the freest corners of the world.”

Sam believes part of OPSU’s mission includes teaching individuals to compete successfully and run his or her own world. One of his most memorable students was a woman who worked full time as a teacher’s aide. Because she was a single mother living many miles from campus, much of her coursework was completed by arrangement, a difficult way to earn hours. She finished her degree, and once she passed the teacher competency exam, her salary tripled, which allowed her to adequately care for her children.

Sam will retire from serving as Department Head of Behavioral and Social Sciences. He recently received an Honorary Professor designation bestowed by the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges.

After educating thousands of students in a variety of history courses, Sam will retire at the end of this semester. Retirement plans include “chasing after” his 10 grandchildren, all of whom live in Texas or Oklahoma. Other than that, his plans remain open, but he may serve his community by teaching adult literacy, helping adults earn their GED or perhaps reading aloud to young children. Sam, thanks for your years of service to OPSU and to the community of Goodwell.


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