Tag Archives: College of Sciences

Dr. Kyle Swanson new Dean of the College of Sciences at Metropolitan State

Metropolitan State University has named Dr. Kyle Swanson as the new dean of the College of Sciences. He will start at Metropolitan State on Monday, July 3.

As dean, Swanson will be responsible for providing vision, leadership and strategic direction for the College of Sciences at the University. Dean Swanson will also serve on the President’s Cabinet.

Dr. Swanson has been at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee for the last 20 years and is currently serving in the role of chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences. In addition, he is also a special assistant to the provost for Budget and Planning.

Swanson earned a PhD in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s in mathematics and physics from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. In addition, he completed a postdoctoral fellow program in atmospheric oceanic sciences at Princeton University in New Jersey.

“I am proud and excited that Metropolitan State University has recruited Dr. Kyle Swanson to serve as the next dean of the College of Sciences. Dr. Swanson has an outstanding record as an educator, academic leader, researcher, and administrator,” said university President Virginia “Ginny” Arthur. “With his long experience serving at a public, urban university in the upper Midwest, he brings visionary, collegial leadership to an energetic faculty and a growing college. I look forward to the powerful ways in which the College of Sciences will continue to excel in serving our students and the Twin Cities metropolitan region in the months and years to come.”

Search committee members included:

  • Carl Polding, dean of the College of Individualized Studies
  • Pauline Danforth, advisor, College of Sciences
  • Julio Vargas-Essex, director of Admissions
  • Cynthia Harley, assistant professor, College of Sciences
  • Janice Kwallek, office manager, College of Sciences
  • Mike Stein, professor, Information and Computer Sciences
  • Katherine Johnson, associate professor, Mathematics

Swanson will assume the position currently being held by Interim Dean Sue Fitzgerald, who was appointed after Dean Thomas Nelson’s death in August 2016.

University mourns death of Tom Nelson, dean of the College of Sciences

Tom Nelson
Tom Nelson, dean of the College of Science

Tom Nelson, dean of the College of Sciences at Metropolitan State University, died of cancer on Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2016, at home surrounded by his loving family.

Prior to joining Metropolitan State, he was dean at Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., and before that, chair and director of the biology and environmental science departments at the University of North Georgia, Eastern Illinois University and Arkansas Tech University.

Tom was born on Dec. 14, 1952, in Monmouth, Illinois, to Leith and Mary (Murphy) Nelson. He married his wife, Dianne, in 1975 and was a loving father and grandfather to son Brian, his wife Elena and their two children Cecilia and Henry, Kate and her husband Bryan Nuckols, and John and his fiancee Alexandra Benejam. Tom is survived by one sister, Mary (Gerald) Bevington; one brother, John (Gail) Nelson of Phoenix, Arizona; and several loving nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and one brother, Leith Nelson.

Tom loved his family, his animals (especially corgis), gardening, traveling and spending time in nature. He loved teaching and working with colleagues, and influenced many students with his dedication to biology.

Tom’s career spanned 26 years, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ecology, conservation biology and environmental science. He published more than 40 peer-reviewed research articles and a scientific monograph, and he authored or co-authored 80 papers at professional conferences. He secured more than $2 million in grants to support research and scholarships from sources such as the National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service and the Department of Defense, as well as numerous state and local environmental agencies.

Tom earned a B.S. in biological sciences from Illinois State University and both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in ecology from Southern Illinois University.

“One of the things I most appreciated about Tom was his ability to be both visionary and pragmatic,” wrote Metropolitan State President Ginny Arthur, in a letter to the university community. “He was also a strong and tireless advocate for his College, its faculty and staff, while balancing his advocacy with the overall needs of the university… I was struck by how passionately committed he was to the mission of Metropolitan State and the students we serve.”

Services took place Tuesday, Sept. 6, at the Norberg Memorial Home in Princeton, Illinois, and Tom was buried at Oakland Cemetery. A university memorial will be hosted at a later time.

Memorials may be directed the Memorial Scholarship Endowment for Dr. Thomas Nelson at youCaring.com  https://www.youcaring.com/thomasnelson

Online condolences may be left at http://www.norbergfh.com/.