President of Nicolet College
Richard holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California, Davis, and earned his Masters and PhD degrees from Cornell University. He worked in the US and Canadian food and beverage industry for twelve years managing new product, process, and business development. Dr. Nelson then served as Director of a Minnesota state agency for value-added agriculture and rural economic development before making higher education his career of choice. At the University of Minnesota-Crookston, he served as Chair of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Division and as Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
In 2006, he accepted the position of Provost at Paul Smith’s College in northern New York State. Richard served in that capacity until July, 2015 when was named President of Nicolet College in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. Richard is a strong advocate for high quality, accessible and affordable rural education as the single most important contributor to sustainable rural prosperity and social well-being.