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Midland University Names Merritt Nelson as Vice President for Student Affairs


Midland University has named Merritt Nelson as Vice President for Student Affairs. With more than a decade of experience in educational leadership, he comes to Midland with a diverse background of leadership in administration, teaching, and coaching.

“Merritt has inspired students via a wide range of positions throughout his career,” said Midland President Ben Sasse. “We are thrilled to have someone with his experience and enthusiasm in this critical role within our campus community.”

Nelson comes to Midland after working as Activities Director at Oakland-Craig Public Schools. A member of the Oakland-Craig Administrative Team, he headed all activities for the school, including coach evaluation, fundraising, and full scheduling and management of all school sports. He also holds well over a decade of teaching and coaching experience at both Oakland-Craig and Bellevue Public Schools.  He will use this expertise to maximize student engagement and campus life at Midland.

As the VP for Student Affairs, he will lead a student body that has grown dramatically in recent years. The fastest-growing college in Nebraska for the last three consecutive years, Midland’s student population has increased by more than 86% since 2009. This spike in enrollment has been attributed to the university’s emphasis on one-on-one advising and enhanced student opportunities. Since implementing the Midland Four-Year Graduation Guarantee, a program ensuring a path for students to graduate in four years, the university has seen its largest incoming class in its 130-year history.  The program is supported by Midland’s unique, Center for the Four-Year Graduation Guarantee, where students can go to receive one-on-one advising support.

Also credited for recent enrollment trends is Midland’s university-wide commitment to creating character-enhancing opportunities. Encouraging students to pursue their passions while developing skills for life, Midland has added 11 varsity sports and increased its performing arts program nearly tenfold since 2009.

“I’m eager to join a university that is so committed to individual growth,” said Nelson. “The college’s intimate setting and a broad range of opportunities for personal enrichment were what attracted me to the position. I look forward to working with students as they enjoy the complete college experience.”

Nelson is well acquainted with the value of seizing big collegiate opportunities. He began his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant football coach for the Nebraska Cornhuskers from 1994 to 1996. In that timeframe, he helped the Huskers to back-to-back undefeated seasons and two national championships.

Since then, he has spent 11-years as the head coach of the Oakland-Craig girls’ basketball team where he led the Knights to multiple state tournament appearances. He has also balanced assistant coaching positions for Oakland-Craig’s junior high and high school football and junior high girls’ basketball and track teams.

Tasked with promoting a positive life-transforming environment within campus life, Nelson will guide an especially active campus at Midland. All in all, the institution supports 27 varsity sports, 50-plus clubs and extracurricular activities, and more than 250 performance opportunities within the arts.

A 12-year mathematics instructor, Nelson has secured and served in countless leadership roles. In addition to being a team captain for the Hurricane Katrina Response Team, he is a Certified Athletic Administrator, a former School Improvement Steering Committee Chairman, and a member of the Nebraska Coaches Association. He holds a master’s in educational administration and leadership from Wayne State College.

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