National Make a Difference Day


October 24th is “National Make a Difference Day”, and we thought it was the perfect opportunity to highlight one of our clients whose life truly conveys this.

Betty M Nelson has a vivid memory, as a three-year-old, sitting on an old-fashioned glider on the family’s front porch next to her mom.  As her mom read the Sunday comics aloud, she had the realization that her mom was reading the print on the pages.  This was a magical ah-ha moment, and she was eager to go to school; ready to read and learn and achieve.

Betty received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Sociology, not following the protocol of her hometown peers in the 50’s, who were mostly expected to become teachers or nurses.  She went on to receive her Master’s degree in Student Personnel Administration.  She cites several women who taught her how to be strong, assertive, ethical, hold high standards, and maintain her integrity; Betty acknowledges these mentors had enormous impact on who she became.

During the 28 years she served on the staff of the Office of the Dean of Students at Purdue University, she encouraged women students to dream big and use their potential.  Her pursuit of equality for all, helped make the Purdue campus accessible for students with disabilities by eliminating architectural barriers and developing special services for students with impaired sight, hearing, and learning disabilities.  All these changes occurred with the advice and dedication of students, faculty, and university staff.  She helped create The Disability Resource Center &  established the Student Leadership Development Program, both of which continue.

The joy of retirement has been to become more engaged in the Lafayette community and to participate in the area’s “Good to Great” effort.  Betty served in leadership roles with the Community Foundation of Greater Lafayette, the Lafayette Rotary Club, the Lafayette YWCA, Leadership Lafayette, the Chamber Music Society, & currently with the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra (even though she can’t read music or hum on key).

Betty is respected by others in her profession at the national level.  She served in a leadership capacity in both the Indiana and the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, where she made friends for life.

Her accomplishments have been acknowledged with awards and honors that include the Sagamore of the Wabash, the Amelia Earhart Award, Purdue’s Helen B. Schleman Gold Medallion Award; the Distinguished Service Award from the Indiana Association for Women Deans, Administrators and Counselors; the Special Boilermaker Award from the Purdue Alumni Association; the YWCA’s Salute to Women Award in Education, and the Very Important Woman Award from Purdue’s Association for Women Students. Nelson was national advisor to the Intercollegiate Association for Women Students; and was on the Indiana Governor’s Task Force on the Employment of the Handicapped.  Recently, Betty was tapped as an Honorary Girl Scout (and didn’t have to go to camp!).

As in the words of Nelson Mandela, “We can change the world and make it a better place.  It is in your hands to make a difference.”    It is very apparent that Betty M. Nelson has made a huge difference.  What will YOU do today to make a difference?  #GutweinGroup #Indianapolis #MakeADiffference CRN202506-2476293

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