Dr. Michael A. Nelson

nelson crop1Professor of History
Department Chair
Office location: Neville Hall 106
Office phone: 864-833-8376
Office email: mnelson@presby.edu

Research fields: U.S. Diplomatic and Military History, Cold War, and Vietnam

Teaching fields: Modern World, Modern U.S., 1960’s America, Diplomatic, and Military History.

I came to PC in 2000 after finishing my Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas and teaching for a year at the University of Louisville. While my area of focus was American Diplomatic and Military History, specifically American involvement in Vietnam, over the years that has broadened to the cultural aspects of 20th-Century America. I am continuing to work on a biography of Roger Hilsman, who, in case you didn’t know, fought in World War II, was an architect of Cold War planning in the 1950s, and then joined the Kennedy administration as a policy advisor for Southeast Asia. After Kennedy’s death in 1963, Hilsman moved to academia and became a vocal critic of Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam War.

The major reason I came to PC was that I wanted something akin to my liberal arts undergraduate experience at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. There I majored in History and Social Studies Education. After graduation, I got my M.A. in Policy History at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and then spent four years at Arkansas.

On a personal side, I have lived in a number of places throughout my life – Illinois, Ohio, Connecticut, Minnesota, Kentucky, Arkansas, and South Carolina. I met my wife Susan in Ohio. Originally from the Finger Lakes region in New York, she is a speech pathologist in the local school district. We have two wonderful boys, Patrick and Shane, as well as identical twin girls, Sidney and Kelly. As for my hobbies, I am an avid college football fan (go Hogs go!), love to travel, read, listen to music, and play with my kids.