Professor Emeritus Selected for South Dakota Hall of Fame

SIOUX FALLS – For life-long dedication to education, Augustana Professor Emeritus Dr. V. Ronald Nelson has been chosen for induction into the South Dakota Hall of Fame.

Dr. Nelson is one of 13 individuals chosen for induction from 84 nominations. Induction ceremonies will be held September 19-20 at the Ramkota Best Western in Aberdeen.

Born in Webster, Dr. Nelson attended grade school at Ortley District 13, and high school in Waubay. He graduated magna cum laude from Augustana in 1944, serving as a teaching assistant in physics, mathematics, and aviation while an undergraduate. In 1946 he accepted an appointment as instructor in physics and mathematics at Augustana. During a distinguished teaching career he served as chair of the Physics Department for 20 years.

In the 1960s Augustana operated the largest aviation ground school in the upper Midwest. It was directed by Dr. Nelson and was the only FAA approved and certified college aviation ground school in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, and Wyoming. In 1974 Augustana was selected as a test center for all aviation ratings and Dr. Nelson was named director.

Dr. Nelson was the designer and builder of the first heart stimulator (defibrillator) used at McKennan Hospital and later at Sioux Valley Hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital (Mitchell), and the Community Hospital (Parkston). He was a key figure in designing and installing the electronic system at Zip Feed Mills in Sioux Falls. Completed in 1956, the building was billed as the “world’s most modern feed mill.” He also built the first transmitting equipment for Augustana’s radio station, KAUR-FM.

Dr. Nelson has contributed greatly to improving the quality of life in the region through the application of science teaching at Augustana.


Contact: Bruce Conley
Director of News Information
Phone: (605) 274-5526
Fax: (605) 274-4903