MARQUETTE, Mich. – Frederick Nelson, a Northern Michigan University alumnus and geography professor at the University of Delaware, has created an endowment in honor of his former NMU geography professor, Fillmore C.F. Earney.

          The endowment will support geographical education and scholarship, particularly assisting student involvement in research and preparation for graduate study. The geography department can determine the specific use of the endowment every year, making it very flexible.

          Nelson took his first geography course from Earney in 1970. “I took a course on the geography of the Soviet Union, team taught with one of the political science professors [Fred Barry],” said Nelson. “One of Dr. Earney’s specialties was the Soviet Union. I began to work in the USSR during the 1980s, but that class was where I first started learning about the geography of that area.”

          Nelson has been with the University of Delaware Geography Department since 1997. He obtained a master’s in geography from Michigan State University in 1979 and a Ph.D. in geography from the University of Michigan in 1982. He has held positions in geography at Rutgers University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Nelson said that Earney, who taught at NMU for 30 years (1966-1996), provided the tools he needed for graduate school and beyond.

          “As a senior, I took a course in geographical research methods with him. I learned about information gathering and management, and how to hone my writing and hypothesis-testing skills. That course gave me a competitive edge, even over folks from elite universities. Years later when I began teaching a research methods course myself, even though details and specific tools had changed, I modeled that course after the one I took from Earney years before,” said Nelson.

          “I felt honored,” Earney said regarding the endowment. “Maybe even flattered, but I don’t want to use the word ‘flatter’ because it wasn’t exactly that. I knew he truly respected me. I hope it will help some worthy student or students that need help and have some serious scholarly ambitions of one kind or another, whether to be an academician, or go into government, or business.”

          To contribute to the endowment, contact the NMU Foundation online at www.nmu.edu/foundation, via e-mail at foundatn@nmu.edu, or by calling 906-227-2627.


Prepared By
Matthew Schneider