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Kristine Nelson
Kristine Nelson

(08/23/1943 - 04/22/2012)

Dr. Kristine Nelson died peacefully on Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 after a long fight with cancer. Kristi received her BA from Stanford University, her MSW from Sacramento State University, and her PhD from the University of California Berkley in 1980. She joined the PSU School of Social Work in 1993 as a Professor of Social Work, in 2005 she was named Dean of the PSU School of Social Work. 


Her leadership was felt at all levels of the school through community service, teaching, and administration. Under her leadership the SSW implemented a Bachelors of Social Work program, added Child and Family Studies to undergraduate offerings, and expanded distance education dramatically. Kristi’s leadership was also critical in the process of moving the home of the SSW to the new Academic and Student Recreation Center. She was a tireless advocate for Social Work within the University System, as well as within state and national networks. 

In 2010 Kristi received the Lifetime Recognition Award from  NASW-Oregon. Kristi was nationally recognized for her rigorous research-based work on family preservation and child neglect. She believed deeply that children and families are best-served by building strong community supports. She saw child welfare in the context of social justice and evidence-based practice. Early in her career she worked in child welfare in Harlem and carried in her heart a deep understanding of the demands of social work and the courage of people who do it. She was a child welfare historian and understood that our very best practices are bound by the limited view of our point in time, and will be replaced as our understanding evolves. 

Kristi was a woman of courage who made many contributions to our school and the world that she believed in. She was a passionate advocate for social justice, she enjoyed hiking, travel, meditation, and living well. She is survived by her daughter Katryn Adams, and her partner Steve Richardson. A memorial will take place Sunday, May 20th at 3:00 p.m. at PSU's Lincoln Hall.