Dennis N. Nielsen, Ph.D. ColorDennis N. Nielsen, of Altoona, Wis., will be recognized by Winona State University with the Distinguished Faculty and Staff Award Friday, Oct. 24, as a part of the university’s Homecoming celebration.

Nielsen has had a distinguished career in higher education, with 28 of those years at Winona State University. He earned his bachelor’s in geology from Gustavus Adolphus, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in geology from the University of North Dakota.

During his tenure at WSU, Nielsen served as a faculty member, chairperson in the Geology Department, Dean of the College of Science and Engineering, Interim Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Vice President for Academic Affairs. He played a key leadership role in securing legislative approval of the Composite Materials Engineering program and was instrumental in securing the funding that led to the establishment of the Miller Brothers School of Engineering and Stark Hall. In 2001 Nielsen received the WSU President’s Distinguished Award, one of only four to receive this honor.

Following his retirement in 1998 from Winona State, Nielsen continued his service as interim president at Metropolitan State University and Southwest State University.