Donald Nelson Award for Outstanding International Student Support

Molly Heidemann and Donald Nelson pose with 2019 award winners

Donald Nelson served in the Office of International Programs at Miami University for 42 years before retiring as Administrator Emeritus in 2003. He started his career in 1961 as Adviser to Foreign Students, a position that evolved over the years until he became Director of International Education, supervising an office responsible for international student advising and admissions, study abroad advising, the administration of student exchanges, and the distribution of funds to support faculty engaged in international travel and research projects. Nelson remains an active member of the Oxford community and an advocate for international education to this day. This award honors his legacy and will be announced annually in November during International Education Week.

Award Criteria

This award is designated for Miami University staff (classified or unclassified) who exemplify the following

  • Demonstrating a welcoming, inclusive, and supportive attitude toward international students
  • Going above and beyond to assist international students
  • Advocating for international students’ needs

All students, staff, and faculty (except for Global Initiatives staff) can nominate any staff member who works at Miami.

Please note that faculty (professors/instructors), student workers, and employees from Global Initiatives, International Admissions, American Culture and English, and the English Language Center are NOT eligible for this award.

The winner of the Donald Nelson Award for Outstanding International Student Support will be announced during each year's International Education Week (mid November).

Nominate a Staff Member

Nominations are no longer being accepted.

Past Award Winners


Debra White, Administrative Assistant, Department of Geography


Lucrita Osman, Food Service Assistant, Housing, Dining, Recreation & Business Services


Aaron Bixler, Senior Associate Director, International Enrollment

Jennifer Thach, International Admissions Coordinator, Graduate School