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July 23, 2013

Hall of Fame welcomes class

NORMAN — The Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society, established in 1991 as a nonprofit to support awareness of higher education’s role in Oklahoma history, recently welcomed the class of 2013 into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame.

Inductees include Nancy Mergler and Donna J. Nelson, both of the University of Oklahoma Norman campus.

The formal induction ceremony and banquet will be 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at the Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City.

Mergler serves as the university senior vice president and provost. Mergler has responsibility for intellectual standards; institutional planning and budgeting; and the recruitment, retention and development of faculty and students.

Additionallly, she is responsible for program development and review, enrollment management, academic policies and procedures, and personnel actions involving faculty, students and academic support staff.

Serving as provost, Mergler implemented a 10-year plan for increasing library resources, has overseen the recruitment and hiring of more than 80 endowed chair and professorship positions, added more than 50 additional tenured or tenure track faculty on the Norman campus, tripled funding of the general education budget and implemented higher admission standards for undergraduates.

Nelson is a professor of chemistry at the University of Oklahoma. Nelson specializes in organic chemistry, which she both researches and teaches. Nelson’s career has focused on five primary areas of research generally categorized in two areas: scientific research and America’s scientific readiness.

Within scientific research, Nelson’s areas have been mechanistic patterns in alkene addition reactions and single wall carbon nanotubes (SWCNT).

Under America’s scientific readiness, she focuses on science education, which includes classroom innovations and correcting organic chemistry textbook inaccuracies; ethnic and gender diversity among highly ranked science departments of research universities; and improving the presentation of science and images of scientists to the public, such as serving as a science advisor to the AMC television show “Breaking Bad.”

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