Robert S. Nelsen
image of Dr. Robert S. Nelsen

Robert S. Nelsen was appointed Sacramento State's eighth president in March 2015.

His experience in public higher education spans nearly three decades, most of it spent in the University of Texas system. He was president of UT-Pan American from 2010 to 2014 and most recently served as special advisor to UT's executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

In 1989-90, Nelsen taught English at the University of Illinois at Chicago before joining the faculty of the University of Texas-Dallas, where he founded the creative writing program and served as its director. During his 18 years at UT-Dallas, he also was a professor of Literary and Aesthetic Studies, and served as vice provost.

In 2008-09, Nelsen was a professor of English and associate vice president for academic affairs at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. In 2010, he returned to the University of Texas system as the president of UT-Pan American. Among his proudest achievements was leading the effort to merge his university with the University of Texas-Brownsville to create the new University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, which has a medical school.

Nelsen is a prolific and award-winning short-story writer. His play, "We Bums," had a three-week run at Dallas' Deep Ellum Theater in 1995.

Among his many awards and honors, Nelsen was named the 2014 Man of the Year by the Rio Grande Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and received a Literacy Champion award from the South Texas Literacy Coalition in 2012.

Read President Nelsen's full biography.


Ph.D., Modern Literature, Modern Philosophy and Modern Political Theory, University of Chicago