Dr. Bob Nelson's ('54) life might have been very different if it had not been for his uncle, Rev. Frank Littlejohns (1918).


 Dr Bob Nelson“When my father died I had little prospect of going to University and certainly could not afford to do so, but my Uncle Frank persuaded me to apply for a Lord Beaverbrook Scholar­ship,” he says. “Without Uncle Frank’s encour­agement and pushing I am sure I never would have gone to university.”

Nelson completed a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and math at Mount A, then went on to medical school and became a neurologist and eventually head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Ottawa. He also met his wife, Margaret (’54), at Mount Allison. Margaret went on to a career in social work.

So when the Nelsons decided to make a gift to Mount Allison, they chose not only something that fit their own interests, but something that would honour Littlejohns, who graduated from Mount Allison with a theology degree.

“I was interested in leaving something for theol­ogy, ethics, or philosophy,” says Nelson, who has had a lifelong interest in philosophy and ethics, even completing a sabbatical in medical ethics at the University of Chicago and chairing the ethics committee at the University of Ottawa. “They all sort of merge at different points and I felt it was sort of a neglected area. There isn’t very much publicity for these departments.”

The Nelsons recently contributed $50,000 to create the Nelson-Littlejohns Award in Philoso­phy, Ethics, and Religion. The fund will support experiential learning opportunities for second and third-year students in philosophy and religious studies.

“This gift will provide the opportunity for students to match up their learning with life and see first-hand how ethics plays out in practical, contemporary situations,” says Dr. Andrew Wilson, head of the Department of Religious Studies. “The opportunities afforded by the Nelson-Littlejohns Award will occur partway through a degree program and this is also important as students will continue their studies informed by their experiences and the invaluable perspectives they provide.”

The first awards will be distributed in 2016-17.

Dr. Bob Nelson's ('54) life might have been very different if it had not been for his uncle, Rev. Frank Littlejohns (1918).