Alumni / April 7, 2021

Nelson Writes His Next Chapter

Scott Nelson, MBA ’98

During a 22-year journalism career, Scott Nelson, MBA ’98, was able to help document some of this century’s most important stories. But in recent years, Nelson has focused on another major story—his own.

As a reporter for The Boston Globe, Nelson covered 9/11, the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the Olympic Games. He also contributed to the newspaper’s Spotlight Team investigation into sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church. The stories earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service in 2003 and were the basis for the Academy Award-winning movie “Spotlight.” It was an honor, Nelson says, to help document major historical events.

His experience as a Maryland Smith MBA, he says, made it all possible.

“One of the reasons The Boston Globe hired me was because I had financial acumen and expertise beyond what a typical reporter was likely to have,” Nelson says. “They were able to hire me and put me in the middle of significant financial services and financial industry coverage right away.”

In 2003, Nelson departed the Globe to return to his home state of Oregon and serve as The Oregonian’s deputy business editor. He went on to become the business editor, breaking news editor, online editor, Portland editor, suburban editor and, eventually, managing producer.

After 13 years with The Oregonian, Nelson made another career move, returning to his alma mater, Linfield College, in a marketing and communications role. He helped lead the institution’s conversion to Linfield University, managed the largest branding effort in its history, oversaw the opening of a second campus and led a rebuild of the university website.

It wasn’t a career move he saw coming when he first returned to Oregon. But after becoming more active as an alumnus, it was a move that made sense, he says.

“When the call came, it felt right. It was one of those moments where it checked my boxes and just clicked into place,” says Nelson, who now serves as Linfield University’s chief marketing officer and associate vice president for strategic communications.

“I feel grateful to be here with a great, growing team during a really important time in this institution's history. It has been a far easier transition out of the news business than I ever anticipated.”

In addition to supporting his undergraduate alma mater, Nelson also is committed to giving back to Smith. Despite living nearly 3,000 miles from College Park, Nelson proudly dons his Terp gear, remains active in the University of Maryland Alumni Association and volunteers with Smith Day celebrations.

Through his position at Linfield University, Nelson says, he has developed a greater appreciation for higher education and what it takes to create meaningful experiences for students.

“It's one thing when you're a student yourself, but being on the other side of the fence and really seeing all of the work that goes into it and all the things that need to happen for the students to have that experience—it makes you want to contribute and be a part of that.”

When it’s safe to do so again, he plans to return to Maryland Smith for a visit.

“I'm at a point in my life now where, once we’re post-pandemic, I’ll fly back for events and be a part of things increasingly in the future,” Nelson says. “I urge others to think about it as well, because it’s incredible how much of a difference one person can make.”

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Greg Muraski
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About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty master's, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.

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