The School of Public Policy community is saddened to share the news that longtime professor Robert “Bob” Nelson passed away on December 15 of natural causes.
Bob was a respected scholar with a wide variety of interests. He wrote on topics ranging from forest mismanagement to economic religion to public land rights. He joined the School of Public Policy in 1993 and taught courses in environmental policy, natural resources and other policy areas, in addition to policy analysis workshops.
As a prolific writer, Bob was known for his curiosity. He was constantly looking at new issues, and old issues, in new ways. In the classroom, he brought that same passion to students as he guided them through field-based policy exercises on fracking, climate policy, protecting the Chesapeake and other important topics.
He wrote ten books, including “Lutheranism and the Nordic Spirit of Social Democracy: A Different Protestant Ethic” (2017); “God? Very Probably: Five Rational Ways of Thinking about the Question of a God” (Cascade Books, 2015); “The New Holy Wars: Economic Religion versus Environmental Religion in Contemporary America” (Penn State University Press, 2010); “Private Neighborhoods and the Transformation of Local Government” (Urban Institute Press, 2005); “Economics as Religion: From Samuelson to Chicago and Beyond” (Penn State University Press, 2001); and “A Burning Issue: A Case for Abolishing the U.S. Forest Service” (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000).
Memories can be shared here. Donations can be made in Robert Nelson's name to the School of Public Policy Scholarship/Internship Fund to celebrate and honor his legacy.