Nelson Kilmer Science Scholarship established in honor of longtime instructor

Longtime Hesston College science faculty and staff member Nelson Kilmer’s 46 years of dedicated service to the college is being honored with the establishment of the Nelson Kilmer Science Scholarship by his children Ron Kilmer (Glendale, Ariz.) and Krista (Kilmer) Nelson (Shawnee, Kan.) and their families. Kilmer retired from his service at Hesston College in May 2014.

Kilmer began his teaching career at Hesston Academy, the college’s high school, in 1963, and remained in that role until 1965 when he left to pursue graduate studies. He returned to again teach science and math courses at Hesston College in 1970. Aside from teaching, which he did for all 46 years of his service, Kilmer also served as associate academic dean for seven years and director of finance and chief financial officer for 19 years. Kilmer also served the college as a leader in academic assessment and analysis in recent years, and as chair of the science department and chair of the natural science division at various times.

“This scholarship is a testament to the work Nelson has done at Hesston College over the years,” said Dr. Sandra Zerger, academic dean and vice president of Academics. “He has been one of the more innovative faculty in terms of trying new pedagogy and using new technology in his classes. By analyzing institutional research, Nelson helped faculty corporately improve student learning, and he was also instrumental in adding new articulation agreements for students interested in engineering and engineering technology.”

Kilmer especially enjoyed teaching physics classes and had a particular interest in solar energy that he shared with his students every year. Students in his Physics II classes did hands-on projects with solar energy each year, including building a solar-powered golf cart, bicycles, solar cookers and solar power installations on private homes and the campus physics classroom.

The Nelson Kilmer Science Scholarship will be awarded to students who displays an aptitude and passion for pursuing a career in physics, engineering or the sciences.

To contribute to the Nelson Kilmer Science Scholarship, contact the Hesston College Development Office at 866-437-7866 or visit