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In Memoriam | Summer 2017

In Memoriam: 1990s

Notices sorted by graduation date

Toni Michele Nelson (Col ’90 L/M) of Asheville, North Carolina, died April 11, 2016. At the University, she was an Echols scholar and worked with friends to found the Student Alliance for Virginia’s Environment, a Grounds-wide recycling program. Ms. Nelson spent her entire career focused on what she saw as the central issue of our time: mitigating human impact on our ecosystem. She approached this problem in a wide range of ways, helping governments, businesses, schools and foundations to design, implement and manage programs to limit environmental damage and improve sustainability in the U.S., Central and South America, the Caribbean and China. Concerned with environmental issues since high school, Ms. Nelson visited Costa Rica as a teenager, beginning her love of the rainforest and Latin American cultures. She also earned master’s degrees from the University of Oregon and the University of Miami. Fluent in Spanish and Portuguese, she lived and worked in many different places including Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Miami, Key West, New York and Arizona, but she always loved Kentucky. Ms. Nelson was also a talented pianist, winning prizes as a student. She became fascinated with South American dance while she lived in Colombia; she always found the best salsa clubs wherever she lived. She traveled extensively in Europe, Asia and had a special love of Japan. Recently she had been visiting Italy and was becoming proficient in Italian. Ms. Nelson was a vegetarian for environmental reasons and because she loved animals. Survivors include her parents, her brother, a niece and nephew and her cat, Lucky.