Summer 2016

Stepping up to the plate

Photo courtesy University of minnesota athletics

Loyalty defines Charlie Nelson in many ways.

He’s loyal to his hometown, to his alma mater, and to those who have helped him through life. That sense of responsibility has shaped Nelson—the third-gen- eration president of KLN Family Brands in Perham, Minnesota—as a businessperson and as a supporter of Gopher Athletics.

To this day, Nelson’s name is sprinkled throughout Gopher baseball’s record book. His 93 career stolen bases are still the most ever by any Gopher, while his 156 career walks and 224 career runs both rank second.

“I was very, very fortunate to play for [Gopher baseball coach] John Anderson,” he says. “I don’t know if I would have made it that first year or two without him being there for me through some ups and downs.”

That relationship with Anderson—the man Nelson feels is “a very good coach [but] a better person” —has continued since Nelson graduated and went on to play minor league baseball for six years.

It’s also been a guiding influence in his decision to make significant gifts to major projects that are reshaping the athletics department. He started by making a gift to help build the new Siebert Field, which opened in 2014, and continued with support for the new indoor facility on the stadium’s southeast corner.

He’s also given to the new Athletes Village, which will benefit all Gopher student-athletes when it’s completed.

“I absolutely loved my experience at the University of Minnesota,” says Nelson. “We look forward to doing more.”