Greener Beginnings

Written by: 
Erin Cristales
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ike many native Dentonites, Jane Nelson (’75) chose to enroll in her hometown university. As an elementary education major, she knew she could expect a stellar learning experience from an institution founded as a teacher’s college. What she didn’t anticipate was that nearly 40 years after graduating and moving to the Houston area, much of her family would make the decision she once did — venturing to Denton to earn UNT degrees in fields ranging from business to music to higher education.

Members of the Nelson family at a Mean Green tailgate
Clockwise from left: Jane Nelson, Scott Nelson ('72), Joshua Ferman ('08 M.M.), Amy Ferman ('12 M.Ed.), Brant Webb ('04) and Carrie Webb ('04).

But UNT was already shaping up to be a family affair — Nelson’s brothers Pat (’70) and George Jenson (’73) both received business degrees just a few years before Jane graduated. It was on campus in 1971 that Jane met her future husband and fellow education major, Scott Nelson (’72), at a fraternity party. Scott held office positions in Kappa Sigma and Jane was a member of the Zeta Tau Alpha, which was famous, particularly around that time, for its sorority sister, the late Phyllis George.

“We had a great time at North Texas,” Jane says. “We made so many memories and lots of good friends.”

After the couple married in 1973, they lived in San Saba, Denton and Kilgore, and welcomed the births of their daughters Amy (Nelson) Ferman (’12 M.Ed.) and Carrie (Nelson) Webb (’04). The family ultimately settled in the Houston suburb of Kingwood, and though she lived far from Denton, Carrie decided she wanted to attend UNT.

“There’s such a sense of community here, in terms of the school and with Denton itself,” says Carrie, who met her future spouse and fellow business major Brant Webb (’04) in a UNT political science course.

Amy, though, had decided to attend Stephen F. Austin as an undergraduate, partly because it was closer to home. But in 2001, she was offered a job with UNT as a service representative in the Registrar’s Office, and now serves as associate director for employer development and outreach in the Career Center. In 2009, she enrolled in UNT’s College of Education to pursue a master’s degree in higher education.

“A lot of the students who were getting their master’s degrees were fresh out of undergrad, so even though I was 30, I felt 50,” says Amy, whose spouse, Joshua Ferman (’08 M.M.), earned a Master of Music in saxophone performance.

With nearly the entire immediate family now comprised of Mean Green grads, the Nelsons and their offspring often reunite for on-campus activities. They’re all basketball and football fans, and Carrie and Jane — both Zetas — along with Scott and Brant (a former Delta Sigma president), frequently run into old sorority and fraternity friends. And now that Amy and Joshua have a 4-year-old son, and Carrie and Brant have a 1 1/2-year-old daughter, the family’s Mean Green legacy could grow even larger.

“I guess,” laughs Carrie, “the grandchildren have no choice about where they’re going.”

 

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