Jeff Nelson ’83 G’92 (left) and his husband Paul Mahan (right) explore the natural environment in the southern California desert, where they spend their winters.

The Department of Geology would like to say thanks to a champion of earth sciences education at UVM, Jeff Nelson ’83 G’92.  In recognition of the value and life-long importance of the instruction that Jeff received at UVM, he and his husband Paul Mahan have established the Nelson-Mahan Green & Gold Professorship in Earth Sciences.

After earning a BS in geology and MS in civil engineering at UVM, Jeff went on to found Pioneer Environmental Associates, LLC, a Vermont-based firm specializing in water resource assessment, planning, and permitting. He earned a reputation as a leading water resources scientist and expert in environmental regulations in the state of Vermont.  He credits the strong foundational instruction in earth sciences that he received at UVM as contributing substantially to his successful professional career.

“The broad-based curriculum in the College of Arts and Sciences provided outstanding opportunities to develop life-long skills that I rely on to this day.” 

And he’s leading the way to ensure that UVM students will have similar opportunities in the earth sciences, both now and in the future. Jeff says that continued study in these fields is crucial to our success as a society. It enables us to assess and plan for the impacts that climate change may have on things like infrastructure, natural resources, and the places we live, work, and play.

He hopes his gift will inspire others who are interested in supporting earth sciences education at the University as part of the SOLVE campaign.

For more information on SOLVE, visit