Gaylord Nelson

Above: Video about Gaylord Nelson produced for the 2004 Wisconsin Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Awards.

Gaylord Anton Nelson - 35th Governor of Wisconsin, a United States Senator and principal founder of Earth Day; was born June 4, 1916 in Clear Lake, Wisconsin. In 1939, he majored in Political Science at what is now San Jose State University in San Jose, California. In 1942, he received an LLB degree from the University of Wisconsin Law School in Madison, was admitted to the bar, and practiced law. He also served in the United States Army, seeing action in the Okinawa campaign during World War II.

In 1948, Nelson was elected to the Wisconsin State Senate. He remained a member until 1958. That year, Nelson was elected governor of Wisconsin, and he served two two-year terms before successfully running for the U.S. Senate in 1962.

He served three consecutive terms as a United States Senator from 1963 to 1981. In 1963 he convinced President John F. Kennedy to take a national speaking tour to discuss conservation issues. Senator Nelson founded Earth Day, which began as a teach-in about environmental issues on April 22, 1970. Nelson also sponsored the federal legislation that established the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

After Nelson's 1980 defeat for re-election, he became counselor for The Wilderness Society in January 1981.

Nelson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in September 1995 in recognition of his environmental work.

For more information on Gaylord Nelson, visit Wikipedia.

You can also visit Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day or, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Buy books about Gaylord Nelson and Earth Day at Amazon. (Click on image below to browse.)


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Famous Wisconsinites

Gaylord Nelson
Wisconsin Governor, U.S. Senator from Wisconsin and Founder of Earth Day.

Sen. Gaylord Nelson.

Above: Gov. Gaylord Nelson "Welcome to Clear Lake, Wisconsin" address.

Above: As part of a 1990 Earth Day event, Senator Gaylord Nelson is interviewed by Dr. Randy Champeau, Director of the Wisconsin Center for Environmental Education. Senator Nelson discusses the impact of Earth Day and the events that occurred after the implementation of Earth Day.

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