History of IU Housing

Alice M. Nelson

For almost five decades, Alice McDonald Nelson led housing and residential operations at Indiana University Bloomington throughout a constantly evolving campus landscape. Alice introduced student-forward measures that not only changed IU, but university housing across the country.

Alice first came to IU’s campus in 1920 on loan from University of Chicago, a determined and innovative woman in a male-dominated field. Her rapid success led to a 45-year career that saw IU Housing through the Great Depression, the enrollment boom after World War II, the breaking down of racial and gender barriers on campus, and decades of building projects. From her introduction of co-ed housing to IU (believed to be the first national co-ed experiment) to the creation of residence hall libraries, Nelson’s legacy continues to benefit residents on campus.

Today, the Nelson Administration Building houses the main administration offices of IU Housing, a reminder of Alice McDonald Nelson’s work and the Indiana University legacy of women in leadership.

Watch Alice McDonald Nelson: An Indiana University Legacy