E. Nelson Strother

Author: UTHSC

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Category: Featured | Medicine

2023 Honorary Alumni Council Member

Nelson Strother served the UTHSC College of Medicine for 35 years, beginning in 1985, and he is best known for his thoughtful, straightforward counsel, encouragement and support of thousands of students seeking admission to medical school. Under his leadership, over 5,000 medical students entered the College of Medicine, first participating in the White Coat Ceremony while their proud families looked on, during which he called them to the stage to receive their coats, symbolizing their commitment to the Hippocratic Oath.

Four years later, he would call them to the stage to receive their diplomas. Doctors all over the country recall how much it meant to them that Nelson knew their name the day they came to interview, each time they met him on campus, and then, no matter how difficult the name to pronounce, his confident baritone calling them to the stage to receive their diplomas on graduation day all while expressing his pride in their accomplishment.

Nelson served and worked with the Admissions Committee, Student Orientation, the White Coat Ceremony, and Parents Appreciation Day. Additionally, he served for five years in the UTHSC central Admissions Office before returning to the College of Medicine, where he continued to pursue his passion for excellence alongside the Admissions Committee in advising and selecting the best of the best students to pursue a career in medicine at UT. Nelson is quick to acknowledge his mentor Pat Wall and the entire Admissions team who played such a significant role in success of the department.

Prior to joining the UT College of Medicine, Nelson worked to empower the next generation of students at the Methodist School of Nursing and Girls, Inc. It was at Girls, Inc., that he ensured hundreds of disadvantaged high school students and adults enrolling in post-secondary educational programs had the necessary tools and financial aid to achieve their goals.

A native of Charlottesville, Virginia, Nelson attended East Carolina University on a football scholarship, where he was a three-year letterman and graduated with a double major in philosophy and psychology. He earned his MA in philosophy at the University of Memphis, where he also taught as an adjunct professor. Nelson is a member of Grace-St. Luke’s Church. He is married to Sue Harpole and has one daughter, Virginia.