Andy Nelson is the chaplain at Morningside. He came to the Morningside area initially because of a position for his wife Dr. Jessica Pleuss. While she worked at Morningside, he went and worked at the University of South Dakota as their campus minister. When his predecessor Kathy Martin retired, the position of director of campus ministry was offered to him.
Pastor Nelson said that they reason he chose religion as his profession is because he grew up going to church, and being a person of faith. He ended up studying religion and political science at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Towards the end of his college career he still had questions about his faith, and about faith in general, so he went to seminary to help answer those questions, and use what he learned to help people. He said, “Christianity has something important to say to the world, something important to say to the world about our belief in humanity, something important to say about our place in helping people in the world.”
When asked about what his favorite part about helping campus ministries has been, he said talking to students. Students come in and think that they are interrupting something important, and he tries to convey that they are what’s important. For the most part, he talks to them about where they are going in life. “I’m somebody who, my job is to listen,” he said.
When asked if he would be in favor of mandatory convocation, Pastor Nelson laughed and said, “Yes! Bring it back!” He said that it would have to be different than it used to be. He said he’d probably try to make it more about service than worship. He likes Into the Streets, how Morningside goes out and paints an image of the college.