Barry Nelson Scholarship

Barry Earl Nelson was born on June 18, 1949 in Billings, Montana. After graduating in 1971 with a Bachelor's of Business Administration degree from Stephen F. Austin State University, where he was an active member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Barry began his commercial real estate career in Houston with Gerald D. Hines Interests. In the early 1980s, he moved his young family to Dallas and began his development career, delivering many class "A" office projects in several cities across the country, including some of the most iconic office buildings in Dallas, including Fountain Place, Spectrum Center, and 8080 Central, among others.

In 2013, Barry was personally selected and appointed by Texas Governor Rick Perry to serve on the Board of Regents of Stephen F. Austin State University, a position for which he had great passion, pride and commitment. In addition to serving as Board Secretary and a member of the Executive Committee, Barry was also Chairman of the Building and Grounds Committee. Under his leadership, the university broke ground on the Cole STEM Building, a $46.4 million landmark educational facility. Additionally, Barry served as an executive advisory board member of the SFA Nelson Rusche College of Business. Not only did Barry serve SFA so admirably, he also remained a proud and devoted member of his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta.  

“Barry remains one of the very good guys. I had known him since the early 60's in Billings, Montana. He was a great friend and Brother.”  Stuart D. Thompson #136

“Barry was a good man and gave a lot back to his community.” Kenneth J Peltier #167

“I admired and respected Barry since my days of pledgeship. He was one of those guys that just makes an endearing mark on your lifetime memories!”  Jerry Russell #196

“Barry was my friend and a great Brother. He was the kind of guy that would give you the shirt off his back. He will be greatly missed.”  Ray Driver #218

"Barry was a remarkable man, and I was honored to be his friend and fraternity brother. He gave so much to his family, friendships, school and community. And, there was so much more he planned to do. It’s so fitting that his memory be honored by a legacy scholarship fund in his name. I will forever fondly remember my friendship with Barry."  Bill Livesay #135

"Barry was a great man with integrity and honesty. He will be missed."  Bill Pike #142

"To me Barry was the consummate Phi. He was not only a very good business man, but also a great father, husband and an awesome Regent. All the while remaining extremely proud of his fraternity, Phi Delta Theta."  Ken Schaefer #140  SFA Board of Regents

Barry is survived by his wife, Marla Nelson. It is the request of the Nelson Family that you consider a donation to the Barry Nelson Memorial Scholarship at SFA. Online gifts can be made at An individual can simply click on the link and be redirected to the Office of Development where a contribution amount can be entered. Gifts by check should be made payable to the SFASU Foundation. Please include a note that states the gift is in memory of Regent Nelson. Mail checks to the following address:

SFASU Foundation

PO Box 6092, SFA Station

Nacogdoches, TX 75962-6092

For contributions by phone, call (936) 468-5406.

The principle goal of our donation site is to help raise at least $50,000. If the fund reaches $100,000, the foundation will be able to provide two scholarships per year to SFA students. One scholarship will be awarded to a member in good standing of the Texas Eta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta fraternity and the other to a worthy business major from the Rusche College of Business.


This website and its administrator have nothing to do with the collection or administration of any funds related to the Barry Nelson Memorial Scholarship. Any money collected is under the secure control of the SFASU Foundation.