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Nellis, Carlotta

Carlotta S.
Nellis
Year Inducted: 
1990
Carlotta Nellis
Highlights: 
  • 1940-1952: Housemother for Templin, Carruth, and Battenfeld Scholarship Halls
  • Prior dietician for Topeka hospitals
  • Encouraged scholarship halls to shift to residents cooking for themselves
  • Approximately 60 of her former students donated funds to support her until her death in 1981
  • KU scholarship endowed in her name 
Biography: 

Carlotta Nellis served as housemother for Templin, Carruth, and Battenfeld Scholarship Halls from 1940-52, where she influenced hundreds of KU students.

Prior to joining the staff of the University of Kansas, Ms. Nellis was a dietician for Topeka hospitals.  These skills were incorporated into her duties as a housemother and she quickly taught them to the male undergraduates of Templin Hall.  As Dr. Ken Stoner, former Director of the Department of Student Housing wrote, this inductee suggested to the then Dean of Men, Henry Werner, that the men could be trained to do the cooking and maintenance necessary for a successful cooperative living experience.  She arranged to have six to eight male students arrive a week or two before the semester began so they could work on their cooking abilities.

Not only did this exceptional woman teach the men to cook, but she also encouraged them to participate in the variety of functions offered by the University of Kansas.  L. Martin Jones, a former resident of Templin Hall stated, "Through urging and coaxing with flattering words, and by requiring escorts to accompany her to various university events, she was successful in getting men to attend concerts, plays, lectures, recitals, art exhibits, athletic events, and church services.  Thus, she broadened horizons, enriched their lives, and 'brought culture' to the scholarship hall men, most of whom did not have opportunities to enjoy these activities before coming to KU from small Kansas towns."

Ms. Nellis retired after 12 years of service to the University of Kansas, but she continued to give to those who were less fortunate than she.  This generosity was returned to her when she was in a nursing home and her finances were low.  Approximately 60 of her former students donated funds to support her until her death in 1981.  An endowed scholarship in her name has been established through the University of Kansas Endowment Association.

In the words of Betty Alderson, widow of former Dean of Men Don Alderson, "Carlotta Nellis helped create a living environment that made it possible for young people to grow and develop and learn in this University community."


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