I was saddened to learn today that my good friend and colleague Kris Nelson died in his sleep last night. Kris, who worked for the University of Minnesota's Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) for many years, taught a capstone workshop on economic and community development with me for Humphrey School grad students each spring semester. Kris who was CURA's "neighborhood guy" always handled the community development side, while I focused on economic development.
I always enjoyed Kris' lecture about his community development efforts in the Whittier Neighborhood during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Last fall, Kris joined me and Burke Murphy in teaching a new course on economic competitiveness and industry clusters. We enjoyed teaching together and learning along with the students on their team projects.
Kris touched many people in his life. He had a huge network and always seemed to know who was doing what in the community. Kris could always find the right speaker to talk about development issues for our class.
This is a great loss for our community. Kris was a great friend and I will miss him dearly.