As TERC celebrates more than 50 years in STEM education, we offer special gratitude to our founder, Arthur H. Nelson, who passed away on November 28, 2015 at the age of 92.

Nelson was a noted entrepreneur, founding over twenty companies in the Boston area during a period of 65 years. Passionate about innovation, technology, and education, he viewed the establishment of TERC in 1965 as one of his major accomplishments. He remained committed to TERC, leading the organization in its early days and serving as Chairman of the Board of Trustees until 2013.

Nelson founded TERC in the summer of 1965 after many conversations with his colleagues at a technical conference at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He envisioned TERC as a research and development laboratory that could transform technical education to meet the demands of a changing economy and workplace. His vision was grounded by his own early work experiences, particularly while at the Rad Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology during World War II, where he worked on the development of high frequency radar. He was, in fact, one of the first people to track an airplane with high-power microwave radar, a feat he accomplished standing atop a roof at MIT, beaming the radar off a plane flying overhead by moving the equipment by hand. The educational value of a hands on, experimental experience stayed with him as he and his colleagues began planning TERC’s mission and approach to technical education.

TERC’s lasting impact on STEM education and its current position in the field of education innovation serve as a testament to Arthur’s original vision fifty years ago and are part of his legacy. Thank you Arthur.