Veneta Nielsen

Veneta Nielsen (1909–1998)
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, Collection 315, Box 3, Folder 3.)

“Education makes action more reasonable, and creative effort more shareable.”

—Veneta Nielsen, The Herald Journal, May 19, 1980

[Click image to enlarge.]
(Utah State University, Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections & Archives, MSS Collection 315, Box 3, Folder 3.)

Forced Retirement

Veneta graduated from USU with a bachelor’s degree in 1940 and began teaching in the USU English Department in 1946. She taught for over thirty years. In 1974, Veneta reached sixty-five years old and was forced to retire. One newspaper article noted that this was “four years after the usual retirement age.”[3] Veneta did not let her age hold her back from continuing in her chosen profession, but university rules prevented Veneta from continuing her teaching career. She felt that mandatory retirement was “destroying the dignity of the teaching profession” and argued that professors “are at their best at 65” because they have had years to develop their “knowledge and ability.” She hoped that the policy would change because so many students could benefit from the wisdom of such professors. Forced retirement, however, did not prevent Veneta from continuing her work in education.

[3] Simon, “The Poet.”

“Poetry can be a tricky betrayal of darkness in the soul, but at its best and worthiest it is REVELATION, revelation from the wells of feeling and intuition to the intellect for its growth in understanding of self and otherness.”

—Veneta Nielsen, AAUW program, USU, April 17, 1984