William Edward Nelson came to the presidency of Pacific Union College in 1921 as an experienced and successful educational administrator. He had done graduate work at the University of Nebraska, been a department head at Walla Walla College, and had served for six years as president of Southwestern Junior College in Texas.
Like President Irwin before him, President Nelson surrounded himself with a strong and dedicated faculty. He was also successful at persuading students to reach high standards, and he quickly gained the support of church and Conference leaders.
Under President Nelsonís leadership, the college gained educational accreditation, the first Seventh-day Adventist college to be accorded such standing. Serving as both president and business manager of the college, he was probably most famous in the field of institutional finance. The standing of the college was enhanced by his ability to save money for future needs, and the material growth of the campus testified to his tireless application to the art of getting the most for the schoolís money.
President Nelsonís tenure at Pacific Union College ended in 1934, with his election to be the world director of Seventh-day Adventist education.