Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University Honors Life and Service of Dr. Derrick E. Nelson

November 14, 2019

Pictured from left to right: Sheronda Braker, Dr. Nelson’s fiancé; Morgan K. Nelson, Dr. Nelson’s daughter; Sherry Gardner-Braker, fiance’s mother; Juanita Nelson, Dr. Nelson’s mother; Willie Nelson, Dr. Nelson’s father; Bonita Stanton, M.D., founding dean, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University; and the Honorable Marvin T. Braker; fiancée’s father.

Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University memorialized the life and service of beloved New Jersey High School Principal Dr. Derrick E. Nelson during a dedication ceremony where they unveiled the Dr. Derrick E. Nelson Student Life Services at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.  

“We are proud to honor Dr. Nelson’s life of selfless giving and education,” said Dr. Bonita Stanton, founding dean of the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University. “Dr. Nelson leaves behind a remarkable legacy as an educator and veteran. He is a beloved member of the Seton Hall family and we are deeply honored to memorialize his name at the Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine.”

The Dr. Derrick E. Nelson Student Life Services at the Hackensack School of Medicine memorializes Dr. Nelson’s life of service to his country and community. Dr. Nelson served as a lifelong educator and school administrator. He earned a Master of Education in Administration and Supervision degree from St. Peter’s College and his Doctorate in Education Administration from Seton Hall University. He began his career in education as an elementary school teacher, moved into school administration and most recently served as the beloved principal of Westfield High School. In addition to his service in education, Dr. Nelson served his country for over 20 years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Throughout his distinguished military career, Dr. Nelson served as the Chemical Operations Specialist for the 411th Chemical Company, New Jersey. In 2013, he was deployed to Kuwait for a year as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Specialist.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine is committed to ensuring tomorrow’s doctors deliver the highest quality, human-centered care, demonstrating compassion and empathy to the people they serve, with a focus on understanding the role of community and its connection to one’s health and wellbeing. “Dr. Nelson embodied the mission of the school of medicine in every way. He demonstrated great empathy for the human condition and a humility of service that we all so deeply admire,” said Dean Stanton.

The Dr. Derrick Nelson Student Life Services is the social, emotional and spiritual center for student life. The location, which now bears Dr. Nelson’s name, offers students and faculty a place to socialize, relax and interact. “It is so befitting that we are naming this space after Dr. Nelson – a man who truly personified the characteristics we hope to instill in the next generation of caregivers. May his example of selflessness, compassion and generosity be an inspiration to all the young women and men who grace these halls. And may his legacy of service live on forever in our hearts and minds,” added Dean Stanton.