Emily and Jordy Nelson with their sons, Brooks, left, and RoyalEmily and Jordy Nelson with their sons, Brooks, left, and Royal

Emily (Rothlisberger) Nelson ’06

Basketball first put Bethel “on the radar” of Emily Rothlisberger, who grew up in the small Kansas town of Leonard-ville. “I was being recruited to play, [and] I knew basketball was something I wanted to pursue,” she says. “Once I visited the beautiful campus and met some professors and other girls on the team, it was an easy decision for me to choose Bethel as my college home.”

In addition to basketball, Emily was a leader in Bethel’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter. She graduated in December 2006 with a B.S. in elementary education. She substitute-taught for a semester and then taught kindergarten for a year before getting married and moving to Green Bay, Wisconsin.

“Because of my husband’s job, I am blessed to be able to stay home with my kids and just be a mom, so we joke that I got to retire at the ripe old age of 23,” she says. Emily’s husband, Jordy Nelson, just happens to play professional football for the Green Bay Packers (in his ninth season as a wide receiver).

Emily recalls from her days as a basketball player that “one of the highs of being involved in a sport is the way the students and fans rally around your team, and the energy and enthusiasm that come from that support. It’s an important fuel for the team and the individual players to compete and work together to succeed in the goal of winning.

“I feel that Bethel extends this vibrant and vital enthusiasm—a rallying around each other—in all areas of the school. Whether it is basketball, the Concert Choir, the nursing program or Service Day, the people who make Bethel College the place that it is always hold each other up, cheer each other on and applaud each other’s successes. This intense interest in all aspects and avenues of Bethel College led us to give financially to the athletic program.”

Emily also says the Bethel emphasis on service is important in her life. “Taking this to heart, our family enjoys being involved in our communities.... Aside from supporting Bethel athletics, we have the Nelson Family Community Foundation. We hold a benefit every year through my mother-in-law’s restaurant, Nelson’s Landing, to raise money to help families in need in the areas surrounding our hometown of Leonardville.

“We also are involved in Young Life Green Bay, an organization that works with middle and high school-age kids [to give] them Christian adults who, through clubs, camps and mentorship, spend time with them, love on them and teach them about Jesus Christ. I am also involved in the Packer Women’s Association, which leads to various opportunities for serving.... I specifically head up a group that helps a local organization called the Breast Cancer Family Foundation in their fundraising efforts. The BCFF focuses on educating middle and high school students about the importance of preventing cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle. We also enjoy volunteering through our church and supporting various other worthy causes.”