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First Year Connections

Nelson DeMille

’70, BA in History and Political Science
Bestselling Author

Nelson DeMille

Nelson DeMille is a bestselling author whose sixteen novels have been translated into every major language and have appeared on bestseller lists throughout the world.

He has contributed short stories, reviews, and articles for newspapers and magazines, and has edited and contributed to fiction anthologies. He has also collaborated on screenplays based on his novels. His novel, The General’s Daughter, was made into a major motion picture starring John Travolta and Madeleine Stowe, and Mayday and Word of Honor have been made into television movies. Nelson has also written a play based on the fairy tale, “Rumpelstiltskin,” which has been produced in various children’s theaters over the years.

Nelson grew up on Long Island and graduated from Elmont Memorial High School in 1962, where he played football and ran track. He attended Hofstra College for three years on a New York State Regents Scholarship, and left in 1966 to join the Army. He served three years as an infantry lieutenant and spent one year in Vietnam as a platoon leader with the First Cavalry Division. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Combat Infantry Badge, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, given by the Republic of South Vietnam.

After completing his military service, Nelson returned to Hofstra University on his New York State Regents Scholarship and the GI Bill®, and graduated in 1970.

He is the recipient of the Estabrook Award from Hofstra as well as the Presidential Medal and was selected as Hofstra’s 1999 Alumnus of the Year.

He has received honorary doctorate degrees from Hofstra University, Long Island University, and Dowling College. Nelson has served on the Hofstra Board of Trustees, and has endowed a Hofstra scholarship in his name for students majoring in English.

Nelson is past president of the Mystery Writers of America, and a member of the Authors Guild, PEN American Center, Poets & Writers, and American MENSA.

Nelson makes his home on Long Island with his wife, Sandra Dillingham DeMille, and their son James. His older son, Alex, is a filmmaker, and his daughter, Lauren, is a PhD candidate in Psychology.

Nelson says that his years at Hofstra instilled in him an appreciation of the arts, and especially literature, and his liberal arts education was a major influence in his decision to become a novelist.