Pine Bluff, AR. The University of of Arkansas at Pine Bluff will present the Chancellor’s Spring Convocation Tuesday, February 16 at 10:30 a.m. in the H.O. Clemmons arena of the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) complex. The theme for the year, “Accentuating the Positive,” is reiterated as the theme for the event. The keynote address will be given by Dr. Charlie Nelms, Chancellor of North Carolina Central University. The band and choir are also scheduled to perform. The event is free and open to the public.
A native of Crawfordsville, Arkansas, Dr. Nelms majored in agronomy and chemistry at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, graduating in 1968. He later earned a master’s degree in higher education and student affairs (1971) and a doctoral degree in higher education administration (1977) from Indiana University. Early in his career, Nelms held teaching and administrative positions at Earlham College in Indiana, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Indiana University Northwest in Gary and Sinclair Community College in Ohio.
In 1987, Nelms began a seven year tenure as chancellor of Indiana University East, a commuter campus serving east-central Indiana. He demonstrated his innovative leadership as he guided Indiana University to new levels of excellence. During his tenure there, the campus was the fastest-growing college in the state of Indiana. In 1994, Nelms was named chancellor of the University of Michigan-Flint (UMF), an urban campus that enrolls over 6,500 students and offers a full spectrum of undergraduate and master’s degree programs. He resolved a significant campus budget deficit, reversed a four-year enrollment decline, and secured more than $75 million in private gifts to UMF.
As the tenth chief administrator of North Carolina Central University, Dr. Charlie Nelms is committed to student success. As one of the University of North Carolina 17 campuses, NCCU is the fastest-growing campus and today enrolls more than 8,500 students.
Prior to joining North Carolina Central University, Charlie Nelms served as vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs for the Indiana University System. As vice president, Nelms was responsible for a combination of duties on the Bloomington campus and system-wide that spanned university planning, institutional research and effectiveness, enrollment management, student affairs, academic support services, K-12 outreach initiatives, student retention, honors programs, and diversity and equity. In September 2001, TIME magazine named IU’s Bloomington campus the number-one student-centered research university in the nation. Many of the programs cited by TIME were under Nelms’ oversight and direction.
Active in professional, civic, and higher-education organizations, Nelms served on the Board of Governors for the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, the National Advisory Board of the National Survey of Student Engagement and has chaired the American Council on Education Commission for Leadership Development. In addition, he has served as chair of the Higher Learning Commission, and a member of the NCAA Sports Wagering Task Force. Currently, Nelms serves on the board of directors of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation; the National Advisory Board of the National Survey for Student Engagement; Board of Governors for the Center on Philanthropy; and is a founder and board member of the Millennium Leadership Institute and the Kinsey Institute Board of Trustees, among others.
A former American Council on Education Fellow and Ford Fellow, Nelms holds honorary degrees from Earlham College and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. Over the course of his career, he has received numerous awards for his contributions to education and service to students, including the Benjamin Hooks Award for Meritorious Achievement from the Gary (IN) branch of the NAACP, the Distinguished Alumni Service Award from Indiana University, the Distinguished Alumni Award from the IU School of Education, the President’s Medal from the University of Michigan and from Indiana University, and the State of Indiana’s Sagamore of the Wabash—the highest civilian award bestowed by the governor.
Dr. Nelms has written a book titled “Start Where You Find Yourself: Lessons Taught and Lessons Learned.” Passionate about ending world hunger, Nelms has given all proceeds from the sale of this book to the United Nations World Food Programme, Hoosier Hills Food Bank and to the American Red Cross for hurricane relief. Nelms is married to Jeanetta Sherrod Nelms. They have one son, Rashad, a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School who serves as a policy officer with the United Nations World Food Programme.