About Charlie Nelms

Charlie Nelms, a native of the Arkansas Delta, has devoted his life to equalizing opportunities for disenfranchised peoples. He is currently a senior scholar at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and a senior consultant for the Association of Governing Boards, specializing in HBCU governance and leadership, as well as retired Chancellor, North Carolina Central University, and IU Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs Emeritus. In 2019, Charlie was awarded an honorary doctorate from Indiana University. Proceeds from his book From Cotton Fields to University Leadership: All Eyes on Charlie, A Memoir will help fund scholarships to historically Black colleges and universities across the nation.
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Speaker and Story Teller

A captivating orator, Charlie possesses the ability to connect with audiences from all walks of life. Through his storytelling, he helps audiences to see beyond what is, so they can imagine what is possible when transcending their own immediate interests.

What can you expect from a Charlie Nelms speech?

A thought-provoking, passionately delivered speech on an array of contemporary topics, for audiences that transcend generational boundaries, socio-economic status, ethnicity or professional affiliations. As a university leader who has devoted his life to working to level the playing field for historically disenfranchised people, Charlie challenges his audiences to become more assertive agents of change for excellence, equity and inclusion in all dimensions of life.
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Books by Charlie Nelms


From Cotton Fields to University Leadership: All Eyes on Charlie
“Charlie Nelms tells his riveting story from share croppers’ son in rural Arkansas to university president. His memoir is a testament to the power of aspiration, character and education to overcome poverty and adversity. “
— Michael L. Lomax,
President & CEO, United Negro College Fund (UNCF)


Having My Say: Reflections of a Black Baby Boomer
From a national leader in higher education diversity and equity comes a timely collection of compelling reflections on giving, leading, changing, and advancing.


Charlie on Twitter

Increasingly I’m asked this question: Given the growing number of hostilities against black students at many PWIs, should more parents encourage their children to attend HBCUs?
What do you think?

#VotingMatters. Not only does voting matter but who you vote for matters even more. Those who doubt this assertion need only look at the 2018 midterm election results and last week’s KY & LA gubernatorial election outcomes.

#HumilityMatters. Calling all aspiring leaders! While on your leadership journey don’t forget to remember that like the turtle on top of the fence post: You didn’t get to where you are on your own.

Today I visited the Crittenden County Assessors Office in ARK Delta to make sure property & tax records are current for our family farm. Much appreciation to office employees for their professionalism & helpfulness. Lots of blacks lost (loose) land through delinquent tax sales.

‘Mission Possible’ welcomes Dr. Charlie Nelms, renowned scholar — THE NEW TRI-STATE DEFENDER — “My message will be one of hope,” said Dr. Nelms. “I will extol the power of education. Mama to ... - https://t.co/LiYg7cM3fy @tsdmemphis @NNPA_BlackPress @charlienelms #MissionPossible

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