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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Read Charlie’s article in

Strengthening Governance at Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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

Anger in Minneapolis is understandable but looting & violence by a destructive few is unacceptable and distract from the legitimacy of peaceful protest. The inhumane behavior of the police ppl involved is still unacceptable....

Dammit, please don’t ask me and others not to rush to judgement when we see a police officer murder a black man live through suffocation while other officers look on and NOT do anything to come to the defense of a dying man!

#BlackLivesMatter. EVERY parent, sibling, or citizen across racial/political/religious boundaries should be outraged over the recent death of black citizens in GA, MN & KY at the hands of police officers & others. The silence is deafening & the pain deep. Not a time for silence!

#MemoriesMatter. Recently found this t-shirt from my marathon days in a box in the attic. The fit was snug but the memories were XXXL! What’s in those boxes in your attic?

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