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

Black men are disproportionately incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses; yet, that same group is mostly failing to reap rewards from federal- and state-level efforts to legalize hemp or marijuana products. Those economic benefits flow mostly to their White counterparts.

I am fuming! The stakes are too high in the Black community and this debate is not doing justice to the issues. The candidates are hyped because South Carolina is a fire wall. The moderators are trying to control this but wow! Just wow!

A4: Policymakers should ensure that stopped-out students earn credit for all of their hard work! Both state and federal leaders should pursue policies that help institutions award earned degrees through #ReverseTransfer! #TodaysVoicesTues

A2: Many transferring & returning adult students are trying to navigate a complicated credit transfer process. There is an enormous burden placed on students to ensure that all of their credits count toward a degree. #TodaysVoicesTues

Calling all aspiring leaders! On your leadership journey don’t allow cynicism to gain a foothold in your being. You’ll find optimism to be a more worthy and productive partner.

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