For more information contact Joni Worthington at (919) 962-4629 or

June 8, 2007


Nelms Named Chancellor of North Carolina Central University

CHAPEL HILL, NC – Charlie Nelms, Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs at Indiana University, has been elected Chancellor of North Carolina Central University by the Board of Governors of the 16-campus University of North Carolina.  UNC President Erskine Bowles placed Nelms’ name in nomination today (June 8) during the board’s regular June meeting.  Nelms, 60, will assume his new duties August 1, succeeding James H. Ammons, Jr., who is stepping down to become president of Florida A&M University.

In recommending Nelms to the Board of Governors, Bowles said:  “Charlie Nelms brings to North Carolina Central University more than three decades of solid, successful administrative experience at both the campus and system levels.  He is a proven leader—having served as chancellor of two very respected public universities—and he is a man who leads by example.  He has earned a reputation for great integrity, sound judgment, and an unwavering commitment to student success.  A proud graduate of an HBCU, he is absolutely passionate about the special mission of these institutions in nurturing students and helping them reach their full potential.  He clearly understands the vast potential of North Carolina Central University to make a real difference in our state, and I am convinced he has the skill-set and vision to take it to the next level.  I am thrilled that Charlie Nelms has agreed to join our leadership team.”

Indiana University enrolls approximately 100,000 students on eight campuses.  In his current role as IU’s Vice President for Institutional Development and Student Affairs, Nelms has responsibility for a combination of duties on the Bloomington campus and systemwide that span 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 efforts.  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.

A native of Crawfordsville, Arkansas, 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, he rose through the faculty and administrative ranks as Associate Dean for Student Development at Earlham College in Indiana (1973-1977), Associate Director of the Center for Human Development and Education Services at the UAPB (1977-1978), Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Indiana University Northwest (1978-1984) and Vice President for Student Services at Sinclair Community College in Ohio (1984-1987).

In 1987, Nelms began a seven-year tenure as chancellor of Indiana University East, a commuter campus serving east-central Indiana.  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 at Flint, an urban campus that enrolls over 6,500 students and offers a full spectrum of undergraduate and master’s degree programs.  Before being recruited to his current post at Indiana University in 1998, he resolved a significant campus budget deficit, reversed a four-year enrollment decline, and secured more than $75 million in private gifts to UMF.   

Active in professional, civic, and higher-education organizations, Nelms serves on the National Advisory Board of the National Survey of Student Engagement and has chaired the American Council on Education’s Commission for Leadership Development.  He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Indiana African American History Museum.

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 the State of Indiana’s Sagamore of the Wabash—the highest civilian award bestowed by the governor.

Nelms is married to Jeanetta Sherrod Nelms, currently director of the 21st Century Schools Program at IU Bloomington.  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.

North Carolina Central University
Founded in 1909 and chartered as the National Religious Training School and Chautauqua, North Carolina Central University was acquired by the state in 1923 and became the nation’s first state-supported liberal arts institution for African Americans.  Maintaining a strong liberal arts tradition, NCCU is now a comprehensive university offering baccalaureate and master’s level programs, as well as the first-professional degree in law.  It is also developing new programs and facilities focusing on biotechnology and biomanufacturing research.  A part of the 16-campus University of North Carolina since 1972, NCCU is one of the fastest-growing UNC campuses and today enrolls more than 8,200 students.

The University of North Carolina
The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 202,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees.  UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists.  Also under the University umbrella are the UNC Center for Public Television with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, and the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students.

North Carolina Central University contact:  For more information about NCCU, contact Pamela Tolson, communications specialist, (919) 530-6295 or



North Carolina Central University

Friday, June 8, 2007

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