Chancellor Nelms to Retire
Durham attorney Charles L. Becton will become interim chancellor
Published: Thursday, July 26, 2012
Updated: Monday, July 30, 2012 10:07
On the same day that President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that created a new White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for African Americans, N.C. Central University Chancellor Charlie Nelms announced his plan to retire, effective Aug. 6.
University of North Carolina President Thomas Ross appointed Durham attorney and former North Carolina Court of Appeals judge Charles L. Becton interim chancellor at NCCU.
Nelms notified the NCCU community of his retirement in a letter addressed to the "NCCU Family."
"I took the road that led me to North Carolina Central University and experienced one of the most fulfilling periods of my extensive career in higher education," wrote Nelms.
"I have made a decision that will carry me into the next phase of my life."
A Historically Black College and University, NCCU has lost $50 million in funding over the last five years.
President Obama's Executive Order outlines a new office that will "complement and reinforce the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Initiative established by Executive Order 13532 of February 26, 2010, and together, they both will support enhanced educational outcomes for African Americans at every level of the American education system."
According to the White House an Executive Director of the Initiative will be appointed by the Secretary of Education.
Nelms did not cite a specific reason for his retirement, though he did write that he wants to use the remainder of his career to ensure student success at HBCUs.
In a prepared statement Ross said: "Chancellor Nelms has made extraordinary contributions to the academic quality and stature at N.C. Central University that will hold it in good stead as we search for his successor. Judge Charles Becton is known and respected throughout the Durham community and the state of North Carolina for his sound judgement and ability to get things done so I'm confident that NCCU won't lose any momentum as the search for a permanent chancellor gets underway."
Dwight Perry, chair of the NCCU Board of Trustees, said a search committee will be formed to begin the hunt for a permanent chancellor. Perry added that the process may take six months, possibly longer.
Perry said he expects to have representatives on the search committee from the NCCU student body, faculty, alumni, the Board of Trustees and the Durham community at-large.
"He [Nelms] was chancellor during some very difficult years for the university, during an economic downturn, $50 million in cuts over five years. Despite that he was able to provide visionary and effective leadership," said Perry.
In his five years as chancellor, Nelms' legacy includes the Centennial Scholars Program directed at increasing African American male retention, providing oversight during NCCU's transition from Division II to Division I athletics, increasing online course offerings by 50 percent and establishing NCCU's Ph.D in Integrated Biosciences.
Nelms also managed a program review and academic restructuring that has been met with some resistance from the NCCU community. The academic restructuring and additional changes will take effect this coming academic year.
Nelms replaced James Ammons as chancellor in August of 2007.