White Receives Nelms Award
Karen L. White, associate vice chancellor for Student Services, recently received the Charlie Nelms Alumni Award from Indiana University. The award was presented at an Indiana Black Expo lunch in Indianapolis.
The award honors leadership, vision and commitment to achieving equality in all areas of life for disfranchised and underserved people. The award is given to an IU graduate who has worked diligently to affect change in his or her workplace, community, and/or Indiana University.
White said she was honored and humbled by the award. She called Nelms her mentor and friend. “I have always admired his commitment to Indiana University and his unwavering advocacy for equality. He is an amazing man who never backs away from speaking the truth.”
J. Jeffrey Jones, vice chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, noted that White is a “tireless advocate for our university, our campus, and our community. Her selfless work has assisted thousands of students to realize their potential while contributing to the vitality of our region, our state, and our nation. “
Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., she was raised in South Bend and graduated from Central High School. White began her career at IU South Bend as a counselor in the Special Services Program in 1974. She is a graduate of Indiana University with a master’s degree in guidance and counseling, which was awarded in 1979.
She also has been an adjunct instruction in the School of Education, affirmative action officer, a project director for Forums for Youth Self-Sufficiency and assistant director of the University Division.
White received the Michiana Neal-Marshall Distinguished Alumna Award in 2001, and the IU South Bend Distinguished Education Alumna in 2000. She served on the South Bend City Council since 2000, and as council president from 2003-2005.
She also served on the South Bend Community School Board of Trustees from 1988-1992. She is currently the vice-president of the Urban Enterprise Association and a member of the Morris Performing Arts Council.
White said it is important to be an active member of the community. She said she prescribes to Marian Wright Edelman’s quote, “Service is what life is all about.” And the Shirley Chisholm quote: “Service is the rent we pay for living.”
Nelms is an alumnus of IU, earning his master’s in higher education and student affairs, as well as a doctorate in higher education administration. He was chancellor of IU East from 1987 to 1997, and later returned in 1998 as vice president for Institutional Development and Student Affairs. Among the initiatives he led at IU were efforts to improve diversity, equity, and academic support services.
He is currently the chancellor of North Carolina Central University, Durham, N.C.
The award was created in recognition of Nelms’ continuous support to bridge the gaps in all areas of life for the underserved. The recipient must have a history of success in the community or in their profession.
Past award recipients include Joyce Q. Rogers Esq., former president & CEO of Indiana Black Expo; Vernon G. Smith, Indiana State Representative and chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus; Dennis E. Bland, president of the Center for Leadership Development; and Shontrai Irving Esq., State Farm litigation counsel.