Dr. Nelson served as the President of Lincoln from August 15, 1999 to June 2011 and also served as its Trustee. He was formally inaugurated as Lincoln's 12th President on April 14, 2000.
Before coming to Lincoln, Dr. Nelson served as the President of Central Washington University for more than seven years. Dr. Nelson's career in higher education includes receiving the Fulbright Lectureship, teaching graduate and undergraduate chemistry, and serving as Department Head, Assistant Dean of academic affairs, and Vice President of Research. During the early 1980s, Dr. Nelson also served one year as acting President of Prairie View A&M University and three years as an Executive Assistant to the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System. From 1986 to March 1992, he served as Chancellor of the Alamo Community College District, San Antonio, Texas.
Nelson graduated magna cum laude from Grambling State University, in Louisiana with a bachelor's degree in secondary education and chemistry. He immediately entered the University of Kansas, Lawrence, where he graduated with the Doctor of Philosophy degree in analytical chemistry with high departmental honors.
While at the University of Kansas, Dr. Nelson's academic honors included induction into Phi Beta Kappa honorary society, Phi Lambda Upsilon honorary chemical society and the society of Sigma Xi for scientists. He has subsequently been inducted into Kappa Delta Phi education honor society, Phi Kappa Phi and Sigma Phi Sigma physics honor society. Dr. Nelson has authored eleven technical publications in the field of analytical chemistry, a chapter in one book and a chapter in a monograph.
Prior to and in his role as president of Lincoln, Dr. Nelson has secured extensive outside funding through grants and proposal writing. In addition, he acquired significant funding from state legislatures to construct major academic facilities. His career in the corporate sector includes assignments as a research chemist for both Union Carbide and American Oil Company.
Dr. Nelson is profiled in a book entitled, Distinguished African American Scientists of the 20th Century. A trained chemist, Dr. Nelson is listed among the world's top scientists. The Central Washington University Foundation honored Dr. Nelson by establishing a $50,000 Ivory V. Nelson Endowed Graduate Fellowship in Chemistry, and the Board of Trustees of CWU passed a Resolution in August 1999 conferring on him the title of President Emeritus.
In addition, he has a record of active community involvement throughout his 30-plus years in higher education. He served as a Director of Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce; served on the board of directors of Key Bank of Washington and was a member of the Washington State Commission on Student Learning, a gubernatorial appointment. He also was a member of the Governor's Blue Ribbon Task Force on the Arts, State of Washington.