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Two Community Leaders to Receive Honorary Doctorates

Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, May 14 at 12:00 p.m. Bachelor’s degrees will be awarded to 34 undergraduate students in assorted fields, such as Criminal Justice, Addictions Counseling, and Business Administration while 19 will be awarded master’s degrees in Community Psychology and Urban Ministry Studies. In addition to confirming degrees to graduates, Martin University will confer honorary doctorates to Charlie Nelms and Myra C. Selby.

Charlie Nelms is a nationally recognized leader in higher education, a compelling storyteller, and a dedicated activist. He experienced first-hand the pain of poverty and the sting of racism and legalized segregation, American-style apartheid. Everything in his all-black school was previously used by white children, except the chalk. While poverty and discrimination impacted him as he sought to escape their grip, Nelms has never felt the need to escape his responsibility for eradicating their pernicious effects. He deeply believes that equity and excellence are core principles of democracy, and both are achievable. Nelms received a bachelor's degree from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and earned both his master’s and doctorate from Indiana University, with which he has more than a half-century of affiliation.

Myra C. Selby served as an associate justice on the Indiana Supreme Court from Jan. 1995 to Oct. 1999. She was the first woman and the first African American to sit on the bench of the state's highest court. While on the court, Selby helped make several landmark decisions regarding state property taxes, insurance, and tort law reform. She also authored a number of majority opinions receiving national recognition. In 1999 Selby was appointed to chair the Indiana Supreme Court Commission on Race and Gender Fairness, which is charged with ensuring fairness and diversity in the state's legal system. Currently, Selby is a partner at Ice Miller, a legal and business advisory firm in Indianapolis. Her clients include health care providers, insurance companies, and corporations. She has lectured widely and is a regular columnist for the Indianapolis Business Journal.

Founded in 1977, Martin University is Indiana's only Predominantly Black Institution of higher education. It is steeped in a history of service and open to a diverse population of students.

Martin University's mission is to elevate the landscape while providing transformative opportunities, inclusive support, and service to our communities.


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