Charles "Chick" Nelson 

Graduation Year: 1948
Induction Year: 2018
Focused on Global Economic Development
Former U.S. Institute of Peace Executive Vice President

Chick Nelson was the executive vice president of the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. He has lived, worked, or studied in more than 50 countries on five continents, always dedicated to reducing world poverty and promoting non-violent ways of dealing with international conflicts.
He was valedictorian of his class at Marion High School, and he was president of the Student Council. He was the starting quarterback for the Giants football team and was a miler on the track team.
He also played lead roles in MHS dramatic productions and served in other leadership roles.
Harvard College awarded him a seven-year National Scholarship for undergraduate and graduate studies, and he earned his bachelor of arts degree from there in 1952. He then went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School in 1956. After graduation, he was awarded a Frank Knox Memorial Fellowship for study and travel in Europe. He studied at the London School of Economics, the University of Grenoble in France, and the Salzburg Seminar in American Studies in Austria.
He went on to practice corporate law for four years with the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. After determining he wanted to dedicate his life to the concerns of world poverty and international peace, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he first served as regional attorney for the Middle East for the U.S. Agency for International Development.
In 1961 Mr. Nelson moved with his wife, Judy, and their infant daughter Hilary to Brazil, where Judy and Chick’s son Ethan was born. Chick worked as a USAID attorney, and then as the leader of a large development program and aid program in an impoverished area of the country, including education, health, highway construction, and
economic planning.
In 1972 he began work with the RAND Corporation, a highly regarded national think tank, as director of its housing program, overseeing a major study funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of the effectiveness of subsidized housing vouchers for low-income families. This study played a significant role in the creation of HUD’s Section 8 housing program.
After a brief foray into international trade and law firm management, Chick moved to the U.S. Institute of Peace where he worked for more than 25 years. He served as its executive vice president, and acting president twice. The Institute is a Congressionally established and funded non- profit working on non-violent approaches to international conflicts. Mr. Nelson helped develop the Institute, worked on educational programs with students in high school through college and graduate levels, and also supported non-violent approaches to wars in the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, and elsewhere. He helped raise sustained funding for the Institute and oversaw development of its headquarters, on the National Mall, close to the Lincoln Memorial.
Chick has been involved in a range of nonprofits. Most recently his focus has been on the needs of seniors. He’s been a member of the Board of Directors for Friends House retirement community in Olney, Md., and a member of the planning committee for Kendal Corp., a Quaker-based network of retirement communities. The mayor of Pasadena, Calif., appointed Chick to the Pasadena Senior Commission. Chick is active in his own retirement community in Pasadena.

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