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Nelson Named Vice President for Finance and Administration

August 06, 2014

“David [Nelson] brings a high level of financial and strategic acumen gained over 25 years of corporate leadership. In addition to his extensive experience in industry, David is passionate about higher education.” – Jeff Abernathy

David Nelson, a senior executive and chief financial officer with multiple firms during a career spanning more than two decades, has been named vice president for finance and administration at Alma College.

Nelson’s appointment as the college’s chief financial officer is effective Aug. 18. He replaces Dave Buhl, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

“I’m extremely excited about this new partnership,” says Alma College President Jeff Abernathy. “David brings a high level of financial and strategic acumen gained over 25 years of corporate leadership. In addition to his extensive experience in industry, David is passionate about higher education. For several years he has served his alma mater in an advisory role, which has led to his interest in pursuing a position in college leadership.”

From 1990 to 2009, Nelson served in various executive roles with Chrysler Corporation’s automotive and financial services business units. He served as vice president and treasurer of Chrysler Financial from 2007-09.

Following his 19-year career with Chrysler, Nelson has served as chief financial officer for Dentons, a professional services firm in Chicago; vice president and CFO for Meridian Lightweight Technologies, an automotive supplier in Southfield; and a strategic advisor for Wise Dove Groups, a start-up marketing firm.

Nelson also has had affiliations with various other organizations over the years, including Local Kids First and the Detroit Area Pre-College Engineering Program. He has been a member of the board of directors for Michigan State University’s Multicultural Business Programs since 2003 and currently serves as chair of the MBP endowment campaign.

In addition, he has served terms as vice chairman for the Southfield Chamber of Commerce and a planning commissioner for the city of Southfield.

“I am pleased to join the Alma leadership team in continuing Alma’s mission and advancing its strategic initiatives,” says Nelson. “Having 25-plus years in the corporate business environment, I have seen the need to develop future leaders with broad critical thinking skills who give their intellectual capital to those that employ them. I am looking forward to bringing together the best practices from the corporate, non-profit and higher education arenas in support of the academic, financial and operational success at Alma.”

Alma College launched a national search in April to fill the vacancy. A search committee chaired by Michael Selmon, provost and vice president for academics, reviewed more than 40 applications.

The vice president for finance and administration is the chief administrator and advisor to the president in the areas of business affairs and management services, with oversight of financial services, facilities and service management, food services, human resources, information technology services, mailing and printing, and College Corner Coffee and Books.

Nelson has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Michigan State University and an MBA in finance and a master’s degree in economics from the University of Detroit Mercy.