Timothy J. Nelson
Northwestern Michigan College
President Emeritus Timothy J. Nelson was Northwestern Michigan College’s longest serving president retiring at the end of 2019. During his almost 19 year tenure, NMC evolved and established national and international competencies and leadership positions resulting in national recognitions. NMC was ranked 2nd in the nation for service to veterans and 16th for global experiences for students, established the first freshwater studies associate degree in the U.S., is known internationally for its work in remote underwater and aerial vehicles, is home to the Great Lakes Maritime Academy, and has robust collaborations with local culinary, healthcare, aviation and manufacturing technology companies.
President Nelson was instrumental in the state authorization to permit community colleges to offer baccalaureate degrees, with NMC being the first in the state to offer a BS in Maritime Technology with four distinct majors. He is recognized as a visionary leader at local through national levels, being invited to present on higher education policy, governance and strategy, and held four gubernatorial appointments in areas focused on economic development and education. He has served in leadership roles on regional and national organization boards and has been recognized with national awards from multiple organizations.
President Nelson earned his Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Grand Valley State University, a Master of Science in Business Administration from Michigan Technological University and completed studies at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University. He has more than 30 years’ experience in higher education, and has founded three businesses. He is married to Nancy Johnson, who served as one of Northwestern Michigan College’s strongest and most effective advocates.