September 24, 2018

Ball State dedicates the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Center to Kent C. "Oz" Nelson.
Ball State dedicates the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Center to Kent C. "Oz" Nelson, retired UPS CEO and Ball State alumnus.

Ball State dedicated the Kent C. “Oz” Nelson Logistics and Supply Chain Management Center Friday, Sept. 21, to honor the 1959 graduate for his remarkable career, and lasting impact on the University and the Miller College of Business.

Mr. Nelson graduated from Ball State with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1959 and received an honorary doctorate of law in 1994. He worked for UPS for 37 years, culminating as chairman and CEO from 1989 to 1996.

The Kent C. “Oz” Nelson Logistics and Supply Chain Management Center for Excellence enhances faculty capability and student learning with resources and industry collaborations, said Ball State President Geoffrey S. Mearns.

The President said the dedication ceremony, held in the Whitinger Business Building, was an opportunity for the campus community to recognize one of the University’s most distinguished alumni—one who has given the University his time, talents and generous philanthropic support.

“Through hard work, education, and the support of family and friends, Oz built a successful career that enabled him to influence the way the entire world ships packages,” President Mearns said. “And thanks to his leadership, UPS made major investments that improved its technological capacity and broadened its global position."

The President also noted, since retiring from UPS, Mr. Nelson has worked for a variety of volunteer organizations, including serving on the board of trustees for the Carter Center, a nongovernmental organization whose mission is summarized in its motto: “Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope.”

“In this role, Oz worked closely with former President Jimmy Carter—a man whose character, courage, and civic mindedness mirrors the qualities of the alumnus we are recognizing today,” said President Mearns, who read a congratulatory letter from the nation’s 39th president.

The naming of the center after Mr. Nelson is a result of a $1.2 million campaign that included support from the Avis Industrial Corp. and a gift from Nelson. The 1,500-square-foot center supports Miller College’s logistics and supply chain management program, which has 100 percent career placement for its graduate. A feature of the center is the new Allegion Logistics Lab, which provides students with 24-hour access to specialized logistics and management software and 36 student workstations for homework, studying, and projects.

“In my ‘later years’ I have thought about the positive effect my undergraduate years at Ball State have had on my life,” Mr. Nelson said. “Those years deepened my feelings about social interaction, being a team player and what real leadership was. From fraternity involvement, participation in sports, service on university and other organizations projects and committees, including giving back to community, I learned the value of group goals. It also permitted me to learn, by observation and participation, what real leadership looked like.

“Two fraternity brothers set up the job interview with United Parcel Service that lead to my career there. UPS enabled me to continue to practice and embellish those leadership lessons that were inspired by friends and faculty of my alma mater. I believe our contemporary University offers even more of the same to students today.”

During a dedication ceremony for the Allegion Logistics and Supply Chain Center Lab, contained within the Nelson Center, Mark Myring, The Bryan Interim Dean of the Miller College of Business, also noted the relationship between the University and Allegion had created opportunities for student to participate in several immersive learning projects with the organization, which is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland. The company’s regional offices for the Americas are in Carmel, Indiana.

“Having this Miller College of Business Lab rebranded by Allegion is recognition of the partnership our school has with Allegion, as well as the opportunities Allegion provides our students through internships and job placements,” he said. “That recognition encourages our students to think about the future and think about their careers, so it’s a very positive attribute for the lab.”

Allegion Senior Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Shelley Meador was one of several Ball State graduates employed by the company who attended the ceremony.

“The project is important to  Allegion in many ways, but especially to maintain the strong partnership that we have with the Nelson Center in the Miller College of Business and continue bringing top talent to our organization,” said Meador.

“The lab will provide an opportunity for students to understand what it feels like to work at Allegion, as it’s both a collaborative workspace and learning environment,” she added.

Allegion employs more than 10,000 people around the world, including many Ball State alumni. The $2.4 billion company specializes in security around the door and in adjacent areas, with products and solutions sold in 130 countries.