James E. Nevels, the founder of one of the largest minority-owned investment firms in the nation, will address nearly 400 graduates during Florida A&M University’s summer commencement ceremony.
The ceremony will take place on August 4 at 6 p.m., in the Alfred L. Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium, located at 1800 Wahnish Way.
Nevels will share pearls of wisdom with graduates from his more than 36 years of experience in the securities and investment industries, including his work as a humanitarian and the founder of The Swarthmore Group. Swarthmore is an investment advisory firm, based in Philadelphia, which manages approximately $2.1 billion in institutional assets for a diverse group of clients.
A native of Greensboro, Alabama, Nevels is former counsel in bond transactions with the law firm of Ballard, Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll. He previously served as vice president of Prudential-Bache Securities and Smith Barney, Harris Upham & Co.
He was appointed by former President George W. Bush to the Advisory Committee of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and served a three-year term from 2004-2007, including a stint as chairman.
Nevels also serves on the board of directors of three public companies including First Data and Alcoa Corporation and as lead independent director of WestRock. He is currently a member of the board of The Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy and previously served as chairman and lead independent director of The Hershey Company and a member of the board of the Hershey Trust Company and Milton Hershey School.
He graduated with honors from Bucknell University and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy, a Master of Business Administration from The Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania, and a juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School. Nevels has also received four honorary degrees.
His awards and achievements include the NYSE Governance Services Inaugural Leadership Award for “Non-executive Chairman of the Year” nomination, the American Jewish Committee Civic Achievement Award, the Bucknell University Humanitarian Service Alumni Award, and the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund Award of Excellence.
The Philadelphia Tribune has listed him as “One of Philadelphia’s Most Influential African Americans.”