L. Dennis Smith: 1994 - 2004
L. Dennis Smith became president of the University of Nebraska in 1994 and stepped down in
2004. During Smith's tenure, which included the completion of the Foundation's successful $727
million Campaign Nebraska, more than 5 million square feet of facilities were renovated and
constructed, including residence halls, classrooms and research laboratories. Unique
public-private partnerships were also created during his service as president, including the
Rural Initiative, Peter Kiewit Institute, and Center for Biosecurity. Smith's priorities
included a stronger emphasis on research and faculty recruiting.
Martin Massengale: 1989 - 1993
Martin Massengale joined the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as vice chancellor for
agriculture and natural resources in 1976, and became chancellor of the Lincoln campus in
1981. In 1989, he was appointed interim president of the University of Nebraska and was
named president in 1991. He served in that capacity until 1994. Massengale was known as an
effective leader and supporter of the concept of integrating research, education, and
extension. He also authored or co-authored over 70 scientific papers and was a consultant
to several foreign governments.
Ronald Roskens: 1977 - 1989
After serving as chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha from 1972-77, Ronald
Roskens was named president of the University of Nebraska in 1977, a post he held for 13 years.
During that time he brought an international perspective to the university, developing programs
with universities in Asia, Latin America, Europe and China. Roskens also negotiated an exchange
program with Kabul University in Afghanistan, and oversaw development of the center for
Afghanistan studies at UNO.
Durwood B. Varner: 1970 - 1976
Woody Varner became chancellor of the University of Nebraska system in 1970; in 1971, the title
was officially changed and he became the first person to hold the title of president of the
University of Nebraska. He served in that position until 1976, and strongly supported an
expansion of the university's academic and cultural outreach efforts. In 1976, he became
president of the University of Nebraska Foundation. He led the first major capital campaign,
raising more than $52 million, and spearheaded the fund drive that resulted in the construction
of the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
Clifford Hardin: 1968-1969
From 1954-68, Clifford Hardin served as chancellor of the University of Nebraska, which at
that time included the Lincoln campuses, the College of Medicine in Omaha and extension and
research sites throughout the state. Under Hardin's tenure as chancellor, the university's
enrollment rose from 7,000 to 19,000 students, and funding was appropriated for many new
university buildings. In 1968, the University of Nebraska system was established and Hardin was
named chief executive officer (he was designated as the chancellor and the heads of the
campuses were called presidents). Hardin left the university in 1969 to become U.S. Secretary
of Agriculture, a post he held until 1971.