The University of Nebraska Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee today named four finalists for the next president of the university.

“The four finalists are a diverse mix of individuals with significant leadership experience and skillsets, proven records of success and a passion for the role higher education plays in changing lives and communities,” said Board of Regents Chairman Hawks, who chaired the committee. “Each displayed enthusiasm for building on the University of Nebraska’s tremendous trajectory. We are pleased to introduce this accomplished group to Nebraskans and we look forward to the opportunity for members of the university community and public to meet them.”

 The finalists are:

  • Hank Bounds, commissioner of higher education for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.
  • Michael Martin, chancellor of the Colorado State University System.
  • Sally Rockey, deputy director for extramural research at the National Institutes of Health.
  • George Ross, president of Central Michigan University.

More detailed information on each of the finalists, including photos and curriculum vitae, will be available shortly at www.nebraska.edu/presidentsearch.

The university’s search for its next president began shortly after President Emeritus James B. Milliken announced in January that he was leaving NU to become chancellor of The City University of New York. James Linder, M.D., is serving as interim president until a successor is chosen.

The Board of Regents in March named two committees to assist in the national search. The committees comprise 34 total members representing a wide range of university constituencies, including faculty, students, administrators, donors, members of the public, and the Board.

The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee worked with the university’s professional search firm, Isaacson, Miller, to solicit stakeholder input on issues facing the university and qualities the university should seek in the next president, conduct a broad and inclusive search, and seek nominations and applications for the position.

The Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee has reviewed and evaluated application materials, interviewed leading prospects, and reviewed reference checks. The committee was responsible for forwarding the names of at least four finalists to the Board of Regents.

Final selection of the next president will be made by the regents following university visits by each finalist that will include public forums, additional interviews and meetings with key stakeholders. The visits will provide opportunities for Nebraskans and university constituents to meet the candidates and provide feedback to the Board. Hawks said scheduling those visits will begin in earnest, with a goal to have each finalist visit Nebraska before the end of the calendar year.

Potential candidates were evaluated in part against a presidential profile the university issued in June which detailed the qualities and experience the Board seeks in the next president and the key challenges and opportunities that person will face in leading the university. The profile – which was informed by feedback from nearly 400 Nebraskans who offered their feedback via the university’s president search website, plus collective input from NU student governments and faculty senates – made clear that the ideal candidate would have:

  • A deep understanding of higher education and proven success leading a major organization.
  • Passion for the key role the University of Nebraska plays in ensuring the state’s overall success through teaching, research and service.
  • Willingness to serve as president for at least five years, perhaps up to 10.
  • Credentials sufficient for appointment as a tenured university professor, including an earned Ph.D. or other relevant terminal degree, teaching experience and a personal record of research and scholarship.
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