Today we begin the next chapter in the history of the University of Nebraska. I am humbled and honored to serve as the seventh president of this great institution. In the weeks and months ahead, I will make it a priority to spend time on each of your campuses, getting to know you, learning more about the good work you are doing, and listening to your ideas on how we can work together to build an even stronger university.
I want to first thank Dr. Jim Linder for his service as interim president over the past 11 months. With Dr. Linder at the helm, the university didn’t just maintain the status quo during this transition period – it advanced. Jim has been an invaluable source of wisdom, advice and friendship as I prepared for this new role. We owe him and his wife Karen a deep debt of gratitude.
Growing up in rural Mississippi, I never dreamed I would have the opportunity to even go to college, much less lead one of America’s premier universities. But I was fortunate to experience firsthand the transformative power of higher education, and my goal throughout my career has been to impact students’ lives in the same way education opened doors in my own life. This is the commitment I bring to the University of Nebraska. From what I have seen and learned so far, it’s clear you share this goal.
Even as I am impressed and inspired by your work, I am convinced we can do even more to turn the University of Nebraska into a true giant in higher education. Our state and our world need us to be that giant, working tirelessly to transform the lives of students and people in Nebraska and around the world. I ask you to dream with me on what it means to be a giant – in expanding access and growing enrollment, in helping students earn their degree on time and with less debt, in feeding the world, in growing the economy – and how we can get there, together.
My wife Susie and I, our son Will and our daughter Caroline are excited to call Nebraska home and experience all that this state and its only public university have to offer. I know the best days for the University of Nebraska are ahead of us, and I can’t wait to get started.
President, University of Nebraska