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Presidential Finalists Named
Following a national search, the University of Nebraska Presidential Search Screening and Selection Committee has identified four finalists for the next president of the university. Each finalist will visit Nebraska for public forums, interviews and meetings with key university stakeholders, and members of the university community and public will have the opportunity to meet the candidates and provide their feedback to the Board of Regents. Click here to submit your feedback on the finalists. The regents will make the final selection of the next president.

Below is information on each finalist, including brief biographies, photos and curriculum vitae. Details on the finalists’ visits will be posted on this webpage when they are finalized.



Dr. Sally Rockey, deputy director for extramural research for the National Institutes of Health

Rockey will visit the University of Nebraska Dec. 15-18. All Nebraskans are invited to meet Rockey and hear about her vision for the university at the following dates and locations:

  • Monday, Dec. 15
    3 p.m.: UNO campus forum
    Location: Milo Bail Student Center, Nebraska Room

  • Tuesday, Dec. 16
    10:30 a.m.: UNMC campus forum
    Location: Michael F. Sorrell Center for Health Science Education, Room 1005

    3 p.m.: UNK campus forum
    Location: Nebraskan Student Union, Ponderosa E

  • Wednesday, Dec. 17
    1 p.m.: Interview with the Board of Regents
    Location: Varner Hall Board Room, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln

  • Thursday, Dec. 18
    9:30 a.m.: UNL campus forum
    Location: Nebraska Union Auditorium, City Campus

As deputy director for extramural research, Dr. Rockey oversees the development and implementation of the critical policies and guidelines central to the successful conduct of biomedical research supported by the National Institutes of Health across the country and around the world. Dr. Rockey earned her Ph.D. in entomology from Ohio State University and has spent the majority of her career in the area of research administration and information technology. She leads or is active on a number of federal committees related to science, federal research assistance and electronic government, and works closely with academic, small business and scientific communities.

In 1986 Dr. Rockey joined the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s extramural research arm, where she quickly rose to the post of deputy administrator of the cooperative state research, education and extension service, overseeing the extramural grants program and portfolio. In 2002 she became chief information officer, aligning state-of-the-art information technologies with the department goals and objectives. Three years later she was appointed deputy director of the office of extramural research at NIH, and brought her extensive experience in research administration and federal assistance to biomedical research. She assumed her current position in 2010.

Dr. Rockey also is a skilled public speaker, giving countless presentations on extramural research priorities and policies, grantsmanship, the competitive peer review process, scientific integrity and IT. She received the Presidential Rank Award in 2004. She is active in community engagement and encourages the science education of young children by giving presentations on insects to local elementary schools, where she has been known as the “Bug Doctor.”

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Dr. George Ross, president of Central Michigan University

Dr. Ross became the 14th president of Central Michigan University in 2010. His leadership of one of the nation’s 100 largest public universities and the fourth-largest in Michigan follows 24 years of higher education leadership and management guided by his strong belief in the transformative power of higher education. He is focused on student success and academic excellence with a focus on transparency.

Prior to assuming the Central Michigan presidency, Dr. Ross served as president of Alcorn State University, the nation’s first public historically black land-grant university. He also has held senior positions at Clark Atlanta University, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and Tuskegee University. He remains engaged in student teaching and learning, having held professor ranks at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. He has developed continuing education materials and taught professional development courses for various professional organizations.

Dr. Ross has presented seminars, workshops and lectures in the areas of higher education leadership, budget, finance and administration to a number of universities and national organizations, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. He also has served on a number of local, statewide and regional planning and economic development boards, countrywide strategic planning committees, neighborhood development organizations and chambers of commerce.

Dr. Ross earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Michigan State University, a Ph.D. in higher education administration from the University of Alabama, and completed postdoctoral studies at Harvard University. He also is a certified public accountant.

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Dr. Hank Bounds, commissioner of higher education for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning

As commissioner of higher education, Dr. Bounds provides leadership for the state’s university system, which includes four research and four regional universities, one academic health science center and the executive office. The universities include two land-grant universities, three historically black institutions, a law center, a School of Veterinary Medicine and 200 institutes and centers. Bounds manages the human, financial and physical resources of the university system, including 80,000 students, 26,000 faculty and staff, a $4 billion budget, 1,600 buildings with 33 million square feet, $600 million in research and development, and $200 million in private giving.

Dr. Bounds has worked with presidents in the university system to develop business plans that maximize resources while addressing students’ needs and fulfilling each university’s unique mission. He has led efforts to reduce costs through energy and space efficiencies, technology acquisition and textbook pricing. He also worked with the Board of Trustees to implement a performance-based allocation model that distributes funds equitably and rewards universities for operating efficiently and achieving attainment outcomes.

Dr. Bounds has advocated for higher education with legislative leadership to provide greater opportunities for students. In addition to approving an increase in appropriations, the Legislature has provided a three-year bond bill to help the universities plan for capital improvements.

Dr. Bounds facilitated the launch of the Mississippi Higher Education Opportunity Endowment, which works with diverse constituencies to secure funds to enhance program offerings, support faculty, improve campus facilities and provide scholarships at Mississippi’s historically black universities.

Dr. Bounds grew up in rural Mississippi before attending the University of Southern Mississippi, where he earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree. He earned a doctorate from the University of Mississippi. Full bio.

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Dr. Michael Martin, chancellor of the Colorado State University System

Dr. Martin has served as chancellor of the Colorado State University System since 2012. Based in Denver, the chancellor is the chief executive officer of the CSU System, responsible for working with the Board of Governors to lead the system’s operations, set legislative strategy, serve as the primary spokesman and increase engagement among alumni, donors and the business community.

Prior to joining the CSU System, Dr. Martin served at Louisiana State University, New Mexico State University, and the University of Florida, where as vice president for agriculture and natural resources he led the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences with more than 3,000 employees statewide. He began his academic career at Oregon State University as a faculty member in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

Dr. Martin is one of only a few to receive the Justin Smith Morrill Memorial Award, named after the author of the bill creating land-grant universities, which honors outstanding service on behalf of the land-grant mission. For his leadership in improving the quality of life for New Mexico citizens and future generations, he was awarded the 2008 Distinguished Leadership Award by Leadership New Mexico.

A native of Crosby, Minn., Dr. Martin earned his bachelor’s degree in business and economics and master’s degree in economics from Mankato State College. He received his Ph.D. in applied economics from the University of Minnesota. His areas of specialization are prices, international trade, public policy, transportation and business logistics.

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