Hank Bounds, who begins his tenure as the seventh president of the University of Nebraska on April 13, will spend his first week on a “Getting to Know Nebraska” tour that will showcase the diversity of the state and introduce him to a wide range of university stakeholders.
During his tour, which begins Sunday, April 12, in Mead, and ends Friday, April 17, in Nebraska City, Bounds will stop in some 20 Nebraska communities. He will meet with leaders in agriculture, business, education, civic organizations and the news media, and will visit a number of high schools, community colleges and state colleges in addition to NU campuses and research and extension facilities.
“His Nebraska tour is an opportunity to listen and learn from citizens of the state about how the university and its stakeholders can work together to build a stronger future for Nebraskans.”
Bounds will be joined on much of the tour by Ronnie Green, NU vice president and vice chancellor of the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources, and Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. Members of the Board of Regents and friends of the university will help host events and meetings across the state. Nebraskans are invited to follow updates from the tour at www.nebraska.edu/president, where Bounds will keep a travel journal, and by following Bounds on Twitter at @hankbounds.
Bounds, who recently wrapped up duties as commissioner of higher education in Mississippi, a role he had held since 2009, said his Nebraska tour is an opportunity to listen and learn from citizens of the state about how the university and its stakeholders can work together to build a stronger future for Nebraskans.
“One of the things that has struck me most about this state is how much Nebraskans care about their university. We have an incredible opportunity to harness that passion and build the University of Nebraska into a giant in higher education – an institution doing more than ever to serve students and people in the state and around the world,” Bounds said. “I’m excited to spend time with faculty, staff, students, farmers and ranchers, business owners, community leaders, educators and many other alumni and friends who have made the University of Nebraska one of the nation’s leading institutions. Their ideas will help shape a new era for Nebraska’s public university.”
The Board of Regents appointed Bounds as the next NU president on Jan. 12. A lifelong educator, Bounds has devoted his 25-year career to helping change students’ lives in the same way education impacted his own life. He grew up on a small farm in rural Mississippi, where his family raised pigs and cows and he hauled hay. His service in the Army National Guard helped him pay for college, and he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Southern Mississippi and a doctorate from the University of Mississippi.
Bounds began his career as a high school teacher, then rose to principal, superintendent and state superintendent before becoming higher education commissioner. In that role, he oversaw a complex system of eight public universities which together enrolled 85,000 students, employed 26,000 faculty and staff and operated with a combined annual budget of $4.5 billion. As commissioner, he built a demonstrated record of expanding opportunities for students, improving higher education outcomes and efficiencies, and building successful partnerships with policymakers, donors, business leaders and others.
Bounds and his wife, Susie, have two children, Will and Caroline. Bounds succeeds Interim NU President James Linder, M.D., who has served since May 2014.
The full schedule for Bounds’ “Getting to Know Nebraska” tour follows:
Director of Communication
(Grand Island, Kearney, Lexington, Gothenburg and North Platte)
Note: Bounds will be joined by Kayla Lindell, a Grand Island Senior High graduate and first-generation student at the University of Nebraska at Kearney
(Scottsbluff, Gering and Chadron)
(Valentine, Ainsworth and Norfolk)
(Norfolk, Wayne, West Point and Nebraska City)