A Thank You to the People of Nebraska
Over the past month, my wife Lynda and I have had the honor of meeting Nebraskans across the state as part of the search for the next president of the University of Nebraska.
I am humbled to even have been considered for this position – a job that I believe is one of the best in American higher education. Lynda and I were further humbled that so many of you took time to meet us, share your questions and concerns, and offer input to the Board of Regents.
After your thoughtful review, and following today’s vote by the Board of Regents to name me the next president of the University of Nebraska system, we simply want to say thank you to the people of the state for your trust and confidence.
I pledge to do all I can to make the University of Nebraska the best it can possibly be – an institution that stays true to its missions of access and academic excellence, that puts the success and well-being of students first, that celebrates the rich diversity that makes us great, and that works every day to demonstrate accountability to those who entrust us with their precious resources.
We owe no less to our 51,000 students, their families, our incredible faculty and staff, our hard-working elected leaders, our many alumni and friends, and indeed all Nebraskans. You count on us to educate your children, to produce the workforce of the future, to conduct cutting-edge research and provide the highest-quality health care to you and your loved ones. It is our honor and responsibility to deliver.
Many of you have asked Lynda and I why we are choosing Nebraska as our next step. After 38 years of serving our country, moving 20 times, uprooting family, and never living in a place for more than a few years, this place and its people have been an inspiration. Not since I left my native Rhode Island in 1977 and joined the Navy have I felt as welcomed as I have over the past month, when, in community after community, I have been able to shake hands with the folks who send their sons and daughters to UNL, UNO, UNK, UNMC and Curtis, and who expect a strong and vibrant university to teach them well.
Your genuine friendliness, seemingly elusive in these times, has made Lynda and I feel at home. Your thoughtful questions – not always easy, but always engaged – are already informing my thinking about the future of our university. I can’t wait to spend more time listening to your ideas, and I’m especially eager to get to know our students, faculty and staff better. To be able to serve alongside such talented, creative, passionate colleagues is the privilege of a lifetime.
During one public forum, I was asked about my highest calling in life so far. That question has stuck with me. I answered a call 42 years ago to don the cloth of our nation and swore an oath as many have done in the past.
Now, I have found my next calling. As president of the University of Nebraska, I intend to work hand-in-hand with the chancellors to make our university the finest public higher education institution in the country. We will set the bar high to be the best we can be, excellence will be our standard, and we will compete with the best to attract talented men and women to attend and graduate from our universities.
In this season of gratitude, Lynda and I are fortunate to call Nebraska our next home. Our time with you has further convinced me that Nebraska is a place that can – and will – change the world. We can’t wait to get started.
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska