Vice President for External Relations
Heath Mello, a former state senator and public policy strategist, began his role as the University of Nebraska's Vice President for External Relations in July 2020. Prior to his appointment, Mello served as Interim Vice President for External Relations from July 2019 to June 2020 and Associate Vice President for External Relations and Director of State Relations from December 2017 to July 2019.
Mello brings more than eighteen years of public policy, communications, marketing, fundraising, and community relations in the nonprofit and higher education industry.
As Vice President for External Relations, Mello serves on the president’s executive cabinet and is responsible for promoting positive relations and outcomes between the university and its constituents. As the senior member of the external relations team, Mello oversees the unit responsible for communications, event planning, marketing, and state and federal government relations. He also serves as the university’s chief lobbyist and external relations officer.
Mello currently serves as a gubernatorial appointee to the Midwest Higher Education Compact, on the Board of Directors of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a member on the Greater Omaha and Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Councils, a presidential appointee on the Nebraska Education Telecommunications Commission, and on the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition Nebraska Advisory Committee.
For eight years, Mello served as a Nebraska State Senator and spent four years as chairman of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee. While in the Legislature, Mello also served on the Nebraska Retirement Systems Committee, the Legislature’s Planning Committee, Building Maintenance Committee, Legislative Performance Audit Committee, Rules Committee, the Legislature’s Executive Board and a number of select committees and task forces. Mello is the past co-chair of the Economic Development Committee for the Council of State Governments Midwestern Legislative Conference.
Prior to his time at the University, Mello previously served as a nonprofit executive and in various administrative roles with Metropolitan Community College in Omaha.
A native of Omaha, Nebraska, Mello earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.