As president, Dr. Bounds leads the University of Nebraska and its four campuses. He is the university's chief executive officer and reports to the Board of Regents, who are elected to govern the university.
“THE PRESIDENT IS THE SPOKESPERSON OF THE UNIVERSITY AS A STATEWIDE INSTITUTION.”
The president is responsible for university administration, operation and implementing Board policies and goals—and works with the university’s campus chancellors and vice presidents to do so. He also provides educational leadership, direction and strategy to the university.
He is the spokesperson of the university as a statewide institution, helping to communicate NU’s achievements and potential to the leadership and citizens of the state.
On Jan. 12, 2015, the Board of Regents appointed lifelong educator Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D., as the seventh president of the University of Nebraska. Bounds began his tenure as president on April 13, 2015, bringing with him a demonstrated record of expanding opportunities for students, improving higher education outcomes and efficiencies, and building successful partnerships with policymakers, donors and business leaders.
He has worked to improve educational outcomes and build partnerships since he arrived in Nebraska. Bounds has connected with leaders within the university, in the private sector, in government and in the military to increase collaboration and innovation.
During his tenure, enrollment has grown to its highest level in 22 years and research dollars have reached record highs. Bounds launched several programs designed to increase collaborations across NU and incentivize new research, such as the university-wide Food for Health initiative. These programs address critical issues important to Nebraskans and result in greater research funding opportunities. He has also focused on attracting more talent to the state to meet workforce needs and expanding educational access to Nebraskans, recently working with the University of Nebraska Foundation on a two-year, $217 million fundraising initiative to create success for current and future students.
Bounds grew up on a small farm in rural Mississippi, where his family raised hogs and cattle 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 has devoted his 28-year career to helping change students’ lives in the same way education opened doors in his own life. He began as a high school teacher, then rose to principal, superintendent and state superintendent before becoming Mississippi’s commissioner of higher education in 2009. In that role, he oversaw a complex system of eight public universities.
Today, under his leadership, the University of Nebraska enrolls nearly 52,000 students, employs over 16,000 faculty and staff, and operates with an annual budget of 2.5 billion dollars—including $337 million in extramural research expenditures.
“BOUNDS HAS DEVOTED HIS 28-YEAR CAREER TO HELPING CHANGE STUDENTS’ LIVES IN THE SAME WAY EDUCATION OPENED DOORS IN HIS OWN LIFE.”
Bounds holds a faculty appointment in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and courtesy faculty appointments in the Colleges of Education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
He serves on the board of directors for several organizations, including the Nebraska Innovation Campus Development Corporation, the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Consultation Committee for US Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) and The Buckle, Inc. He is on the Board of Governors for the Knights of Aksarben and serves as the chair of the board of directors for the the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute.
Bounds and his wife, Susie, are the parents of a son, Will, and a daughter, Caroline. They reside in Lincoln, Nebraska.