To the Students, Faculty and Staff of the University of Nebraska:
This has always been one of my favorite times of year. January is a chance to make a fresh start, to reflect on what we’ve accomplished and decide where we want to go next.
This new year is particularly special for me. To have been entrusted with the opportunity to serve alongside you at one of America’s great universities is truly the privilege of a lifetime. My wife Lynda and I are so grateful for the feedback, questions and well-wishes that many of you have shared over the past few months. We are blessed to call Nebraska our new home, and I believe great things are ahead for our university.
As I settle into this new role, my immediate focus is on listening and learning from all of you. Your chancellors have graciously agreed to arrange visits for me on each campus, and I can’t wait to meet more of you, hear your stories, and ask for your thoughts on the future of the University of Nebraska system.
This much is clear to me: We have remarkable opportunities for continued growth and success, and also great challenges. Too few Nebraskans, especially those from underrepresented populations, are realizing the promise of a college degree. Too many talented college graduates are leaving our state, worsening our urgent workforce shortages. Too many of our fellow citizens are uncertain about the value of higher education. Too many around the world suffer the devastating impacts of hunger, disease, climate change, terrorism and inequity.
The University of Nebraska is the institution that can lead the way forward – a credit to your talents and commitment to the mission of public higher education.
I am beginning the process now of gathering a broadly representative transition team that will help put together a five-year strategic plan for the university system. Your input will be a vital part of our process, and I will share more with you soon about how you can be involved. I am eager to hear your ideas on our current strengths, how we can best leverage the unique and vital mission of each campus, how we should be assessing our progress, and what we need to do in order to serve the needs of our 51,000 students, the state and the world even more effectively.
Thank you again for welcoming me into the University of Nebraska family. I look forward to seeing you in person soon, and in the meantime, I invite you to follow me on Twitter at @UofNE_President.
My best wishes in your new semester.
President, University of Nebraska