11/12/2018 A message from University leadership on planning for the future
A message from University leadership on planning for the future

November 7, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

Earlier this year, 38 outstanding faculty members from across the University of Nebraska gathered to talk about the future.

Their charge: Build a framework for University fundraising priorities by articulating what makes an institution of higher learning great.

After a day of conversation, we had a list of characteristics that would inform our next steps. A great university is relentlessly focused on students, our faculty told us. A great university actively embraces diversity in all its forms. A great university does work that is relevant locally, but with potential for global impact.

We’re grateful to these faculty members for their initial vision and leadership. Now we’re ready to expand the conversation.

“At a time when public universities are uniquely positioned to solve the great challenges of the day—how should the University of Nebraska focus its energy to not only adapt to the future, but create it?”

You may have recently received an invitation from Provost Fritz to participate in the University-wide “Big Ideas” Initiative, a faculty-driven approach to private fundraising. We hope you’ll get engaged. Over the years we’ve seen time and again the power of philanthropy to elevate the reach of your work. Private gifts have allowed for new academic programs, cutting-edge facilities, and scholarships for thousands of students. They have been vital to our momentum, allowing us to do things that would not have been possible with state dollars alone.

We are now at a critical moment in our University’s history. For almost 150 years we have served the people of our state, educating the workforce and conducting the research that have grown Nebraska’s economy and quality of life.

What do we want to be in our next 150 years and beyond? At a time when public universities are uniquely positioned to solve the great challenges of the day—workforce shortages, inequities in access and opportunity, hunger and disease, international security—how should the University of Nebraska focus its energy to not only adapt to the future, but create it? How can a university like ours continue to recruit and retain the very best talent, drive and measure student success, and sustain vibrant economic growth across rural and urban communities? And how might philanthropic gifts advance our work in these and many other areas?

Our faculty, who carry out our missions of teaching, research, and service every day, are well-suited to answer these questions. This represents a new, more inclusive approach to fundraising for our University—one that relies first on the expertise of those who know our institution and the unique mission on each campus best.

We’re asking for your boldest ideas on how the University of Nebraska, with help from private fundraising, could dramatically elevate our work and impact. We’re interested in ideas that draw on the talents of multiple disciplines, departments, or campuses; ideas that could require investments of $25 million or more. We want your best thinking on what the University of Nebraska of tomorrow should look like and what steps we should take today to get there. We invite your proposals which, following a vetting process, could be used by our NU Foundation partners to attract and inspire private giving in the years ahead.

You may ask why we would undertake an initiative like this when we are still managing the effects of multiple rounds of budget cuts. There is no question we have faced significant challenges over the past few years. It is precisely for that reason that we think it’s especially important to look ahead. Because of you, we are on a remarkable upward trajectory in spite of our challenges. Now the young people of our state, the business leaders who hire our graduates, and people around the world who are healthier and more productive because of our research and outreach are counting on us to lead the way forward.

We’re excited to have this conversation with you. Thank you for your ideas, and for all you do for the University of Nebraska.


Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D.
President, University of Nebraska

Jeffrey Gold, M.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha

Ronnie Green, Ph.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Doug Kristensen, J.D.
Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

Date Recipient
11/05/2018 A message from President Bounds on UNO-UNMC leadership planning
A message from President Bounds on UNO-UNMC leadership planning

November 5, 2018

To the Students, Faculty and Staff of UNO and UNMC:

Later today I will announce that I have named Dr. Jeff Gold as the “priority candidate” for UNO chancellor. Following a public feedback period, I will bring the Board of Regents a recommendation to approve Dr. Gold’s appointment as chancellor through June 30, 2022. At that time we plan to launch a national search for a successor, with the intent for both UNO and UNMC to have their own chancellor.

In short: Given where our university is right now, we have the right person in the role. Removing the “interim” from Dr. Gold’s UNO title provides the clarity and stability we need for the near future.

Over the past 18 months, since Dr. Gold first agreed to assume leadership of UNO, both UNO and UNMC have experienced remarkable growth and momentum. It is particularly impressive that you have built this long list of achievements – progress in student success, enrollment and research records, facilities expansion, growth in philanthropic activity – during a difficult budgetary period for our university.

“Dr. Gold’s continued leadership of both campuses puts us in the best position to enhance student outcomes, grow our research portfolio and deepen the cross-campus collaborations.”

Some would have been tempted to hunker down and wait for the challenges to pass. You have instead kept your focus on the future, and on the potential that UNO and UNMC have – individually and together – to transform even more lives in Nebraska and around the world.

We now have an opportunity to build on our trajectory. It is clear to me that Dr. Gold’s continued leadership of both campuses puts us in the best position to enhance student outcomes, grow our research portfolio and deepen the cross-campus collaborations that have yielded efficiencies and expanded our impact.

Over the past several days I have sought feedback on this decision from UNO and UNMC student, faculty, staff and administrative leadership. I heard comments about Dr. Gold’s care for and commitment to students, about his relentless focus on economic growth and Nebraskans’ well-being, about the work he has done to create partnerships that may not otherwise have existed. Leading two campuses is no easy task, and I am grateful for his willingness to serve in this way.

Of course, not every comment I’ve heard has been positive. I know some of you have concerns about the shared leadership structure. Certainly our university has faced unique challenges in recent years that have demanded innovative solutions. I hope greater clarity about our path forward will address some of the concerns. At the same time, you should be proud of the work you’ve done together to enhance our students’ experiences and find more effective, more efficient ways of doing business. That work cannot and should not stop on any of our campuses, no matter what the leadership structure looks like.

I invite you to join me and Dr. Gold for an open forum at 8:30 a.m. on Nov. 19 at the Thompson Alumni Center, where you’ll have an opportunity to ask questions and share feedback. And I welcome your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Your input throughout this process has been invaluable, and both the chancellor and I will continue to work closely with you as UNO and UNMC chart a path forward.

Thank you for all you do for the University of Nebraska. I am honored to serve alongside you.

By Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

11/01/2018 President Bounds’ statement on the Economic Forecasting Advisory Board revenue projections
President Bounds’ statement on the Economic Forecasting Advisory Board revenue projections

Oct. 26, 2018

University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds issued the following statement regarding the Nebraska Economic Forecasting Advisory Board’s updated projections for increased revenue in the 2019-21 biennium:

“Nebraska has weathered a difficult fiscal period and clearly our budgetary work is not over. At the same time, we have an opportunity to send a message to the young people and businesses we want to retain and attract to our state that we’re invested in the future. The Chamber of Commerce reported this week that there are 58,000 open and unfilled jobs in Nebraska. We won’t be able to meet our critical workforce needs without outstanding and affordable higher education. I’m optimistic that we can pull together as a state and build an economy and quality of life that will make Nebraska the best place to live, work and raise a family.”

Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

11/03/2018 University of Nebraska a key partner in growing manufacturing
University of Nebraska a key partner in growing manufacturing

Nov. 1, 2018

This week, state leaders are wrapping up Manufacturing Month, a celebration of the companies that make up Nebraska’s second-largest industry.

The University of Nebraska is proud to be a partner in growing manufacturing in our state. What’s more, I’m excited about our opportunities to join with colleagues in business, education and government to continue to strengthen an industry that will be vital to Nebraska’s future competitiveness.

One of the University’s highest priorities is helping to build a skilled workforce and vibrant economy for Nebraska. Manufacturing is a key part of that growth strategy. Consider that the overwhelming majority of manufacturing executives already agree that the industry faces a critical talent shortage – with recruitment of engineers, scientists and researchers taking by far longest time.

And the challenge is growing. By 2025, some 2 million manufacturing jobs are projected to go unfilled because of a skills gap across the country. The consequences for economic growth are significant: Manufacturing CEOs say the talent shortage will impact their ability to implement new technologies, increase productivity and serve their customers effectively.

The University of Nebraska – home to programs in engineering, accounting, business, industrial technology and distribution and other areas across our campuses – has an opportunity and a responsibility and to help fill the workforce gap. With technology increasingly driving economic growth, the University’s STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs, along with dozens of outstanding programs offered by our community college partners, will be particularly important to growing 21st-century manufacturing. That’s why the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha and University of Nebraska at Kearney are all designated as education partners of the Nebraska Department of Economic Development’s Manufacturing Advisory Council.

The University also provides direct support to manufacturing companies across the state, contributing to job growth and retention of talented workers in our communities. We’re proud that UNL’s Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources serves as the headquarters for the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership, which offers consulting and training to enhance the productivity and competitiveness of the state’s small- to medium-sized manufacturers.

The partnership has yielded success stories across Nebraska. Purina Animal Nutrition LLC in Fremont, specializing in the production of mineral premix and tubs of nutrient-supplemented molasses for animal feed markets, was working to improve sustainability and lower costs by reducing wastewater demands on the city. The Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership and UNL College of Engineering placed an engineering student at the Purina site to assess wastewater generation. The resulting recommendations have saved Purina tens of thousands of dollars annually through reduced wastewater contaminates, decreased freshwater usage, lowered electrical usage and reduced salt usage.

In 2017 alone, the Nebraska Manufacturing Extension Partnership engaged 250-plus clients, resulting in $2.2 million in new and retained sales and $2.6 million in cost savings.

At UNO, the Nebraska Business Development Center provides consulting services to entrepreneurs and businesses, including manufacturers. NBDC’s most recent Manufacturer of the Year, Exmark Manufacturing in Beatrice, has been an NBDC client since 2014 and is a market leader in turf care equipment manufacturing. The company has given back significantly to the Beatrice community, not just with job growth but through charitable donations and employee volunteerism. And there are many more success stories like Exmark.

Today manufacturing employs 97,000 Nebraskans. We have the potential to grow that figure by expanding opportunities for highly skilled workers who will drive Nebraska’s economy forward. Together with our partners, the University of Nebraska will play an important role in building the manufacturing economy of the future.

Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D.
President, University of Nebraska

10/01/2018 In agriculture and other areas, the University of Nebraska is leading the way
In agriculture and other areas, the University of Nebraska is leading the way

Oct. 1, 2018

Recently I had the opportunity to travel the state to talk with Nebraskans about the work of their University and their ideas for the future.

Every place I went – Kearney, Grand Island, McCook, North Platte, Scottsbluff, York – I was struck by Nebraskans’ excitement about what’s ahead. And I was again reminded why it’s so important for me to spend as much time as possible meeting with students, faculty and staff who carry out the University’s mission every day and getting a firsthand look at the impact of their work.

From agriculture to healthcare, from transforming the lives of 52,000 young people each year to producing the workforce of the future, the University of Nebraska’s reach across the state is significant. I saw that again and again, in one community after another, in conversations with business leaders, community members and policymakers alike.

At UNK, I saw impressive changes in the campus’ footprint, like the beginnings of a new STEM education building that will be a game-changer for the rural workforce. I heard about UNK’s strategies to support at-risk students, like those who are the first in their families to attend college, which are having a dramatic impact on retention and graduation rates.

In the Panhandle, I joined with business leaders to talk about how we can work together to build a competitive economy for Nebraska’s future, and the University’s vital role in supplying the talent and workforce necessary for growth.

I shared stories of Nebraska’s leadership – like in national defense, evidenced by the University’s $92 million contract renewal from the U.S. Air Force to continue our anti-terrorism research. Nebraskans may not know, for example, that a UNO faculty member is a world expert on understanding the psychology of extremist groups like ISIS.

And I asked Nebraskans to continue to partner with us, so together we can continue to lead the way into the future. We are on an upward trajectory, but we cannot maintain our momentum without our partners whose support helps ensure affordable excellence at their University.

One area where Nebraska and the University have a long tradition of global leadership is agriculture. For almost 150 years, the University of Nebraska and UNL’s Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources have contributed to advancements in agriculture that have helped farmers and ranchers be more productive and improved the quality of life for people around the world.

I got a taste of the breadth of our work in agriculture during my statewide travels, which included stops at UNL’s research and extension centers in North Platte and Scottsbluff.

It is remarkable to know that work being done at extension centers in the middle of the country is having an impact around the world. In North Platte, UNL has an entomologist who is a leading expert on the western bean cutworm, one of the top pests of corn. Her studies on the pest and what strategies could be effective against it have improved yields and saved farmers and ranchers untold dollars.

And that’s one faculty member among thousands, at one extension center among dozens of University facilities across the state.

I could list countless other examples. UNMC experts are engaged in reducing the impact of tractor rollovers, the No. 1 cause of farm injury or death. Our Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute, drawing on the talents of 110 faculty across the campuses, has supported innovations like drone use to capture real-time crop moisture data.

Our partnerships with farmers and ranchers to advance agriculture have never been more important. The world’s population is projected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. Demand for food will double. Food and water insecurity is an urgent humanitarian and international security challenge.

Fortunately, the University of Nebraska has the expertise necessary to develop solutions. I could not be prouder of the leadership of our faculty and staff – nor more excited about our opportunities to grow our impact even further.

By Hank Bounds
President, University of Nebraska

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