The Kearney area and University of Nebraska at Kearney will be well represented when the search for a new University of Nebraska president is fully under way. Last week, NU announced that when the NU Board of Regents meets Friday in Lincoln, the governing panel will appoint a 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee.
Four of the 23 search advisory committee members have ties to Kearney or the Kearney area. They are:
- Tom Henning, president and CEO, Cash-Wa Distributing Co., Kearney
- Gilbert Hinga, dean of student affairs, UNK
- Dawn Mollenkopf, associate professor of teacher education and 2019-20 Faculty Senate president, UNK
- Steve Nelson, president, Nebraska Farm Bureau, Axtell
NU Regent Paul Kenney of Amherst played a role in assembling the 23-member advisory panel, along with fellow regents Elizabeth O’Connor and Howard Hawks of Omaha and chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln.
Scanning the list of Nebraskans who will advise the regents as they search to replace outgoing President Hank Bounds reveals that the committee makeup seeks to tap perspectives from across the state. Various industries, including agriculture, are represented, as are faculty and students in the NU system.
The search advisory committee even includes some well-known Nebraskans:
- Matt Davison, associate athletic director for football, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
- Mike Flood, entrepreneur, attorney and former speaker of the Legislature, Norfolk
- Susie Buffett, chairman, The Sherwood Foundation, Omaha
Groundwork for the presidential search was laid last week as university officials conducted statewide listening sessions to learn the kinds of qualities and skills that are desirable in NU’s new leader. One of the sessions was Friday at UNK, where people with viewpoints of each constituency — students, faculty and community — were invited to express their desires in the new president.
The president’s position is arguably one of the most important jobs in Nebraska because NU and its four campuses are key economic drivers. Bounds led NU brilliantly. With contributions from the search advisory panel, NU hopefully will find the leader it needs to carry on after Bounds.