We appreciate the gesture by Chairman Tim Clare and Vice Chairman Jim Pillen, who announced recently they’re preparing to launch the search to replace University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds. Clare and Pillen are inviting Nebraskans to weigh in on the qualities, characteristics and skills they would prefer in NU’s next president.

It’s great Nebraskans will have a voice as the search is launched. We hope the same spirit of openness is integral at other junctures, as when the regents have selected their finalists. As in 2015 when Bounds was selected, we believe that allowing Nebraskans to meet the finalists was a wise strategy that contributed to Bounds’ selection and his four years of exceptional leadership.

Clare and Pillen appear to want Nebraskans’ involved in the new search.

"Students, faculty, staff, Nebraskans and all stakeholders are encouraged to submit comments to presidentsearch@nebraska.edu," the press release announcing the preparations for the search stated.

Bounds announced in March he intends to step down late this summer and transition to other educational work. A native of Mississippi, Bounds said he plans to return to the South.

In announcing the framework for their initial president search, Clare and Pillen went on to say the NU Board of Regents soon will stage a series of listening sessions so stakeholders can tell them directly what they should look for in Bounds’ successor.

All sessions will be open to the public, they said.

Nebraskans should welcome the opportunity to offer their thoughts on the search for a new president. Nebraskans should take advantage of the opportunity regents are extending to express qualities they desire in NU’s next president.

We’ve seen during the years how NU and its four campuses drive the state’s economy. UNMC, UNL, UNO and UNK deliver academic leadership and the skilled professionals our state needs to grow and create good jobs so our sons and daughters can pursue careers close to home.

There’s no doubt the upcoming search is key to our state. It also is evident the regents selected a terrific leader when they handed the reins to Bounds. He emerged from a field for four public finalists and excelled in guiding NU. We urge the regents to maintain the open approach in selecting the next leader.