Date Recipient
05/15/2015 Presidential Biography: Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D.
Presidential Biography: Hank M. Bounds, Ph.D.

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.

Bounds grew up on a small farm in rural Mississippi, where his family raised pigs and cows 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 25-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 including research universities, regional universities, an academic health science center, historically black institutions, a law center, a school of veterinary medicine and 200 institutes and centers. Together the system enrolled 85,000 students, employed 26,000 faculty and staff, and operated with a combined annual budget of $4.5 billion, including $500 million in research and development.

During every year of Bounds’ tenure as commissioner, student enrollment and degrees awarded by the institutions in the Mississippi system increased, by a total of 13.3 percent and 11.4 percent, respectively. He advocated with legislative leadership for improved faculty compensation and providing greater opportunities for students. He also provided oversight for private fundraising in excess of $250 million per year.

Bounds worked with the Board of Trustees to implement a performance-based allocation model that distributed funds equitably and rewarded universities for operating efficiently and achieving attainment outcomes. He designed an efficiencies plan that saved more than $90 million, an internal audit function, and a comprehensive diversity initiative that led to increased diversity among Mississippi faculty, staff and students.

Bounds also worked with partners to develop plans to increase educational attainment in Mississippi, including a Center for Education Innovation focused on improving learning opportunities for disadvantaged children. Bounds created an office to foster relationships among university researchers, business and industry, and economic developers. He was tapped by the business community to chair a major statewide initiative to create an action plan to improve Mississippi’s competitive position.

Bounds brings this experience to the University of Nebraska, which he believes can serve as a catalyst for change and growth in the lives of students and people in the state and around the world. He is working to make the University of Nebraska a giant in higher education – for the benefit of the state, the country and the world.

Bounds and his wife, Susie, are the parents of a son, Will, and a daughter, Caroline. They will reside in Lincoln.

07/18/2014 Presidential Search Committee to Meet

July 18, 2014

The Presidential Search Outreach and Advisory Committee will meet on Friday, July 25, at Varner Hall, located at 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln. The committee will meet in the Board Room in the lower level of Varner Hall beginning at 8 a.m.

An agenda for the meeting is available here.

09/03/2013 On college affordability, Nebraska has a great story to tell, August 2013
04/05/2013 Statement on the Appropriations Committee’s revised budget recommendations, April 4, 2013
President J. B. Milliken
01/31/2013 President Emeritus: James B. Milliken
President J.B. Milliken
President Emeritus:
James B. Milliken

University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken today informed the university community that after nearly a decade as NU’s president, he will leave Nebraska to become the next chancellor of the City University of New York, the nation’s premier urban public university.

The CUNY Board of Trustees unanimously approved Milliken’s appointment in a special meeting today. Milliken will begin his tenure at CUNY no later than June 1.

“As a native Nebraskan, serving as president of the University of Nebraska has been one of the greatest privileges of my career,” Milliken said. “I am incredibly proud of what’s happening here – which is a testament to the quality of our outstanding faculty, students and the leadership of many. Today the University of Nebraska is doing more than ever to provide students in Nebraska and beyond with an affordable, excellent education; to conduct research in areas critical to people in Nebraska and around the world; and to help people in communities across the state live healthier, more productive lives. This university is poised for great things. While it is difficult to leave, I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to serve as the chancellor of CUNY, a university that plays such a vital role for the nation’s largest city and the entire country.”

CUNY is the third-largest university system in the United States, with 24 campuses across New York City and 270,000 degree-credit students and 218,000 adult, continuing and professional education students. CUNY’s student body is one of the most diverse in the nation, with 40 percent of undergraduates having been born outside the United States. Twenty percent of the university’s undergraduates are the first in their families to attend college. The chancellor is CUNY’s highest-ranking official, with the campus presidents reporting to him or her.

“I know I speak for my colleagues on the Board of Regents when I say that we are happy for President Milliken and his family as they start a new chapter of their lives at CUNY, but we are also sorry to lose them,” said Tim Clare, chairman of the NU Board of Regents. “President Milliken has been an extraordinary visionary for the University of Nebraska. His leadership, coupled with his tireless work ethic and magnetic personality, has taken the University of Nebraska to new heights that have benefitted not only the university, but also the entire state of Nebraska. We have done a great deal to fulfill our mission as a leading 21st-century university and our trajectory puts us in a strong position to continue this momentum. We thank J.B. and Nana for everything they have done for the University of Nebraska and the state. They have made a difference in so many peoples’ lives, and we wish them nothing but the best.”

“When J.B. returned to our home state, he committed himself to raising the University of Nebraska to an even higher level – building a global reputation for Nebraska’s leadership on strategic priorities for the 21st century,” said Jeff Raikes, a Nebraska native and CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. “He has been a transformational leader, and Nebraskans can be truly proud of his accomplishments and the momentum he’s built for the university. We all look forward to how this Nebraskan will next shape our world.”

Milliken, the first Nebraskan and the first University of Nebraska graduate to become president of the university, has served in his current role since 2004. When he became president, he worked with the Board of Regents and university leadership on a strategic planning process that has resulted in unprecedented success for the university, including:

  • Expanded access for Nebraskans, including record investments in need-based financial aid. Affordable access has been Milliken’s highest priority, and tuition rates on all four NU campuses are well below the peer averages. NU’s tuition assistance program, Collegebound Nebraska, now guarantees full tuition coverage for nearly 6,700 students. Overall, more than half of NU undergraduates receive some form of grant aid that does not have to be repaid.
  • Growing enrollment, including a 20-year high this fall of 50,705, with ambitious goals for continued growth to help produce a highly talented workforce for Nebraska.
  • Record levels of research funding in areas important to Nebraska, including water and agriculture, cancer, early childhood education, public health, engineering, energy, information technology and others.
  • Significant physical expansion of the four campuses.
  • A highly successful capital campaign, whose priorities Milliken developed in consultation with the campuses. The campaign has already raised more than $1.5 billion – well over the original goal of $1.2 billion – and will conclude at the end of 2014. Last year donors gave a record $237 million to the university.
  • A new level of commitment to global engagement, which has resulted in record enrollments of international students and new strategic partnerships in China, India, Brazil and other key countries.
  • A strengthened commitment to public-private partnerships, including Nebraska Innovation Campus, which is leveraging the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s research strengths in food, fuel and water; a 70-acre expansion of the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus to provide for growth and private-sector engagement; the new Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at the University of Nebraska Medical Center; and South Campus at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, which will provide expanded space for private and university activities. Innovation Campus and the cancer center both received investments from the state which have been leveraged with significant private giving.

Clare said a national search will be conducted for the next president of the University of Nebraska. In accordance with university policy, the Board of Regents will appoint an advisory committee to assist the Board in the search. The size and composition of the advisory committee will be determined by the Board, but it will include representatives of the principal constituencies with which the president interacts.

Clare said an interim NU president likely will be designated by the Board at a later date.

Contact: Melissa Lee
(402) 472-7127
(402) 580-3297 (cell)
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01/30/2013 Biography
President J. B. Milliken
James B. Milliken
President Emeritus

James B. (“J.B.”) Milliken is President Emeritus of the University of Nebraska. He recently stepped down after a highly successful decade as NU president (2004-2014) to become chancellor of the City University of New York, the nation’s premier urban public university. During his tenure at the University of Nebraska, he held faculty appointments in the College of Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the School of Public Administration at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He previously served as senior vice president of the University of North Carolina and as vice president for external affairs and corporation secretary for the University of Nebraska

Milliken is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Nebraska and a graduate of the New York University School of Law, where he was a Root-Tilden Scholar. He practiced law on Wall Street before joining the University of Nebraska in 1988. He has also worked in Washington as a legislative assistant to Congresswoman Virginia Smith.

Milliken serves on the board of directors of the American Council on Education and was a member of the ACE Blue Ribbon Panel on Global Engagement. He served on the board of directors of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and is the past chair of the APLU Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity. Milliken also co-chaired the Council on Competitiveness’ Regional Innovation Initiative Leadership Steering Committee.

Milliken serves on the boards of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska State Chamber of Commerce, BioNebraska, the Nebraska Advanced Manufacturing Coalition, and The Nebraska Medical Center. He is a co-chair of the Nebraska P-16 Initiative, a member of the Strategic Command Consultation Committee and the Business Higher Education Forum, and a board member for the Nebraska Military Support Coalition. Milliken and his wife, Nana Smith, live in New York City and are the parents of three children.

01/30/2013 President Milliken
University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken
University of Nebraska
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