The University of Nebraska’s newly installed interim president has already made one thing clear: He intends to keep the university and its priorities moving forward while the search for a permanent president goes along.
James Linder, M.D., was formally installed during the May 30 Board of Regents meeting, a month after assuming the interim role following past President James B. Milliken’s departure to the City University of New York. Linder will not be a candidate for the permanent position, but has pledged to remain in the role until a successor is chosen.
Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks noted that the presidential installation has been a long-standing tradition for the university – a chance for the NU community to gather to welcome and celebrate its new leadership. Hawks said that with his deep and wide-ranging experience in teaching, research and engagement, Linder will serve the University of Nebraska well during its time of transition.
University of Nebraska Board of Regents Chairman Howard Hawks (left) with Interim President James Linder, M.D.
“On behalf of all of my colleagues on the Board of Regents, I want to thank you for your willingness to lead this great institution and continue to advance it while we search for a permanent president,” Hawks said. “We unanimously pledge our support to you in the months ahead.”
Linder – a 30-year veteran of the University of Nebraska who most recently had served as senior associate to the NU president for innovation and economic competitiveness and president of the University Technology Development Corp. – said that he considers three factors when determining what efforts to devote his time to: Is the work interesting? Is it relevant? And, what is the quality of the potential co-workers?
Left to right: Dr. Rodney Markin, associate vice chancellor for business development, chief technology officer and professor in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology, UNMC; UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman; Interim President James Linder; Dusty Reynolds, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and UNK alum; and UNO Student Regent Jordan Koch celebrate Dr. Linder’s installation.
Service to the University of Nebraska, which advances society and trains the next generation of leaders, clearly fits the criteria, Linder said.
“Fundamentally what the University of Nebraska does is change the lives of people,” he said.
“The university is populated by people who are motivated by ideas, and motivated by making the world a better place.”
Linder was formally welcomed by friends representing all four NU campuses and key university constituencies. Dusty Reynolds, director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce and a University of Nebraska at Kearney alum, noted that higher education is critical to economic development in the state and welcomed Linder on behalf of Nebraska’s business community.
Dr. Rodney Markin, associate vice chancellor for business development, chief technology officer and professor in the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, welcomed Linder on behalf of the university’s 13,000 faculty and staff. A close personal friend of Linder’s, Markin pledged employees’ full support to Linder and said he looks forward to Linder’s leadership.
Jordan Koch, student body president at the University of Nebraska at Omaha – whose own installation Linder attended earlier this spring – offered greetings on behalf of NU’s 50,000 students. Koch thanked Linder for pledging to engage with students and sustain NU as “a leading place to receive an education at an affordable cost.”
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman pledged support from all four campus administrations. He noted the university is fortunate to have people like Linder who are willing to step forward and lead when needed.
“It is clear that the important work of the university is in good hands and that the upward trajectory of the university will continue,” Perlman said. “[Linder] has demonstrated that while he may be an interim, he is decidedly not going to be merely a caretaker. We have every reason to believe he will be decisive, collaborative and, while respectful of the past, focused on the future.”
Interim President James Linder celebrates his installation with his wife, Karen Linder.
Linder brings considerable experience to the interim role. In addition to his work in economic development, he holds a faculty appointment as professor of pathology and microbiology at UNMC, and he chaired the recent search for UNMC’s new chancellor. Linder also serves as chief medical officer of Roche Diagnostics Hematology of Boston. He earned undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and microbiology from Iowa State University and his M.D. from UNMC. Linder has been on the NU faculty since 1983 and has served as vice chair of pathology, director of surgical pathology and cytopathology, associate dean for academic affairs, interim dean of the College of Medicine, associate vice chancellor for research, and CEO of UNeMed Corp.
Linder and his wife, Karen, founded and manage Linseed Capital, which supports early-stage companies in the Midwest.
For the most up-to-date news and information on the University of Nebraska presidential search, visit www.nebraska.edu/presidentsearch.