Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year!

Welcome to the 2016-17 academic year!

University of Nebraska Family---

I could not be more excited to say welcome to the 2016-17 academic year!

Our campus is packed with life, energy, and palpable momentum in anticipation of world-changing feats. Okay, I know, not every single thing we do at the University of Nebraska will be momentous. But we are making our mark in the “Nebraska Way” that matters, changing lives right here and around the globe. And, we are without any doubt looking forward to even bigger things to come in the near and long-term future.

As you know, this is my first academic year as your chancellor. While I have been around the University for some time and have deep personal and professional roots here, I am learning new things each day that make me incredibly excited about our future. And my appreciation for the amazing and broad accomplishments at Nebraska is even more profound, now that I’ve walked the first few of what I hope will be many thousands of miles with you.

Our leadership in education and research and creative activity, plus our status as Nebraska’s only land-grant and comprehensive research-intensive university, means we are the flagship of higher education for our state. We fulfill a vital and unique role that has never been more important in our 147-year history as Nebraska’s people’s university. One of the things you will see over the course of this year and beyond is a much bolder approach to telling the story and impact of the University of Nebraska, and our heightened expectations for the years ahead.

Another thing we will be more articulate about is our commitment to diversity and inclusion. At the University of Nebraska, we strive for excellence in all we do. True excellence requires that each individual be able to work and learn in an atmosphere of respect, dignity, and acceptance. Our commitment to diversity and inclusion requires each of us to continuously ensure our interactions be respectful, protect free speech and inspire academic freedom.

To that end, we ask that all members of the University community be especially mindful of our responsibility to create an environment that is welcoming to all, where each person feels accepted, valued and safe.  Our newly articulated belief statements enhance and clarify our conviction to this principle. At new student convocation this past Friday, we emphasized our beliefs and were met with enthusiastic response from the newest members of our family (and, we are very proud to say, LARGEST CLASS IN HISTORY). That’s what I expected, because our beliefs on diversity and inclusion represent the way we operate. They are not-negotiable. And they are beliefs each one of us can count on.

This will be a phenomenally important year ahead of our University. We have much important work to do to develop our ultimate new strategic plan for growth in enrollment, research capacity and impact, and enhanced engagement with our state and partners. I will be calling on all of our campus community to roll up our sleeves in that work in the immediate time ahead, and I hope that I can count on all of you for that engagement. 

I look forward to my first opportunity to visit with you about where we are today in delivering on our tri-fold mission of teaching, research, and service – and even more importantly on how we will be building for the future.  I hope that you will join me in whatever way that you can at the State of the University address on September 22 at 2 p.m. at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts. You will receive more information in the coming weeks about that event and how you can tap in.

Good luck with all of your endeavors at the University of Nebraska. Every one of you is doing important and valuable work, and I thank you in advance for all of your contributions to the University in making 2016-17 an unprecedented year.

I am humbled, excited, privileged, and honored to serve as your chancellor. Now let’s all get to work in making the world a better place.

There truly is no place like NEBRASKA.

Go Big Red!