Hank Bounds, who begins his tenure as the seventh president of the University of Nebraska on April 13, will spend his first week on a “Getting to Know Nebraska” tour that will showcase the diversity of the state and introduce him to a wide range of university stakeholders.
During his tour, which begins April 12 in Mead, and ends April 17 in Nebraska City, Bounds will stop in some 20 Nebraska communities. He will meet with leaders in agriculture, business, education, civic organizations and the news media, and will visit a number of high schools, community colleges and state colleges in addition to NU campuses and research and extension facilities.
Bounds will be joined on much of the tour by Ronnie Green, NU vice president and vice chancellor of the Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources; and Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. Members of the Board of Regents and friends of the university will help host events and meetings across the state. Nebraskans are invited to follow tour updates online, where Bounds will keep a travel journal, and by following Bounds on Twitter.
Bounds, who recently wrapped up duties as commissioner of higher education in Mississippi, a role he had held since 2009, said his Nebraska tour is an opportunity to listen and learn from citizens of the state about how the university and its stakeholders can work together to build a stronger future for Nebraskans.
“One of the things that has struck me most about this state is how much Nebraskans care about their university. We have an incredible opportunity to harness that passion and build the University of Nebraska into a giant in higher education — an institution doing more than ever to serve students and people in the state and around the world,” Bounds said. “I’m excited to spend time with faculty, staff, students, farmers and ranchers, business owners, community leaders, educators and many other alumni and friends who have made the University of Nebraska one of the nation’s leading institutions. Their ideas will help shape a new era for Nebraska’s public university.”
The Board of Regents appointed Bounds as the next NU president on Jan. 12. A lifelong educator, Bounds has devoted his 25-year career to helping change students’ lives in the same way education impacted his own life. He 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 began his career as a high school teacher, then rose to principal, superintendent and state superintendent before becoming higher education commissioner. In that role, he oversaw a complex system of eight public universities which together enrolled 85,000 students, employed 26,000 faculty and staff and operated with a combined annual budget of $4.5 billion. As commissioner, he built a demonstrated record of expanding opportunities for students, improving higher education outcomes and efficiencies, and building successful partnerships with policymakers, donors, business leaders and others.
Bounds and his wife, Susie, have two children, Will and Caroline. Bounds succeeds Dr. James Linder, who has served as NU’s interim president since May 2014.
The full schedule for Bounds’ “Getting to Know Nebraska” tour:
Sunday, April 12 (Mead, Fremont and Columbus)
11 a.m.: Tour of UNL Agricultural Research and Development Center; Location: 1071 County Road G, Mead
Noon: Stakeholder luncheon at Agricultural Research and Development Center; Location: 1071 County Road G, Mead
2 p.m.: Stakeholder reception; Location: Gallery 92 West, 92 W. 6th St., Fremont
4:30 p.m.: Roundtable discussion with local business and education leaders; Location: The Evans House, 2204 14th St., Columbus
5:30 p.m.: Stakeholder reception and dinner Location: The Evans House, 2204 14th St., Columbus
Monday, April 13 (Grand Island, Kearney, Lexington, Gothenburg and North Platte)
7:30 a.m.: Stakeholder breakfast; Location: Raising Nebraska site, 501 E. Fonner Park Road, Grand Island
9 a.m.: Grand Island Senior High School visit; Location: 2124 N. Lafayette Ave., Grand Island
11:30 a.m.: Reception with UNK faculty, staff and students; Location: Nebraskan Student Union, UNK
12:30 p.m.: Stakeholder luncheon; Location: Nebraskan Student Union, UNK
2:45 p.m.: Interview and meet-and-greet with community leaders; Location: KRVN radio station, 1007 Plum Creek Parkway, Lexington
4 p.m.: Monsanto Water Utilization Learning Center visit; Location: Gothenburg
6:30 p.m.: Stakeholder reception and dinner; Location: Golden Spike Tower, 1249 N. Homestead Road, North Platte
Tuesday, April 14 (North Platte, Curtis and Sidney)
7:30 a.m. Breakfast with UNL West Central Research and Extension Center faculty and staff; Location: 402 West State Farm Road, North Platte
9 a.m.: Media availability at West Central Research and Extension Center; Location: 402 West State Farm Road, North Platte
10:30 a.m.: Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture visit; Location: 404 E. 7th St., Curtis
Noon: Lunch with NCTA students and faculty; Location: NCTA Student Union, Curtis
1:30 p.m. MT: Stumpf International Wheat Research and Education Center visit; Location: Grant
2:45 p.m. (approx.): Stop at Lake McConaughy Reservoir and Water Learning Center; Location: Ogallala
4:15 p.m. Cabela’s tour; Location: 115 Cabela Dr., Sidney
5:30 p.m.: Stakeholder reception; Location: Buffalo Point Steakhouse, 638 Cabela Dr., Sidney
Wednesday, April 15 (Scottsbluff, Gering and Chadron)
7:15 a.m. MT: Stakeholder breakfast; Location: Farm and Ranch Museum, 2930 Old Oregon Trail, Gering
8:45 a.m.: Meeting with Western Nebraska Community College President Todd Holcomb and senior staff and tour of University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Nursing West Division with Assistant Dean Susan Wilhelm; Location: Western Nebraska Community College Harms Advanced Technology Center, 2620 College Park, Scottsbluff
10 a.m.: Gering High School visit; Location: 1500 U St., Gering
11:30 a.m.: Tour of UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center; Location: 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff
12:30 p.m.: Luncheon with Panhandle Research and Extension Center faculty and staff; Location: 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff
2 p.m.: Media availability at Panhandle Research and Extension Center; Location: 4502 Avenue I, Scottsbluff
4:30 p.m.: Fort Robinson State Park visit; Location: Crawford
6:30 p.m.: Stakeholder reception and dinner; Location: Chadron State College Student Center, 1000 Main St., Chadron
Thursday, April 16 (Valentine, Ainsworth and Norfolk)
Noon CT: Rotary Club luncheon; Location: Peppermill & E.K. Valentine Lounge, 502 E. Highway 20, Valentine
2:30 p.m.: Ainsworth High School visit; Location: 520 E. 2nd St., Ainsworth
7 p.m.: Stakeholder reception and dinner; Location: Norfolk Country Club, 801 E. Benjamin Ave., Norfolk
Friday, April 17 (Norfolk, Wayne, West Point and Nebraska City)
7:30 a.m.: Breakfast with UNL Northeast Research and Extension Center faculty and staff; Location: Northeast Research and Extension Center, Northeast Community College, 601 E. Benjamin Ave., Norfolk
9 a.m.: Media availability at Northeast Research and Extension Center; Location: University Classroom, Northeast Research and Extension Center, 601 E. Benjamin Ave., Norfolk
10 a.m.: Wayne High School visit; Location: 611 W. 7th St., Wayne
11 a.m.: Coffee with Wayne State College President Curt Frye and local business leaders; Location: Wayne State College Student Center, Niobrara Room, E. 14th St., Wayne
12:30 p.m.: Stakeholder luncheon; Location: Nielsen Community Center, 200 Anna Stalp Ave., West Point
4:30 p.m.: Tour of UNL Kimmel Research and Extension Center; Location: 5985 G Road, Nebraska City
6 p.m.: Stakeholder reception and dinner; Location: Lied Lodge, 2700 Sylvan Road, Nebraska City