The University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted Dec. 5 to confirm Walter “Ted” Carter as the eighth system president.
Carter, the immediate past superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy whose tenure included records in graduation rates and student diversity and a top national ranking by Forbes Magazine, will begin transition work as NU’s president-elect on Dec. 16. He will assume overall leadership Jan. 1, succeeding Interim President Susan Fritz.
The hiring concludes a national search launched in April that has engaged faculty, staff, students, alumni, leaders in agriculture and business, and Nebraskans across the state. After being named the regents’ priority candidate for president on Oct. 25, Carter underwent a month-long review period that included almost 30 public events in a dozen Nebraska communities.
His selection as a priority candidate for the post was unanimously supported by a 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee representing a range of university constituencies. Carter also received votes of support from each student body president in the NU system.
Congratulations to new NU System president Ted Carter, and thank you to Susan Fritz for your service as interim president. Both phenomenal leaders for Nebraska. https://t.co/sVuxEvaVFm pic.twitter.com/Jj8v0KUb7E
— Ronnie D. Green (@RonnieDGreen) December 5, 2019
Carter, who with his wife Lynda will relocate from Suffolk, Virginia, to Nebraska, thanked the regents and people of Nebraska for their engagement and trust. He pledged to work with the chancellors, faculty, staff and students, along with NU’s many public and private partners, “to make the University of Nebraska the best it can possibly be.”
“I’m humbled to even have been considered for the University of Nebraska presidency — a job that I believe is one of the best in American higher education,” Carter said. “Lynda and I are excited to call Nebraska our next home. The time we’ve spent in this great state has further convinced us that Nebraska is a place that can, and will, change the world. We can’t wait to get started.”
The vote and five-year contract with Carter was approved 7-1, with Regent Elizabeth O’Connor of Omaha as the dissenting vote. Carter will be paid a base salary of $934,600 and be eligible to receive a 15% performance bonus each year.
He will also receive a deferred compensation package of around $107,000, equal to 11.5% of the base salary. He will be eligible to receive that money at the end of three years of service.
The Carters will also be provided a home owned by the NU Foundation and a country club membership.
In total, the complete compensation package is estimated at nearly $1.2 million annually.
Reporting to the regents, the president is the chief executive officer of the four-campus University of Nebraska system. The president is responsible for carrying out the strategic priorities of the board and is the primary advocate to the Nebraska Legislature and other constituencies. Direct reports to the president include the campus chancellors and NU-wide chief business, academic, legal and information technology officers.
“When we looked at the qualities we were seeking in the next university president, Ted Carter checked every box,” said Tim Clare, chair of the NU Board of Regents. “He puts students first and values academic excellence. He is a champion of diversity and inclusion and is a skilled relationship-builder. His character is second to none.
“The board has high expectations, and we will measure our progress rigorously. I have full confidence in Ted’s ability to lead our university forward.”
The search committee was chaired by Columbus’ Jim Pillen, who is vice chair for the regents.
“Nebraskans expect their university to compete with the best institutions in the country,” Pillen said. “Together with the University of Nebraska community, Ted Carter is going to help us do that. I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for our university.”
Carter, 60, was superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, from 2014 to 2019, the longest continuously serving superintendent in Annapolis. As superintendent — the Naval Academy’s equivalent of a university president — Carter led 4,400 students and 1,500 faculty and staff and oversaw a $500 million budget.
The Naval Academy’s Class of 2019 achieved a record-high graduation rate of 90 percent. Carter also significantly advanced diversity and inclusion there; of the Class of 2023, 28 percent are women and 40 percent are ethnic minorities, meaning white men are no longer the majority for the first time in the academy’s 173-year history.
Additionally, Carter formed the nation’s first accredited cyber operations program, and during his tenure, the Naval Academy was ranked the nation’s No. 1 public university by Forbes Magazine.
Carter, a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star recipient, brings extensive military service, having graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School in Miramar, California. He was commander for the Carrier Strike Group 12, in which he commanded 20 ships, two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and two carrier air wings that were deployed to Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf. He is a naval flight officer with more than 6,300 flying hours, and has completed 2,016 carrier-arrested landings, an American record.
Carter earned his bachelor’s degree in physics and oceanography from the U.S. Naval Academy. He also has educational credentials from the 18-month-long Navy Nuclear Power School, the U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Naval War College and the Armed Forces Staff College.
Carter was raised in Burrillville, Rhode Island. The Carters have two adult children.