Mike Zeleny, who has served as associate to the chancellor and chief of staff for Chancellor Ronnie Green, has been named the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s vice chancellor for business and finance, effective Jan. 1, 2023.
Green announced Zeleny’s selection, pending approval from the Board of Regents, on Dec. 2.
Zeleny succeeds Mary LaGrange, who has served as the interim business and finance leader since January. LaGrange took on the interim position after Bill Nunez accepted a position at Texas Christian University.
Following a national search and through campuswide process, the position remained unfilled. Three finalists interviewed on campus in September and October.
“After careful evaluation and analysis of the current national landscape where a significant number of higher education business and finance leaders are being recruited, coupled with our acute needs for UNL leadership, I reached out to Mike Zeleny to serve our university in a new capacity,” Green said. “Mike brings tremendous experience and knowledge to the role in university fiscal and administrative operations, capital and strategic planning, and university shared governance and policy acumen.
“His unmatched breadth of UNL institutional knowledge and its daily operations will be invaluable as he moves into the leadership role of Business and Finance.”
Zeleny has been a member of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s senior administrative team since January 2018. Prior to that, he served as associate vice chancellor for research and economic development.
Zeleny, originally from Exeter, Nebraska, worked for more than 20 years in the Office of Research and Economic Development, assisting with the university’s research growth and expanding its economic development mission. He is active in several community organizations and boards and has served on and led many university comittees and initiatives.
A Nebraska U alumnus, Zeleny earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1994, and a Master of Business Administration in 1996.
“I’m honored to lead our talented Business and Finance team,” Zeleny said. “Working together, I look forward to advancing UNL’s important mission and serving our state and many stakeholders.”
Nebraska’s vice chancellor for business and finance is UNL’s chief business officer and reports to the chancellor. The position is responsible for oversight and administration of the university’s $1.2 billion operating budget in conformity with university policy and state and federal laws. The position serves as UNL’s chief financial and operating officer and pursues operational excellence, innovation and efficiency across all business services, university police, parking, human resources, university’s physical facilities and related operational units.
The position serves on the chancellor’s executive leadership team and is a member of the chancellor’s extended cabinet. Learn more about the position and duties.
With Zeleny’s new role, Green announced that Josh Davis, associate vice chancellor for global affairs and senior international officer, will serve as the chancellor’s chief of staff. Maegan Stevens-Liska, senior director for global affairs and director of global partnerships, will take on an interim role as the university’s leader of global affairs.
Davis has served as a Nebraska U leader of global affairs and strategy for more than 10 years. Before taking on his current role in January 2019, Davis worked for four years as assistant vice chancellor for global engagement in the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. He previously served as assistant vice president for global strategy and initiatives for the NU system.
Prior to coming to Nebraska, Davis worked for the federal government. He held multiple positions at the U.S. Department of State, domestically and overseas, and served in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, as a foreign policy adviser in the U.S. Senate, and as a Brookings Institution Legislative Fellow.
Davis is a graduate of the University of Akron School of Law and is a member of the Ohio Bar Association.
As chief of staff and associate to the chancellor, Davis sill serve as a senior adviser, reporting on a variety of strategic and executive duties, including internal and external relations.