At its March 21 meeting, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents will consider the appointment of James Linder, M.D., of Omaha as interim president of the university effective May 3.
Current NU President James B. Milliken is leaving Nebraska to become chancellor of the City University of New York. A national search is underway for Milliken’s permanent successor. By mutual agreement with the Board, Linder will not be a candidate for the permanent position.
Linder currently serves part-time as senior associate to the president of the University of Nebraska for innovation and economic competitiveness and as president of the University Technology Development Corporation. He also holds a faculty appointment as professor of pathology and microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. In addition to his NU employment, Linder is chief medical officer of Roche Diagnostics Hematology of Boston.
“The Board of Regents considered several outstanding candidates for interim president, and Jim Linder emerged as our consensus top choice to lead the University of Nebraska during this period of transition,” said Howard Hawks, chairman of the Board of Regents. “Dr. Linder is very familiar with the university, having served in faculty and administrative positions at UNMC and in the Office of the President on a full- or part-time basis for more than 30 years. He has a wide range of related experience in teaching, research, and external engagement which will serve the university well while we complete the search for the next president.”
If his appointment is approved by the board, Linder will become a full-time employee of the university on April 1 and his title will become interim president-elect. This will help ensure a smooth presidential transition by allowing Linder to work closely for about a month with Milliken, whose resignation is effective May 2.
While serving as interim president-elect and interim president, Linder will continue his employment with Roche in accordance with and subject to the limitations of the university’s outside employment policy.
“I have great pride in the University of Nebraska, so I am deeply honored to serve as interim president,” Linder said. “I have learned a great deal by working with President Milliken and understand the priority of maintaining the momentum that has built on each campus, and in our university-wide institutes. At the same time, until a new president is selected, the university must be ready to pursue new opportunities that arise.”
“Three years ago I asked Jim Linder to lead our university-wide efforts to promote innovation, public-private partnerships, technology development and commercialization, and he has exceeded my high expectations,” Milliken said. “He did the same when I asked him to lead the UNMC chancellor search, which he did with grace and wisdom. His experience in both the university and the private sector has demonstrated his creativity, discipline and leadership. He recognizes the importance of the University of Nebraska to the future of the state, and I have every confidence in his ability to lead this great institution during this period of transition.”
Linder earned his undergraduate degrees in biochemistry and microbiology from Iowa State University, and his Medical Doctor degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. After residency training in pathology at Duke University he returned to the University of Nebraska, where he has been on the faculty full- or part-time since 1983. During this time he held many administrative positions, including 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 Corporation.
He has extensive experience in the commercial sector, serving as a corporate officer and chief medical officer for Cytyc Corporation of Marlborough, MA, a leading manufacturer of diagnostic products and surgical devices, from 1995 thru 2007. At Cytyc Corporation he was responsible medical affairs, scientific development, regulatory affairs and quality control. He was an active member of the corporate development and venture group. In 2009 he cofounded Constitution Medical Inc. of Boston to develop the Bloodhound™ Integrated Hematology System; this company was acquired by the Roche Group in 2013.
Linder has authored more than 150 articles, book chapters and educational materials, five textbooks, and is a member of several journal editorial boards. He has held many leadership positions in his profession. Among his awards are the Distinguished Teaching Award of the University of Nebraska, the Award for Excellence in Medical Publications from the American Medical Writers Association, the Israel Davidsohn award for distinguished service to pathology, and regional recognition for supporting entrepreneurship. He holds multiple patents.
He is married to Karen A. Linder, an author, entrepreneur and President of Tethon3D. Together they founded and manage Linseed Capital that supports early-stage companies in the Midwest. They have six children who work in business or science.
Linder’s initial annual salary as interim president-elect and interim president will be $350,000, and he will be eligible to receive standard university fringe benefits including vacation, disability leave, retirement and health insurance. In addition, he will receive a vehicle allowance of $800 per month and a paid membership at the Country Club of Lincoln. He will be provided housing in the Official Residence of the President of the University, located at 2810 S. 27th St. in Lincoln, by June 1, and the university will reimburse his moving expenses up to $2,500.
Linder is expected to remain interim president until the national search for Milliken’s successor is successfully completed and a permanent president begins.