University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds said Thursday that he has appointed Heath Mello, NU associate vice president and director of state relations, as interim vice president for university affairs.
Mello, a former state senator and public policy strategist who joined the university in December 2017, will assume his new role on July 1, pending approval by the Board of Regents.
“In only 18 months, Heath has proven to be an invaluable member of the University of Nebraska’s leadership team,” Bounds said. “He has brought energy, vision and a collaborative approach to our state relations efforts and he is a trusted partner to our elected leaders. I couldn’t be more excited to welcome him to this critical leadership role.”
The vice president for university affairs is a member of the president’s executive cabinet and is responsible for promoting positive relations and outcomes between the university and its constituents. As the senior member of the university affairs team, the vice president oversees a unit responsible for state and federal government relations, strategic communications and marketing, and event planning.
Mello will retain his state relations duties, serving as NU’s chief lobbyist.
Mello previously served eight years as a Nebraska state senator, including four years as chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee. He also has held roles as community affairs coordinator at Metropolitan Community College and senior executive at the Holland Children’s Institute & Movement. A native of Omaha, Mello earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.