KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen today released the following statement following the announcement by University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds on his decision to leave the university:
“UNK is losing a great friend. I am personally and professionally saddened that President Hank Bounds is leaving the University of Nebraska. President Bounds has been a visionary and thoughtful leader for the state of Nebraska and the University of Nebraska in particular. Hank has instilled a culture of excellence and of unprecedented positive collaboration between campuses. All of our campuses have been strengthened by his leadership. I know it was a difficult decision and I respect it and applaud him for his choice. He’s leaving the university and Nebraska stronger.
“Given the budget challenges of the past two years I can’t imagine where we would be but for Hank Bounds. He was the right leader at a desperate time. His calm and rational leadership to our problems were essential to the University keeping its national prominence. That prominence has blossomed into an unprecedented relationship with the department of defense and with our research engine. The University of Nebraska is truly an essential player in areas like national defense and early childhood education because of Hank’s bold initiatives. His legacy will be his laser focus on true workforce development across the state and the need to develop and retain high-quality, high-demand and high-paying jobs for Nebraskans. This can only be done by an investment in the University of Nebraska.
“Our state’s great university is appreciative of Hank’s dedication and hard work. He was the right leader at the right time. The upcoming months will require us all to work together to ensure the opportunity for a smooth and thoughtful transition. I have great confidence that the board has in place the leadership to accomplish this mission-critical task.
“Hank has been a very special friend to the University of Nebraska at Kearney. We have seen him often on campus, and he is greatly interested in the success of our students and the quality of our faculty and staff. I have appreciated his interest in Kearney and advocacy for rural Nebraska. I know of no other president who has been as committed to our students and to Kearney as Hank. This is a big loss for us and our community.
“On behalf of the faculty, staff and students at UNK and the entire system, I express our appreciation and best wishes as he begins the next phase in his career. We’re also excited for him, his wife Susie and their family as they embark on their new future.”
The NU Board of Regents appointed Bounds as the seventh president of the University of Nebraska in January 2015. He began his tenure as president in April 2015.