Regent Paul Kenney: From Naval Academy to Nebraska, Ted Carter is providing strong leadership for our university

By Regent Paul Kenney
Board of Regents, District 6

A little over a month into the new school year, exciting things are happening at our University of Nebraska.

In Kearney, the Board of Regents has approved plans for a new UNK-UNMC Rural Health Education Building that will produce more health care workers that our communities desperately need. We are grateful to Gov. Ricketts and the Legislature for their partnership on this project, which will make rural Nebraska an even better place to live, work and raise a family.

We have frozen tuition for every University of Nebraska student for the second straight year, keeping college within reach for Nebraskans. You see a lot of headlines about rising tuition, but here in Nebraska we have made it a priority to keep costs down for students so they can take on less debt, graduate on time and enter the workforce sooner.

We’ve received high ratings – basically an A on our financial report card – for our budget management, something all Nebraska taxpayers can be proud. We have made the hard choices necessary to keep our budget balanced, including $50 million in cuts over the past few years that were part of our plan to deal with COVID-19 head-on.

Loper and Husker volleyball are both ranked in the top 10, competing with the best of the best as usual.

These kinds of successes don’t happen by accident. They are the result of smart decision-making and strong leadership. We are lucky to have Chancellor Kristensen at the helm at UNK. And speaking of strong leadership, our university system is in the best possible hands with Ted Carter as our president.

I knew right away when the Board of Regents met Ted – otherwise known as Vice Admiral Carter, a 38-year veteran of the military – that we’d found the right person to lead our university forward. I enthusiastically voted “yes” for him after reviewing his long record of public service, most recently at his alma mater, the U.S. Naval Academy.

Almost three years later, I’m even more convinced we made the right choice. President Carter has laid out a common-sense vision for our university based on quality education, responsible use of our resources and partnership with state leaders to meet Nebraska’s workforce needs and improve our quality of life.

It’s not just me saying that. We recently learned that President Carter had been selected to receive the Naval Academy’s Distinguished Graduate Award – a prestigious honor given to alumni who have demonstrated the very highest levels of character, service and leadership. Ted is one of the youngest Naval Academy alumni ever to earn this honor, and he joins an exclusive list of great public servants that includes the likes of the late Sen. John McCain.

For Ted to be recognized in this way speaks to the quality of leadership we’ve attracted to Nebraska. He often says his top priority is earning the trust and confidence of Nebraskans. He brings those values to life every day. I saw it in the way he pushed to keep the University of Nebraska moving forward during the pandemic while others hunkered down. I see it in the way he puts students first in all his decisions, and the way he manages our budget in an open and transparent way. And I see it in how hard he works to build relationships with elected leaders and all Nebraskans to get things done that benefit our state.

We are lucky Ted and Lynda Carter chose Nebraska. He has already achieved a great deal for our university, and I have full confidence that the bar will be set even higher in the years to come. The University of Nebraska is crucially important to the growth and success of our state. President Carter’s leadership is steering us in the right direction.