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University of Nebraska names priority candidate for new UNL Chancellor

Rodney Bennett
Posted at 11:35 AM, May 22, 2023

LINCOLN, Neb. (KMTV) — The University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter announced that Rodney Bennett has been chosen as the priority candidate for the next chancellor of the UNL.

Here's what we know from the University:

Bennett has a 30-year record in higher education and most recently served for nearly a decade as president of the University of Southern Mississippi, according to a press release.

“At every turn during his impressive career, Dr. Bennett has made his institution stronger than when he arrived. He is a proven and gifted leader, an exceptional relationship-builder, and he knows from personal experience that higher education is nothing less than a transformative force in a student’s life. Rodney recognizes that Nebraska and our world need UNL to be a leading driver of opportunity, discovery and economic growth, and I believe he will chart the path to get us there,” said Carter.

“I am humbled by this opportunity, and I look forward to listening to and learning from UNL students, faculty, staff and stakeholders in the weeks ahead,” said Bennett.

Background

Prior to his role at Southern Mississippi, Bennett served at the University of Georgia for over a decade, ultimately as an associate professor and vice president for student affairs.

In that role, he was the senior administrator for student programs and services for Georgia’s 34,000-plus students. He oversaw $150 million in capital projects and made key staff and programmatic investments in extracurriculars, mental health programs and other areas to better support students from all walks of life.

Previously, Bennett was the dean of students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and associate dean of student life at Middle Tennessee State University.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication, a master’s degree in educational administration and a specialist in educational administration from Middle Tennessee State. He earned his Doctor of Education from Tennessee State University.

What comes next?

Bennett’s candidacy will now undergo a 30-day vetting period, beginning on Monday, that will include a series of public sessions during which members of the UNL community and the news media can meet Bennett and ask questions.

The schedule for the open forums is being finalized now and will be released in the coming days. Members of the public are invited to submit feedback about Bennett’s candidacy anytime during the 30-day period on the university's website.

The next chancellor will succeed current Chancellor Ronnie Green, who is retiring after seven years in the role.

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