Lincoln, Neb. — Nebraskans celebrated the formal installation of University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds on Friday – a year after he became the university’s seventh president. Bounds came to Nebraska after serving as commissioner of higher education in his native Mississippi. The installation ceremony is formally known in the academic world as an “investiture,” a rite that originated hundreds of years ago in English universities and was modeled after knighthood ceremonies. Friday’s ceremony included a speech from Bounds in which he reflected on his first year as president and laid out his goals moving forward, and greetings from a range of NU constituents, including Gov. Pete Ricketts and representatives of the faculty, staff, administration, and students of the university. One of the speakers was Samuel Meisels, founding executive director of the Buffett Institute.
"Good morning. It is a pleasure and an honor to welcome Dr. Hank Bounds as the seventh president of the University of Nebraska. I come to you today as the founding executive director of the Buffett Early Childhood Institute and a representative of the other three university-wide institutes—the Robert B. Daugherty Water for Food Institute, the Rural Futures Institute, and the National Strategic Research Institute.
Each of the Institutes represents a strategic investment by the University—to discover innovative, research-driven solutions to the great challenges facing modern society. We are living proof of President Bounds’s vision: One university, four campuses. Each of the institutes has responsibilities that go beyond any single campus, any unique discipline, any individual perspective. Our obligations are to the common good of all Nebraskans, all Americans, dare I say, all humankind.
That’s why it is such a privilege to extend our hand in welcome to Hank Bounds. Like the Institutes, he knows that a public university exists to serve—through teaching the next generation of leaders, producing knowledge needed by those who will follow us, and creating opportunities for all we encounter. Also like the Institutes, President Bounds sees his place—the University’s place—not in the clouds but on the ground in the midst of the action.
His commitments are to excellence, equity, and leadership—commitments that are fundamental to him, as they must be for the University as a whole.
Like many of you, I’ve known President Bounds for only one year. But in less time than that I became convinced that he can harness the strengths of this extraordinary institution in ways that none of us could ever have dreamt possible. We, the directors of the four university-wide Institutes, are proud to work with him and are grateful for his commitment to the urgent role we play in helping the University tackle problems of great significance for Nebraska and beyond.
When I joined the University three years ago I declared that the Buffett Early Childhood Institute would make Nebraska the best place in the nation to be a baby. Under Hank Bounds’s leadership, I am confident that the University of Nebraska will become the best place in the nation for all of us to be citizens of this state, this nation, this world. President Bounds, we wish you well!"
Video of the ceremony