Hank Bounds, the commissioner of higher education for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, has been chosen as the University of Nebraska’s next president.
The university announced the Board of Regents voted unanimously Monday to approve the 47-year-old for the job. Bounds was one of four finalists for the job to replace J.B. Milliken, who left last year to become chancellor of the City University of New York.
As president, Bounds will oversee campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.
Bounds has led Mississippi’s eight public universities since 2009. He was the state’s superintendent of K-12 schools from 2005 to 2009 and was superintendent of the Pascagoula school system from 2001 to 2005. Earlier, he worked as a high school principal.
The departure Bounds leaves Mississippi’s College Board looking for a new boss to oversee the state’s eight public universities.
One College Board trustee, Ed Blakeslee, says becoming president of a university and not just the head of a system was natural step up for Bounds, who has been commissioner since 2009.
Blakeslee says the board didn’t counter Nebraska’s offer, including a $480,000-a-year salary. Mississippi’s board gave Bounds a 5 percent raise starting Oct. 1, increasing his salary above $358,300 a year.
One factor that could have weighed in Nebraska’s favor — Bounds has reached 25 years in Mississippi’s pension system, meaning he can retire and draw a pension while working in Nebraska.
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