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University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds stepping down

March 26, 2019
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In this Sept. 21, 2017 photo, Nebraska University President Hank Bounds speaks in Lincoln, Neb. On Monday, March 25, 2019, Bounds announced he is stepping down from his position and leaving the state. The university announced that the 51-year-old Bounds plans to leave late this summer and return to the South with his family. Bounds is a Mississippi native and previously served as commissioner of higher education for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. Bounds gave no indication of what his next job might be. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
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In this Sept. 21, 2017 photo, Nebraska University President Hank Bounds speaks in Lincoln, Neb. On Monday, March 25, 2019, Bounds announced he is stepping down from his position and leaving the state. The university announced that the 51-year-old Bounds plans to leave late this summer and return to the South with his family. Bounds is a Mississippi native and previously served as commissioner of higher education for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning. Bounds gave no indication of what his next job might be. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds is stepping down from his position and leaving the state late this summer, the university announced Monday.

Bounds, a Mississippi native, said in a statement that he plans to return to the South with his family after four years at the university’s helm.

“While rewarding, this job has also been personally demanding,” Bounds said. “I have done everything I could to serve our students and the people of Nebraska effectively. Now it’s time to recharge and reconnect with my family.”

Bounds gave no indication of what his next job might be. He previously served as commissioner of higher education for the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning.

Bounds became the University of Nebraska’s seventh president in April 2015, overseeing a campus with 52,000 students with campuses in Lincoln, Omaha, Kearney and Curtis. He replaced J.B. Milliken, who left to become chancellor of the City University of New York.

University of Nebraska Regents Chairman Tim Clare thanked Bounds for his service and said the regents were “despondent” to see him go. Clare said the regents tried to persuade Bounds to stay, but understood and appreciated his decision “to put family first.”

“He was a tireless leader who always put the university’s interests first,” Clare said. “Hank was the right person, at the right time, for our university, and we will forever be indebted for his great work.”

Regent Jim Pillen said Bounds’ departure will be a loss for the state, but thanked him for putting the university in a strong position for the future.

Under Bounds, student enrollment reached a record-high of 53,000 in 2017 and the university experienced record graduation rates. Bounds launched a “Commit to Complete” initiative in 2016 to help students graduate on time so they could join the workforce sooner with as little debt as possible.

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