Rodney Bennett Selected to Serve as the Next Chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Rodney D. Bennett has been named the priority candidate to be the next chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As required by state law, Dr. Bennett’s candidacy now undergoes a 30-day vetting period which will include a series of public sessions during which members of the university community and the news media can meet him and ask questions. After 30 days, the board of regents can vote on Dr. Bennett’s appointment. If approved, he will be the first African American to lead the university.

According to the most recent federal data, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln enrolls just under 20,000 undergraduate students and nearly 5,000 graduate students. African Americans make up just 3 percent of the undergraduate student body.

“The more I learn about the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, the more excited I get about the opportunities for this university to help shape the future of higher education,” Dr. Bennett said. “The challenges we face are real, but with unapologetically bold leadership, the right teams in place, and an unwavering focus on our foundational priorities of teaching, research, and service, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln can set a new standard of excellence among flagship universities. 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.”

Dr. Bennett has served a president of the University of Southern Mississippi since 2013. Before being named president of the University of Southern Mississippi, Dr. Bennett served as vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens. He previously was dean of students and interim provost for institutional diversity at the University of Georgia. Earlier in his career, Dr. Bennett was dean of students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Dr. Bennett earned a bachelor’s degree in mass communication and a master’s degree in educational administration from Middle Tennessee State University. He earned an educational doctorate from Tennessee State University.

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