LINCOLN–(KFOR May 22)–The priority candidate to become the new chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is Dr. Rodney Bennett, who has 30 years experience in higher education and had served as president of the University of Southern Mississippi for a decade.

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.

Bennett and his wife, Temple, are the parents of two adult daughters, Colby and Logan.

As required by state law, Bennett’s candidacy now undergoes a 30-day vetting period, beginning today, 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 at

NU President Ted Carter on Monday said Dr. Bennett “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.”

If approved by the NU Board of Regents on June 22, Dr. Bennett will succeed chancellor Dr. Ronnie Green, who is retiring.