The University of Nebraska Board of Regents voted thursday to confirm Retired Vice-Admiral Walter “Ted” Carter as the eighth president of the University of Nebraska system. Carter is the immediate past superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy. He’ll begin transition work as NU’s president-elect on Dec. 16, and assume overall leadership on Jan. 1, succeeding Interim President Susan Fritz.
His hiring ends a national search that was launched in April when former President Hank Bounds announced that he would leave the job. After being named the Board’s priority candidate for president on Oct. 25, Carter underwent a month-long review period that included almost 30 public events in a dozen Nebraska communities.
Carter, who with his wife Lynda will relocate from Suffolk, Va., to Nebraska, thanked the Board of Regents and people of Nebraska for their engagement and trust. He pledged to work with the chancellors, faculty, staff and students, along with NU’s many public and private partners, “to make the University of Nebraska the best it can possibly be.”
The vote to approve the contract was 7-1 among the elected Regents. Regent Elizabeth O’Connor of Omaha said she could not support the $934,000 per year salary. “There are too many professors that are serving as adjuncts rather than at livable wages, too many students that are struggling to make tuition, worrying about their own future, and too much uncertainty in the future of the University’s funding for me to feel comfortable with the proposed salary at this time.”
Regent Rob Schafer approved of the salary. “Look at what we pay our football coach: $5 Million Dollars, pay a basketball coach $3 Million Dollars, pay our Athletic Director a million dollars, and we’re asking them in those positions to lead us to greatness.” Shaffer asked, rhetorically, “Which one is actually more important to our state? Which one’s going to have a greater impact on our students, our graduates, our workforce, and just the quality of life?”
Board of Regents Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln said: “When we looked at the qualities we were seeking in the next university president, Ted Carter checked every box. He puts students first and values academic excellence. He is a champion of diversity and inclusion and is a skilled relationship-builder. His character is second to none.”
Board Vice Chairman Jim Pillen of Columbus, who chaired the search committee, said: “Nebraskans expect their university to compete with the best institutions in the country. Together with the University of Nebraska community, Ted Carter is going to help us do that. I couldn’t be more excited about what the future holds for our university.”
Carter, 60, was superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., from 2014 to 2019. Until now, his entire career has been in the Navy. He is a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star recipient, and graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) in Miramar, Calif. He has bachelor’s degree in physics and oceanography from the U.S. Naval Academy. He also has educational credentials from the 18-month-long Navy Nuclear Power School, the U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Naval War College and the Armed Forces Staff College.
Carter was raised in Burrillville, R.I., a rural, one-high school town. The Carters have two adult children.