The Board of Regents voted Thursday to confirm Walter “Ted” Carter, VADM (Ret.), as the eighth president of the University of Nebraska system.
Carter, the immediate past superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy whose tenure included records in graduation rates and student diversity and a top national ranking by Forbes Magazine, will begin transition work as NU’s president-elect on Dec. 16. He will assume overall leadership on Jan. 1, succeeding Interim President Susan Fritz, Ph.D.
His appointment concludes a national search launched in April that has engaged faculty, staff, students, alumni, leaders in agriculture and business, and Nebraskans across the state. 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.
He was unanimously supported by a 23-member Presidential Search Advisory Committee representing a range of university constituencies, and received votes of support from each NU student body president.
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.”
“I’m humbled to even have been considered for the University of Nebraska presidency – a job that I believe is one of the best in American higher education,” he said. “Lynda and I are excited to call Nebraska our next home. The time we’ve spent in this great state has further convinced us that Nebraska is a place that can, and will, change the world. We can’t wait to get started.”
Reporting to the Board, the president is the chief executive officer of the four-campus University of Nebraska system. The president is responsible for carrying out the strategic priorities of the Board and is the primary advocate to the Nebraska Legislature and other constituencies. Direct reports to the president include the campus chancellors and NU-wide chief business, academic, legal and information technology officers.
“We are excited to begin working with Vice Admiral Carter in his vital role as we look ahead to the next stage in our university system’s mission to be an education, research and economic leader in Nebraska and across the globe," said Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). "I have great confidence that Ted and Lynda will be great role models for our university and will be champions for higher education, access, and engagement."
We are excited to begin working with Vice Admiral Carter in his vital role as we look ahead to the next stage in our university system’s mission to be an education, research and economic leader in Nebraska and across the globe
- Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., UNO Chancellor
"We welcome them most warmly to the truly amazing Nebraska community. I want to commend the search advisory committee members and the Board of Regents for their time and dedication. I also want to especially thank Dr. Fritz for her truly remarkable stewardship during this transition.”
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.
“The Board has high expectations, and we will measure our progress rigorously. I have full confidence in Ted’s ability to lead our university forward.”
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, the longest continuously serving superintendent in Annapolis. As superintendent – the Naval Academy’s equivalent of a university president – Carter led 4,400 students and 1,500 faculty and staff and oversaw a $500 million budget.
The Naval Academy’s Class of 2019 achieved a record-high graduation rate of 90 percent. Carter also significantly advanced diversity and inclusion there; of the Class of 2023, 28 percent are women and 40 percent are ethnic minorities, meaning white men are no longer the majority for the first time in the academy’s 173-year history.
Additionally, Carter formed the nation’s first accredited cyber operations program, and during his tenure, the Naval Academy was ranked the nation’s No. 1 public university by Forbes Magazine. In 2018, the academy enjoyed a record-high 69 percent winning percentage across all sports.
Carter, a Distinguished Flying Cross and Bronze Star recipient, brings extensive military service, having graduated from the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun) in Miramar, Calif. He was commander for the Carrier Strike Group Twelve, in which he commanded 20 ships, two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers and two carrier air wings that were deployed to Afghanistan and the Arabian Gulf. He is a naval flight officer with more than 6,300 flying hours, and has completed 2,016 carrier-arrested landings, an American record.
Carter earned his 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.
A Thank You to the People of Nebraska
by Walter "Ted" Carter, VADM (Ret.)
Over the past month, my wife Lynda and I have had the honor of meeting Nebraskans across the state as part of the search for the next president of the University of Nebraska.
I am humbled to even have been considered for this position – a job that I believe is one of the best in American higher education. Lynda and I were further humbled that so many of you took time to meet us, share your questions and concerns, and offer input to the Board of Regents.
After your thoughtful review, and following today’s vote by the Board of Regents to name me the next president of the University of Nebraska system, we simply want to say thank you to the people of the state for your trust and confidence.
I pledge to do all I can to make the University of Nebraska the best it can possibly be – an institution that stays true to its missions of access and academic excellence, that puts the success and well-being of students first, that celebrates the rich diversity that makes us great, and that works every day to demonstrate accountability to those who entrust us with their precious resources.
We owe no less to our 51,000 students, their families, our incredible faculty and staff, our hard-working elected leaders, our many alumni and friends, and indeed all Nebraskans. You count on us to educate your children, to produce the workforce of the future, to conduct cutting-edge research and provide the highest-quality health care to you and your loved ones. It is our honor and responsibility to deliver.
Many of you have asked Lynda and I why we are choosing Nebraska as our next step. After 38 years of serving our country, moving 20 times, uprooting family, and never living in a place for more than a few years, this place and its people have been an inspiration. Not since I left my native Rhode Island in 1977 and joined the Navy have I felt as welcomed as I have over the past month, when, in community after community, I have been able to shake hands with the folks who send their sons and daughters to UNL, UNO, UNK, UNMC and Curtis, and who expect a strong and vibrant university to teach them well.
Your genuine friendliness, seemingly elusive in these times, has made Lynda and I feel at home. Your thoughtful questions – not always easy, but always engaged – are already informing my thinking about the future of our university. I can’t wait to spend more time listening to your ideas, and I’m especially eager to get to know our students, faculty and staff better. To be able to serve alongside such talented, creative, passionate colleagues is the privilege of a lifetime.
During one public forum, I was asked about my highest calling in life so far. That question has stuck with me. I answered a call 42 years ago to don the cloth of our nation and swore an oath as many have done in the past.
Now, I have found my next calling. As president of the University of Nebraska, I intend to work hand-in-hand with the chancellors to make our university the finest public higher education institution in the country. We will set the bar high to be the best we can be, excellence will be our standard, and we will compete with the best to attract talented men and women to attend and graduate from our universities.
In this season of gratitude, Lynda and I are fortunate to call Nebraska our next home. Our time with you has further convinced me that Nebraska is a place that can – and will – change the world. We can’t wait to get started.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.