The College of Business atrium buzzed with questions Tuesday afternoon as the University of Nebraska Presidential Priority Candidate Ted Carter hosted a forum to talk to members of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln student body.
The presidential search committee voted unanimously on Carter in October and he is now in the midst of a 30-day review period before the Board of Regents votes on his presidency.
Carter said each of the several forums he’s held have connected with a common theme: the importance of agriculture. People do not want him to forget what he sees as the core personality of Nebraska the state and the university system.
“I’ve seen the thousands of acres of cornfields and soybean fields and the feed farms with 10,000 or 80,000 heads of cattle and I’m very impressed by that,” he said. “I think that’s an important aspect.”
While he is from Rhode Island, he said he understands the rural Nebraska feel since he is from a small town.
While he is excited for the opportunity, Carter said if he receives the president position he is most nervous to quickly get a grasp of all five University of Nebraska campuses.
“It’s a very spread out job – about a 500-mile radius,” he said. “I know I can’t be everywhere all the time.”
Carter said he wants to get comfortable with where everything is, understand the layout and then do no harm. He said he wants to keep up with the foundation and personality of the University of Nebraska and the agriculture that started it all off.
The agriculture theme shone through in Tuesday’s forum when students repeatedly asked him how he plans to address climate change. He told the students he knows the world is changing and wants the changes on campus to filter up to society.
However, he said he also does not want to come in and do each chancellor’s job. He wants to make sure they’re successful on their respective campuses.
Carter said he was surprised by how many questions revolved around the changing climate and cleaning up the Earth.
“I knew there’d be a passion in this generation, but almost every single person wanted to talk about that,” he said. “So that’s kind of refreshing.”
For example, he was asked how he would address the red balloon tradition at football games. He noted that he is aware of the tradition and where the balloons end up. He did not say whether or not he supported the tradition.
Another forum is scheduled for Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Nebraska Innovation Campus Conference Center Auditorium.