NU names candidate to take over UNO Chancellor job

(Omaha, NE) -- The University of Nebraska system has named their top choice to take over as Chancellor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

On Wednesday, NU System President Ted Carter announced that following a national search, he has named Dr. Joanne Li as the priority candidate to serve as the next UNO chancellor.

Li is currently the dean, professor of finance and Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair in Business in the College of Business at Florida International University, a Research I institution and the nation’s fourth-largest public university. The university system says Li is a first-generation college student who went on to graduate summa cum laude. Li brings 15 years of leadership experience in higher education, and the NU system says she has a demonstrated record of advancing student access and success, diversity and inclusion, academic excellence, and community and donor engagement.

If confirmed by the Board of Regents following a 30-day public vetting period, Li would become the first woman of color to serve as UNO chancellor and the first Asian-American in the history of the University of Nebraska system to hold an executive leadership role.

“We began this search with the goal of finding the right person to join with students, faculty, staff and the community in continuing UNO’s remarkable upward trajectory. In Dr. Joanne Li, we have found that person,” Carter said. “Dr. Li has a deep understanding of the transformative role of higher education – shaped by her own personal experience – and a great appreciation for the unique mission of Nebraska’s metropolitan university.

“Dr. Li is relentlessly focused on students, she is skilled at building relationships with diverse stakeholders, and she is a visionary thinker who will lead at a time of great change and opportunity for UNO and all of higher education. I’m thrilled to introduce Jo to the UNO community and have her share her vision for the future with all Nebraskans.”

Li said: “My own life has taught me so much about the value of higher education – not only the degree itself, but the faculty, staff and mentors who dedicate themselves to making sure every student, no matter their background, is successful. In UNO, I see a university that is poised to embrace and shape the future. The entrepreneurial spirit, the strength of partnerships, the deep commitment to the student experience and the acute sense of responsibility to the community that I’ve witnessed among UNO’s students, faculty and staff is truly impressive. I am humbled to be considered for this opportunity, and I can’t wait to spend more time getting to know the community of people who make UNO a premier metropolitan university.”

Prior to joining FIU, Li was dean and professor of finance at the Raj Soin College of Business at Wright State University, near Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Fairborn, Ohio. She also has served as chair of the Department of Finance at Towson University, and associate professor in the Sellinger School of Business at Loyola University of Maryland.

A native of Hong Kong, Li earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in finance from Florida State University. Her areas of expertise include corporate governance, executive compensation, investments and international finance. Li is a Chartered Financial Analyst and formerly served as the associate editor for the Financial Analysts Journal. She was a retained speaker for the CFA Institute and has spoken about the value of corporate governance around the world.

As required by state law, Li’s candidacy now undergoes a 30-day vetting period that will include a series of public sessions during which members of the UNO community can meet Li and ask questions. Members of the public may submit feedback about Dr. Li’s candidacy to Carter anytime during the 30-day period at

At the conclusion of the vetting period, if Carter deems appropriate, he will bring Li’s appointment to the Board of Regents for consideration. Carter’s goal is for the next chancellor to begin on July 1, 2021, succeeding current Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., who is stepping down from his UNO role and assuming the role of executive vice president and provost for the NU system.

(Photo by the University of Nebraska)

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