Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, named NU System President

Jeffrey P. Gold, MD

Jeffrey P. Gold, MD

Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, a first-generation college student, heart surgeon and longtime college administrator who for the last decade has led the University of Nebraska Medical Center through a period of record growth, was confirmed today as NU’s ninth president by the Board of Regents.

Dr. Gold, who also serves as the NU system’s executive vice president and provost, will assume the president’s role on July 1, succeeding Interim President Chris Kabourek. As president, he will carry forward ambitious goals laid out by the Board and administration for elevating the University of Nebraska’s national stature and competitiveness at a time of unprecedented change and challenge in higher education.

“I’m grateful to the Board of Regents for the trust they have placed in me to serve this institution that I believe is truly poised to build the future,” Dr. Gold said. “As a Nebraskan by choice, it has been an honor and privilege to work alongside our leadership teams, our faculty, staff and students, and leaders in elected office, business and the community for the past ten years. Most of all, I am inspired by what I see as the common thread that brings families from rural and urban communities across our state together: a deep desire for the very best educational experience for their children and grandchildren that will prepare them for lifelong learning and success.

“The University of Nebraska has delivered on that promise for Nebraskans for more than 150 years, and together we will continue to deliver the quality education, world-class research, engagement, economic development and health care that our citizens expect and deserve.”

Quotes from the regents

“I’m very happy that we are able to continue with the leadership, and hope for great things to happen in the next several years.”

-Regent Jim Scheer of Norfolk

“We will be able to move forward into the university’s future without skipping a beat. I’m very, very excited about today, I’m excited about the culmination of all of our hard work, and about our university’s future.”

-Regent Elizabeth O’Connor of Omaha

“I’m very proud today (for) this new adventure that we’re about to embark on.”

-Regent Barb Weitz of Omaha

“(Dr. Gold) has leadership skills… I’m very honored that he’ll be able to stay and work with us for many more years.”

-Regent Jack Stark of Omaha

“I’ve felt like a kid in a candy shop. There were a lot of really good candidates. It has been an amazing opportunity.”

-UNO Student Regent Hakim Lotoro

“I’m confident students will be in the right hands. Students will have a bright future.”

-UNK Student Regent Temo Molina

“Dr. Gold is someone who is going to work with our chancellors, our Varner Hall team, all of our campuses, this Board, to make sure students are first. That’s what this university is for – preparing our students and making Nebraska the best place it can be.”

-UNL Student Regent Paul Pechous

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Dr. Gold’s a rock star… I’m so excited to see what gets done with the Board and Dr. Gold moving forward.”

-UNMC Student Regent Katie Schultis

Dr. Gold’s appointment concludes a national search launched last fall that engaged the university community and key stakeholders across the state, including faculty, staff, students, alumni, community members and leaders in agriculture, business and philanthropy. He was named the Board’s priority candidate for president on March 20, after which he underwent a vetting period required by state law that included a dozen public events across Nebraska.

Members of the Board thanked the many Nebraskans who participated in the search process, whether by sharing input on what qualities the regents should seek in the next president, attending public listening sessions or offering input on Gold’s candidacy.

“Jeff Gold has an impressive background and a skillset that we as a Board felt was the right fit for the University of Nebraska,” said Board of Regents Chairman Rob Schafer of Beatrice. “This is an important moment for our University and all of higher education, requiring bold vision and courageous leadership. I am excited about our future and what we will accomplish with Dr. Gold at the helm.”

Regent Tim Clare of Lincoln, who chaired the presidential search committee, said: “As chair of the Board when we first brought Jeff Gold to Nebraska, this has come full circle for me. I’ve come to know Jeff as a good friend and colleague, someone who listens to students and has truly made Nebraska his adopted home. I believe Jeff will bring the same success to the entire University of Nebraska that he has achieved at UNMC over the past decade and I’m confident he will devote his full energy to our ambitious goals for academic excellence, competitiveness and AAU readmission.”

Dr. Gold, 71, has served as UNMC chancellor and chair of the board of UNMC’s clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, since 2014. He assumed executive vice president and provost duties in 2021, becoming the university system’s chief academic officer and primary liaison to the Board for academic affairs matters.

From 2017 to 2021, Dr. Gold concurrently held the role of University of Nebraska at Omaha chancellor, leading the state’s metropolitan university.

At UNMC, Dr. Gold has overseen a period of significant growth in enrollment, research, academic offerings, philanthropy and facilities. Enrollment has reached a record high for 23 straight years, and research grants and contracts now exceed $250 million. Continued success in technology transfer at both UNMC and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have helped Nebraska rank among the world’s top earners of patents for seven years running.

UNMC has expanded the breadth of its programs, notably through a successful partnership with the University of Nebraska at Kearney that has added health education programs to NU’s rural campus. Together with support from public and private partners, the UNMC-UNK collaboration has significantly bolstered the healthcare pipeline in the central and western parts of the state. Gold was announced today as the inaugural recipient of the Heartland Hero Award from the Rural Media Group.

UNMC has received national and international attention for its leadership in treating infectious disease, particularly during the Ebola outbreak of 2014-15 when UNMC was among a small number of select sites chosen by the U.S. Department of State to care for Ebola patients.

During Dr. Gold’s tenure, UNMC opened the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, to date the largest public-private partnership in university history and a key driver of UNMC’s global leadership in cancer research and care. UNMC has also opened iEXCEL, a high-tech clinical simulation and experimental learning center, the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center, a new home for the Munroe-Meyer Institute, and a new home for the Lincoln division of the College of Nursing, among other physical upgrades that have significantly expanded the campus’ footprint.

UNMC has benefited from more than $800 million in private philanthropy since Gold’s arrival, with more expected through the ongoing Only in Nebraska campaign.

Dr. Gold holds tenured faculty appointments in UNMC’s College of Medicine and College of Public Health, where his research interests in health care policy, population health and epidemiology are concentrated.

Raised in Brooklyn, Dr. Gold is the product of the New York City K-12 public school system. He became the first in his family to go to college and earned his bachelor’s degree in theoretical and applied mechanics from Cornell University. He earned his M.D. from the Weill Cornell College of Medicine and completed his general surgery residency at The New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Dr. Gold completed his cardiothoracic surgical fellowship training at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, with additional training in pediatric cardiac surgery at the Boston Children’s Hospital of Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Gold has been certified by the American Board of Surgery and by the American Board of Thoracic Surgery, specializing in adult and pediatric cardiac surgery. He is licensed in Nebraska, Ohio, New York and New Jersey.

Dr. Gold has been married for almost 50 years to Robin Hayworth, MD, a medical school classmate. The couple has two adult children and two grandchildren.

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.

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