NU Names Joanne Li as UNO Chancellor Priority Candidate

Dr. Joanne Li (University of Nebraska)
Scott Stewart
The Daily Record

The University of Nebraska recently announced Joanne Li is the priority candidate to become chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

A monthlong public vetting period include a series of open forums where members of the UNO community and the public are invited to submit feedback.

Li is currently the dean, professor of finance and Ryder Eminent Scholar Chair in Business in the College of Business at Florida International University, the university system said in a news release. FIU is the fourth largest public university in the United States.

A first-generation college student who graduated summa cum laude, Li has 15 years of leadership experience in higher education. Li would also be 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,” NU President Ted Carte 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.”

Li said she knows the value of higher education.

“In UNO, I see a university that is poised to embrace and shape the future,” Li said. “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.”

Li has increased the graduation rate of FIU’s College of Business from 29% in 2017 to about 70% in 2021. The college itself saw an average of 20% growth year-over-year and is ranked among the nation’s best, including a No. 2 ranking by U.S. News & World Report for its undergraduate  international business program and a No. 3 ranking for its international MBA.

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.

The NU Board of Regents will vote on Li’s appointment, if Carter deems appropriate, after a 30-day vetting period required by state law. NU is not naming other candidates who were considered.

Carter’s goal is to have the next chancellor start July 1, succeeding Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold, who is stepping down from his UNO role and assuming the role of executive vice president and provost of NU plus chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

“From a student perspective, I’m so excited that we have the opportunity to bring Dr. Li to UNO,” said UNO student regent Jabin Moore. “From the moment I met her, I knew Dr. Li would be a great advocate for students. As a first-generation college student herself, she knows what it’s like to be in our shoes, and she’s passionate about the issues we care about — access and affordability, strong academic programs, diversity and inclusion and much more.”


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