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Retiring University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor focuses on achievements in final address


LINCOLN, Nebraska — As University of Nebraska-Lincoln Chancellor Harvey Perlman nears retirement, he's focusing on what he's helped the school accomplish during his tenure.

Perlman delivered his final state of the university address Wednesday. Instead of outlining a new agenda for the university, he reflected on some of the school's achievements over the past year, including growing enrollment and student diversity on campus, developing international partnerships and launching the Nebraska Innovation Campus.

"It is difficult to know what to say," Perlman told faculty and staff gathered at the Lied Center. "I am no longer in a position to set a long-term agenda for the campus, and it would not be fair to my successor for me to do so."

Increased graduate enrollment and adding faculty will help the University of Nebraska-Lincoln reach its goal of 30,000 students, he said, but he's not sure whether the school will reach that benchmark by the end of the decade.

Perlman attributed the university's ability to attract a record 25,260 students this semester to recent efforts aiming to increase diversity, the Lincoln Journal Star (http://bit.ly/1MJ6lHU ) reported. He said a more diverse campus only serves to enhance "the stature of this university."

The percentage of minority students has increased from 11 to 16 percent over the past five years, Perlman said.

About 10 percent of the student population hails from outside of the U.S., which reflects numerous efforts by the university, including increasing study abroad programs and partnerships with universities in other countries, he said.

International partnerships with Turkey, China, Brazil, Vietnam and Switzerland "are just a few of the ways in which our flag is flying across the world," Perlman said.

Perlman will retire June 30 after 15 years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He's expected to give a final assessment on the state of the university during his farewell address in April.

"Many have asked me how I was able to serve as chancellor for such a long time," Perlman said. "I reply that I followed that sage advice: 'Don't retire until you've irritated enough people to make it worthwhile.'

"I think I have satisfied that criteria."

Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com

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