Clayton Yeutter's Keynote for the Installation of Ronnie Green
Clayton Yeutter provided the keynote address during the installation ceremony for Ronnie Green as 20th chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln held April 6, 2017. The remarks were recorded at Yeutter's home in Potomac, Maryland, January 25, 2017. Mr. Yeutter died May 4, 2017.
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[00:00:02.541]Thank you for the honor of participating in
[00:00:05.784]Chancellor Green's investiture today.
[00:00:09.333]I'd like to spend my entire allotted time
[00:00:12.224]saying complimentary things about him
[00:00:15.003]for I have been a fan of Chancellor Green's
[00:00:17.933]for a very long time.
[00:00:20.612]He's asked me to go a bit broader than that
[00:00:23.544]and talk about a few subjects other than
[00:00:27.283]his own compelling attributes
[00:00:29.464]so I will attempt to do that.
[00:00:32.944]I would just start out on a very broad area
[00:00:37.601]of discussion by saying that
[00:00:41.635]what the world needs now is leadership.
[00:00:45.024]I have never been so concerned about
[00:00:48.165]the lack of leadership that we've had in this world.
[00:00:51.315]Not just in the United States,
[00:00:53.285]but throughout the world over the last decade or so.
[00:00:58.663]That has to be fixed and hopefully UNL will begin
[00:01:02.275]to turn out some people who have
[00:01:04.554]great leadership attributes
[00:01:06.543]and will play their role in providing the leadership
[00:01:12.053]that the world needs today.
[00:01:14.064]But that's a subject for someone else to develop.
[00:01:17.993]Let's return to the edge of academia
[00:01:21.725]and talk about some of the major challenges
[00:01:24.955]that might be faced by UNL and Chancellor Green
[00:01:29.293]in the coming years.
[00:01:31.752]Starting with the teaching side,
[00:01:34.872]we have a need to turn out undergraduate students
[00:01:38.692]and grad students who are prepared
[00:01:41.763]for the jobs of the 21st century
[00:01:44.384]and not the jobs of the 20th century.
[00:01:48.312]That is a formidable challenge for every institution
[00:01:52.683]and not withstanding here in Nebraska
[00:01:56.128]that we already have a very fine faculty.
[00:01:59.459]What has happened in the last 20 or 30 years
[00:02:03.171]is that technology has simply exploded
[00:02:06.979]and that means we're trying to prepare students for jobs
[00:02:12.589]that haven't even appeared yet,
[00:02:15.949]but they will appear in the next five, 10 or 15 years.
[00:02:21.451]That's a difficult challenge when one is trying
[00:02:25.291]to anticipate what the needs of one's students will be.
[00:02:31.488]Chancellor Green will respond to that I hope
[00:02:34.944]by simply making sure that he has lots of faculty
[00:02:40.297]that are on the cutting edge of technology
[00:02:43.618]in their respective areas
[00:02:46.418]and they can inculcate their students
[00:02:49.137]with all the technology as possible before they graduate.
[00:02:54.109]But it's not simply technology.
[00:02:56.669]It's also the fact that the world has become so complex.
[00:03:01.008]If one looks at agriculture, for example.
[00:03:05.048]That term is so much broader today
[00:03:07.696]than it was when I was Secretary of Agriculture
[00:03:11.685]30 years ago.
[00:03:13.325]Now we have controversies over GMOs,
[00:03:16.976]over antibiotics, over the way animals are treated,
[00:03:22.117]over the way we handle conservation programs
[00:03:26.625]and the list goes on and on.
[00:03:29.045]It's agriculture, food, feed,
[00:03:32.136]and a whole lot of other subjects that are combined
[00:03:35.494]into that term today.
[00:03:37.216]And if we're turning out Ag graduates,
[00:03:39.085]we have to try to prepare them for that kind of world.
[00:03:44.256]Chancellor Green understands that challenge very well
[00:03:47.888]and I'm sure we'll be turning out first rate students
[00:03:51.728]at UNL who will be able to handle the explosions
[00:03:55.957]of technology and the complexities of the world
[00:03:59.287]in which they are going to live and work.
[00:04:02.648]And then there's research.
[00:04:04.477]And I compliment the University of Nebraska
[00:04:07.295]for doing an excellent job of increasing research funding
[00:04:13.096]over the last 20 years or so.
[00:04:15.496]That's been an excellent record.
[00:04:17.528]And I also feel really good about being able
[00:04:21.896]to apply research throughout the Nebraska economy.
[00:04:25.808]If one looks at agriculture, once again,
[00:04:28.596]we have a sophisticated group of agricultural producers
[00:04:36.008]Growing crops on some of the richest land in the world.
[00:04:40.176]Having an underground water supply
[00:04:42.709]that is the envy of everyone
[00:04:45.736]and they are quick adapters of research.
[00:04:50.447]But on the nonagricultural side,
[00:04:52.528]the same thing applies.
[00:04:54.614]In Omaha we have a gem.
[00:04:58.765]In my view the economic environment in Omaha,
[00:05:03.595]the business environment is the best of any that exists
[00:05:07.635]between Chicago and the west coast.
[00:05:10.693]With companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Union Pacific,
[00:05:15.656]Ameritrade, Kiewit, Valmont, Lindsay
[00:05:21.156]and a whole lot of others.
[00:05:23.526]We have companies already that are immensely
[00:05:27.476]So on the research side, we simply need to
[00:05:30.355]stay ahead of the game and hopefully
[00:05:31.956]the University of Nebraska will do that
[00:05:34.425]targeting some research that will help
[00:05:37.921]Nebraska's agricultural firms and the nonagricultural firms
[00:05:42.564]be out ahead of everyone else.
[00:05:45.054]Putting all that together, I'm really confident
[00:05:47.945]about the future of UNL.
[00:05:50.865]In Chancellor Green you have a leader.
[00:05:54.344]A leader who is a visionary,
[00:05:56.505]but is also decisive and a leader who understands
[00:06:00.865]every challenge that I have articulated today.
[00:06:05.924]Now some people will say, oh come on now,
[00:06:08.493]you'll never be able to compete with the top schools
[00:06:12.133]in the big 10.
[00:06:13.254]You sure won't be able to compete
[00:06:15.553]with the Ivy League Schools.
[00:06:17.404]I don't concur with that.
[00:06:20.713]In my view, we should never ever downgrade
[00:06:25.065]or denigrate the potential
[00:06:27.673]that the University of Nebraska has
[00:06:29.345]and the potential that the state of Nebraska has.
[00:06:32.753]I've hired a lot of Ivy League graduates in my day
[00:06:38.152]and I can tell you that if you will line up two resumes
[00:06:42.553]side by side, approximately equal, one an Ivy Leaguer
[00:06:47.142]and one a mid-westerner like UNL,
[00:06:51.593]I will always pick the mid-westerner or the UNL graduate
[00:06:56.542]because I know that nine times out of 10,
[00:07:00.213]that graduate will outwork the Ivy Leaguer.
[00:07:04.294]And money isn't everything either.
[00:07:06.363]The question is the overall living environment
[00:07:09.884]that one provides for faculty and for students,
[00:07:13.713]and I see no reason why Nebraska should take a backseat
[00:07:17.094]to anyone in that regard.
[00:07:20.323]So in summary, I feel really good about the future of UNL
[00:07:25.393]and really good about the overall future
[00:07:28.062]of the state of Nebraska and its citizens.
[00:07:32.414]I wish Chancellor Green the very best.
[00:07:36.494]In my opinion, about 24 hours after he finishes
[00:07:40.734]this investigar, he'll be vigilant of the top leaders
[00:07:45.044]in the big 10 and one of the top leaders
[00:07:47.564]in the land grant system.
[00:07:50.212]That will work to Nebraska's advantage in so many ways
[00:07:54.265]in the coming years.
[00:07:56.262]Thank you again for permitting me to be
[00:07:58.532]a part of this program.
[00:08:00.409]Good luck to all of you in the future
[00:08:02.492]and God bless.
[00:08:04.160](slow guitar music)
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