By Randy York
In State of the University address No. 13 Tuesday, Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman covered more ground than Mike Rozier and Ahman Green combined. His most pivotal point was how a bigger University of Nebraska-Lincoln would help attract and retain more young and talented people. Perlman also gave his take on a budget deficit, the economy, membership in the Big Ten, student achievement, faculty accomplishment, the Innovation Campus, private enterprise and how business, engineering and agriculture can spur enrollment growth.
The best thing about Perlman tackling big issues is his sense of humor. Discussing the enrollment decline that precipitates his focus on growth, Perlman was reminded of a comment once made by General Douglas MacArthur: “We are not retreating – we are advancing in another direction.”
The good news is Nebraska is doing everything possible to get bigger and be more competitive in the Big Ten, academically, athletically and otherwise. Perlman went out of his way to emphasize how “we’re all in this together” in terms of his goal to increase UNL’s student enrollment to 30,000 by 2017. Reaching that goal requires a 20-percent increase in students. Even though Perlman didn’t mention it, everyone knows how a strong athletic department can influence enrollment because, in many ways, athletics is the front porch to the university.
With that in mind, Perlman closed his speech with the best known Husker fan in the universe unless you want to throw Warren Buffett’s name into the conversation. Please click the video at the top of this column to hear Perlman explain his mince-no-words exclamation point that he hopes will inspire you, me and every other Husker fan out there.
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