University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds announced Heath Mello, a public policy strategist and former state senator, has been appointed NU associate vice president of university affairs and director of state relations.
Mello, a public policy non-profit executive who served eight years as a state senator and four years as chairman of the Legislature’s Appropriations Committee, will begin his new role on Dec. 18.
“Working with Heath as chairman of the Appropriations Committee, I saw a talented leader who could solve problems while balancing diverse opinions and ideas,” Bounds said. “Heath understands the importance of relationships in making higher education a key driver of economic and workforce development across the entire state. His insights and the significant institutional memory he will bring to this role will only strengthen the university’s efforts to work alongside the Governor, the Legislature and stakeholders across our state to help grow Nebraska.”
As associate vice president, Mello will serve as NU’s chief lobbyist. He succeeds Ron Withem, who retired earlier this year after holding the role for 20 years. The associate vice president for university affairs is responsible for promoting positive relations and outcomes between the university and its many constituents. As a senior member of the university affairs team, the associate vice president will serve as director of state relations and will oversee state government relations efforts across the four campuses.
“As an alum, I’m truly honored and humbled by this opportunity with the University of Nebraska to continue its work to grow our state educationally and economically,” Mello said. “I know President Bounds and the university leadership team value partnerships and collaboration to build a more prosperous future for Nebraskans and I’m excited to assist them in this noble endeavor.”
Mello, born in Omaha, earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.