Ohio State Board of Trustees Appoints Nebraska President Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. As the School's 17th President

By Chase Brown on August 22, 2023 at 2:11 pm
Ted Carter
Kathy Plunkett / University of Nebraska Systems

Ohio State has named its newest president.

On Tuesday, the Ohio State Board of Trustees announced that current University of Nebraska President Walter "Ted" Carter Jr. will become Ohio State's 17th president and start in the role on Jan. 1, 2024. Peter Mohler, Ohio State executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge, will serve as president in the interim.

"This is the greatest honor of my career, to be appointed president of this great university," Carter said at the Board of Trustees meeting. "Ohio State is a Land-Grant institution. It is a state flagship. The university's motto is 'Education for Citizenship,' This speaks to service for the greater good. In education, we provide discoveries and make partnerships with families and organizations and communities.

"Throughout my career, I have been driven by a sense of service at the highest level. I was drawn to Ohio State because it operates at the highest levels in academics, research, scholarship, clinical care, the arts, athletics and so much more."

Carter, 64, has been Nebraska's president since Jan. 1, 2020. He previously served as the 62nd superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy and the 54th president of the U.S. Naval War College. A 1981 graduate of the Naval Academy where he studied oceanography and lettered four times in ice hockey, Carter was a designated naval flight officer in 1982. Three years later, in 1985, Carter graduated from the Navy Strike Fighter Tactics Instructor program (TOPGUN), where he earned the call sign and nickname "Slapshot."

A native of Newport, Rhode Island, Carter commanded several squadrons in his naval career from 1981-2019 and achieved the rank of vice admiral. He accumulated 6,150 hours in the back seat of F-4, F-14 and F/A-18 aircraft and accompanied pilots in 2,016 carrier-arrested landings – a record among all active and retired U.S. Naval Aviation designators. Carter also flew on 125 combat missions in American military operations in Bosnia, Kuwait, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan.

As president of the University of Nebraska system, Carter has overseen four campuses of almost 70,000 students, faculty and staff, including an academic medical center. While in Lincoln, Carter launched the " Nebraska Promise" initiative, a financial aid program guaranteeing full tuition coverage for low-income and middle-income students. He also implemented a budget plan that included a two-year tuition freeze.

Before Carter was announced as Ohio State's next president, the university had been without a primary leader since Kristina M. Johnson stepped down from her role as president in May. The board of trustees chose not to appoint an interim president and instead had senior and executive vice presidents report to the trustees.

In February, the trustees and other university leaders formed a presidential search committee and hired Education Executives – a Santa Barbara, California firm – to lead the campaign. The search committee held three public forums from February to May, which allowed the Ohio State faculty, staff and students to share what it wanted in a new president. There were around 40-50 attendees at each forum session.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, some of those attendees said they want Ohio State's next president to carry on initiatives that Johnson began during her tenure, including hiring more tenure-track faculty under the Race, Inclusion and Social Equity Initiative, a focus on sustainability and net-zero carbon emissions and a commitment to fundraising. While Carter will be free to impact the university as he pleases, those areas may be the place for him to start when his tenure begins on Jan. 1, 2024.

Carter answered a multitude of questions from reporters after he was officially hired as Ohio State’s new president on Tuesday afternoon, including questions from Eleven Warriors about the search for a new athletic director and Big Ten expansion, and you can hear everything he had to say in the video below.

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