The newly appointed executive director of the University of Nebraska's Rural Futures Institute is native Nebraskan who is familiar to many across the state because of his previous leadership positions.
Charles P. "Chuck" Schroeder has been named the founding executive director of the institute and will assume the job Dec. 1.
Schroder says he's excited to work with Nebraskans across the state and others to help rethink and revitalize rural life, with a particular emphasis on making rural communities places where young people can make their lives.
"There have been many, many institutions and organizations dedicating resources toward the interests of rural people and places, but this is certainly the most comprehensive, aggressive effort to truly change the trajectory for rural people not only in Nebraska and the Great Plains but potentially around the world," he says.
Schroeder currently is president and executive director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla., where he's worked since 2002. Before that, he was chief executive officer of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association for more than six years. He also served as executive vice president and director of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation and director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.
Schroeder was with his family's company, the Schroeder Cattle Co., near Palisade for about 30 years, the last 10 as owner and president. He is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he studied animal science and business and production options.
Schroeder's varied background is a perfect fit for the challenges of the Rural Futures Institute, according to Ronnie Green, University of Nebraska vice president for agriculture and natural resources.
"Chuck Schroeder is the perfect choice as founding executive director to launch and build this bold new program for the University of Nebraska," Green says. "His unique combination of leadership experiences, coupled with his deep roots in and passion for rural America, will allow him to instantly be a transformational leader for the Rural Futures Institute."
Based in Lincoln, the RFI will use the talents and resources of all four NU campuses-- UNL, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, University of Nebraska at Kearney and University of Nebraska Medical Center. It will help address challenges and opportunities facing rural communities and individuals, including those related to entrepreneurship and innovation, talent attraction and development, technology, rural health, workforce development and community planning, rural education and others.
"We are really rethinking what it means to live a rural lifestyle," Schroeder says. "A rural lifestyle is not a lifestyle of last resort. It is actually the first choice of some of our brightest and best young people who are emerging from universities today. We want to enable that choice to go launch careers, raise families and live lives in rural communities."
Source: University of Nebraska