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Chancellor Kristensen was appointed to lead the University of Nebraska at Kearney in July 2002 following a distinguished career in the Nebraska Legislature. He represented the 37th legislative district and, at the time he retired from office, was the longest serving Speaker of the Legislature. He brings to the position a unique knowledge of the issues affecting higher education in the State of Nebraska, a record of dedication to Nebraska citizens, and a long familiarity with the University system in general and the history and mission of the Kearney campus in particular.
During his tenure as Nebraska State Senator, Chancellor Kristensen was instrumental in passing significant legislation and numerous constitutional amendments. He sponsored legislation that created the Nebraska Court of Appeals and the Tax Equalization and Review Commission, and was also one of the sponsors of legislation that brought then Kearney State College into the University of Nebraska system. At the time he held political office he practiced law and was a partner in the law firm of Lieske & Kristensen in Minden, Nebraska.
An enthusiastic advocate of everything UNK, Doug Kristensen, since his appointment as Chancellor, has directed a number of dramatic residential renewal projects. These include construction of Antelope and Nester residence halls; refurbishing Men’s, Randall and Mantor Halls, and Centennial Towers East and West; the Cope Stadium/Foster Field project; comprehensive upgrades to the Central Utilities Plant; improvements to campus dining facilities; extensive landscaping; significant renovation of Bruner Hall of Science. In addition, UNK's new state-of-the-art Wellness Center opened in Fall 2014 and, in August 2015, the campus celebrated the grand opening of its new Health Science Education Complex.
Civic and professional awards include the Nebraska State Bar Association Award of Merit; UNK Friend of the University Award; League of Nebraska Municipalities Distinguished Service Award; President’s Award, Nebraska Association of County Officials; Outstanding Young Men of America; University of Nebraska Innocents Society; Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society; and Acacia National Fraternity Order of Pythagoras.
Current memberships include the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) President’s Council and Strategic Planning Committee; NCAA Division II Academic Requirements Committee; Economic Development Council of Buffalo County Board of Directors; Museum of Nebraska Art Board of Directors; and Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Former service: national Vice President of the National Conference of State Legislatures; Executive Board Member of the Council of State Governments; State Legislative Leaders Foundation; Nebraska Constitutional Review Commission; Federal Communications Commission Local and State Government Advisory Committee Nebraska Information Technology Committee; Platte Valley State Bank and Trust Co. Board of Directors; Rowe Sanctuary Board of Directors; and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) Presidents Council.
Chancellor Kristensen received his baccalaureate degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and the Doctor of Jurisprudence from Drake University. He and his wife, District Judge Terri S. Harder, have two daughters, Morgan and Paige.