Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. appointed by Board of Trustees as 17th president of The Ohio State University
Nationally recognized higher education and military leader will begin tenure on January 1, 2024; Peter Mohler named acting president
The Ohio State University
The Ohio State University Board of Trustees today unanimously appointed Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. as the next president of the state’s 153-year-old flagship, public research university.
Carter is well known for strategic ingenuity and a highly collaborative leadership style honed over almost 40 years in higher education and the United States Navy.
Currently, Carter serves as president of the University of Nebraska System, overseeing four campuses of almost 70,000 students, faculty and staff, including their academic medical center. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy and the Navy Fighter Weapons School, known as Top Gun, he holds educational credentials from the Navy Nuclear Power School, the U.S. Air Force Air War College, the Naval War College and the Armed Forces Staff College.
He will begin his tenure as Ohio State’s 17th president on January 1, 2024.
“President Carter brings an unparalleled combination of strategic leadership and true service, and we could not be more thrilled to welcome him and his family to Ohio State,” said board chair Hiroyuki Fujita, PhD, who also served as chair of the Presidential Selection Subcommittee.
“We were absolutely determined to find the next great leader for Ohio State in today’s highly complex and competitive higher-education environment. With input from our university community and the highest recommendations from those who have worked with President Carter during his extraordinary career, I believe we have done just that.”
At Nebraska, Carter has focused on greater access and opportunities for the state’s students and families. He launched the Nebraska Promise, a financial aid program guaranteeing full tuition coverage for low- and middle-income students. At the same time, he implemented a budget plan that included a two-year tuition freeze. Under his leadership, Nebraska saw system-wide growth in enrollment, including record-setting gains among underrepresented students.
Also during his tenure, Nebraska has been ranked among the world’s top 100 institutions for earning research patents, and the university was awarded a $92 million federal contract for its National Strategic Research Institute – one of just 14 University-Affiliated Research Centers in the U.S. conducting exclusive research for the Department of Defense. Additionally, Nebraska launched plans for the Rural Health Education Building, a major expansion of programs at the University of Nebraska Medical Center at the Kearney campus, as well as a significant enhancement of the medical center’s presence across the state.
Prior to serving as president of the University of Nebraska System, a land-grant institution and home to the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Carter led the U.S. Naval Academy as its longest continuously serving superintendent since the Civil War. During his tenure, the Naval Academy achieved multiple top national rankings while setting institutional records for student success.
“I am immensely grateful for the opportunity to serve as president of Ohio State, an institution founded upon and well known across the globe for research, teaching and an enduring commitment to service,” Carter said. “The work being done across Ohio and beyond to shape the future of research and innovation, workforce development, the arts, health care, college affordability and college athletics is remarkable. These are areas of particular passion for me, and I can’t wait to begin my journey as a Buckeye.”
Carter also previously served as president of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, leading 1,600 resident and 100,000 distance education students pursuing graduate-level education. He is a retired vice admiral with 38 years of service and has logged more than 6,300 flying hours. Carter flew 125 combat missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bosnia and Kosovo. He received the Distinguished Flying Cross with combat distinction for valor and is a recipient of the Bronze Star. He holds the national record for carrier-arrested landings, with over 2,000 mishap-free landings.
Last year, Carter received the U.S. Naval Academy Distinguished Graduate Award, the highest honor bestowed upon academy graduates. Recognizing exceptional leadership and service, the award has been given to just 110 individuals, including former President Jimmy Carter, former Senator John McCain, Jim Lovell, Roger Staubach and David Robinson.
He currently serves as the chair of the board of directors for the Daugherty Water for Food Global Institute as well as on the boards of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Naval Aviation Museum Foundation. Carter is also a member of the board for the American Council on Education, the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities’ Council of Presidents, the Big Ten Council of Presidents and Chancellors, and the U.S. Council on Competitiveness. He is an ex-officio member on the board of the University of Nebraska Foundation, the philanthropic partner of the university system.
This year, by request of the Secretary of the Navy, he served on the Naval Education Task Force, charged with delivering a strategic vision for the future of higher education in the naval service – including advancing the country’s leadership in cyber security.
“President Carter represents the qualities, skills and attributes our faculty, staff and students sought in a leader,” said Janet Box-Steffensmeier, Distinguished University Professor, Vernal Riffe Professor of Political Science, and professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences. Box-Steffensmeier served as co-chair of the Presidential Search Committee’s University Advisory Subcommittee, with representation from across Ohio State.
“Academic and research excellence, increased access and greater affordability are key to his vision for Ohio State – themes we heard time and again while collecting input from the university community,” said Phillip Popovich, Ray W. Poppleton Research Designated Chair in the Department of Neuroscience in the College of Medicine.
Carter earned a bachelor’s degree in physics and oceanography from the U.S. Naval Academy, where he played ice hockey for four years and served as team captain.
The son of an English teacher in rural Rhode Island, he met his wife, Lynda, at a hockey game while she was a student at the University of Maryland, where she graduated with a degree in sociology and statistics. In 2019, she received the Distinguished Public Service Award from the Secretary of the Navy for decades of outstanding contributions. The couple has been married for 41 years and have two adult children, Brittany and Christopher.
The Board of Trustees also announced today that Peter Mohler will serve as acting president, coordinating closely with Carter, through the end of the calendar year.
Mohler currently serves as executive vice president for research, innovation and knowledge, leading efforts to grow Ohio State’s research and creative expression enterprise. In addition, he is the chief scientific officer of the Wexner Medical Center. He has been with Ohio State since 2011 and serves on the university’s President’s Cabinet.
“Dr. Mohler is a trusted and proven member of the university’s leadership team,” Fujita said. “We are grateful that he has agreed to serve in the role of acting president. He will provide vital continuity this semester and a seamless transition in the new year.”