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President Jody Horner to Retire from Midland University


After notifying the Midland University Board of Directors nearly a year ago, Midland University president Jody Horner has announced her retirement after leading Midland for the past decade. Horner’s retirement will become official during the 2024-25 academic year once the Midland University Board has named her successor.

Horner, the 16th president in Midland history, was hired in December 2014 after a successful 30-year career leading multiple businesses for the global agribusiness giant Cargill. 

“This is a bittersweet moment because Midland and our mission to inspire people to learn and lead in the world with purpose mean so much to me and my family,” Horner said. “Having the opportunity to lead Midland University and serve our students alongside such a talented and dedicated team of faculty and staff has been the highlight of my career. That said, I feel like this is the right time for me to begin the process of stepping aside and allowing the university to seek new leadership.”

Horner’s Relentlessly Relevant Vision led to record enrollment numbers for the University, increased student retention, and campus-wide enhancements across multiple disciplines, including: 

  • The addition of a new residence hall, Miller Hall
  • Addition of Eikmeier Commons and renovation of the dining hall
  • Midland’s 1:1 Initiative, in which every student receives an iPad and Apple Pencil as part of their Midland education
  • Midland becoming Nebraska’s first university to earn Apple Distinguished School status in 2021
  • The opening of the Omaha location, Center for Graduate and Professional Studies, and the launch of Midland University Online
  • Appointing Midland’s first Chief Diversity Officer, establishing student affinity groups, and the annual Equity & Inclusion Summit
  • Addition of the Simulation Lab for nursing students at Methodist Fremont Health
  • Adoption of university-wide learning goals known as DRIVE
  • Multiple new programs, including the Midland Code Academy, Agribusiness, and Midland’s first doctoral degree, a Doctor of Education in Innovation and Leadership.
  • Completion of the $50 million With Purpose campaign, Midland’s largest, in 2020 and launching the current Bring Home the Bold campaign in 2022

In early March 2020, COVID-19 tested Horner’s leadership, as Midland was one of the first schools in the country to be impacted. She and her team successfully navigated the pandemic while keeping the University open, maintaining a full athletic schedule throughout the 2020-21 academic year, and minimizing the impact on the student experience. 

Steve Feye ‘76, Chairman of the Midland University Board of Directors, has engaged executive search firm Carter Baldwin to help the Board find the next president. Details on the search process will be forthcoming.

”Jody has provided outstanding leadership to the university, and her accomplishments speak for themselves,” Feye said. “Her passion for the educational experience that our students receive is second to none, and her commitment to growth and sustainability when higher education faces extraordinary marketplace challenges is unsurpassed.” 

As she prepares for her final year as president, Horner is grateful for what Midland and the community have meant to her over the last decade.

“Midland has become a very special place for my husband, Blair, and me, and Fremont has become our home,” she said. “There are many things I will miss about Midland, but the thing I will miss the most is the people. Being on campus daily with our students, faculty, and staff working together to create a community and a culture we can all be proud of has been the privilege of a lifetime.”

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