- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 21, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - With eight months left in office, Gov. Dave Heineman is taking a serious look at the University of Nebraska presidency, which came open this month.

The Republican governor confirmed his interest this week during his statewide radio call-in show but said he needs more time before deciding whether to apply. Heineman is leaving office in January because of term limits.

His remarks on Lincoln radio station KFOR came in response to a caller who encouraged him to seek the job.

“We’ve got a great university, and I’m proud of them,” Heineman said Monday. “It is something I’m looking very seriously at.”

The position came open with the departure of university President J.B. Milliken, who left to become chancellor of the City University of New York. The University of Nebraska announced in January that Milliken had accepted the new job, stirring speculation at the Capitol that Heineman would seek to replace him.

A search committee and outside firm are working with the university’s Board of Regents to conduct a national search to replace Milliken, who resigned effective May 2.

Heineman has previously deflected questions about whether he’s interested in the job, saying he wanted to focus on his work as governor. Sue Roush, the governor’s deputy communications director, said Wednesday that Heineman had no additional comment.

Milliken had served as the University of Nebraska’s president since 2004. Heineman has served as governor since 2005.

Dr. James Linder of Omaha was chosen this month to serve as the university’s interim president, but he will not be a candidate for the permanent position. Linder serves part time as senior associate to the president of the University of Nebraska for innovation and economic competitiveness.

If he applies, Heineman would not be the first governor to seek a university presidency. Purdue University’s board of trustees chose former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, a Republican, to lead that school in 2012.

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