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University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds attended his final meeting of the Board of Regents on Friday.

Bounds will leave the president's office on Aug. 13 to return to the South with his family.

To show their appreciation for his work, regents gave Bounds the honorary title of president emeritus.

Regents also approved a change to his contract, allowing him to collect $300,000 in privately funded deferred compensation when he leaves NU later this summer.

Under his original contract, Bounds could only collect the deferred compensation after five years on the job.

But regents lauded his accomplishments in his 4½ years at the helm of NU and said he had earned the payout.

Chairman Tim Clare of Lincoln said Bounds created a culture of collaboration among NU's four campuses, drove record enrollment and raised graduation rates, while dealing with a series of budget challenges that required tough decisions from a leader.

"Everything that he did put students' interest first, whether it involved affordability, whether it involved academic excellence," Clare said, "his No. 1 priority was students and it shows."

Bounds said the accolades from regents should be directed to the team he had behind him, adding it was a privilege to work at NU.

"I want to thank all of you for giving me the experience of a lifetime," he said.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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