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The University of Nebraska named Heath Mello interim vice president for university affairs on Thursday.

Mello, a former state senator from Omaha and chairman of the budget-writing Appropriations Committee, became associate vice president and director of state relations for the NU system in 2017.

Following the departure of Wendy Hind, Mello was named to fill the vacancy overseeing the university's state and federal government relations, strategic communications, marketing and event planning.

His appointment would begin July 1 pending Board of Regents' approval.

NU President Hank Bounds said Mello "has proven to be an invaluable member" of the university's leadership team in the last year and a half.

"He has brought energy, vision and a collaborative approach to our state relations efforts and he is a trusted partner to our elected leaders," Bounds said in a statement. "I couldn't be more excited to welcome him to this critical leadership role."

Mello, who holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, will continue to serve as NU's chief lobbyist.

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

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.

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