June 27, 2018
Lincoln, Neb. — Jill O'Donnell will become the first director of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln on July 1.
O'Donnell brings extensive experience in the international arena, working with public- and private-sector partners to address 21st-century challenges with an interdisciplinary perspective. Most recently, she was a consultant to the NATO Communications and Information Agency. She will use that experience as she works with the faculties of the colleges of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Business and Law to create Yeutter Institute programs and curricula that address challenges in international trade and finance.
O'Donnell has lectured on trends in international trade for corporate audiences and educators, taught courses in political science and U.S. foreign policy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and examined economic and policy themes related to South Korea as a consulting researcher and author for the Council on Foreign Relations. A native of Columbus, Nebraska, O'Donnell began her international policy career in Washington, D.C., serving on the legislative staff of U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel. She earned her Master of Arts in international relations and international economics from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and her undergraduate degree from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.
"Clayton Yeutter had a tremendous impact on international trade and finance, along with boundless confidence in the potential for Nebraska students to play leadership roles in a changing world," O'Donnell said. "I look forward to building an institute worthy of his legacy."
The institute will prepare students to understand, participate in and shape global trade and finance in an increasingly interconnected world. It will build on the strengths of the partnering colleges to offer undergraduate and graduate education, facilitate faculty research and conduct outreach efforts related to international trade and finance.
A renowned trade expert and University of Nebraska alumnus, Yeutter and his wife, Cristy, made a $2.5 million leadership gift to establish the Clayton K. Yeutter International Trade Program Fund, and the Nebraska legislature appropriated $2.5 million in 2015 to support establishing the institute. The Board of Regents formally approved the institute in December 2017, and the university and the University of Nebraska Foundation are continuing private fundraising.
To help fulfill Yeutter’s vision for the institute, Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, served as diplomat in residence in 2017. Vetter will continue to work with the institute as the chair of its advisory board. Three endowed chaired professors will serve as the core faculty for the institute: the Duane Acklie Chair in the College of Business, the Michael Yanney Chair in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, and the Clayton Yeutter Chair in the College of Law.
Associate Vice Chancellor
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources