A colossus of midtown Omaha now rests on the shoulders of Dr. Jeffrey Gold. As it did under his predecessor, the University of Nebraska Medical Center still dots the horizon with cranes.

The first-year chancellor inherited a growing campus that continues to infuse its energy into the city’s midsection.

Building booms are nothing new for Gold. He presided over a $100 million expansion as the University of Toledo’s health sciences chancellor and led that system well.

But his role in Nebraska could be even bigger, as he heard again recently at his formal installation ceremony that attracted university and political dignitaries.

Interim NU President James Linder talked about important efforts that stretch UNMC’s hand in educating health care workers for the state, including a $19 million Health Science Education Complex on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus. He talked about UNMC’s opportunity to improve its output and stature.

Former NU President J.B. Milliken noted that UNMC “has enjoyed a remarkable trajectory over the last decade or so. The campus has been re-built from the ground up. UNMC has inspired the confidence of policy-makers and philanthropists.”

UNMC leadership benefits the city, state and region with top-notch research, medical care and technology transfer that boosts the economy far beyond the salaries of doctors, nurses and staff.

The med center and its partners are the region’s top employer, having passed Offutt Air Force Base. With exciting new opportunities such as the $323 million Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, its importance will only grow.

Academic medical centers, as Gold told the crowd, must teach, discover, cure and engage. Beyond educating doctors, nurses and medical staff, they teach people how to lead healthier lives. They use research to discover new ways to help patients and, when applicable, move those discoveries to the marketplace. They work in a clinical sense to cure what ails. And they engage the communities they serve, involving and enriching them.

Gold’s remarks made clear he understands the job at hand. He shared a bold vision for UNMC’s future, for its “path from excellence to eminence.”

He spoke of internal discussions on what UNMC does well, what it can do better, what it needs in-hand to accomplish those tasks and what leaders want it to one day accomplish.

“What will we do?” Gold said. “Transform lives to create a healthy future. How will we do it? Through the delivery of extraordinary care, remarkable discovery and relevant learning. And how well will we do it? We will lead the world.”

Well said. Welcome. And good luck.

Commenting is limited to Omaha World-Herald subscribers. To sign up, click here.

If you're already a subscriber and need to activate your access or log in, click here.