Developing future leaders in international trade

Developing future leaders in international trade

Clayton Yeutter, Darci Vetter and Ronnie Green on a stage

A renowned trade expert and Nebraska alumnus, Clayton Yeutter made a $2.5 million leadership gift through outright and planned gifts to establish the Clayton Yeutter International Trade Program Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

Clayton Yeutter
Clayton Yeutter

Yeutter, who died in March at age 86, held three cabinet-level posts for two U.S. presidents. He was counselor for domestic policy and secretary of agriculture for President George H.W. Bush and U.S. trade representative for President Ronald Reagan. Most recently, Yeutter was senior adviser of international trade for Hogan Lovells, LLP, in Washington, D.C., one of the nation's oldest and largest law firms.

Developing future leaders in international trade and global finance will be one of the primary goals of the Clayton Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Darci Vetter, former chief agricultural negotiator at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, will help fulfill Yeutter's vision for the institute by serving as diplomat in residence.

"His work formed a good foundation that guides the way we negotiate in a global marketplace, and I look forward to using the lessons I learned from Clayton to help launch the Institute," she said.

In her new role, Vetter will work with leadership from the university's College of Law, College of Business and Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources to launch the Institute. It will include three endowed chairs: the Duane Acklie Chair in the College of Business; the Michael Yanney Chair in the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources; and the Clayton Yeutter Chair in the College of Law. Vetter also is planning a lecture series and will help develop the role of the institute's permanent director.

Darci Vetter
Darci Vetter

"I think there is a lack of understanding or even misunderstanding of how critically important trade is for the Nebraska economy," said Vetter, who grew up on her family's Hamilton County organic farm.

"We will be developing the next generation of critical thinkers who can analyze and see both the good and the bad of complex international trade issues, and who can make good choices and impact the course of trade policy."

As chief agricultural negotiator from 2014 to 2017, Vetter led bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations on agriculture, including negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement's agricultural package. Before her appointment at USTR, she oversaw USDA's export promotion and international development programs as deputy under secretary and advised the Senate Finance Committee on trade issues related to agriculture, the environment and labor. Currently she works as a consultant for companies and associations engaged in international food and agricultural trade.