The AP reports:

Former U.S. agriculture secretary and University of Nebraska chancellor Clifford Hardin has died.

The university confirmed Hardin passed away Sunday. He was 94.

Hardin became chancellor in 1954 and then president when the University of Nebraska system was established in 1968. He left Nebraska in 1969 to serve as agriculture secretary under President Richard Nixon, a position he held until 1971.

The New York Times takes an in-depth look at how Secretary Hardin brought Nebraska to the top of college football:

Mr. Hardin attended Purdue on a 4-H scholarship, earning undergraduate, master’s and Ph.D. degrees there. He taught at Purdue, the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State College (now Michigan State University). In 1954, at age 39, he became chancellor at Nebraska, where he helped quadruple enrollment and persuaded the state’s Legislature to raise professors’ salaries.

In 1962, Mr. Hardin set the stage for Nebraska to become a major collegiate football power when he hired Bob Devaney as coach. Mr. Devaney had been an assistant coach at Michigan State and had known Mr. Hardin there. The Cornhuskers under Mr. Devaney won two national championships, then three more under Tom Osborne, his successor.

In an interview with The New York Times in 1983, Mr. Hardin explained his effort for national football prominence this way: “The people came through the Depression. They came through the drought years. I felt the state needed something to rally around. If we could pull this off, it could be the difference. I think in retrospect, it probably helped us get more money to build the university.”