Juan Franco, who came to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 2006 to serve as the top administrator for students, announced March 31 he was stepping down from his vice-chancellor role and joining the faculty in the College of Education and Human Sciences. He passed away on Aug. 1.
During his 11 years as vice chancellor of student affairs, Franco spearheaded initiatives that encouraged students to aspire to leadership and civic involvement.
Significant student affairs events during Franco’s tenure include:
Then-Chancellor Harvey Perlman announces Juan Franco, then the vice president for student services at Utah State University, had been named vice chancellor for student affairs. Franco was chosen to replace Jim Griesen, who retired after 20 years as vice chancellor. “We are confident that he will provide leadership in critical areas of support for our students and in advancing the academic excellence of the university,” Perlman said.
Construction begins on the Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center adjoining the east side of the Nebraska Union. The $8.7 million, 30,000-square-foot center opened with a week-long dedication in 2010. The facility is dedicated to diversity and multicultural programming, including the Office of Academic Success and Intercultural Services.
Construction begins on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s first suite-style housing unit, named in honor of the late Robert Knoll, a long-time English professor at Nebraska. The facility, which opened in fall 2010, has “the amenities today’s students are looking for,” Franco said. Two more suite-style complexes were yet to come: University Suites in 2013 and Eastside Suites in 2014.
Franco establishes Cornhuskers with Character Committee. Committee members used survey data and a literature review to develop a list of character traits consistent with the mission and vision of the university.
The Center for Civic Engagement is established to help students link their course of study with service, civil-related research and social change leadership. The center offers a certificate in civic engagement so that student enhance their general education requirements with experiences outside the classroom. Related efforts are the “Show Your Red” campaign recognizing students of integrity and commitment and the Character Council student organization.
“I think my most prideful moments are related to the Character Council and what the students have done in terms of allowing others to really shine when it comes to helping other people. They really push the idea of character and integrity.”
— Juan Franco
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and 11 other Nebraska colleges and universities form the Nebraska Campus Compact to promote service learning and civic engagement. Franco is named its interim executive director. “Together we form a powerful force in providing the state with educated, civically engaged citizens.”
Thirteen outstanding students are honored for their commitment to character — the first “Franco’s List.” Much like a dean’s list honors academic excellence, Franco’s List recognizes students for their integrity and moral character. Students named the list in honor of the vice chancellor.
After some racially insensitive incidents, Franco and Perlman announce a campaign against intolerance. Franco said the goal was to solidify the university’s already strong culture of tolerance and respect.
Franco is part of negotiations that lead to University Health Center becoming part of Nebraska Medicine. As result of the agreement, a new health center facility is under construction in conjunction with the College of Nursing Lincoln division building along Antelope Valley Parkway. The building is expected to open in 2018.
The Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry is opened in the Nebraska Union. It builds upon the success of the Open Shelf student pantry, launched in 2013 in a partnership between Student Affairs and the University’s Lutheran Center.
Franco announces that he will step down as vice chancellor and join the College of Education and Human Sciences faculty as of July 1. Laurie Bellows is named interim vice chancellor until a search for a permanent vice chancellor begins in fall 2018.