Leaders across the University of Nebraska system announced on Nov. 18 the public launch of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future.
The campaign is a historic effort to encourage at least 150,000 benefactors to give a combined $3 billion to support NU students, faculty, academic programs and research to address the needs of the state.
“As Nebraska’s only public university, we have a special opportunity and responsibility to meet the needs of students, our state and the workforce,” said Ted Carter, president of the NU system. “The University of Nebraska is one of the state’s most powerful drivers of economic growth and quality of life. With this campaign, we can extend our impact even further — today, tomorrow and for generations to come.
“Our university is extraordinarily fortunate to be generously supported by alumni, friends and all Nebraskans. This campaign is an investment in students and in our future. We are excited to build that future together — as only Nebraskans can.”
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln is in full alignment with three campaign priorities: a focus on world-class education of students; greater support for faculty and their academic excellence; and a keen focus on research and innovation.
“For 154 years, UNL has been dedicated to its land-grant mission to provide opportunity to all citizens of this state,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “That mission meets a very practical need today — to address Nebraska’s workforce demands and continue building Nebraska’s economy.
“We will do that by investing in the three themes.”
University goals outlined by Green during the announcement include:
Substantially increasing merit and need-based scholarships for undergraduates.
Providing nationally competitive fellowships and assistantships to graduate students.
Greater investment into the University Honors program, internships, experiential learning, learning communities, collaborative research initiatives and global experiences.
Continued investment into engineering, computing and data sciences programs, including offering more physical space. This will include a new home for the School of Computing and expansion of the Raikes School of Computer Science and Management.
Working to fully endow and name the colleges of Business; Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; and Law.
Completing funding for Athletics’ Go Big Training and Student Support Facility for student-athletes, a new track and field facility and Memorial Stadium upgrades.
Enhancing and expanding arts and educational experiences through renovations and expansion of the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
“A theme you have heard here today is support for the scholarship, research and discovery of our faculty,” Green said. “I am fully committed to this goal, as faculty play the most critical role in the success of our students and overall research and engagement enterprise.”
To that end, the campaign plans to raise funds toward a record number of endowed faculty chairs and investments in leading academic programs. Those include the Honors program, Raikes School, Teacher Scholars Academy, Business Honors Academy, Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, and the College of Arts and Sciences Internship and Career Planning Center.
Green said the university will also continue academic investments in journalism and mass communications, architecture and the visual and performing arts.
The campaign will also benefit research efforts, with a focus on water, food and natural resources security.
“UNL is consistently ranked nationally among the top universities globally with respected, established research programs in food, agriculture, climate, water and natural resource sciences,” Green said. “And we will continue to grow our footprint and international stature — including through the establishment of a new joint USDA National Center for Resilient and Regenerative Precision Agriculture and accompanying technology transfer facility at Nebraska Innovation Campus.”
Additional UNL foci in the campaign will include bringing real solutions to schools through the university’s world-renowned early childhood education programs in the College of Education and Human Sciences; furthering drug discovery and development to create next-generation pharmaceutical defenses; and expanding the Nebraska Food for Health Center, focused on the human microbiome.
“The choices we make today — like those made by our predecessors in the previous 15 decades — will impact generations to come,” Green said. “Our vision is to be a transformative, world-leading, 21st-century, mission-integrated, land-grant university without walls. Just as we stand on the shoulders of those who came before, they will stand on ours. It is an awesome responsibility and opportunity.”
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s campaign is chaired by Husker alumni Holly and Tonn Ostergard.
The NU system’s $3 billion campaign is divided into goals within each of the three priority areas. Those goals are: $1.6 billion for student access and success; $750 million for enhancing faculty, academic and clinical excellence; and $650 million for transformational research and innovation.