Donor commitments preserve dance program

· 4 min read

Donor commitments preserve dance program

First APC hearing on proposed budget reductions canceled; next is Oct. 14
Students in a modern dance class led by Susan Ourada practice on the green space south of Love Library on Sept. 17. Support from donors has helped remove the university’s dance program from a list of proposed budget reductions.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Students in a modern dance class led by Susan Ourada practice on the green space south of Love Library on Sept. 17. Support from donors has helped remove the university’s dance program from a list of proposed budget reductions.

Unwavering support from multiple donors has helped protect the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s undergraduate dance program from a proposed budget reduction.

The program — the only one of its kind in Nebraska — will now be supported annually through a $180,000 realignment of endowments in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts and a fundraising commitment from a new Friends of Dance group.

“This is a great day for our college, our students and the arts across all of Nebraska,” said Chuck O’Connor, dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. “The incredible support shown by these donors — coupled with everyone who voiced support through social media, written testimony and those who were prepared to step up during the hearing — is a direct reflection of the strength of and continued need for our dance program.”

Lynne Nevin leads a ballet class in the Johnny Carson Center dance studio on the first day of fall 2020 instruction. The dance program moved into renovated space in the Carson Center in fall 2019.

Based in the Glenn Korff School of Music, the dance program was part of a larger budget reduction plan announced by Chancellor Ronnie Green on Sept. 3. Overall, the plan calls for multi-phased, university-wide budget reductions to address a shortfall through 2023.

The Academic Planning Committee has canceled an Oct. 7 public hearing regarding the proposed dance program reduction. Hearings on Oct. 14 and 21 for other proposed budget reductions remain on schedule.

The realignment of endowment funds includes a commitment from Christina M. Hixson to increase funding for scholarships that are a part of the Hixson-Lied Endowment.

In January 2000, Hixson and the Lied Foundation Trust announced the formation of the Hixson-Lied Endowment, a gift of $18 million made to the University of Nebraska Foundation in support of the college. The endowment has since distributed more than $7.5 million in grants to college programs, faculty and students.

In addition, the new friends group (which will be formed in response to the proposed budget reduction) has committed to fundraising up to $50,000 annually in support of the dance program. The group will be led by Lincoln’s Greer and Sarah McCurley.

“Commitments from many of our supporters will allow our dance program to meet the education needs of Huskers for generations to come,” O’Connor said. “It also allows our college to continue to offer exciting and innovative programming to the public.”

Dance students perform during a 2019 recital in the Johnny Carson Theatre.

The university continues to move forward with other Phase 2 proposed budget reductions. Hearings on Oct. 14 and 21 will be offered via Zoom. Learn more about the hearing process, including information on how to testify here. Details on remaining proposed budget reductions are below.

Phase 2 Proposed Budget Reduction Hearings

Oct. 14
  • Topic: Elimination of the Department of Textiles, Merchandising and Fashion Design in the College of Education and Human Sciences

  • Registration deadline: Noon, Oct. 12

  • Click here to access the Oct. 14 hearing via Zoom.

Oct. 21
  • Topic: General hearing on any proposed Phase 2 budget reduction, including elimination of the Masters in Athletics Administration in the College of Business, and the hospitality , restaurant and tourism management program in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

  • Registration deadline: Noon, Oct. 19

  • Click here to access the Oct. 21 hearing via Zoom.

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