The University of Nebraska Board of Regents unanimously approved a measure Sept. 16 renaming the Whittier Research Center as the Prem S. Paul Research Center at Whittier School.
The new name is in honor of the late Prem S. Paul, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s vice chancellor for research and economic development from July 2001 to August 2016. Paul died Sept. 2 after a lengthy illness.
The university experienced unprecedented research growth under Paul’s leadership. Nebraska was one of the fastest-growing research universities in the nation from 2001-2009; in 2016, sponsored research surged to an all-time high of $146.9 million.
“Prem’s impact on the university cannot be overstated,” Chancellor Ronnie Green recently wrote to the university community. “Thanks to Prem’s leadership, vigor and unsurpassed vision, our contribution to research, scholarship and creative activity transformed us as a research-intensive university. Words can’t adequately express the enduring gratitude, respect and love that the University of Nebraska family will always have for Prem.”
The building at 2200 Vine St. opened in 1923 as Whittier Junior High. The school closed in 1977, and in 1983, the NU Foundation purchased it. In 2007, the Board of Regents approved a $24 million project to renovate the building into research space dedicated for use by interdisciplinary research programs.
The building is home to several major university research programs, including the Center for Children, Youth, Families and Schools, Nebraska Center for Energy Sciences, Nebraska Transportation Center, Midwest Roadside Safety Facility, Social and Behavioral Sciences Research Consortium and the Computational Science Initiative. It also houses some Office of Research and Economic Development offices that support the university’s research, including Sponsored Programs, Proposal Development and Research Compliance Services.