Private donors with a desire to invest in the student learning experience have made it possible for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to move forward with a $22.5 million renovation and redevelopment of the C.Y. Thompson Library on East Campus.
Gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation for this privately funded project include a leadership contribution from Husker alumni and philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott of Omaha. Their gift was provided as a challenge to encourage others to contribute and to offer the option for someone to name the new student learning commons.
The Dinsdale family of Nebraska, in response to the Scotts’ lead challenge gift, made a major gift commitment to the project. The gift was made by Sid Dinsdale, Chris Dinsdale and Jane Dinsdale Rogers in honor of their father, Roy G. Dinsdale; and by Lynn Dinsdale Marchese and Tom Dinsdale in honor of their father, the late John “Jack” A. Dinsdale.
The new learning space will be named the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons in honor of the Dinsdale brothers, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Roy Dinsdale graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1948. Jack Dinsdale, who died in 2010, also attended the university, but his studies were interrupted by World War II and U.S. Army service from 1942 to 1946. As brothers and business partners, Roy and Jack Dinsdale grew the family agriculture and banking businesses into what is today Pinnacle Bancorp Inc., the holding company which includes Pinnacle Bank.
“Students are at the core of what we do, so we are especially grateful for the generosity of Ruth and Bill Scott and the Dinsdale family for recognizing and embracing the vision of a new student learning commons on our East Campus,” said Chancellor Ronnie Green. “This reimagined space designed for 21st-century studying and learning will benefit thousands of students, and we foresee a busy and active area full of engaged students.”
Ruth and Bill Scott said they are pleased to help make attending the university an even richer experience for students.
“We hope that this will be a place where students want to congregate to spend time together and that it will be a hub that encourages students, teachers and the broader community to explore, create, collaborate and have some fun,” Ruth Scott said. “We are delighted the Dinsdale family also understands the importance of this student initiative, and we certainly hope others choose to help now as well.”
About the Dinsdale family’s support for the project, Sid Dinsdale said, “With our family roots in agriculture, we think providing resources to upgrade East Campus makes sense. We consider this a gift that will benefit our entire state, and it is a privilege to partner with the Scott family on this project.”
Few updates have been made to the C.Y. Thompson Library since it opened in 1966, but the way students study and learn has changed significantly. Increasingly, students are interactive learners who depend on having technology available at all times, communicate via social media and study collaboratively.
Construction will launch in August, with completion in time for the 2021 spring semester. Renovation and redevelopment of the library will include the new student learning commons to incorporate academics, research and community into one central hub of resources. Many fundamental concepts of the learning commons will be borrowed from the privately funded Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons at Love Library, which opened in 2016 and is used by thousands of students each week for studying, peer collaboration and access to learning resources.
The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons will reflect students’ increasing use of online and digital information and research and will enhance interdisciplinary connections through spaces where students can gather to study and collaborate. Plans call for a technologically rich space that will facilitate both individual and group study with virtual access to thousands of e-books, e-journals and academic articles.
The printed word, however, will not go away. A power library will house a 25,000-volume collection of the most recent, unique and active parts of the print collection. Faculty and staff also will benefit from cutting-edge technologies and instruction resources.
The library division within the facility will continue to be named the C.Y. Thompson Library.
Additionally, the redeveloped space will provide a central location for the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, the East Campus Visitors Center and the Student Testing Center.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is seeking additional contributions for the project.