For 43 years —39 as a professional, three as a student employee — Daryl Swanson was a constant presence in the halls and rooms of the Nebraska Unions on both city and east campus.
His legacy now will be permanently enshrined with an official dedication and renaming of the Swanson Auditorium inside the Nebraska Union. The NU Board of Regents unanimously approved the honor during their June board meeting.
From 4:30 to 5 p.m. Oct. 3, the public is invited to a dedication ceremony in the auditorium on the 2nd level of the Nebraska Union. Daryl and his family will be in attendance to greet friends, former colleagues and students. A private invitation-only reception is to follow.
Swanson, a native of Osceola, Nebraska, graduated from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in 1963 with a degree in business administration. As a sophomore in 1960, he began working as a student employee with the Nebraska Unions. His first job was setting up for events. From there, he advanced to working the front desk and as night manager. After graduation, Swanson was drafted and served in the Army for three years.
Swanson returned to the Union as a full-time employee in 1966, starting as a supervisor of the recreation area, bowling alley and the student night managers. He rose through the Union’s management ranks over the next decade, and in the mid-1970’s, was named to a leadership role overseeing the construction and 1977 opening of the Nebraska East Union.
He was the East Union’s first director, and in 1979, Swanson was hired as director of both Nebraska Unions. He served in this capacity until his 2005 retirement.
Further achievements under Swanson’s leadership included:
- Recipient of the Carl Donaldson Award for Excellence in Management (1982)
- Establishing the university’s first culture center for multicultural students and services (1985)
- Advancing the university’s child care center
- Initiated as an honorary member of Innocents Society
- Recipient of the NU Board of Regents Kudos Award (2005)
Swanson also managed a $13.5 million expansion of the Nebraska Union, opened in 1999, which included the construction of the auditorium now being dedicated in his honor.