Nine years ago, the University of Nebraska and University of Nebraska Foundation launched the third comprehensive fundraising campaign in our history. We set a simple but powerful goal: Connect private philanthropy to the vital work you do in education, research and outreach to become the best public university in the country in terms of our impact on the people we serve.
Two months remain in the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities. But the impact that the campaign is having on our campuses and the state of Nebraska is already clear. Today – because of your hard work, the generosity of our donors, and the support of many other individuals in Nebraska and beyond – we are in a better position than at any other time in our history to achieve the vision we laid out when this campaign began.
First, we have raised more than $265 million for scholarships – a generous investment that has made a college education more affordable for thousands of students. Enrollment is at a 21-year high, with more top scholars choosing our campuses, and we believe that’s an indication that students and families recognize the University of Nebraska provides excellent education for a great value. We know unmet need remains, and ensuring that college is within reach for all Nebraskans will continue to be among our highest priorities moving forward.
Visionary gifts also have allowed us to advance the good work you are doing in areas that matter to Nebraskans and people around the world. When we began the campaign, we established a clear set of priorities that would guide our efforts. We looked for areas in which we already had expertise and where we could be a global leader with the right investments. Those were: water for food, agriculture and life sciences, early childhood education, cancer research and care, business and information technology, and architectural engineering and construction.
As a result of the campaign, new facilities and exciting initiatives are underway across our campuses. Of course, the true impact of any new building or program is the critical work that takes place within it – the education of the next generation of leaders and research that serves our state and the world. Daily we see evidence that you are succeeding in these efforts.
All told, we are proud to share with you today that the Campaign for Nebraska has raised more than $1.8 billion – 50 percent more than our original goal, making this by far the largest campaign in the university’s history. More than 4,500 new funds for scholarships, faculty chairs and professorships, academic programs, research and capital projects have been created. More than 97,000 individuals and organizations contributed to the campaign, half of whom were giving to the Foundation for the first time. We are humbled and grateful that so many people recognized the great work you are doing and wanted to be a part of it.
At the same time that we celebrate the results of the Campaign for Nebraska, we must recognize that our work in expanding access to more students, attracting more talented employees, developing world-class facilities and building our national and global reputation is not over. But we are convinced that great things are ahead for this university – first because of the great work you do every day. Thank you, and congratulations.
James Linder, M.D.
Interim President, University of Nebraska
President and CEO, University of Nebraska Foundation