University of Nebraska Foundation announces campus grants

August 23, 2012

Study abroad, medical research focus of 2012 grants

The University of Nebraska Foundation awarded more than $760,000 in grants to the University of Nebraska to support global engagement opportunities for students and to purchase new medical research equipment.

Each year, the University of Nebraska chancellors submit proposals for the grants, which are made possible because of unrestricted donations made to the foundation. These unrestricted donations account for one percent of all gifts and are allocated to each campus through the annual grants program. 

University President James B. Milliken requested this year’s grant proposals relate to the priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska, a comprehensive fundraising initiative to raise funds for university priorities. Global engagement is a top priority of the campaign.

“While the vast majority of gifts to the university are designated for a specific use by donors, we are grateful for these unrestricted gifts that make our grant program available to the university,” said Barbara Weitz of Omaha, chair of the foundation’s grants committee. “It’s inspiring to know these grants will help connect many more students with the world around them and also improve critical research efforts at our medical center.”

Examples of the six grants include funding for University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s education abroad program to support students who have never had an international experience; support for the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s study abroad program focused on introducing freshmen to international concepts before offering education abroad; support for University of Nebraska at Omaha’s study abroad program with emphasis on service learning opportunities in Latin America; and support for University of Nebraska Medical Center to acquire a next-generation DNA sequencing device used for various medical treatments and research.

The following projects received funding:

  • University of Nebraska–Lincoln
    • $235,000 to support the fourth year of the Global Gateway Program. The program provides funding to help students study abroad and improve their global literacy, especially students who have never traveled abroad before.

  • University of Nebraska at Kearney
    • $134,000 to implement a series of “ignition programs” to influence students to study abroad. The programs include a World Leaders Camp for incoming freshmen to introduce them to the international dimension in UNK’s curriculum and introduce the concept of studying abroad; a writing competition to stimulate thought about study abroad opportunities with winners receiving a 10-day travel abroad stipend; and a program to help students conduct focused, undergraduate research as part of a study abroad experience.

  • University of Nebraska at Omaha
    • $115,000 to support study abroad opportunities for students that involves service learning and Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs in Latin America, including Peru, Brazil and Costa Rica.

  • University of Nebraska Medical Center
    • $112,337 to acquire a next-generation DNA sequencing device and its associated laboratory information management system. It enables researchers to conduct genome sequencing twice as fast at half the price while keeping the highly private data secure. Able to sequence human DNA in 24 hours, the information gathered leads to better medical therapies tailored specifically for an individual.
    • $29,600 to acquire a new device able to rupture cells more gently, causing less damage to cell contents and resulting in more information gathered with better quality. This study of cell contents is the first step in many types of research, including cancer, drug discovery and development, normal cell processes, metabolic disorders, and more.

  • University of Nebraska Central Administration
    • $136,960 to support President Milliken’s universitywide, study abroad programs. The funds will be used specifically to fund students participating in a study abroad program developed cooperatively with the leading private university in Brazil. The program offers classroom and service-centered programs that allow students to explore Brazilian history, culture and government and study issues related to agriculture, water, energy, education, public health and trade.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has connected the dreams and passions of donors to the mission of the university for more than 75 years. In 2011, donors gave a record $172 million in gifts for scholarships, academic programs, medical research and other priorities at the university. The foundation’s fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, concludes in 2014. For more information, visit

Media Contact:
Melissa Lee
Director of Communications,
University of Nebraska