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Ted Carter

Making an Impact Across Nebraska

Creating Social and Economic Impact in Every Corner of the State

By Jackie Ostrowicki

February 2022

The University of Nebraska System is hard at work conducting research and outreach that improves lives across Nebraska and across the nation. But it’s not just making lives better, it’s also helping to grow Nebraska’s economy.

And that growth is quantifiable. A new analysis of the NU System’s impact on Nebraska’s prosperity and quality of life shows that its teaching, research and outreach activities grow the state’s economy by $5.8 billion every year.

The analysis, which breaks down the impact by campus, region and legislative district, shows that the NU System generates $9 for every $1 the state invests.

Growth of all four campuses—even while managing the challenges of COVID-19—is evidence of the vital role the NU System plays in maintaining the economic competitiveness and well-being of the state, President Ted Carter said.

“As Nebraska recovers from the pandemic, an affordable, accessible, competitive public university will continue to be a key part of the solution.” 

Ted Carter

“As Nebraska recovers from the pandemic—and faces an urgent workforce challenge of 50,000-plus open jobs, including critical openings in health care and STEM fields—an affordable, accessible, competitive public university will continue to be a key part of the solution,” he said. 

“The numbers demonstrate the remarkable return we provide on Nebraskans’ investment. When we factor in the cutting-edge research we conduct to improve lives around the world, the outreach we perform in every corner of the state, and the transformational education we provide to 52,000 students every year, it’s clear that the state of Nebraska cannot prosper without its public university.”

Part of an Economic Engine 

Eric and Stephanie Dinger
Eric and Stephanie Dinger are both graduates of UNL’s College of Business. As alumni, they are part of the economic engine that is the NU System.

Stephanie Dinger sits down to talk to a colleague at Union Bank and Trust in downtown Lincoln. Dinger and her husband, Eric, are graduates of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Business. Stephanie is vice president of small business banking. Eric is an entrepreneur, who along with Stephanie, has started successful businesses.

 The Dingers have three children and live in Roca, along with horses, chickens, and an entrepreneurial spirit that extends to their nine-year-old daughter. In her job, Stephanie helps entrepreneurs and business owners follow their dreams.

“Next to their family, their business is the most important thing to them. It’s incredibly rewarding that they trust me as a confidant and an advisor,” she said. “The fact that I can offer my personal experiences of owning and running a business—as well as my financial expertise as a banker—makes me feel that I have the best job out there.” 

The Dingers are one of the university’s success stories. But they are also taxpayers, business and homeowners, and volunteers in their community. Along with thousands of other students, staff, faculty, and alumni, they are part of the economic engine that is the NU System. 

Workforce Development: Part of Our Mission

Workforce development is an important part of the university’s mission. Bryan Slone, president of the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, described it this way: “The university has well over 50,000 students within the system. To put that in perspective, 25,000 students graduate from our K-12 every year. The impact of the university is at least double the impact of what our high school production is. That gives you a flavor for how important the university is to our total workforce.” 

“The impact of the university is at least double the impact of what our high school production is. That gives you a flavor for how important the university is to our total workforce.” 

Bryan Slone

Even at the height of the pandemic, the university didn’t falter. Enrollment grew…and so did its economic impact. Three years ago, for every dollar taxpayers provided, the NU System returned seven dollars. While that is a remarkable ROI, this year’s return has increased to $9 for every $1 the state invests. 

Carter says the new economic impact report shows continued growth. “We’ve had an increased impact on the economy of Nebraska by a significant margin. I think most people realize that going from seven-to-one to nine-to-one is a big deal.” 

But Carter, who served as a vice admiral in the U.S. Navy, says it’s not time to land the plane. “There's no tenure in naval aviation. You're only as good as your last carrier landing. When I view my job here as the system president, my attitude is to never rest on our laurels. We've got to continually prove ourselves. Nothing is static.”

“There's no tenure in naval aviation. You're only as good as your last carrier landing. When I view my job here as the system president, my attitude is to never rest on our laurels. We've got to continually prove ourselves. Nothing is static.” 

Ted Carter

And as the University of Nebraska System continues to grow and make an impact across the state, it appears to be up for the challenge. 

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“Leading Nebraska” tells the stories of researchers, students and staff who are making a real impact. Join us in March as we follow Chris Kratochvil, UNMC’s Global Center for Health Security Distinguished Chair. He discusses the world-renowned infectious disease center and how UNMC is providing solutions needed to face the next pandemic.

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