up next Ted Carter
Creating Social and Economic Impact in Every Corner of the State
By Jackie Ostrowicki
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.”
“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
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.”
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.”
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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Discover our Podcast Series
“Leading Nebraska” tells the stories of researchers, students and staff who are making a real impact. Join us in April as we follow Tianna Engen, a UNK grad and corporate accountant at The Buckle. We learn more about how UNK is building strong relationships with businesses in Kearney and elsewhere—and how those relationships help students to make a successful transition from college to career.
Find Your Nebraska State Senator
Get started by entering your address below. Next, you'll receive information on who your senator is—and how to reach him or her.
Making a call only takes a few minutes and sends a strong message to your state senator. Your senator may not be able to take the call, but you can speak to the legislative aide who works for the senator. They will log your call, take a message and pass it on. Keep your conversation brief, and be sure to cover these essential points:
- Introduce yourself as a constituent in their district and provide your name.
- Be clear that you're calling about the University's portion of the state appropriation.
- Ask if your senator will support funding the University. Thank them if they already do.
- Share your story about how the University has impacted you or your family. A personal story is hard to ignore. Explain why it's important to you that your senator invests in the University of Nebraska. Again, keep it brief and to-the-point.
- Ask for your opinion to be noted. Politely finish the call by thanking the senator or legislative aide for their time.
Sending a written message to your state senator is generally more effective than making a call. They're more concise and easier to respond to, and they're more likely to be viewed by the senator. If you can, send a personalized message with these essential points. Keep your message brief (a paragraph or so).
- Write a personal, attention-getting subject line that lets the senator know your topic— "Investing in the University of Nebraska" or "University of Nebraska State Funding."
- Introduce yourself as a constituent in their district; provide your name.
- Be clear that you're writing about the University's portion of the state appropriation.
- Share your personal story about how the University has impacted you or your family. Explain why it's important to you that your senator invests in the University of Nebraska. Again, keep it brief and to-the-point.
- Ask if your senator will support funding the University.
- Indicate that you'd appreciate a reply and thank your senator for their time.
You Just Made a Difference
Keep making a difference by becoming an NU Advocate. As an Advocate, you'll receive communications about important issues and legislative bills concerning the University of Nebraska—and you'll be the first to hear about upcoming advocacy events. And, we'll let you know when you need to raise your voice again.