Interior Design Showcase: Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program
Location: East Campus, University of Nebraska–Lincoln
ABOUT THE SPACE
The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program helps students across the University of Nebraska Lincoln develop their entrepreneurial skills and capacity. The program began in 2010 with a $20 million gift from the Paul F. and Virginia J. Engler Foundation. Its purpose is to identify students with entrepreneurial drive and foster the development of professional skills conducive to entrepreneurship success in agriculture and agribusiness.
Located in Miller Hall since its inception in 2010, the program moved into a new, custom-built home on the second floor of the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons in early 2021.
The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons, a privately funded renovation, upgraded the former C.Y. Thompson Library, an East Campus landmark, into a technology-rich collaborative environment and hub for innovation, research and learning. The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program occupies two-thirds of the second floor, with five classrooms, a makerspace, a common room/living room, and other facilities.
“Because of this building, lives are going to be changed, enterprises are going to be built and people are going to start owning who they are.”
TONE AND FEEL OF THE SPACE
Program director Tom Field recalled when Engler students met with Nancy Busch, then dean of libraries, in January 2015 to begin envisioning a space to ignite innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
“For generations to come, enterprises, partnership and visions of a brighter future will spring forth from that space. Oh, the stories these walls will be able to tell,” Field said. “We are grateful and humbled to be able to begin our journey in the Dinsdale Learning Commons.”
LIVING ROOM AREA
The living room area on the second floor connects staff office space, classrooms, and the makerspace. It serves as the heart of the program, providing comfortable conversational and work areas for students. The living room looks out on the second-floor open space, which runs from the roof to the ground.
The design goal was to create a sense of openness and connectedness—to encourage students to sit down, talk, collaborate, and create. The carpet in the living room area is pale gray, with black and copper accents; it has the feel of rusty metal. A kitchen and eating area spans one side of the room; the main wall is clad with reclaimed barnwood.
The furniture selections are centered around how students who are part of a cohort—and close to one another—use the space. A leather sectional sofa creates a family feeling, and the custom-designed coffee table is a glass-covered stock tank featuring sand, cactus, and a bison skull that Paul Engler found on one of his ranches. Several chairs are upholstered in denim, with leather saddle bags hanging from the arms. Everything has a rustic feel, underscoring the agricultural underpinnings of the program.
August 27, 2020 | IANR News
“Engler experience looks toward future, honors founding roots”
January 27, 2021 | Nebraska Today
“Dinsdale Family Learning Commons opens Jan. 27”
ENGLER PROGRAM WEBSITE
Find out more about the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program here.