We hope the new academic year is off to a successful start. The beginning of every new year – with our latest class of graduates having entered the workforce, and new and returning students filling our campuses once again – is a powerful reminder of one of the fundamental missions of the University of Nebraska: to help our students change their lives through the power of higher education.
Because of your good work, we are fulfilling that mission. We see the results daily: a student becoming the first in his or her family to earn a degree, or discovering a new passion in the classroom, or working side-by-side with a faculty member on important research. We are fortunate to have faculty and staff who are so committed to the success of our students.
“Nebraska’s future economic competitiveness, and our ambitious agenda for enrollment growth, depend on our ability to provide affordable excellence to every student who wants to attend the University of Nebraska.”
Even as we celebrate our efforts, we must recognize that there is much more we can do. Nebraska’s future economic competitiveness, and our ambitious agenda for enrollment growth, depend on our ability to provide affordable excellence to every student who wants to attend the University of Nebraska. That goal has two parts. First, we must make sure the costs of a university education remain within reach for students and families. Second, once students arrive on campus, we need to provide them with the support services and facilities they need to be successful.
Today the University of Nebraska and University of Nebraska Foundation are announcing a new initiative that will advance our goal for affordable excellence: “Our Students, Our Future,” a two-year fundraising initiative that seeks to raise $200 million in direct support for students.
Our Students, Our Future follows the most successful comprehensive campaign in the history of the university, which ended Dec. 31 after raising more than $1.8 billion in support of faculty, students, facilities and academic programs. While student support was a key priority of that campaign, we know unmet need remains, with the majority of our students still applying for need-based financial aid. Our Students, Our Future will allow us to build on our momentum, expanding affordable access further for students and families.
Fundraising objectives for Our Students, Our Future include learning communities at UNO and UNK, which serve many underrepresented students; scholarships for STEM, health care, business and honors students at UNK and for students in UNL’s Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management; a new commons area on UNL’s East Campus; renovation to accommodate more students at UNO’s Strauss Performing Arts Center; the iEXCEL project, UNMC’s virtual learning center; and UNMC programs that steer high school and undergraduate students to careers in health care.
That list is not exhaustive. And fundraising for other important priorities of the university – endowed chairs and professorships for faculty, capital projects, research and others – will continue. But with this student-focused initiative, we believe that when Our Students, Our Future concludes at the end of 2017, we will have made significant progress toward the vision for the University of Nebraska to be a giant in higher education – one that is doing even more to transform the lives of those we serve.
Thank you for all you do for the University of Nebraska.
President, University of Nebraska