Campaign for Nebraska tops $1.8 billion

by Melissa Lee, University of Nebraska | October 28, 2014

Image with caption: Interim University of Nebraska President James Linder, M.D.

Interim University of Nebraska President James Linder, M.D.

The University of Nebraska and University of Nebraska Foundation announced Monday that the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, which concludes Dec. 31, 2014, has raised more than $1.8 billion for the University of Nebraska.

What's next?

Interim University of Nebraska President James Linder, M.D., said the outcomes of the campaign are numerous, putting the university in a strong position as it looks to its next phase of momentum and growth. For example, thanks in part to private support that helps expand access to more students, NU's enrollment reached 51,215 this fall, a 21-year high and a 13 percent increase since 2004. Nearly half of Nebraska's top high school graduates -- those graduating in the top quartile of their class -- now choose the University of Nebraska.

Dr. Linder also noted that Nebraska is now among the top 10 states in the country in college-going. Minority enrollment at NU has increased more than 25 percent in the past five years, and international enrollment topped 4,000 this fall, a record high.

That's 50 percent more than the $1.2 billion goal set for the campaign that began in 2005.

The campaign's final year was fueled by an exceptionally strong fundraising year for the University of Nebraska Foundation, which raised $258.1 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. That figure represents the best fundraising year ever in the foundation's 78-year history, representing a 9 percent increase from last year's record of $236.7 million donated.

Facts about the campaign

picture disc.
Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D.
Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation, expressed gratitude to the more than 97,000 individuals and organizations who gave during the campaign, more than half of whom were first-time donors to the university. He also thanked the foundation's volunteer leadership, including its nearly 900 trustees and more than 300 volunteers who gave their time to the campaign, including the more than 30 volunteer committees focused on colleges and specific priorities on the NU campuses.

Saluting Volunteers

Tonn Ostergard, chair of the University of Nebraska Foundation Board of Directors, praised the work of the campaign's volunteer executive committee, whose members are James Abel of Lincoln, Susie Buffett of Omaha, James Clifton of Washington, D.C., Michael Dunlap of Lincoln, John Gottschalk of Omaha, Larry Hall of Grand Junction, Colo., Howard Hawks of Omaha, Bruce Lauritzen of Omaha, Jeff Raikes of Seattle and Ashland, Walter Scott of Omaha, Ronald Williams of Denver, Gail Walling Yanney, M.D., and Michael Yanney of Omaha, and the late James Young of Omaha.

"It is because of the passion, generosity and commitment of our donors, volunteers and friends -- not to mention the thousands of students, faculty and staff who are the lifeblood of this university -- that the Campaign for Nebraska has been such a tremendous success," Hastings said.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P.Gold, M.D., called the campaign an extraordinary success.

"The generosity of support has helped position UNMC for greatness as we seek a common goal to uplift the quality of life for Nebraskans and in so doing, lead the world in transforming lives for a healthy future," Dr. Gold said. "This support and investment has given us further momentum to dream big and to seize opportunities."

Interim University of Nebraska President James Linder, M.D., said, "Our vision for the University of Nebraska is to become the best public university in the country in terms of our impact on the people we serve. Because of the Campaign for Nebraska, we are in a tremendous position to achieve that goal."

Sarah Thayer, M.D., associate director for clinical affairs and physician-in-chief for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of Nebraskans.

"I think their ability to see that they have direct impact on the outcomes of the health and well-being of most Nebraskans is quite outstanding. The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center represents hope, and it represents the commitment of our donors to improving Nebraska's healthy future and, ultimately, to everyone's cancer care. I think this center can absolutely be a doorway to national recognition," Dr. Thayer said.

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