UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex named for Chancellor Kristensen

The Rural Health Education Building is targeted for completion in late 2025 with occupancy in early 2026.

The Rural Health Education Complex at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will be named for UNK Chancellor Douglas Kristensen, following approval from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents during its meeting Friday in Lincoln.

UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen championed the development of the Health Science Education Complex, which opened in 2015, and the new Rural Health Education Building scheduled to open in early 2026.

The complex was named in Kristensen’s honor in recognition of his role as an ardent champion for greater Nebraska, especially in building the health sciences workforce needed to keep communities across the state vibrant. The Douglas A. Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex on UNK’s west campus includes an existing building, which opened in 2015, and the Rural Health Education Building currently under construction.

University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD, recommended the complex be named for Kristensen following the wishes of the project’s lead philanthropic supporter, the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation.

“The Scott family is pleased to help recognize Doug Kristensen’s steadfast leadership and monumental contributions to UNK as well as his dedication to addressing important issues impacting Nebraska,” said John Scott, vice president of the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation. “Doug Kristensen has dedicated his career to serving Nebraska citizens, and we believe the state is infinitely better due to his leadership.”

Kristensen has served as UNK’s chancellor since July 1, 2002. He is the longest-serving chancellor in the history of the University of Nebraska. He was appointed to lead UNK following a distinguished career in the Nebraska Legislature. He was elected in 1988 to represent the 37th Legislative District and served until 2002. At the time Kristensen retired from office, he was the longest-serving speaker in the history of the Legislature.

In 2010, Kristensen launched the Kearney Health Opportunities Program in cooperation with UNMC to recruit and educate students who are committed to returning to rural Nebraska to practice health care. This fall, a record 56 first-year students were accepted into the KHOP program. The overall acceptance rate of UNK students to various health care professional programs was more than 93% in 2022.

Kristensen championed the development of new space for the UNMC Colleges of Nursing and Allied Health Professions in Kearney as part of the Building a Healthier Nebraska initiative. The Health Science Education Complex opened on UNK’s west campus in 2015, allowing nursing students and allied health professional students to work together in a team-centered approach to rural primary care.

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD

Since 2022, Kristensen has advocated to expand the UNK-UNMC partnership and extend programming from the UNMC Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Public Health to Kearney. The Rural Health Education Building, the result of a public-private partnership, is targeted for occupancy in early 2026. The $95 million facility will be located directly to the north of the existing facility.

“Chancellor Kristensen and his entire UNK team continue to be impassioned partners with UNMC in ensuring that rural Nebraska’s health workforce needs are addressed in the decades to come,” Dr. Gold said.

“I’m pleased that Doug’s important work in this area will be recognized through this naming.”

g tr MZi GF HyP M R

1 comment

  1. Michael Sitorius says:

    Doug, A well deserved recognition of your leadership and long term commitment to the future of rural Nebraska. Congratulations. Mike

Comments are closed.