Major gifts advance CBA building initiative; architects approved

Concept drawing of the new College of Business Administration building proposed for the corner of 14th and Vine streets.
Concept drawing of the new College of Business Administration building proposed for the corner of 14th and Vine streets.

Plans for a new state-of-the-art College of Business Administration building at UNL have taken another step forward with major gift support and selection of project architects.

The University of Nebraska Foundation has received gifts and commitments of gifts toward fundraising for the building, which is part of the Campaign for Nebraska, the university’s current comprehensive fundraising initiative.

On March 15, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York and Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture of Nebraska as architects for the new building.

Major gifts have been received or committed by the following individuals and companies:

- Howard and Rhonda Hawks of Omaha. Howard Hawks is a 1957 alumnus of the UNL College of Business Administration.

- Peter and Nancy Salter of Phoenix, with a gift in honor of Nancy Salter’s father, Arthur M. Henrickson, a businessman and 1940 alumnus of the university’s College of Arts and Sciences. Nancy Salter graduated from the university in 1968.

- Glenn Korff of Boulder, Colo., and Kenneth Korff of Tucson, Ariz., with a gift in honor of their father, Paul W. Korff, a 1933 alumnus of the college.

- Union Bank & Trust Company of Lincoln.

- Nelnet Inc. of Lincoln.

“With these generous gifts, we are off to a tremendous start in achieving our goal of building a state-of-the-art facility to house our nationally recognized college of business that has seen dramatic growth in the last three years,” said Donde Plowman, the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business Administration. “I am grateful for the leadership of these individuals and companies in making our dream a reality.”

Tonn Ostergard, co-chair of the college’s Campaign for Nebraska committee, also expressed appreciation for the private investment in the new facility. “We are extremely grateful to each of these donors who clearly understand the need to improve the quality of business education in Nebraska and to enable the university to adequately prepare more business professionals,” he said.

The planned new $84 million facility represents the largest academic building project in recent history at UNL. With about 240,000 square feet, it will include space for interactive learning, collaboration, conferences, competitions and other events; program-specific state-of-the-art classrooms; “one stop” student support services; and improved and expanded technology that will support current and future business programs.

The building will be constructed at 14th and Vine streets, just north of Kauffman Academic Residential Center. Construction of the project will begin after commitments for all funding are in place and authorization to proceed is received from the president of the university. The entire project will be privately funded through donations to the NU Foundation.

The new home for the college will enable it to increase enrollment to 5,000 students, a goal that’s also aligned with Chancellor Harvey Perlman’s directive to increase UNL’s total student enrollment to 30,000 students by 2017.

In the last three years, the College of Business Administration has experienced a dramatic increase in enrollment, including a 25 percent increase in fall 2012 among freshmen and a 16 percent increase among transfer students. The college has the second largest undergraduate enrollments of any college on the campus and now has total enrollment of 3,514 students. To accompany the planned enrollment growth the college plans to increase faculty from its current 92 faculty FTE to 140 FTE by 2017.

Robert A.M. Stern Architects is one of the world’s leading architecture firms with wide experience in residential, commercial and institutional work. The 260-person firm has worked on college and university campuses nationwide and has developed a portfolio of buildings for business schools, including buildings for Harvard Business School, the University of Virginia, Penn State, Miami University and Rice University, with buildings under construction at Wake Forest University and the University of Notre Dame, and in design for the University of Florida and the University of Kentucky.

Based in Omaha, Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture is a 25-year-old design firm with extensive academic experience and a celebrated open studio culture. The same architectural team of Robert A.M. Stern Architects and Alley Poyner Macchietto was responsible for the design of the International Quilt Study Center and Museum on East Campus, which opened in 2008.

“We’re committed to giving the UNL College of Business Administration a new home that will support its tremendous growth in both enrollment and stature, uniquely tailored to its educational mission and pedagogical philosophy,” said Graham S. Wyatt, partner at Robert A.M. Stern Architects. “We will honor the building’s prominent site at 14th and Vine streets with a design that contributes to the campus as a whole, even as it expresses the identity of the college and its participation in the broader business community.”

About the architect selection, Plowman said, “We were impressed by the experience of Robert A. M. Stern Architects, which has designed 21 colleges of business, including the Smeal College of Business at Penn State University. We look forward to our partnership with both firms who have teamed up before to design UNL’s International Quilt Study Center and Museum.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 75 years. In 2012, donors provided the university with $165 million for scholarships, medical and other research, academic programs, faculty and buildings.

All foundation funds are donor designated. The foundation’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska, has raised more than $1.2 billion for the university and concludes in 2014. For more information, visit

- Robb Crouch, University of Nebraska Foundation