UNO sets goals for rapid growth

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September 19th, 2012

Omaha, NE – The University of Nebraska Omaha wants to increase enrollment to 20,000 students in the next eight years. UNO’s Chancellor touted the University’s achievements and set a path forward in his annual State of the University address Wednesday.

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[audio:https://kvnonews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/State-of-the-UNO-MIX.mp3]

UNO Chancellor John Christensen addressed a crowd of staff and university supporters at his annual address, and told them the stars are perfectly aligned to “implement an aggressive agenda and direction for the future.” That includes increasing enrollment by one third by 2020. UNO’s current enrollment is 14,786.

“We have built capacity, transitioned to a doctoral granting research university, moved to Division 1 athletics, expanded student life and housing, and reaffirmed our long term commitment to being student centered, academically excellent, and engaged with our community,” Christensen said. “This coupled with some significant and fundamental changes to our way of doing business has placed us in a strong strategic position for success.”

UNO Chancellor John Christensen introduced a video of testimonials during his State of the University address Wednesday. (Photo by Robyn Wisch)

Christensen said UNO’s enrollment has grown over the past seven years – but in small increments. He said more students are enrolling, but more students are also graduating in higher numbers. Christensen said plans to step up recruitment include restructuring student affairs to provide seamless support to students from their first campus tours to graduation and getting out into the workforce. He said UNO is growing into its role of a diverse, metropolitan campus with a global footprint. He added the athletic department’s bumpy move to Division I has been a catalyst for that growth.

“As you well know 2011/12 was a watershed year for UNO student athletes, coaches and staff, department leadership and all of us who wear our Maverick pride on our sleeves, and hold it close to our hearts,” he said. “Following very difficult and personally painful decisions regarding the elimination of football and wrestling, Athletics has successfully completed its first year of transition into Division 1 and the Summit League.”

“And, for the first time in 11 years, the first time in 11 years,” he repeated, “the department closed out the fiscal year in the black.”

The four campuses of the University of Nebraska system are currently in the final stretch of a capital fundraising campaign that’s already passed its target of $1.2 billion. Christensen said of those funds, $163 million has already been invested at UNO in student scholarships and facilities. He added “work continues” on “a future home for Maverick athletics” on campus.

“Our journey to achieve excellence in all we do is far from over,” he said in closing. “But together we are turning dreams into reality.”

Next up on the agenda, UNO’s highly-touted Community Engagement Center breaks ground October 24th.

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