Today, University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter, joined by the chancellors of the four University of Nebraska campuses, announced the public launch of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future. The campaign is a historic effort to encourage at least 150,000 benefactors to give $3 billion to support University of Nebraska students, faculty, academic programs and research to address the needs of the state.

“As Nebraska’s only public university, we have a special opportunity and responsibility to meet the needs of students, our state and the workforce,” Carter said. “The University of Nebraska is one of the state’s most powerful drivers of economic growth and quality of life. With this campaign, we can extend our impact even further — today, tomorrow and for generations to come.

“Our university is extraordinarily fortunate to be generously supported by alumni, friends and all Nebraskans. This campaign is an investment in students and in our future. We are excited to build that future together — as only Nebraskans can.”

While the campaign has three priorities, the top priority is students. The campaign will create additional scholarships to help make education affordable, attract more students and keep them in Nebraska. It also will invest in programs such as learning communities which help retain students, provide mentorship and guidance and ensure their timely degree completion.

The three campaign priorities are:

Relentless focus on student access and success ($1.6 billion) – The campaign goal is to create scholarships for every college within the university system to expand access and help the university compete for top talent. The campaign also will raise support for first-generation students, community college transfer students and for areas of critical need, such as in health care, engineering, information technology and teacher education; funds to create or expand programs that help retain students, such as learning communities; and funds for modern facilities that offer students contemporary, hands-on learning opportunities.

Enhancing faculty, academic and clinical excellence ($750 million) – The campaign seeks funds for endowed chairs and professorships to recruit and retain faculty who are a source of intellectual capital for the state as well as the inspiration and teachers of the next generation of students. It will seek support for faculty programs, many of which spin off innovations for commercialization and create new business startups.

Transformational research and innovation ($650 million) – The campaign seeks funds to support research and innovation that bring solutions and discoveries to the state and improve outcomes for Nebraskans. This includes health issues where Nebraskans have higher incident rates than the national average; support for agriculture; and support for areas where there is existing university expertise, such as in business, entrepreneurship, food and water security, STEM and early childhood education.

Carter said that while the campaign goal is $3 billion, many gifts are pledged over a number of years or are planned gifts coming to the university later. The private funds that are raised in the campaign can complement but not replace state funds for basic operations. More than 99% of all gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation are restricted by donors to a specific use.

The campaign will support all campuses of the university, which include the University of Nebraska at Kearney, the University of Nebraska‒Lincoln, the University of Nebraska Medical Center and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine, the University of Nebraska at Omaha and the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis.

University of Nebraska Foundation President and CEO Brian Hastings said a major factor in the campaign’s success is its volunteers.

“More than 300 volunteers are investing their time and talent to ensure that the Only in Nebraska campaign, the largest in the university’s history, succeeds,” Hastings said. “We are grateful for their leadership and support and have no doubt this campaign will be successful thanks to their efforts.”

Barbara Weitz, a university regent and member of the campaign’s executive committee, said the Only in Nebraska campaign provides more opportunities to talk about the University of Nebraska and all it does for people and the state.

“There’s nothing more exciting than being part of something that’s bigger than yourself — something that will go on to be a legacy for our grandchildren, our great-grandchildren and many generations to come,” Weitz said. “When you invest in the University of Nebraska, you’re investing in the future. We have the opportunity to make that investment now through the Only in Nebraska campaign.”

More than half the campaign goal — $1.6 billion — has already been given or pledged toward the campaign from more than 112,000 benefactors. The campaign began in a quiet phase in 2018 and was made public today.

Examples of campaign priorities for each campus include:

University of Nebraska at Kearney – Scholarships and other student support; endowed faculty professorships and chairs; creation of the UNK-UNMC Rural Health Education Building and programs to grow the health care workforce, especially in rural areas of the state; redevelopment of the Calvin T. Ryan Library to include a modern student learning commons to provide a variety of student success programs; and the Loper Sports Performance Network to provide a student-athlete experience that touches all aspects of an individual’s well-being, including physical, mental and academic.

University of Nebraska-Lincoln – Scholarships and other student support; endowed faculty professorships and chairs; investments in the College of Engineering to address the state’s severe shortage of engineers and computer scientists by completing Kiewit Hall and creating a dedicated home for the School of Computing; creation of a world-class arts educational experience by expanding the Lied Center for Performing Arts to include a new studio theater, enhanced guest entrance and renovated guest facilities; support for athletic facilities and student-athlete support through the GO BIG Training and Student Support Facility, which includes a new locker room, strength complex, athletic medicine area, equipment room, meeting spaces, academic and life skills center and more for all student-athletes.

University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine – Scholarships and other student support; endowed faculty professorships and chairs; creation of Centers of Excellence to build on strengths in cancer, immunotherapies, neurodegenerative diseases, cardiovascular disease, women’s health research, behavioral health, chronic care management, health equity and other areas; Project NExT (Nebraska Transformation Project) to educate the next generation of Nebraska’s health care workforce and those responding to infectious diseases while advancing research and providing patients with the best quality care possible; a Health Science Education Expansion Facility to serve as the new home for the College of Allied Health Professions as well as to provide additional educational and teaching laboratory space for other expanding health science education programs including those in the College of Public Health, College of Nursing and College of Dentistry.

University of Nebraska at Omaha – Scholarships and other student support; endowed faculty professorships and chairs; a new space in Omaha’s Aksarben Village called UNO=ECO, an integrated learning center where education, community and business can come together; expansion and renovation of facilities to support STEM education, such as renovation of Allwine Hall and expansion of the Peter Kiewit Institute; creation of Samuel Bak Museum: The Learning Center to allow UNO to house works by renowned artist and Holocaust survivor Samuel Bak while serving as home to events and engagement opportunities on issues of genocide, human rights, the Holocaust and artistic expression.

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture – Scholarships and other student support and the Student Activity and Success Center to bring together advising services, career counseling, dining, clubs and extracurricular activities.

More information about Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future is at OnlyinNebraska.org.

Campaign Executive Committee Members

 What others are saying about Only in Nebraska

“We want to be a part of the continued success of the University of Nebraska at Kearney. A philanthropic gift to the university makes all the difference in the world and is the only way that the really cutting-edge things happen. The university is educating our future leaders of the state, of the nation, of the world, so we need to have innovative education to prepare them for the jobs and careers that will be available in the future.”
Carey and Brian Hamilton, UNK Campaign Chairs

“The University of Nebraska is doing a great job of finding ways to deliver education in the most cost-effective and efficient way and making sure that educational opportunity is affordable. The university is also the driver of workforce development in many ways, and as our state grows and as diverse employment opportunities expand, the university is the place that’s going to develop the needed skill sets.” –Holly and Tonn Ostergard, UNL Campaign Chairs

“Philanthropy is an essential element in helping the University of Nebraska Medical Center and Nebraska Medicine fulfill their roles and missions. It’s just so exciting seeing new programs developed, novel research conducted, outstanding education delivered, recruitment of outstanding faculty and, of course, extraordinary medical care provided. If you think about the purpose of a university, its key goals are to help people maximize their human potential through education and to serve as the catalyst that drives innovation in our state.” –Karen and Jim Linder, UNMC and Nebraska Medicine Campaign Chairs

“The University of Nebraska at Omaha is the kind of campus where you really do feel it’s a community and that we all pay attention to one another. It’s a place that has so much possibility, and when you invest in higher education you’re investing in the future. You’re saying you believe this state is going to be amazing, and I want to be a part of that, I want to invest in it, I want to help it happen. It’s genuinely thinking about it as an investment in the education of generations to come.” –Barbara and Wally Weitz, UNO Campaign Chairs

“UNK is a national model of excellence in accessible, quality undergraduate education. With the phenomenal support from our communities and our private partners, we can do even more for our students and our communities, address our workforce challenges and build the future Nebraska needs right now. Working together, I know we can.” –Doug Kristensen, J.D., Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Kearney

“The choices we make today — like those made by our predecessors in the previous 15 decades — will impact generations to come. Our vision is to be a transformative, world-leading, 21st-century mission-integrated, land-grant university without walls. Just as we stand on the shoulders of those who came before, they will stand on ours. It is an awesome responsibility and opportunity.” –Ronnie D. Green, Ph.D., Chancellor, University of Nebraska–Lincoln

“At UNMC and Nebraska Medicine, we have the enormous responsibility to educate the next generation of health care professionals and medical scientists and the monumental privilege to provide lifesaving research and to provide care and caring for Nebraskans as well as those living around the world. We can start today to build the future our world needs right now. It’s possible, and it’s all happening right here.” –Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, University of Nebraska System, and Chancellor, University of Nebraska Medical Center

“At UNO, the most important goal is to empower our students through higher education and improve their social and economic mobility. If we can move students up one or even two tiers, then we lift not only our students but their families and, by extension, our community and our state.” –Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, Chancellor, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Contact: Robb Crouch, Senior Director of Public Relations, 402-458-1142

Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of Alzheimer’s disease research support, new faculty chair announced

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Barney and Vada Oldfield met at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and enjoyed their life together. Their legacy continues with a number of funds that provide perpetual support to the university, its faculty and students.

For two decades, a research fund has supported the efforts of leading research scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the pursuit of treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, devastating brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually prevents one’s ability to carry out simple tasks. Experts estimate that more than 5.5 million Americans may have the disease.

Col. A. Barney Oldfield started the fund with a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation in the 1990s by establishing the Vada Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Fund for the UNMC Division of Geriatrics. The permanently endowed fund forever honors his wife, Vada Kinman Oldfield, who suffered from Alzheimer’s for 11 years before her death in 1999.

Later contributions by family members, friends and the Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation, along with market investment, have increased the endowment to nearly $400,000, ensuring it will support Alzheimer’s research until a cure is found. With foresight typical of the Oldfields, once a cure is found for Alzheimer’s disease the fund will be redirected to battle other disorders associated with aging.

Jane Potter, M.D., professor of internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine at UNMC, said the first 20 years of the Kinman Oldfield Award have helped launch the careers of many successful research scientists.

“For many, this was the first research award that they received,” Potter said. “The award provided support to collect pilot data that then was the seed for applications to other foundations and government funders. It has done what Col. Oldfield intended. He was a great believer in kick-starting careers and setting people in the right direction.”

2019 Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Award recipient announced

The Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Award is conferred annually as a $10,000 stipend to an individual with promising new ideas in Alzheimer’s disease research.

David E. Warren, Ph.D., assistant professor in UNMC’s Department of Neurological Sciences, is the 2019 recipient of the Kinman Oldfield Award and was recognized during an event on April 22. He researches potential treatment for memory loss in healthy and nonhealthy older adults by combining neuroimaging, neurostimulation and neuropsychology.

A moderate decline in the memory of facts and events is a normal part of aging, Warren said, but amnestic mild cognitive impairment is a severe, clinically relevant type of memory loss that frequently precedes Alzheimer’s disease.

“Loss of memory abilities is devastating for people, but the few treatments available for memory loss provide very limited relief,” said Warren, whose research team includes medical students interested in the field of memory loss treatment.

“We are applying a type of noninvasive brain stimulation that we believe has potential to improve memory abilities among people with mild cognitive impairment who do not yet have Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “By testing whether this type of stimulation improves their memory abilities more than a placebo, we will determine if it will reliably improve memory. So this study is a key first step that will support our long-term goal of applying the same approach to people with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.”

2019 Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship recipients announced

The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation also established the Nancy and Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship Fund Award at UNMC to honor Ronald Regan, the late U.S. president who battled Alzheimer’s disease.

The 2019 recipients of the Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship are doctor of medicine students Carly Faller, Claire Ferguson and Ran Jing. They each serve on the leadership team for the UNMC Purposes of Aging Interprofessional Group and were honored at an April 22 event.

Faller is a third-year medical student from Lincoln, Nebraska, who’s mentored by Warren. Her research focus is on the effects of targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation on hippocampal-dependent declarative memory in older adults.

Ferguson is a third-year medical student from Omaha, Nebraska, who’s mentored by Natalie Manley, M.D. Her research is focused on a feasibility study regarding virtual reality and dementia in patients.

Jing is a third-year medical student from Shandong, China, who’s also mentored by Warren. Jing’s research focus is on the effects of targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation on memory performance in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

New faculty support chair in Alzheimer’s disease announced

The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation recently announced its commitment to establish the Kinman Oldfield Chair in Geriatrics at UNMC. Once fully funded, this permanently endowed fund will provide annual support to a renowned faculty member dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease research and teaching.

“The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation is pleased to carry on Col. Oldfield’s vision of a cure for, and the eradication of, Alzheimer’s disease,” said Warren Odgers, Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation trustee. “This commitment to the Kinman Oldfield Chair in Geriatrics also furthers a goal of the foundation to support educational opportunities for Nebraska students.”

The Oldfields, including the family foundation they established to carry on their charitable objectives, have provided philanthropic support to the University of Nebraska for nearly 30 years. In addition to their support for students and faculty at UNMC, the foundation contributed to the new Home Instead Center for Successful Aging, home to UNMC’s geriatrics division and geriatric patient care.

In addition to support of UNMC, the Oldfields also established funds that benefit students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, including scholarships for students in the Hixson–Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and students in the Army ROTC program.

Beginning a life together in Nebraska

Col. A. Barney Oldfield and Vada Kinman met in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they were both studying at the University of Nebraska. The 1933 graduates would go on to be generous supporters of their alma mater through various scholarship funds and programs across the university system.

A native of Tecumseh, Nebraska, Barney Oldfield had a career in the U.S. Air Force as a communications officer and then became a public relations executive for Litton Industries in Woodland Hills, California. Founder of the Nebraska Dollars for Scholars program, he is a legend in the public relations field and counted many celebrities on his list of close, personal friends, including President Ronald Reagan and boxer George Foreman. Oldfield died in 2003, leaving a legacy in educational philanthropy that includes the University of Nebraska and other higher education institutions.

Vada Kinman Oldfield was from Grand Forks, North Dakota. During World War II she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, becoming a pioneer in what would become the Women’s Army Corps in 1943. She served in the 12th Air Force Communications Section in Africa and Italy.

In both military and civilian life, the Oldfields made philanthropy their passion, giving generously of their resources and inspiring others to do the same. The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation continues their philanthropic legacy today.