KEARNEY – University of Nebraska at Kearney’s “newest” building will be officially presented at a community event Thursday (Oct. 26) with a celebration of Jerome and Charles J. Warner Hall. A brief sign-unveiling ceremony at 2:30 p.m. is free and open to the public.
Formerly known as Founders Hall, the building’s name honors the father and son who were instrumental in the university’s history, as Nebraska political leaders and advocates for Kearney Normal School, Kearney State College, and later, UNK. The name was approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents March 31. Since then, the building’s signage and some interior updating occurred to signal the transition. The former Founders Hall was built in 1978.
Charles Warner was a member of the Nebraska House of Representatives from 1901-07, then in the Nebraska Senate from 1919-37 and Nebraska Unicameral from 1937-39. He served as the combined legislature’s first Speaker. He was later elected lieutenant governor four times, serving from 1949 until his death at age 80. Charles was often referred to as the “grand old man of Nebraska politics.” He led the effort in the Nebraska House in 1903 to establish Kearney Normal School.
Always by Charles’ side growing up, Jerome Warner himself became the next “grand old man,” serving 35 years in elected service as state senator, including as Speaker. He headed committees on education, appropriations, administrative services, limiting property taxes, highway and road funding, development of the biennial budget process, among others. His leadership helped make Kearney State College part of the state university system in 1989.
Charles Warner received the Nebraska Builder Award, the University of Nebraska’s highest non-academic honor, for his contribution to the welfare of the university and the state; and Jerome Warner received the Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Refreshments will be served and all are welcome.