Ribbon Cutting Set For Thursday, March 13, For The Center For Rural Research And Development At UNK

Deborah Murray
director of the Center for Rural Research/Development, 308.865.8199

University of Nebraska Vice President Pete Kotsiopulos will open a 4 p.m. ribbon cutting ceremony for the Center for Rural Research and Development at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Thursday, March 13, according to Deborah Murray, CCRD director.
       The ceremony will take place in the atrium of the West Center Building, located on the UNK West Campus. In opening the event, Kotsiopulos, a former Kearney resident, will speak to the role of the University of Nebraska in assisting economic and business development in the state. UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen will address the group about the role UNK plays in assisting economic and business development in the region.
       Also addressing the group will be Curt Carlson, UNK vice chancellor for University Relations, who will speak to the value of partnerships between UNK and regional organizations to create an environment conducive to development, and Dr. Bruce Forster, dean of the College of Business and Technology, who will speak about the value of the centers creating a one-stop shop to better serve clients. UNK center directors will speak about the ways each center assists in community and economic development in Central Nebraska.
       The event marks what has been described as the reopening and refocusing of the Center for Rural Research and Development (CRRD) at UNK. Murray said that the center “…focuses on programming that empowers the region’s residents to seek avenues of rural economic development through university, community, and global partnerships to build entrepreneurial and professional capacity, and encourage creative thinking about the economic growth of our region.”
       The CRRD partners with UNK’s other outreach centers, regional businesses, economic development organizations and community development nonprofit organizations. Through financial support from the University of Nebraska Programs of Excellence funding and a U.S. Department of Education Title VI-B grant, an entrepreneur and innovation support program, and a business and international education program have been launched.
       “The ribbon cutting ceremony will highlight the partnership of the four UNK outreach centers serving businesses and communities the U. S. Third Congressional District,” Murray said. The other three centers include the Center for Economic Education, the Nebraska Safety Center and the Nebraska Business Development Center.
       Mary Rittenhouse, director of the Center for Economic Education, said: “The Center for Economic Education serves Nebraska with programs to increase economic literacy among adults, and to enhance the quality of elementary and secondary school economic education. By working together, our outreach centers have substantially extended our community outreach.”
       “We are excited to be part of a university partnership that has a global perspective,” said Gordon Brooks, director of the Nebraska Safety Center. The safety center serves the state through safety education classes, workshops, research and coordination of statewide safety education programs.
       Odee Ingersoll is the director of the Nebraska Business Development Center. NBDC provides business loan packages, business transition planning, government procurement contracts, GIS studies and statewide business appraisal services.
       “The addition of the UNK Center for Rural Research and Development will provide important new opportunities for collaboration, business growth and economic development,” Ingersoll said. “It’s an excellent addition to the College of Business and Technology.”