Music Departments at UNK Receives $500,000 GIFT; Brings Total gift to more than $2.5 million

Robb Crouch
director of public relations, University of Nebraska Foundation; Office 402.458.1142; Mobile, 402.304.3085;

UNK music department celebrates another major gift, completion of challenge grant

Support from UNK benefactor now exceeds $2.5 million

Kearney, Neb. —Oct. 4, 2010—The University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of Music and Performing Arts is celebrating another major gift of $500,000. The gift will support an endowed fund to provide annual scholarships for students who study brass, woodwind and percussion instruments.

The gift supports the University of Nebraska’s current fundraising initiative called the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities.

The gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation was provided by the same anonymous benefactor who announced in April a $500,000 contribution to establish a permanently endowed chair named in honor of Ronald Crocker, UNK’s long-time professor of music and performing arts who also directs the Kearney Symphony Orchestra.

At that same time, the donor offered the music department a challenge grant of $100,000 to support student recruitment efforts if $150,000 from others could first be raised. According to the University of Nebraska Foundation, the challenge grant was a success and the matching funds have been raised. These gifts now establish an endowment to sustain the music department’s recruitment efforts, including support for on-campus music workshops, camps, clinics and competitions.

The total support for the music department gifted by the same anonymous benefactor now exceeds $2.5 million. Much of the support has established permanently endowed funds that provide perpetual support for student scholarships and academic music programs. The total donations comprise the largest private support received in history for the music department.

“Our campus and community cannot begin to express our appreciation to this most generous supporter,” said Chancellor Doug Kristensen. “This incredible investment in education provides consistent annual support for student scholarships and music instruction while bringing recognition to our quality music programs and a distinction to our campus.”

Dr. Valerie Cisler, professor of music and chair of the Department of Music and Performing Arts, said the gifts received this year and over time by this benefactor have been a “tremendous boost to the music students and faculty” at UNK.

“The effects of this remarkable support reach far beyond our increased ability to recruit and retain excellent faculty and talented students,” Dr. Cisler said. “At a far deeper level, it acknowledges our continued efforts to improve the quality of our academic programs, outreach performances and activities, and sends the message that the arts are both appreciated and valued. We are deeply grateful to the donor for providing the department with a level of support that will clearly enhance our vision for continued artistic and educational excellence well into the future.”

Jon Abegglen, vice president of development at the University of Nebraska Foundation, said half of UNK’s $50 million campaign goal has now been realized, thanks to these and other private gifts.

“We are very grateful for this additional support our donor has provided,” Abegglen said. “These gifts support the top priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska for UNK, including student support and faculty support for the campus. These latest gifts match up perfectly to these areas.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for 74 years. In 2009, the foundation provided the university with more than $102 million in private funding for scholarships, medical research, and support for faculty and academic programs. In October of 2009, the foundation announced the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, a $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign—the largest in the university’s history. For more information, visit