COVID-19, Discovery Hall, University Village projects top UNK stories of 2020

Here is a snapshot of the most-read and top stories of 2020 posted by the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s communications and news team.

UNK celebrates ‘future of higher education’ at Discovery Hall grand opening

Discovery Hall is much more than a fancy, new addition to the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus.
The state-of-the-art STEM facility will revolutionize higher education and workforce development in Nebraska.
University of Nebraska President Ted Carter addresses the crowd Monday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the grand opening of Discovery Hall.
“This building is the future of higher education. It’s not just experiential. It’s immersive. It’s interactive. It brings a whole new definition to hybrid education,” University of Nebraska President Ted Carter said Monday afternoon during a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the university system’s newest academic building.

Lopes Up

UNK to suspend in-person classes after spring break due to coronavirus

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is suspending face-to-face classes beginning March 30 due to immediate concerns about the spread of the novel coronavirus, Chancellor Doug Kristensen announced Thursday.
Courses at UNK are moving to virtual, online or alternative instruction beginning the first day of classes following spring break. Remote instruction will continue through the end of the spring semester, May 8. Classes will be held on campus next week (March 16-20) as scheduled.
UNK will evaluate the decision on an ongoing basis, monitor the situation and make proper adjustments and modifications to teaching moving forward. All faculty, staff and UNK employees should continue reporting to work unless they are unable.

A time to celebrate: UNK recognizes graduates at historic commencement

After the coronavirus pandemic forced UNK to finish the spring semester remotely and postpone its May commencement, Chancellor Doug Kristensen was more than ready to lead a “normal” event on campus.
“You don’t know how long I’ve waited to do this,” he told a socially-distanced crowd gathered inside Cope Stadium.
Although the event included a few notable changes – face masks were required and attendance was limited – Kristensen was happy to have the Loper family together again to recognize the students’ achievements.

$48M private housing development planned for UNK’s University Village

A new public-private partnership between the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a Nebraska investor will bring a $48 million housing project to the University Village development at UNK. Millennium Development and UNK jointly announced the upscale townhome and apartment project at a Monday news conference.

UNK jumps to No. 6 on annual ‘Best Colleges’ list – its highest ranking ever

The University of Nebraska at Kearney continues to climb U.S. News and World Report’s annual “Best Colleges” lists, reaching its highest ranking ever. UNK is No. 6 on the publication’s list of the top public regional universities in the Midwest, up three spots from last year. This is the 13th straight year UNK has been recognized as a top public regional university in the Midwest.

UNK announces position eliminations in first budget reductions

University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Kristensen announced today the elimination of 15 positions in an effort to meet a $2.8 million budget cut outlined and affirmed today by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents. The positions in total represent $800,000 in state-funded salary and benefit savings, and not all are full-time or currently filled.Nebraska Promise Graphic

Nebraska Promise covers tuition for Nebraska students with family incomes up to $60K

Calling the University of Nebraska’s commitment to accessibility more important than ever during difficult economic times, President Ted Carter today unveiled a new program that will guarantee a tuition-free NU education to Nebraska students with family incomes of $60,000 or less.
The “Nebraska Promise” will take effect in fall 2020 and will guarantee that full-time resident undergraduates whose families have an adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less or who qualify for the federal Pell Grant can attend any NU campus and pay no tuition.

UNK’s new College Park location expands educational opportunities in Grand Island area

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is partnering with College Park at Grand Island to bring expanded educational opportunities to central Nebraska.
UNK and College Park finalized an agreement earlier this month that reestablishes the university’s presence in the center for higher education and affirms its commitment to supporting and growing the greater Grand Island area.

UNK launching ‘New Nebraskan’ scholarship for out-of-state students

The University of Nebraska at Kearney just became a lot more attractive to out-of-state students.
Beginning in fall 2021, on-campus undergraduate students from anywhere will get a discount that brings them to Nebraska residents’ tuition rate. It’s an offer equal to a 54% decrease – from the current $455 to $209 per credit hour.

Regents approve regional engagement center at UNK’s University Village

The University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved a project Friday that will connect academics, government and business while strengthening Kearney’s role as a regional hub and portal to greater Nebraska.
The board voted unanimously to support a public-private partnership that will add a Regional Engagement and Alumni Center to the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s University Village development.
Chancellor Doug Kristensen called the $15.6 million project a “centerpiece and anchor” for University Village that will attract talented students and faculty to UNK, bring new businesses to the city and benefit employers across the state.

Mark Reid selected as new College of Education dean

Mark J. Reid has been selected as University of Nebraska at Kearney’s next dean of the College of Education. The appointment was announced today by Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs Charlie Bicak and comes after a national search. “I am honored to become a Loper and ecstatic to be joining the College of Education, which has a reputation for excellence. I graduated from high school in Brookings, South Dakota, so this feels like I am coming home.”


Nick Hobbs and Alexis Page were married in June on the UNK campus. Hobbs is an assistant professor in the UNK Department of Biology and Page earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UNK.

Perfect chemistry: Couple ties knot at UNK, where they met three years ago

UNK graduate Odalys Cruz aims to inspire students in her hometown

Healing Journey: After losing family, Fayth Jackson finds herself at UNK

Nebraska Promise makes college a reality for Kearney mother

Mick Johnson – UNK’s piano man – plays important part on campus


UNK Facilities employees and members of the Nebraska National Guard load supplies into Centennial Towers West on April 21. As part of an agreement between the University of Nebraska system and State of Nebraska, two UNK residence halls served as alternative care sites for individuals required to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19.

State using UNK residence halls as care sites for COVID-19; First residents arrive

UNK, University of Nebraska campuses closed to employees beginning Wednesday

‘God didn’t want me yet’: Kenny Van Horn recovering from COVID-19

Costs, revenue losses from COVID-19 to create at least $50M shortfall for university

Helping hands: UNK faculty making much-needed medical supplies

UNK to fully transition classroom activity to remote beginning Wednesday

Front porch celebrations allow Kearney neighborhoods to interact – from a distance

UNK food pantry supporting students, employees during coronavirus crisis

What Matters Most? Moments that cause us to pause and reflect

Message from the Chancellor: UNK must rally, support one another in challenging time

Students advised to leave residence halls to help control spread of COVID

Face masks, hand sanitizer and plastic barriers all part of UNK’s safety plan

Emergency paid leave available to UNK employees in response to COVID-19

$1.9M in grants available; UNK outlines student CARES Act process

‘It’s what we sign up for’: UNK pre-nursing students undeterred during pandemic