One Day for UNK attracts 1,864 donors to support Lopers

KEARNEY – One Day for UNK was a day to celebrate the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

From noon Thursday until noon Friday, the UNK community came together to make 1,864 gifts totaling $240,732 to advance UNK programs, enrich campus life and create new opportunities for current and future UNK students. The number of gifts reached a new high for UNK’s annual giving event, which began in 2021, surpassing the 2022 total when 1,783 gifts were made.

One Day for UNK brings together alumni, parents, grandparents, the Kearney community and other UNK supporters to encourage philanthropic support for all areas of the university.

“One Day for UNK celebrates what this university represents and allows people to participate in something bigger than themselves,” said Lucas Dart, vice president of UNK alumni relations and development for the University of Nebraska Foundation. “We have been overwhelmed by the support over the past three years, and we’re grateful for donors’ investment in UNK’s students, faculty and programs.”

Alumni and other supporters provided more than $91,000 in challenge funds to encourage others to give. Gifts were made online at through the University of Nebraska Foundation. One Day for UNK used social media and other online communication to encourage support for the university.

UNK senior Hannah Harrison, an exercise science major from Gothenburg, was among the students to express her appreciation to donors.

Harrison, a member of the Loper track and field team, said she has had great experiences as a Loper student-athlete, developed leaderships skills and met students from across campus. “Because of scholarships, I had the freedom to focus on track, classes and being involved on campus,” she said.

During the 24-hour event, funds were raised for UNK scholarships, the university’s three colleges, Loper Athletics and 59 student organizations, including First Gen Lopers.

First Gen Lopers provides support for students whose parents have not completed a bachelor’s degree. UNK sophomore Brittany Chavez of Imperial, a business administration major, said the group holds events to help students make friends and navigate their way through higher education. Members hope to establish a scholarship for incoming first-generation students.

“Being a first-gen student can be a nerve-wracking experience. When I first came here, I didn’t know what to expect,” Chavez said. “Now, through the connections I’ve made, I can help others who are going through that.”

Tim Jares, dean of the College of Business and Technology, said One Day for UNK provides funding for unique student experiences, including a recent study abroad trip to the Czech Republic.

“One Day for UNK allows the college and campus to engage a broader audience than it typically does,” he said. “The event provides funding to support students in ways we otherwise wouldn’t be able to.”

The day also raised funds for campus programs, including UNK’s Health Science and Rural Health Initiatives. UNK junior Makenna Redinger of Kearney is majoring in biology with a health science emphasis. After she graduates from UNK, she hopes to attend medical school, then return to her hometown to practice medicine.

“I love being at UNK,” she said. “I like being close to family and being involved in activities on campus. There’s something for everyone.”

Gifts made during One Day for UNK supported Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future, which has a goal to raise $3 billion from 150,000 unique benefactors to support the University of Nebraska. More information is at