UNK dedicating new sorority housing at Thursday event

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney will dedicate its new sorority housing Thursday afternoon during a ribbon-cutting and open house on campus.

Guests can tour Bess Furman Armstrong Hall beginning at 3:30 p.m., with remarks and refreshments following at 4 p.m. in the Martin Hall “great room.” Featured speakers include Chancellor Doug Kristensen and Diana Armstrong, daughter-in-law of the late Bess Furman Armstrong. Other members of Furman Armstrong’s family will also be in attendance.

The ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. at Armstrong Hall, with tours continuing until 5 p.m. Guests are asked to use the east entrance to Martin Hall and the south-central entrance to Armstrong Hall. Signs will be posted at both entrances.

Armstrong Hall is located at 907 W. 27th St. in the northeast corner of campus, just east of the Nebraskan Student Union and directly north of Martin Hall.

The 41,000-square-foot residence hall opened in early January, ushering in a new era for sorority housing on campus. It features dedicated housing pods, chapter rooms, lounges and study areas for each Panhellenic sorority – Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Phi, Alpha Xi Delta and Gamma Phi Beta – along with an outdoor patio and green space. There are flexible housing units designed to meet the chapters’ future needs, as well.

Armstrong Hall also includes chapter rooms and a shared lounge for UNK’s multicultural chapters – the Sigma Lambda Gamma and Lambda Theta Nu sororities and Sigma Lambda Beta fraternity – giving them a permanent on-campus home for the first time.

The 140-bed residence hall is part of a $32.65 million project that replaces the former fraternity and sorority housing – University Residence North (URN) and University Residence South (URS). Martin Hall reopened in January 2023 following a major renovation that transformed the nearly 70-year-old residence hall into a modern living space for UNK fraternity members.

The new sorority housing is named after Bess Furman Armstrong, a Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney graduate who served as the first woman editor of The Antelope student newspaper. Furman Armstrong worked for the Associated Press and The New York Times, covering the White House during five presidential administrations, and she was the first woman to hold a top public affairs position with a cabinet agency – the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

The Danbury native was inducted into the Nebraska Journalism Hall of Fame in 1975, six years after her death.