Chancellor’s retirement, budget challenges, new rural health building, record volleyball crowd are UNK’s top stories for 2023 – UNK News

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In a year marked by dynamic change, groundbreaking achievements and unforgettable student experiences, the University of Nebraska at Kearney presents its Top Stories of 2023. These stories – covered by the UNK Communications team – are a collection of the most impactful and widely discussed stories that shaped our campus community.

Doug Christensen has retired as chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Kearney after 22 years

University of Nebraska at Kearney Chancellor Doug Christensen, a native Nebraskan, lifelong public servant and the longest-serving chancellor in the history of the University of Nebraska, announced today that he will retire after 22 years in the role.
Christensen will step down from the role of provost at the end of the current academic year, giving the University of Nebraska presidential office a runway to determine the next steps for UNK’s leadership. Christensen will take a year-long leave of absence for professional development, after which he intends to remain engaged in strategic projects within the university community. READ MORE

University of Nebraska at Kearney Announces Strategic Budget Cuts to Address Financial Challenges

In a major restructuring effort, the University of Nebraska at Kearney announced Monday it will end several academic degrees and faculty positions due to changing enrollment trends and fiscal challenges.
The realignment is in direct response to a $58 million budget deficit projected for the University of Nebraska system through 2025.
It includes cutting 24.5 faculty members and eliminating nine science degrees. These decisions, resulting in $2.3 million in savings, are part of a comprehensive plan to mitigate an anticipated $4.3 million budget deficit at UNK. READ MORE

Groundbreaking UNK-UNMC partnership ushers in a new era for rural health care

Demonstrating a united commitment to closing the health care gap in rural communities, University of Nebraska leaders gathered today to celebrate a project that will transform lives for generations.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney and the University of Nebraska Medical Center hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the new UNK-UNMC Rural Health Education Building, a state-of-the-art facility that will expand the rural health care workforce and help for communities to thrive.
“Our goal is to harness UNMC’s world-class skills to transform rural Nebraska through a unique endeavor not seen elsewhere in the United States: training rural health workers and professionals,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Christensen. “The Rural Health Education Building will be a game changer in this regard, playing a critical role in filling the shortage in all medical professions in Nebraska. READ MORE

Lopers part of an amazing, crazy, amazing, world record-setting volleyball event at Memorial Stadium

University of Nebraska at Kearney coach Rick Squires looked at the record crowd at Memorial Stadium and just shook his head.
Even he was amazed by Nebraska volleyball’s historic day.
“What a day,” he said. “Unbelievable. It’s something our players will remember for a long time.”
An astounding 92,003 people packed the iconic venue on Wednesday, setting a record for the most attended women’s sporting event and sending a clear message to the sports world that Nebraska is the volleyball state.
UNK middle blocker Abby Rose called the celebration “surreal.” READ MORE

Entertainment superstar George “Tyrus” Murdoch began his journey to success at UNK

When opportunity knocks, George “Tyrus” Murdoch doesn’t just answer the door. He rips it off the hinges using his massive 6-foot-7, 375-pound frame.
That’s how the former University of Nebraska at Kearney football player and current professional wrestler, actor, writer, comedian and TV personality approaches life. He learned early that nothing is guaranteed.
“You never know what your path is going to be, but if you can deal with the punches in the mouth and find a way to believe in yourself and keep working, doors will open and success will find you,” Murdoch said. “I strongly believe that hard work will always pay off – it just might not be the payoff you expected.” READ MORE

Yung Gravy, Chevy Woods entertain a large crowd with an unforgettable spring concert performance

Rapper, songwriter and social media sensation Yung Gravy headlined UNK’s spring concert Thursday night at the Campus Health and Sports Center. Los Angeles rapper Chevy Woods opened the show.
The concert was organized and sponsored by UNK’s Loper Programming and Activities Council. The show was a near sell-out with more than 3,500 in attendance. READ MORE

UNK-UNMC Rural Health Complex named in honor of Chancellor Doug Christensen

The Rural Health Education Complex at the University of Nebraska at Kearney will be named for UNK Chancellor Douglas Christensen, following approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents during its meeting Friday in Lincoln.
The complex is named in Christensen’s honor in recognition of his role as a passionate advocate for a greater Nebraska, particularly in building the health sciences workforce needed to sustain the vibrancy of the state’s communities. The Douglas A. Christensen Rural Health Education Complex on UNK’s West Campus includes an existing building that opened in 2015 and the Rural Health Education Building currently under construction. READ MORE

‘Blessings’ for our program: With local support, UNK opens new campus wrestling facility

What was once a swimming pool is now a premier training facility for one of the top wrestling programs in Division II.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney opened the new Ron and Pam Blessing Wrestling Facility last month, giving the defending national champions an “amazing” place to call home.
“This facility rivals a lot of Division I programs,” said UNK head wrestling coach Dalton Jensen, whose team is currently ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Located on the main level of the Health & Athletic Center/Cushing Coliseum, the nearly 10,000-square-foot wrestling facility features strength and cardio equipment, a sports medicine/athletic training room, locker rooms for coaches and student-athletes, hot tubs, coaches’ offices and plenty of training space. READ MORE

Carl Borden was a serial entrepreneur, academic, pillar of the community and a proud husband and father

Carl J. Borden, 76, of Gibbon died June 7, 2023, at home surrounded by family.
With boundless energy, Carl juggles two careers as a serial entrepreneur and an academic. While living in Omaha in the mid-1980s, Carl ran multiple companies while commuting to Kearney State College (now UNK) to teach finance courses. In 1990, Carl accepted a full-time job at UNK and the family moved to Gibbon. READ MORE

UNK drops interim label, picks Paul Twigg to lead College of Arts and Sciences

The University of Nebraska at Kearney has selected Paul Twigg as the next dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
A longtime professor of biology, Twigg has served as interim dean of the college since September 2022. His appointment to the permanent position is effective July 1, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.
Twigg joined UNK in 1992 as part of the first group of faculty hired after the school’s transition to the University of Nebraska system. Since then, he has taught various courses and mentored countless undergraduate and graduate students. READ MORE

UNK’s fraternities have a new home in the renovated Martin Hall

Enter through the main entrance of Martin Hall and one of the first things you’ll notice is a cornerstone bearing the names of Herbert L. Cushing, former president of Nebraska State Teachers College in Kearny, as well as members of the Board of Education of the State normal schools.
This stone, placed in 1953 when the dormitory was under construction, is one of the few elements that remained untouched during a major renovation that transformed the nearly 70-year-old building into a modern living space and promenade for University of Nebraska at Kearney fraternity members.
After 18 months of work to upgrade and improve the 42,500-square-foot building, Martin Hall reopened in mid-January as the new home for Delta Tau Delta, Phi Delta Theta, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Phi Epsilon and Sigma Tau Gamma. READ MORE

The renovated Calvin T. Ryan Library will serve as a center for student success and support on campus

As work progresses on the Calvin T. Ryan Library, the University of Nebraska at Kearney’s vision for this valuable campus resource is beginning to take shape.
It may be surrounded by a construction fence right now, but soon the building will be more accessible and welcoming than ever.
“When this project is finished, I hope people will walk into the building and want to spend time here,” said Evan Boyd, library dean. “It’s exciting to think about how we will be able to work together to better serve students, faculty and staff.”
Beginning in late 2022, the renovation is part of a plan to modernize the Calvin T. Ryan Library and strengthen its role on campus. The $25 million project includes a number of significant changes that will improve the layout, appearance and functionality of the nearly 100,000-square-foot building. READ MORE

Ryan Held has been introduced as UNK’s head football coach

The University of Nebraska at Kearney introduced Ryan Held as the 19th head coach in Loper football history during a press conference Tuesday morning at the campus Health and Athletic Center. Held and UNK Director of Athletics Mark Bauer spoke at the event.
Held, 48, spent last season as the interim head coach and offensive coordinator at NCAA Division I University of North Alabama. He previously served as assistant/running backs coach and recruiting coordinator at Nebraska (2018-21) and assistant/running backs coach at the University of Central Florida (2016-17). Twice named one of the top 25 recruits in the country by Rivals.com while at Nebraska. READ MORE

Pride of the Plains Marching Band to perform in Ireland: ‘It was definitely an unforgettable experience’

Emma Schroeder can describe her recent trip to Ireland in one word.
Priceless.
“We’ll be talking about this trip for years and years to come,” said the University of Nebraska at Kearney student. “It was so cool and so memorable.”
Schroeder, a sophomore music education major from Kenesaw, and 49 other members of UNK’s Pride of the Plains Marching Band recently spent six days in the Emerald Isle, where they visited numerous cultural and historical sites and performed during the annual Dublin New Year’s Festival. READ MORE

‘I just can’t wait to live here’: UNK students get a peek inside the new sorority house

Spacious laundry rooms and an abundance of natural light definitely stood out as Katie Lytle toured the new sorority housing at the University of Nebraska at Kearney Campus.
She loves these features, but it was another convenience that really caught her eye.
“The kitchen is what excites me the most,” she said with a smile.
Lytle and other Alpha Phi sorority members currently live in University Residence South, where they use an outdated kitchen that isn’t ideal for cooking.
“We never do anything,” said the 7-12 chemistry major. “As a junior now, that’s the main thing I miss about life at home.” READ MORE



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