Challenge is on for UNK Honors Program: raise $10K for study abroad

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ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Jessica Albin knows how important a study abroad experience is for students. The UNK senior, pictured here at the Cliffs of Moher, studied in Ireland this year and is now an advocate of international experience.

The University of Nebraska at Kearney Honors Program has an opportunity to help even more students have a study abroad experience because of a $10,000 challenge gift.

John Falconer, the program’s director, said a donor who wishes to remain anonymous has offered to give $10,000 to the UNK Honors Study Abroad Support Fund if the university can first raise $10,000 from others by May 1, 2015.

“This was very exciting news, and we’re definitely grateful to have this opportunity,” Falconer said. “Our honors graduates are expected to be well-rounded individuals, and having an education-abroad experience is absolutely central to that goal. Unfortunately, financial barriers are too often the reason many of our students can’t even consider such an experience.”

Gifts of every amount will be matched dollar-for-dollar through the challenge gift through May 1.

Jessica Albin can testify to how important a study abroad experience is for students. The UNK senior English major from Lincoln studied in Ireland earlier this year and is now a strong advocate for international experience.

“My study abroad experience not only enabled me to see how different cultures live around the world but also allowed me to identify the human characteristics and mannerisms that are universal, no matter where you go,” Albin said. “I was able to learn a lot about the vast world we live in, including how it isn’t quite so big after all.”

Albin captured much of her international experience through stories and photos in her blog at

Falconer said the Honors Program has partnered with the University of Nebraska Foundation to help share news of the challenge gift with alumni and others who may be interested in helping reach the goal. Those interested in making a gift may give online at

Gifts made payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation may also be sent to: UNK Honors Study Abroad Fund, University of Nebraska Foundation, PO Box 2678, Kearney, NE 68848.

To learn more about supporting the UNK Honors Program or its giving challenge, contact John Falconer at 308- 865-8702 or, or contact Anne McConkey, development director, at 308-698-5270 or

Gifts made to the UNK Honors Study Abroad Support Fund by Dec. 31 will also provide support to the university’s current fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska, and one of its priorities to increase support for students.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 78 years. In 2014, donors provided the university with $258.1 million for scholarships, academic programs, medical and other research, faculty support and facilities. The foundation’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska, concludes Dec. 31, 2014. For more information, visit

Media contact:  Robb Crouch, NU Foundation, 402-458-1142, 402-304-3085,

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