The University of Nebraska–Lincoln invites its supporters to Glow All In during Glow Big Red — 24 Hours of Husker Giving on Feb. 16–17, 2022.

Glow Big Red is UNL’s annual giving event during which students, alumni, faculty, staff and the Husker community at large come together to raise needed support for scholarships, colleges and programs, student groups and activities, inclusion, wellness and other important causes.

The day starts at noon on Wednesday, Feb. 16 and lasts until noon on Thursday, Feb. 17. This year’s goal is 4,500 gifts to make a meaningful impact in the lives of thousands of Husker students.

Information about Glow Big Red, including a kickoff video, options for giving and tracking the event’s progress can be found at glowbigred.unl.edu.

Give, Glow and Share to get involved

Here are the top three ways everyone can get involved:

—GIVE: Find your favorite area to support and give. Those who contribute $60 or more will receive a Husker fleece blanket as a thank-you. (Blankets will be sent three to five weeks after the event.)

—GLOW: Make your room, home or business glow to let your Husker pride shine!

—SHARE: Use the hashtag #GlowBigRed to show your support on social media and follow this link to share your Glow Big Red story.

You can get a jumpstart on this involvement, including making your gift as early as Jan. 17, a month before Glow Big Red.

Last year was a Glowing success

Now an honored Husker tradition, this is the fourth year for Glow Big Red. Last year’s Glow Big Red encouraged the Husker community to come together and contribute more than $436,000 from close to 4,000 gifts. Gifts came from every U.S. state and nine other countries.

Glow Big Red started in 2019 in recognition of the university’s 150th anniversary.

Glow All In on social media

Join Husker Nation Feb. 16–17 at glowbigred.unl.edu. Help share the excitement online by using #GlowBigRed to share why you Glow All In and care. And follow along at these channels:

Twitter

twitter.com/NebraskaNFund

twitter.com/UNLincoln

twitter.com/NebraskaAlumni

Facebook

facebook.com/NebraskaNFund

facebook.com/UNLincoln

facebook.com/UNLalumni

Instagram

instagram.com/NebraskaNFund

instagram.com/UNLincoln

instagram.com/NebraskaAlumni

University of Nebraska programs and Nebraska nonprofit organizations may now submit funding ideas to Women Investing in Nebraska for grant awards in 2022.

Grant seekers must submit an online letter of inquiry form by Feb. 16, 2022, at womeninvestinginnebraska.org.

Based on submissions, WIN will invite 12 to 16 grant seekers to provide formal grant proposals. Grant seekers must be a part of the University of Nebraska system or be a Nebraska nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity.

“WIN seeks out groups with innovative and bold solutions to the important issues Nebraskans face,” said Vanessa Denney of Omaha, chair of the WIN grants committee. “We just completed our 10th year of partnering with creative and committed organizations and people in Nebraska working to improve their communities.”

The grant amounts will be based on the total amount of gifts received this year from the members of WIN. WIN will announce its grant awards this fall.

WIN Chair Susan Fritz of Crete said the grants enable the university and nonprofits to address new ideas and programs.

“WIN intends to offer a significant grant amount as a catalyst for innovative and bold ideas,” Fritz said. “Our collective giving approach allows our members to make a more meaningful impact on these issues.”

For more information and questions, grant seekers may contact WIN at win@nufoundation.org.

Last year WIN awarded two grants of $86,000 each. A grant was awarded to the University of Nebraska at Kearney College of Education for a project furthering science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in Head Start programs. Another grant was awarded to Magdalene Omaha for its New Beginnings Campus and expanded programs for survivors of sex trafficking.

WIN operates in partnership with the University of Nebraska Foundation and the UNF Charitable Gift Fund to support women philanthropists. The UNF Charitable Gift Fund is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the University of Nebraska Foundation. It provides options for donors to support the University of Nebraska as well as other worthwhile charitable causes in their community or across the country. For information on becoming a WIN member, contact Ellie Clinch at 402-570-2510 or 800-432-3216, or visit womeninvestinginnebraska.org.

The University of Nebraska would not be what it is today without support from many caring individuals and organizations.

As you plan your end-of-year giving, please consider a gift to help students overcome obstacles and reach their academic goals. Or consider a gift to support Nebraska Medicine patients and their families in need of extra help.

Here are some suggestions for a rewarding giving option:

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Help provide the gift of academic opportunity to deserving UNK students who need financial support through scholarships with a contribution to the UNK Fund for Student Scholarships. These critical scholarships are awarded by the UNK Office of Financial Aid to students who are very grateful for this support. Give now.

University of Nebraska‒Lincoln

The Husker Pantry is a one-stop campus resource to assist Husker students with food, personal hygiene items, cleaning products and school supplies, serving more than 150 students per week. Nearly 1-in-3 students at Nebraska worries about not having enough food. The pantry relies on donations to keep the shelves stocked so students do not suffer from hunger. More than 30% of Husker students already have or will be facing food insecurity and hunger at some point this year.  Give now.

University of Nebraska at Omaha

A gift to the UNO Fund for Student Scholarships helps students who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend UNO by supporting those with financial need and academic promise. These vital scholarships are awarded by the UNO Office of Financial Support and Scholarships and are greatly appreciated by Maverick students. Other options for supporting UNO students include a gift to the Maverick Food Pantry or the Student Hardship Fund. Give now.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

A gift to the UNMC Student Scholarship Fund supports students by providing scholarships which recognize students’ academic excellence and their financial need. These critical scholarships are awarded by the UNMC Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and are greatly appreciated by our future generation of health care providers. Give now.

Many off-the-shelf toys are not easy for children with diverse abilities to use, and specialized therapy toys are highly expensive. The UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) is leading a campaign to secure funds so it can adapt 50 toys for use by its patients during therapy. Give now.

Nebraska Medicine

Nebraska Medicine is a leading health care network and the clinical partner of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It’s committed to an outstanding patient experience, which includes critical basic needs for patients and their families while they’re guests at the medical center. It also means providing support for technology, education and activities that enhance every patient’s experience. Consider a gift to support the Nebraska Medicine Patient and Family Experience Fund to help ensure the unique needs of patients and their families are met. Give now.

If you’re interested in providing support in a different way this season, start exploring options.

Giving Tuesday has become a well-recognized addition to the themed shopping days just after Thanksgiving, and this year it falls on Nov. 30.

If you wish to support causes related to the University of Nebraska and Nebraska Medicine on this day, there are ways to make a difference in our institutions’ efforts to change lives and save lives.

Here are some suggestions for a rewarding giving option:

University of Nebraska at Kearney

Help provide the gift of academic opportunity to deserving UNK students who need financial support through scholarships with a contribution to the UNK Fund for Student Scholarships. These critical scholarships are awarded by the UNK Office of Financial Aid to students who are very grateful for this support. Give now.

University of Nebraska‒Lincoln

Get ready to team up this Giving Tuesday for Huskers Head to Toe as the community unites to impact the lives of students like never before. With a gift of $60 or more to this effort for the UNL Fund for Student Scholarships, you’ll receive a pair of Husker socks designed exclusively for this event. These scholarships are awarded by the UNL Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid to students with academic promise and financial need. Give now.

University of Nebraska at Omaha

A gift to the UNO Fund for Student Scholarships helps students who may not otherwise be able to afford to attend UNO by supporting those with financial need and academic promise. These vital scholarships are awarded by the UNO Office of Financial Support and Scholarships and are greatly appreciated by Maverick students. Other options for supporting UNO students include a gift to the Maverick Food Pantry or the Student Hardship Fund. Give now.

University of Nebraska Medical Center

A gift to the UNMC Student Scholarship Fund supports students by providing scholarships which recognize students’ academic excellence and their financial need. These critical scholarships are awarded by the UNMC Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and are greatly appreciated by our future generation of health care providers. Give now.

Many off-the-shelf toys are not easy for children with diverse abilities to use, and specialized therapy toys are highly expensive. The UNMC Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) is leading a campaign this Giving Tuesday to secure funds so it can adapt 50 toys for use by its patients during therapy. Give now.

 Nebraska Medicine

Nebraska Medicine is a leading health care network and the clinical partner of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. It’s committed to an outstanding patient experience, which includes critical basic needs for patients and their families while they’re guests at the medical center. It also means providing support for technology, education and activities that enhance every patient’s experience. Consider a gift to support the Nebraska Medicine Patient and Family Experience Fund to help ensure the unique needs of patients and their families are met. Give now.

If you’re interested in providing support in a different way during Giving Tuesday, start exploring options.

Barbara Keating could not have imagined being in the position she’s in today: a professor with a Ph.D., a distinguished career in sociology and the ability to create endowed funds that give back to her alma mater and support the next generation of students.

“I come from the working class,” said Barbara, who is a member of the Burnett Society in recognition of her planned giving. “My dad was a road construction worker. My parents always struggled financially. But by virtue of having a higher-than-average quantity and quality of education, I became a university professor.”

As a child growing up in Papillion, Nebraska, Barbara said working-class families considered it a waste of money to send girls to college. But her grandfather thought differently. While he never attended school past eighth grade, he was well-read and valued education. So, he gave each of his grandchildren who wanted to study beyond high school $500 per year to do so. It was a hefty sum at that time and more than covered tuition.

Barbara attended the College of St. Mary in Omaha and received her bachelor’s degree in 1969. After taking some time off to get married and raise a family, she enrolled at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and received her master’s degree in sociology in 1979.

“UNO got me started,” she said. “They admitted me to a master’s program and encouraged me to go get a Ph.D.”

She recalls the advice of an influential professor who helped her feel less intimidated at the prospect of pursuing her doctorate: “He said getting a Ph.D. is less a matter of brilliance and more a matter of persistent hard work.”

Barbara received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and said the experience at both institutions was warmly supportive.

“One of the reasons I greatly value the sociology department at UNO and UNL is they were so good to me as a graduate student,” she said. “They gave us every support that they could. They saw our potential.”

After graduation, Barbara went to Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she spent her career as a professor of sociology. When she retired, she decided to return the gift of support she had received at Mankato and the two universities where she got her start. Barbara established estate gifts at all three campuses to support sociology students attending professional and academic conferences. The fund she set up at Mankato has already helped more than 80 students, and she hopes to have the same impact at UNO and UNL.

“This fund is in gratitude for the support I got for my professional development at Omaha and Lincoln,” she said. “I owe them … the encouragement that I got made a huge difference in my life. I am where I am now because of them.”

Burnett Society members give back to inspire passion for adventure

Patti and Joel Meier have logged thousands of miles around the world. They’ve motorcycled through the Kalahari Desert in Africa, kayaked in the frigid waters of Siberia and hiked the breathtaking vistas of the Grand Canyon. They’ve salt-water kayaked in the Everglades, the San Juan Islands, Malaysia and Alaska. Actually, they’ve made 34 trips to Alaska.

This is not a comprehensive list.

“We rode BMW motorcycles through the Kalahari Desert,” Patti recalled, “and we’d have to be really careful when we got off our motorcycles to have lunch, as we didn’t know what animals were waiting there.”

Animals in Africa were not their only brushes with wildlife. Patti and Joel have had too many close encounters with brown bears and grizzly bears to count. They’ve watched an orca jump over Patti’s kayak in Alaska and been close enough to humpback whales that their breath fogged Joel’s glasses.

Joel and Patti Meier on their motorcycle

“We’ve had great adventures,” Joel said.

“We’ve lived a life of experiences — not stuff,” Patti added.

Patti and Joel have been able to live such large, extraordinary lives partly due to their decision to live small. They’ve lived in one-bedroom apartments for most of their 55-year marriage, keeping their expenses low and turning the world into their playground.

It also helped that Patti took an investment course at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln with the professor who taught the world’s most famous investor, Warren Buffett. She learned how to be conservative as an investor. And when she and Joel decided to live on one income and invest the rest, they watched their investments compound.

“That’s where we’re so fortunate,” Patti said. “It meant we could start to give back to programs and institutions that have had major positive impacts on us.”

Patti and Joel, who are both Burnett Society members in recognition of planned gifts to their UNL alma mater, support what they love most. They hope to inspire similar passions in others for the excitement they’ve spent their lives chasing.

“It’s not stuff that brings you happiness,” Patti said. “It’s what you can share with others, what you can give back … I think the least footprint you leave is the best. But what you can leave behind is very important.”

The couple has set up an endowment to support UNL’s Campus Recreation Outdoor Adventures Program, which offers opportunities for students to kayak, ski and bike across Nebraska.

“It’s a beautiful facility … it married my interest with the outdoors and Nebraska,” said Joel, who grew up in Minden and whose first job was as intramural sports director at UNL before he went on to receive his doctorate at Indiana University and become associate dean of forestry and conservation at the University of Montana.

“Being from Nebraska, those roots were planted early,” he said.

Patti and Joel have also made gifts to support one of Patti’s passions: the arts. Patti, who grew up in Lincoln and spent her career as a dental hygienist consulting with the Indian Health Service, took an art course at UNL and has fond memories of the Sheldon Museum of Art.

“I was just in awe of it all,” she said. “From there on, I developed this passion for art.”

The two have established an endowed gift to support a curator of academic programs at Sheldon. The purpose: “So that faculty, students and children in the whole Lincoln area and around can be exposed to art like I was at Nebraska,” said Patti.

Patti and Joel’s gifts reflect the twin passions of their lives. They also reflect their marriage, which is based on an agreement made early on: Whatever one person was interested in, the other would try. They didn’t have to like it, but they had to give it a shot.

“I got him into things, like opera and symphonies,” Patti said. “He got me into these other things — riskier things.”

Yes, many of those remarkable trips were Joel’s idea.

“I’ve been lucky to have a wife who’s tolerated my wild adventures,” Joel said with a laugh. “She got dragged into so many things. I’ve scared the heck out of her too many times in our 55 years.”

Like the time he bought a plane and asked the sellers to throw in flying lessons for Patti. Or the time he bought a mountain chalet near a ski resort in Montana and encouraged her to hit the slopes.

“But then I would click in,” Patti said. Prompted by Joel, Patti jumped headfirst to meet the challenges. The flying lessons turned into getting a commercial pilot’s license, and trying it out on the slopes turned into 50 years as a professional ski instructor.

It goes back to a belief they share and what brought them together, when they met all those years ago on campus at UNL.

“He was different from anyone I’d met, because of this philosophy,” Patti recalled. “Your worth is not based on what you have. That’s why I fell in love with him. That’s who he was, and we’ve really lived that life.”

An expanded search for a college to attend would lead New Yorker Conrad “Connie” Rennemann Jr. to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. With colleges and universities in the eastern section of the country quickly filling up after WWII, he boarded a train and headed west.

His experience at Nebraska was meaningful – from playing in the Cornhusker Marching Band to the support he received from faculty members who cared about his education and career.

Now hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Connie has made annual gifts to the UNL College of Arts and Sciences Department of Mathematics since 1957, starting just six years after completing his studies. He received a bachelor’s and master’s degree from Nebraska, majoring in chemistry and math and math and physics respectively.

Connie met his wife, Annette (Luebbers) Rennemann, a dietetics major, at the university. She came to the university from Iowa but was born in Osmond, Nebraska. They married in 1952 and had a son, Ed, and a daughter, Ann. Annette died in 2011; the Rennemanns were married for 59 years.

In 1999, the couple established the Rennemann/Luebbers Scholarship in Mathematics at the University of Nebraska Foundation to provide annual tuition aid to students who live outside of Nebraska who wish to study mathematics at UNL. We asked Connie Rennemann about his time at Nebraska, his career and giving back.

You must have felt that the University of Nebraska was a good fit as you have a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from UNL. Why did you decide to attend Nebraska?

Well, it was a consequence of World War II. I was born and raised in Mount Vernon, New York, and graduated from high school in 1946. I thought I was going into the army, but they stopped drafting about the time I graduated, and I had not applied for college. So, all the eastern schools were flooded with GIs coming back from the war. I started applying further away, and Nebraska was one of the schools I was accepted at. And frankly, I liked their catalog better than any other school. So, I climbed on a train and headed to Nebraska.

You have supported the Department of Mathematics since 1957. This has helped provide it stable support over the years. What interested you in giving, and why have you kept it up?

Annette and I visited Lincoln in 1999 and met with the math department chairman to discuss the needs of the department. It turned out he was interested in attracting out-of-state students, and we agreed to set up a scholarship for out-of-state students. I just felt that I gained an awful lot from the school and the math department, and I should give something back.

What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Nebraska?

I was a baritone horn player in high school and earlier for a lot of years, so I went to talk to Don Lentz who was the director of bands. I gave him a little demonstration of playing, and he said, “You’re in.” So, I started playing in the Cornhusker Marching Band and the concert band for five years. I was the first-chair baritone horn player, and that was a very pleasant experience I enjoyed very much.

And what memories do you have of your time studying in the Department of Mathematics?
I started out studying chemical engineering, but after roughly the first year I decided that an engineer wasn’t me, and I switched to chemistry and math as a double major. The first important memory was when I was a first semester sophomore. Professor Dr. Edwin Halfar asked if I would like to grade papers, and I said, sure. So, that was the start of a relationship with the math department through the years. I worked for a number of professors. Eventually, I was working for Dr. Miguel Basoco, the chairman of the department. I appreciated the opportunities and the treatment that I received. The reason I wanted to fund a scholarship was because I appreciated what this department had done for me and what the people had done in helping me.

What are some highlights of your career after completing your studies at Nebraska?

When I graduated, I went to work for what is now NASA. They hired me as an aeronautical research scientist, and I worked on theoretical aerodynamics. I was with a small group, and it was a good foundation and learning experience.

Then, in 1955 I started looking for another position. I accepted one with the Republic Aviation Corporation in Long Island, New York, where I worked for about 23 years. Mostly, in the early days there, I was still in aerodynamics. I then started an operations research sister organization, which I ran. In 1961 the company sent me to Harvard Business School for 16 weeks, and eventually I was head of new business for the company, then assistant to the president, then vice president, director of administration and so forth.

In 1978 I accepted a position in Tennessee with an engineering company that was a principal contractor for the government at a government test facility. I was vice president of the company, and we had about 3,000 employees. I became deputy general manager and, ultimately, was chief operating officer and executive vice president when I retired in 1991.

When you graduated you probably didn’t imagine you’d be a business executive and lead companies? 

No, no. I was always a one-step-at-a-time type of person. Do your job, try to do it as well as you can, and things will fall in place for you.

Would you say the university prepared you for success in your career?

Oh, definitely. It helped not so much with the detailed knowledge as it did with the training to think and to analyze problems and so forth. That was key. In the early years, I was heavily using mathematics, so the training in math helped a lot. The future required less technical knowledge, put it that way.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I learned to play bridge at Nebraska, and it’s been a side passion my whole life. I played bridge competitively over the years. When I retired, my wife played with me as partners, and I’m probably currently ranked in about the top 10% of bridge players in the country. It’s a challenging game but is something I’ve enjoyed.

Contributors who give to the University of Nebraska at every level once again helped to make the university a favorite charity.

The University of Nebraska has been named to America’s Favorite Charities for 2021. The Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication that focuses on the U.S. nonprofit sector, released the top-100 ranking.

The University of Nebraska came in at No. 85 in the ranking of the nonprofits that raised the most in cash and stock contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations during 2020. It rose in the list from its previous spot at No. 87.

Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation, said it’s coincidental that the University of Nebraska would make No. 85 because this year also marks the 85th anniversary of philanthropic giving to the university. In 1936, a group of business and community leaders founded the University of Nebraska Foundation to serve as the university’s designated private charity.

“Of most meaning as we celebrate 85 years of philanthropic giving is that donors at all levels are instrumental in helping to keep education accessible and affordable for students, to recruit and retain high-quality faculty and to provide life-changing research and medical care,” Hastings said. “We’re extremely grateful for their commitment to the university’s more than 50,000 students who ultimately benefit from their generosity.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation manages more than 11,200 funds that benefit the University of Nebraska System and its health care clinical partner Nebraska Medicine. Contributors direct more than 99% of gifts to specific areas and causes.

Universities and colleges account for 41 of the organizations that made the favorite charities list, including 22 public institutions.

For higher education institutions, the Chronicle used data from the annual Voluntary Support of Education survey conducted by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. It also used data from the Department of Education’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System.

The Chronicle’s announcement about America’s Favorite Charities, including the top 100 list, is available at philanthropy.com.

The new Rod Rhoden Business Innovation Center further distinguishes the University of Nebraska at Omaha College of Business Administration (CBA) by enhancing the delivery of knowledge to its students and expanding the vibrant relationships between the college, the community and the region’s businesses.

“We are a public institution with a public mission, and a big part of that is to connect with the community,” says CBA Dean and Professor of Economics Michelle W. Trawick, Ph.D. “This new space will enable us to do that in a much more meaningful way.”

Recently dedicated, the Rod Rhoden Business Innovation Center is a 44,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art addition to Mammel Hall that houses programs and resources that focus on building the relationships that grow business and fuel the economy.

It features an Entrepreneurship Lab that will support UNO’s Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising; along with the newly-formed School of Accounting; the CBA Scholars Academy; a new business activity center dedicated to public events; and the home for the National Counterterrorism Innovation, Technology and Education (NCITE) Center of Excellence.

The addition was made possible through a privately funded initiative, with lead gifts from the Mammel Foundation, Rod Rhoden Foundation, Union Pacific Foundation, Jack and Stephanie Koraleski, and Robert Stedman.

It is named for Rod Rhoden, a 1967 business graduate of UNO who has been a leader in entrepreneurship and business for nearly 50 years. Since returning to Omaha in 1971, he has been a major investor in auto dealerships and real estate ventures in the area. He has interest in four auto dealerships in Omaha and Lincoln employing more than 300 people.

In recognition of the Union Pacific’s contribution, the college’s outdoor gathering space is named the Union Pacific Plaza.

Community-engaged research and service will be enhanced through the newly designed and expanded Jack and Stephanie Koraleski Commerce and Applied Behavioral Lab (CABLAB), and the addition of a 184-person business activity center.

Faculty and graduate students in the Department of Homeland Security’s NCITE center will conduct groundbreaking research and create relevant workforce expansion programming that will directly impact many sectors of the metropolitan community.

The new space raises the bar for the School of Accounting, which was changed from the Department of Accounting in 2019. Accounting students will have state-of-the-art classrooms, student support services, and study areas in the newly designed wing.

Entrepreneurship students will have space to work with Omahans on high-tech startup strategies in their Maverick Ventures Bullpen, and the college’s award-winning Scholars Academy program will enjoy dedicated space to advance the education of high-achieving business students.

Endowed funding through the naming of two classrooms, with contributions from Deloitte and BKD, the naming of the mezzanine, with contributions from the Sommer Family, and a study space will provide long-term financial support for accounting students, faculty and programs.

Dean Trawick says the center weaves together every aspect of education, research and engagement necessary to enable the college to continue to advance Nebraska’s economic growth and workforce development.

“Ultimately, we are educators and we are grounded in collaborative relationships with our students, our business partners and the community we support and serve,” Trawick says. “The Rod Rhoden Business Innovation Center is a platform for excellence today, and for generations of students to follow.”

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced a $1.6 million estate gift from alumnus and retired insurance executive Bruce E. Mackey of Tampa, Florida, to support students through scholarships and academic programs. His gift will especially help first-generation students, students from low-income families and others with barriers to a college education.

Mackey, a 1955 graduate of the College of Business, said that when he learned about opportunities to help future generations of students that it aligned with how he and his late wife, Loyce Mackey, had decided they wanted to help others.

Loyce and Bruce Mackey

Mackey’s gift creates four permanently endowed funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation. Three funds will support students enrolled in the UNL College of Business, and another endowment will support UNL students who complete the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy. The funds will be named for Bruce and Loyce Mackey in recognition of their philanthropic legacy.

Students who complete the DreamBig Academy, a College of Business program for high school juniors that introduces them to college and business-related careers, will benefit from scholarship assistance to attend UNL. The academy is designed for first-generation college students, students who are part of underrepresented identities or those who meet federal guidelines for low-income status.

Two other funds will support student scholarships and the programs within the Center for Entrepreneurship and the Center for Sales Excellence at the College of Business.

“The generous planned gift from Bruce and Loyce Mackey will have a significant impact on our students for generations,” said Kathy Farrell, the James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business. “With tuition assistance and the support for our programs, students will have opportunities to co-create their learning experiences and set themselves apart in their careers. We are humbled and honored to help the Mackeys create a legacy that will empower Nebraska Business students to lead the future of business.”

The Mackey fund for the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy will provide financial aid to students who complete the program and go on to college at UNL. The academy is a college access program that prepares academically talented, first-generation, low-income students for college and a career. Students take part in programs during high school and have access to the support of a community of peers, academic support and personal development opportunities throughout their studies at UNL.

“We’re extremely grateful to Bruce and Loyce Mackey because tuition scholarships are critical for Nebraska College Preparatory Academy’s first-generation scholars at Nebraska,” said Moi Padilla, director of the Nebraska College Preparatory Academy. “It’s imperative to the academy’s mission that finances should never impede a student’s dream of earning a college degree. By providing our scholars with tuition scholarships, they’ll have the freedom to enter their professional careers with a strong community of support and without the added burden of debt.”

Bruce Mackey said he’s grateful to his hardworking relatives who carved out their lives and livelihoods in Frontier County, Nebraska, in the 1800s. Their strong work ethic was passed down through the generations. Mackey said he’s lived the American dream and wants his gifts to help provide the same opportunities for students.

Mackey said, “I just hope that students can look back when they’re older and say, ‘I’ve lived the dream. I had the opportunity. I stood up to it and made it work. But I had some very important support along the way.’”

Bruce Mackey was born near Eutis, Nebraska, and grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, with his aunt and uncle after losing his parents at an early age. A graduate of Lincoln High School, he attended UNL and graduated in 1955 before serving in the U.S. Army. He spent his career in the insurance industry, retiring as a senior vice president of a Fortune 200 company.

Mackey and his wife, Loyce Mackey, met on a blind date and were married for 55 years. After twice battling breast cancer for a total of more than 20 years, Loyce Mackey suffered injuries from a fall that ultimately took her life in 2012. Before her death, she urged her husband to enjoy the remainder of his life through helping others.

Following her advice, Bruce Mackey moved to Tampa, Florida, to be closer to Moffitt Cancer Center where his wife received medical care. He serves as chairman of the Moffitt Foundation Legacy of Life Society and has devoted hundreds of volunteer hours at the center helping patients and their families.