The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), founded in 1905 as the Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney, is the Kearney campus of the University of Nebraska system.
In March 1903, the Nebraska State Legislature appropriated $50,000 to build a normal school in western Nebraska. In September of that same year, after 111 ballots, the State Board of Education accepted the city of Kearney's offer of 20 acres (8.1 ha) and Green Terrace Hall at the western edge of the city to become the site. On October 18, 1904, the cornerstone of the first building was laid; in the summer of 1905, offered its first classes in Kearney public school facilities. The first classes on campus were held that fall as the building was being completed around them. The first year was composed of women only due to the fact that it was made as a teaching school. The first hall made for men was the Men's Hall. The major sidewalks on campus were once roads, and the stoplight was located where the water fountain is now.
In 1921, the name of the institution was changed to Nebraska State Teachers College. In 1963, it became Kearney State College. Both name changes were a part of system-wide changes for the state colleges.
In 1989, a legislative act moved the institution from the Nebraska State College System to the University of Nebraska system. After a Nebraska Supreme Court review, Kearney State College became the University of Nebraska at Kearney on July 1, 1991. Before the affiliation with the University of Nebraska, Kearney State was often referred to as "K State", which is the same informal name as Kansas State University.
State Representative C.J. Warner of Waverly introduced the 1903 bill creating the institution; his son, State Senator Jerome Warner, introduced the bill making UNK a part of the University.
The UNK campus comprises 32 buildings on a 258-acre (104 ha) campus. Not all of the buildings are part of the contiguous campus, and many are used for non-academic purposes.
Antelope Hall Several nominators and the committee suggested that this name honors our Great Plains heritage, which has distinctively shaped the institution. It also aligns with the positive campus identity and tradition. Now completed, Antelope Hall will house 160 students, in a mix of two and four person suites.
Nester Hall is named in honor of former UNK Chancellor William R. Nester who, as President of Kearney State College, led its transition into the University of Nebraska. The William R. Nester and Antelope Halls Complex consists of two new housing units along 9th Avenue that are joined by a walk-through bridge way, that is also a lounge, study area and meeting room. Dr. Nester's name was suggested by many nominators and won wide support from those who commented and from the committee. Nester Hall opened in the fall of 2008.
Centennial Towers West and Centennial Towers East were named in honor of the centennial of Nebraska statehood. Each building is seven stories tall, tying them for the tallest buildings in Kearney, and between them they house approximately 750 students.
Jennie M. Conrad Hall is home to about 75 students, the smallest residence hall on campus. The building is also home to the Office of Residential and Greek Life, the administrative office of campus housing. Third floor of Conrad is supposedly haunted by a ghost.
Lyle E. Mantor Hall houses approximately 320 students with a number of lounge areas, each equipped with pool tables, televisions, and computer facilities.
George E. Martin Hall has the largest rooms on campus, and its spacious lounge area hosts inter-hall band competitions and other events.
Men's Hall was built as a WPA project in the late Depression, and its distinctive Art-Deco design has netted it a place on the National Register of Historic Places. At various times it has contained faculty offices, the campus library, and a cafeteria, but it has been returned to its original use as a residence hall. Despite the name, residence is co-educational. After renovations in 2010, the hall now houses only students in the Honors Program.
Everett L. Randall Hall is conveniently located near the center of campus and has a main floor piano for student use.
H.G. Stout Hall is a small residence, home to only about 85 students. To be a resident in Stout Hall students must be members of the Honors Program or have permission from the Honors Program Director. Stout Hall was recently demolished in early 2011. The Honors Program students now reside in Men's Hall.
University Heights is an off-campus apartment complex of one-bedroom and studio apartments. Often referred to as "U-Heights," this facility comprises three buildings about a mile from campus. Space in University Heights is reserved for upperclass students, married students, non-traditional-aged students, and students with children.
University Residence North and University Residence South, known respectively as "URN" and "URS," are homes to the university fraternity and sorority chapters. These buildings house about 400 students between them and have on-site dining facilities.
The William E. Bruner Hall of Science is home to the departments of Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Health Sciences.
The College of Education Building is the newest classroom building on campus. It is home to the departments of Teacher Education, Educational Administration, Counseling and School Psychology, and Communications Disorders. It is also the site of the office of the Dean of the College of Education.
The Communications Center Building is utilized by the University Communications and eCampus. Originally part of the Nebraska State Tubercular Hospital, it was expanded in 1995 and is now home to eCampus, eCampus Video Services, and University Communications.
Copeland Hall, formerly the campus gymnasium, was refitted in 1961 and is now the seat of the departments of History, Psychology, and Sociology, Geography and Earth Sciences as well as the Dean of Natural & Social Sciences.
The Fine Arts Building, locally known as "The FAB", is home to the department of Music and the Performing Arts, which includes programs in music, theatre, and dance. The building contains a music recital hall, a proscenium theater, and a black box theater. A wing added to this building houses the department of Art. There is also a coffee shop in the middle of the building.
Founders Hall is a multi-purpose building and one of the most visible structures on campus. It is home to classrooms and offices for the departments of Mathematics and Statistics, Political Science, Criminal Justice, and Social Work. It also houses administrative offices for the Institutional Research, General Studies, Assessment, and Graduate Studies programs, and numerous university administration offices, including the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor Offices, Finance, Registrar, Human Resources, Business Services, Budget, and AA/EEO.
The Health and Sports Center houses indoor spectator sports for UNK, including locker facilities, equipment rooms, athletic weight area, athletic training facilities, wrestling and martial arts rooms and concession and rest room facilities for the benefit of spectators utilizing the 6000-seat arena. It is also the site of graduation ceremonies every semester.
The Ockinga Seminar Center provides two large seminar rooms used by classes and campus events, as well as office space for International Education.
Otto Olsen Hall is another multi-purpose building, near the center of campus. It houses Information Technology Services, including the Helpdesk and UNKConnections, the campus computer store. The Child Development Center, a child-care facility available for employees and students, is also located in Otto Olsen. Finally, Otto Olsen houses classrooms and offices for the departments of Computer Science & Information Systems, Family Studies & Interior Design, and Industrial Technology.
The Ron & Carol Cope Center for Safety Education and Research includes a driving range and provides space for services offered by the Nebraska Safety Center.
A.O. Thomas Hall was a campus elementary school from 1926-1963, providing an opportunity for Education students to practice teaching in a campus environment. It now houses the departments of English, Modern Languages, and Philosophy.
Roland B Welch Hall was another part of the Nebraska State Tubercular Hospital. The building now houses International Education and the English Language Institute.
West Center was the main building for the old Nebraska State Tubercular Hospital. It now houses the departments of Accounting/Finance, Management, Marketing, Economics, the Safety Center, the Center for Rural Research & Development, the Center for Economic Education, ROTC program and UNMC's College of Nursing, Kearney Division.
The Nebraskan Student Union contains the dining hall, campus bookstore, several fast-food counters and snack shops, rooms for music, TV and study, pool tables, a ballroom used for University activities, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
The Calvin T. Ryan Library contains the library and some of the campus computer facilities, and is attached to the Mitchell Communications Center.
Cushing Coliseum, connected to the Health and Sports Center, is the arena for indoor intercollegiate athletics. It is also used for student and faculty fitness and provides locker and exercise space for members of the university community. The building also contains classroom facilities which are used by the Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure Studies programs.
The Facilities Building houses offices for the physical plant operations.
The General Services Building was originally built as the Military Science building in 1969. Since the ROTC left campus in 1995, this building has housed some of the physical plant operations, as well as Public Safety.
The Memorial Student Affairs Building houses Admissions, Honors, Campus Post Office, Career Services, Counseling and Health Care, Student Support Services, Financial Aid, and Academic Advising Center.
The Museum of Nebraska Art, founded by the state legislature and located in Kearney since 1986, is administered as a department of the University.
The Frank House is a Richardsonian Romanesque mansion on the western edge of campus, formerly the residence of the administrator of the Nebraska State Tubercular Hospital. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Frank House is maintained as a museum and is open to the public, as well as being used for University functions.
UNK has an eCampus which offers online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as a blended learning (online and face-to-face) Driver Education endorsement program. UNK is ranked 9th best Public Regional University in the Midwest according to U.S. News & World Report, and the eCampus is ranked 8th overall among online universities in the United States on Guide to Online Schools’ 2013 Online College Rankings.
The university's athletic teams are known as the Lopers. UNK participates in intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA at the Division II level and is a member of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) for most of its sports; women's swimming and diving competes in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC), The university joined the MIAA in 2012; prior to joining the conference, UNK was a member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC). In 2010, it applied to join the MIAA and was approved to join the conference starting in the 2012-13 academic year on July 30, 2010. UNK currently competes in baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross-country, football, men's and women's golf, women's soccer, softball, women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, women's volleyball, and wrestling.