Anonymous donor gives Union $1 million

This school year has brought a lot of good news.

Last summer, the physician assistant and international rescue and relief programs moved into their new facility in a renovated section of the Don Love Building.

In early March, the first classes were held in the new Krueger Center for Science and Mathematics, and the official opening for the new facility is scheduled during graduation weekend on May 8.

But President John Wagner dropped an unexpected surprise on the campus shortly after classes resumed in January. In a letter sent to college students and employees, he explained that an anonymous donor had given a gift of stock holdings to the college. According to an official valuation of the stock, the gift amounted to $1 million.

Union soon learned they were one of a number of organizations in southeast Nebraska to receive a portion of $33 million given away by the same benefactor—including Southeast Community College Educational Foundation, Nebraska Wesleyan University, University of Nebraska Foundation, Friendship Home, Bryan Health, and Salvation Army, among others. According to an email from a bank trust officer, the donor wanted to “show sincere appreciation to the community of Lincoln.”

This is the first time Union has received an unsolicited gift of this scale. However, Union College has a rich tradition of philanthropic support from alumni, friends, church organizations as well as the Lincoln community. The vast majority of the funding for the Krueger Center came from nearly $15 million raised by the Our Promising Future campaign.

The Union College Board of Trustees has voted to place at least half of the money into an endowment for maintenance and upkeep of the campus.

“The college board is considering several possibilities for the other half of the gift,” said LuAnn Davis, vice president for Advancement. “At the moment—and nothing is set in stone—trustees are considering how this gift could help the campus boldly move forward in such a way that Union College is better positioned to both enrich students’ educational experience while also being able to better serve the Lincoln community. Up to half of the gift could be used as seed money to start such a project.”

If potential projects are not deemed feasible, the entire gift will be placed in an endowment fund for campus upkeep.

As Wagner nears the end of his second tenure as president of Union, he is optimistic about what the future holds for this campus. “God has blessed Union with this gift,” said Wagner. “However we ultimately use the money, it will help Union continue to provide an outstanding educational experience for our students. We thank not only this generous benefactor, but everyone who helps support the mission of Union College.”