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Largest freshmen class, yet

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Zane Fletcher
Editor-In-Chief

The University of Nebraska at Omaha has spent the majority of its existence combating the second tier stigma in Nebraska.

With the recent re-branding as “Omaha’s university,” UNO hoped to see a rise in admissions–and a rise they are seeing. UNO’s 2015 freshman class is the largest and most diverse in history, closely following on the heels of the largest graduation class the University has ever seen.

“Last year during my State of the University Address, I said that UNO is moving, UNO is growing and UNO is a force for change in Omaha, in Nebraska, and across the world,” Chancellor John Christensen said. “I believe that even more today.”

UNO seemingly proves Chancellor Christensen right with every step it makes, increasing in both population and physical campus with the addition of Baxter Arena and beautification construction ongoing surrounding the Henningson Memorial Campanile.

This year enjoyed 3,266 new students enrolling at UNO, which breaks down to 2,007 new students and 1,259 transfers. From the 2014 freshman class to now, the University has enjoyed 8 percent increases in all three aforementioned categories.

“All of the positive changes at UNO in recent years, whether it’s new programs or new infrastructure, have not only improved student enrollment, but also student success,” UNO Chancellor John Christensen said in a recent UNO Communications press release.

“We are bringing in more students and making sure they become Maverick alumni.”

Along with the rise in number, UNO continues its growth as a diverse university. Whereas the overall undergraduate population enjoys a 25 percent student of color rate, the 2015 class boasts a rate at 33 percent.

As always, the goal with admitting more students is growing not only the prestige and influence of a university, but growing the number of graduates. With the record graduation of the 2014 freshman class, there are high hopes for the future of UNO.

While the incoming freshman class has grown over recent years, so too have the graduate programs.

The 2015 graduate class has seen a 10 percent growth, pushing the total number over 3,000 students. That number stands after seeing almost 15 percent growth in the last three years.

“We are continuing to grow our programs and capacity to meet a national demand for post-baccalaureate
degrees,” said Deborah
Smith-Howell, UNO Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies in the UNO Communications press release. “As more students earn their Masters or Doctoral degrees, even more first-time students are enrolling to take their place.”

The rise in both undergrad and graduate admissions, as well as the growing levels of diversity, signifies a new chapter for the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Working to shed the images of commuter school and safety school have netted positive results for UNO, making it a destination.

“We are Omaha’s university and we have more and more students each year listing us at their first choice school,” Chancellor Christensen said. “As someone who chose to come to UNO to earn my Master’s Degree, and as someone who has served this campus for nearly than 40 years, all it takes is one visit to our campus to understand the difference between the UNO of the past and the UNO of the future.”

The visions of Chancellor Christensen and his administration have UNO poised on the brink of a new reputation, a new institution and a new future of higher education in midtown Omaha.

photo courtesy of UNO Communications
photo courtesy of UNO Communications

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