Donor commitments preserve dance program

Students in a modern dance class led by Susan Ourada practice on the green space south of Love Library on Sept. 17. Support from donors has helped remove the university’s dance program from a list of proposed budget reductions. Photo by Craig Chandler, University Communication.
Students in a modern dance class led by Susan Ourada practice on the green space south of Love Library on Sept. 17. Support from donors has helped remove the university’s dance program from a list of proposed budget reductions. Photo by Craig Chandler, University Communication.

Donor commitments preserve dance program

calendar icon07 Oct 2020    

Lincoln, Neb.--Unwavering support from multiple donors has helped protect the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s undergraduate dance program from a proposed budget reduction.

The program — the only one of its kind in Nebraska — will now be supported annually through a $180,000 realignment of endowments in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

“This is a great day for our college, our students and the arts across all of Nebraska,” said Chuck O’Connor, dean of the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts. “The incredible support shown by these donors — coupled with everyone who voiced support through social media, written testimony and those who were prepared to step up during the hearing — is a direct reflection of the strength of and continued need for our dance program.”

Based in the Glenn Korff School of Music, the dance program was part of a larger budget reduction plan announced by Chancellor Ronnie Green on Sept. 3. Overall, the plan calls for multi-phased, university-wide budget reductions to address a shortfall through 2023.

The Academic Planning Committee has canceled an Oct. 7 public hearing regarding the proposed dance program reduction. Hearings on Oct. 14 and 21 for other proposed budget reductions remain on schedule.

The realignment of endowment funds includes a commitment from Christina M. Hixson to increase funding for scholarships that are a part of the Hixson-Lied Endowment.

In January 2000, Hixson and the Lied Foundation Trust announced the formation of the Hixson-Lied Endowment, a gift of $18 million made to the University of Nebraska Foundation in support of the college. The endowment has since distributed more than $7.5 million in grants to college programs, faculty and students.

In addition, a group of alumni and friends will also be establishing scholarships and raising up to $50,000 annually. 

“Commitments from many of our supporters will allow our dance program to meet the education needs of Huskers for generations to come,” O’Connor said. “It also allows our college to continue to offer exciting and innovative programming to the public.”