NU Regents to consider naming rural health complex after UNK Chancellor Kristensen

he University of Nebraska Board of Regents will consider a proposal at its meeting on Friday (Dec. 1) to name the Rural Health Education Complex at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in honor of Chancellor Douglas Kristensen.

Subject to regents approval, the complex on UNK’s west campus will be named the Douglas A. Kristensen Rural Health Education Complex. The complex includes an existing building, which was completed in 2015, and the Rural Health Education Building currently under construction. The complex is the result of a highly successful partnership between UNK and the University of Nebraska Medical Center. 

University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter and UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey Gold recommended the complex be named for Kristensen following the wishes of the project’s lead philanthropic supporter.

The William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation is serving as the lead donor to the project.

Kristensen has served as UNK’s chancellor since July 1, 2002. He has been instrumental in bringing UNMC programs to the UNK campus, garnering support for the initial UNMC construction and ongoing expansion.

The agenda item states: “Chancellor Kristensen has been an ardent champion for Greater Nebraska – especially the health sciences workforce needed to keep communities across our state vibrant.” 

In the existing Health Science Education Complex, students pursue degrees in professional programs such as cardiovascular interventional technology, diagnostic medical sonography, magnetic resonance imaging, medical laboratory science, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant and radiography.

The Rural Health Education Building, the result of a public-private partnership, is targeted for completion in late 2025 with occupancy in early 2026. The $95 million project will allow UNMC to expand the presence of its allied health and nursing programs in Kearney while launching new programs to train physicians, pharmacists and public health professionals on the UNK campus.

The Board of Regents will meet beginning at 9 a.m. Friday at Varner Hall, 3835 Holdrege St. in Lincoln.