Dean Plowman Leads Transformational Building Project at UNL College of Business Administration
Dr. Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration, arrived at Nebraska in 2010 to the news that UNL would be joining the Big Ten Conference, home to some of the most prestigious business schools in the country. She knew the move was an academic game changer for CBA, and there was a lot of work ahead.
“I saw a huge opportunity, and I also knew to be competitive in the Big Ten our facilities would need a major upgrade,” said Plowman. “We began planning to transform the outside of our college to match the awesome work being done inside.”
Plowman’s vision and leadership resulted in the approval of a new $84 million, 240,000-square-foot building that is the largest academic project in recent history at UNL. Set for completion in 2017 at the corner of 14th and Vine streets, the building will become the east bookend for Memorial Mall looking west toward Memorial Stadium. In May, the construction project reached its halfway point.
“This building is being funded entirely by private donations from our alumni for future alumni. It really means the building belongs to all of us. We all have a stake now in the success of this college. What I hope it symbolizes to everyone is we are serious about becoming a world-class college of business,” she said.
Along with faculty and staff, Plowman worked with Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York and Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture of Omaha to design the facility being built by Hausmann Construction of Lincoln. She recently toured the construction site and was awestruck at what she saw.
“My heart was racing like never before when I saw the new developments happening inside the building site,” said Plowman. “Just taking the tour you begin to feel differently about yourself, and I believe everyone at the college is going to feel that when they experience the new environment. This is a transformational project, and is an extension of every one who contributes to our college.”
In total, the building will be composed of more than 60,000 square feet of glass and nearly 70,000 square feet of limestone pre-cast, which makes up the primary exterior appearance of the building. The lower level of the building is the first level set for completion in March of 2017, and the first floor will be the last of the five-story building finished in July 2017.
During her tenure, Plowman has led efforts to raise more than $130 million in private funds, including about $81 million so far toward the new building. First-time freshman enrollment has increased by 66 percent, and more than 70 new faculty members have joined the college to support the increasing student population.
The main mantra around Plowman during her time at CBA has been “Start Something,” and the slogan is exemplified through many new programs including the CBA Honors Academy, Career Services at CBA, Clifton Strengths Institute, Center for Sales Excellence, Executive Education, a new masters of arts in business with a specialization in intercollegiate athletics administration (MAIAA) program and a new Department of Supply Chain Management and Analytics opening in 2016.
“Our new building is the biggest manifestation of our ‘Start Something’ message, but it wouldn’t mean anything without the people who make us great. This building gives us the opportunity to compete with the best in the 21st century business world,” said Plowman.
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