After committing $20 million to the expansion of the College of Engineering in 2019, Kiewit Corp. is making another significant investment toward the college’s efforts to educate the next generation of engineering, construction and computing industry leaders.
Key leaders of the international construction and design engineering firm, established in Omaha in 1884, are creating the Kiewit Scholars Program, a full-tuition scholarship combined with a rigorous leadership program.
The cohort-based program will provide selected students with funding for tuition, housing and other education expenses for their first year. In the second, third and fourth years, the program will provide funding to Kiewit Scholars for tuition and educational expenses.
A distinctive feature of the program is the College of Engineering’s Complete Engineer program that develops key leadership skills. The Kiewit Scholars Program will pay for students to take part in activities and programs outside of regular coursework. Examples include exclusive courses focused on leadership, group activities, study abroad, internships, professional mentorships and more.
“We greatly value our partnership with the University of Nebraska–Lincoln to ensure outstanding young people are getting the opportunity to learn, grow and prepare themselves for successful engineering careers,” said Rick Lanoha, chief executive officer at Kiewit Corporation. “We strongly support the steps the university is taking to ensure it’s a premier destination for engineering students and are proud to put Kiewit’s time and resources behind these important efforts. UNL is strategically investing in being a leading learning institution – and that’s great for Nebraska and companies like Kiewit that are committed to hiring and developing great talent in this state.”
With support from both private and public partners, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is committed to helping Nebraska meet a projected need for 15,000 new workers in engineering and computer science fields by 2026, Chancellor Ronnie Green said. The Nebraska Career Scholarships, a new state-supported program providing scholarships for students in engineering and other high-need areas, is critical to UNL’s work in meeting the state’s needs, Green said. The Kiewit gift adds to a public-private partnership that will allow UNL to attract and retain even more talent for Nebraska’s workforce.
“The powerful combination of Kiewit and UNL is taking another important step in growing the impact of Nebraska Engineering,” Green said. “The university’s partnership with Kiewit continues to boost the College of Engineering’s stature in the Big Ten, which has many of the best engineering programs in the country.”
Lance C. Pérez, dean of the College of Engineering and Omar H. Heins Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said the college is honored to partner with Kiewit on the new program.
“The Kiewit Scholars Program is unparalleled among our Big Ten peers and other top-ranked engineering colleges and will enable us to further enhance students’ critical career skills,” Pérez said. “It will provide students with a unique education experience to fast track them to leadership positions in engineering, construction and computing.”
The college will select 10 students in 2021 to serve in the inaugural cohort of Kiewit Scholars, with up to 40 students by the fourth year of the program. Applicants must already be accepted or enrolled by the college.
Kiewit and its executives have had a long history of support for the college, which offers programs in both Omaha and Lincoln. The corporation’s $20 million leadership gift in 2019 provided support for significant expansion of the engineering college. A new facility planned for completion in 2023 will be named Kiewit Hall, an estimated $85 million building project. It will boost the presence of UNL among the competitive field of top engineering programs and meet its goal to increase enrollment.
Kiewit Corp. rose to national prominence under the leadership of Peter Kiewit, son of one of its founders, and is now one of the largest construction and design engineering firms in North America. Kiewit delivers some of the industry’s most complex and challenging projects across seven different markets including transportation, oil, gas and chemical, power, building, industrial, mining and water/wastewater. The employee-owned company has more than 11,000 staff with an extensive array of degreed engineers throughout the organization.
UNL is home to the sole College of Engineering in the state of Nebraska, supplying workforce, technological innovation and leadership in engineering, construction and computing. Nebraska’s first civil engineering classes were taught in 1877, with its first engineering student graduating in 1882. Now more than 110 years old, the college offers 12 nationally accredited undergraduate degree programs, 13 master’s programs and 11 doctoral programs. Engineering programs are offered on City Campus and East Campus in Lincoln and Scott Campus in Omaha.
Writers: Robb Crouch and Leslie Reed