Chancellor Emeritus John Christensen receives community partnership award

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Charlotte Reilly

University of Nebraska at Omaha Chancellor Emeritus John Christensen was recently named the recipient of the Anchor Institution Community Partnership Award.

It will be presented by the Anchor Institution Task Force at its national conference Oct. 26-27. The AITF promotes community and economic development in anchor institutions, which include establishments like colleges, universities and libraries.

The award was created to honor leaders at anchor institutions who have focused on community service. It was announced by the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities, which is a partner of AITF. Christensen served as president of CUMU from 2010-2012.

“John has been a champion for the power of higher education to focus on serving the needs of the students city in which they reside throughout his career,” said Bobbie Laur, the executive director of CUMU.

Christensen retired earlier this year after 10 years of serving as the UNO chancellor. He worked about 40 total years as an educator/administrator.

“Whether I was a faculty member, vice chancellor or chancellor, it didn’t make a difference because I had the opportunity to work with people who really cared,” Christensen said.

He feels it was the UNO community that truly won the award.

“It is really an honor to the maverick family, to the staff and students who have worked on remarkable things in terms of community service, engagement and partnerships,” Christensen said. “All to try to build a brighter future.”

During his time at UNO, Christensen worked on projects such as the planning and construction of the Barbara Weitz Community Engagement Center, which attracts people from across the country. It combines the resources of the campus and community, and received the 2014 Presidential Award for Economic Opportunity.

“Everything I had the opportunity to be involved in is something that makes me feel proud,” Christensen said. “Day to day, you can see and feel the things happening on campus to try and make a better tomorrow for Omaha and the community beyond.”

Christensen is positive UNO will continue to succeed academically and believes the school will impact the local and regional community.

“I don’t have hope,” he said. “What I have is an absolute belief that the maverick family will continue to move forward with the mission of serving our community, being innovative and working in new research areas that will impact tomorrow. It is not about hoping, it’s about realizing mavs are going to change the future.”