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2008.06.10 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Omaha by Design, UNO Announce Strategic Partnership

Omaha - Omaha by Design has a new strategic partner – the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).

“This partnership will foster the infusion of local academic expertise into projects that will result in the creation of a better Omaha,” said Connie Spellman, director of Omaha by Design.

Spellman and the staff of the organization will move to the UNO campus later this summer, taking up residence in the College of Public Affairs and Community Service’s School of Public Administration. The move will bolster the organization’s ability to collaborate with researchers from a variety of disciplines.

An initiative of the Omaha Community Foundation (OCF), Omaha by Design facilitates partnerships between the public and private sectors to execute projects that improve the quality of the natural and built environments throughout the metro. The foundation has provided the organization with office space and support services since 2001. OCF will continue its support services role following the relocation, Spellman said.

“The OCF has allowed us to develop into an organization that has a strategic role in our city’s future,” she added. “Thanks to the support of Mike Leighton and his board and staff, we’ve been able to help the city’s leaders and general public understand how urban design and planning can improve the economic and social health of Omaha. We value our partnership with the foundation and are grateful for its continuing support.”

Rex Fisher, president of Qwest Nebraska and chair of the Omaha by Design Advisory Committee, views the partnership as an important step in securing the organization’s sustainability. It relies upon the support of corporate and family philanthropists for operating expenses as well as technical experts and other volunteers who contribute their resources to the organization. All Omaha by Design projects rely upon fund raising as the primary method of support.

“The work of Omaha by Design is not yet complete,” Fisher said. “We now have two strategic partners, UNO and the OCF, to help us continue our mission of making our city the best Omaha it can be.” UNO Chancellor John Christensen said the collaboration possibilities between Omaha by Design and the campus community are particularly attractive.

“As a metropolitan institution, we need and want to be part of making our city a better place to live and work in,” he said. “This new relationship with Omaha by Design is exciting for our campus because of the organization’s innovative approach to both urban design and citizen engagement.

For more information, contact Spellman at (402) 342-3458 or connie@omahabydesign.org.

* * *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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