Time and again, Nebraskans continue to demonstrate how generous philanthropic donations make important contributions to our communities and institutions.
A stellar example comes from the recent donation of $11.6 million by the late Carol Cope to the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
That is the largest single donation ever to UNK, and it caps decades of improvements to UNK’s campus thanks to the financial contributions from Cope and her husband, Ron, who died in 1992. Major projects included Cope Stadium and Cope Fountain.
Carol Cope died on her 103rd birthday last September. Ron and Carol Cope, longtime residents of Kearney, operated Claussens Shoes and Famous Shoe Stores for 30 years. Their fortune came from investments in farmland and early Berkshire Hathaway stock.
The new $11.6 million donation for UNK will establish endowed scholarships, professorships and funding support for athletic expansions, plus a $4.6 million endowment for the campus’s high-priority projects.
UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen explained the magnitude of Cope’s generosity when he told the Kearney Hub, “This gift will forever change this institution.”
Cope’s gift also includes the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, which will receive $1 million for endowed faculty professorships.
From one corner of the state to the other, all Nebraskans benefit when civic-minded men and women step forward to share their financial blessings. In that philanthropic pantheon, the names of Ron and Carol Cope stand tall.