Donald Leuenberger Interview and Transcript

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Abstract/Description:

Donald Leuenberger has been a key figure in UNMC’s dramatic growth over the past few decades, as he has served as the vice chancellor for business and finance for 27 years. During this time, Leuenberger was responsible for all campus facilities, budget, human resources, information technology, finance/business services, security and legal service. Leuenberger’s tenure has consisted of many highlights, including the development of an academic campus in which all colleges/academic facilities were located on the east end of campus in close proximity, a complete overhaul of antiquated research facilities with the creation of two research towers on the west end of campus – the Durham Research Center and Durham Research Center II, ongoing construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, the largest construction project in the history of the University of Nebraska, and being instrumental in UNMC developing a strong presence in China by forging partnerships with several Chinese universities and institutions. Leuenberger stepped down in July, 2015.

Leuenberger begins his interview describing the start of his career working for the state of Nebraska in Health and Human Services, tax reform and the State School Finance committee. He details donors and their relationships with UNMC. He discusses upgrading and expanding the utility infrastructure on campus, agreements with local electrical companies and the cost savings derived from it. He describes diversity and international partnerships with Japan, China and Germany for the commercialization of research and research symposiums. Leuenberger discusses the creation of UNeMed and the commercialization of research on campus. He details the community impact of UNMC, the focus on improving campus housing, the establishment of Destination Midtown and traffic patterns around campus. He details the creation of the Center for Healthy Living as UNMC’s focus on wellness and preventative medicine grew. Leuenberger concludes his interview discussing the beginning of the Omaha With Lights (OWL) bike ride and the growth of both the physical campus and its reputation.

Subject(s): Leuenberger, Donald

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