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UNL's Newman Center prepares for expansion

UNL's Newman Center prepares for expansion

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LINCOLN — After raising $13.5 million toward a $25 million campaign to expand Catholic student services at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the Newman Center will soon begin construction of a new Catholic church on the campus.

The new St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, with a sanctuary that seats 650, is expected to be completed in late fall of 2014.

The $12 million facility will be located at the same site as the existing church at 16th and Q Streets.

Sunday's Easter morning Masses were the last services to be held in the current building, which seats 300 students.

A farewell open house is planned for noon Saturday, before the Huskers' spring football game.

During construction, liturgies and ministries will be housed at a temporary location at 640 N. 16th St.

It is the second phase of an expansion by the UNL Newman Center, a Catholic student center.

It also includes construction of a 68-bed Catholic fraternity house, Phi Kappa Theta, at 17th and Q Streets, to be finished in time for students to move in for the 2013-14 academic year.

A new student center and a Catholic sorority house are also part of the expansion effort.

“It became obvious early on that we needed a larger chapel to accommodate the many students who attend various liturgies at the Newman,” said the Rev. Robert Matya, pastor and chaplain. “It is with great excitement and joy that the time has come for us to being construction of this chapel.”

Creighton honored for online parking permits

Creighton University is among seven colleges and universities nationwide being honored as 2013 models of efficiency by University Business magazine.

The magazine touted Creighton's online parking permit system, deployed in 2012. In the past, students had to stand in line on move-in day to register their cars. A few days later, they stood in another line to buy parking permits. All information was manually entered into computers, a job that took three temporary staffers three full weeks.

Creighton's public safety staff collaborated with its division of information technology to develop a system that allows staff and students to register cars and obtain parking permits online. The new system saves $1,700 in printing costs and $1,100 in personnel costs.

The Models of Efficiency program is sponsored by Higher One, a company focused on cost-savings for higher education.

Nobel laureate to give physics lecture at UNK

Eric Cornell, 2001 Nobel laureate in physics, will deliver a public science lecture at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

Titled “Stone Cold Science: Bose-Einstein Condensation and the Weird World of Physics a Millionth of a Degree Above Absolute Zero,” the lecture will describe Cornell's research into a phenomenon predicted by Albert Einstein 85 years ago.

“As atoms get colder and colder, they become more and more like waves and less like particles,” said Kenneth Trantham, associate professor and UNK chairman of physics and physical science.

Cornell, who is a physics professor at the University of Colorado Boulder, will discuss how and why a scientist would go “to all the trouble to make this bizarre state of matter,” Trantham said. The lecture will follow a 5p.m. reception in the Bruner Hall of Science lobby.

Cornell also will conduct a “chalk talk” for UNK students on Tuesday and invites students to join him for a “run with a Nobel laureate” at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

For more information, contact Trantham at

ISU professor receives creative design award

Rob Whitehead, an assistant professor of architecture at Iowa State University, recently was honored by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

Whitehead received a 2012-13 Creative Achievement Award for creating and teaching five structural design courses that reject the traditional methods of teaching structural technology through formulas, diagrams and calculations.

Instead, students make structures with their bodies; use sticks and Skittles to study frame behavior; and build bridges, trusses, beams, towers, slabs and columns with all manner of materials.

NU president names outstanding faculty

University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken recently announced his selections for NU's 2013 awards for outstanding faculty.

Winners of Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Awards:

» Ed Vandenberg, an associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

» Peter Wolcott, an associate professor of information systems and quantitative analysis at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

Winners of the Outstanding Research and Creative Activity Awards:

» Kenneth Price, Hillegass Professor of American Literature at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

» Thomas Porter, professor of internal medicine at UNMC.

Innovation, Development and Engagement Award winner:

» Susan Swindells, a professor of internal medicine at UNMC.

Contact the writer: 402-473-9581,

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