Dinsdale Family helps renovate UNL learning center

The Dinsdale family contributed to the renovation of a library on UNL East Campus.
The Dinsdale family contributed to the renovation of a library on UNL East Campus.(University of Nebraska-Lincoln)
Published: Jan. 28, 2021 at 11:35 AM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KSNB) - Contributions from the Dinsdale family made possible the renovation of a library on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.

The $22.5 million renovation of the former C.Y. Thompson Library was funded entirely by private donors. Husker alumni and philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott of Omaha provided a challenge gift to encourage others to invest in the project and to offer the option for naming the new student commons.

The Dinsdale family of Nebraska responded with a major gift commitment, made by Sid Dinsdale, Chris Dinsdale and Jane Dinsdale Rogers in honor of their father, Roy G. Dinsdale; and by Lynn Dinsdale Marchese and Tom Dinsdale in honor of their father, the late John “Jack” A. Dinsdale.

The library is now known as the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons and formally opened on UNL’s East Campus Wednesday.

Several other individuals and organizations supported the project through gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The completion of the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons connects the new west entrance to the Legacy Plaza, an East Campus green space project launched under the direction of Chancellor Ronnie Green while he served as vice chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“By embracing our vision of a new student learning commons on East Campus, Ruth and Bill Scott and the Dinsdale family, along with a host of other donors, have generously helped us create a world-class 21st-century learning space,” Green said. “This will be a busy, active anchor facility that will support generations of our students across UNL as they pursue success in their education at Nebraska’s flagship university. Its opening is a great day for our university.”

The building offers students a choice between active and quiet places in which to study, with a selection of pods, individual study spaces and six group study spaces, four named for donors: Mark and Debra Classen, B. Keith and Norma Heuermann, Thomas and Linda Hoegemeyer, and Frank Sibert and his late wife Shirley Sibert.

One of the first striking changes visitors will notice is the natural light that flows through windows that run from roof line to ground level. The spacious, glass-walled Kimmel Foundation Room, a focal point of the first floor, can be reserved by the campus community for educational opportunities. Dave and Sharron Stock provided support for the Stock Seed Farms Family Room, a large second-floor, interactive classroom designed for faculty and students to develop greater critical facility with all forms of information.

In the center of the building, a feature called the Learning Stair is equipped with integrated technology and a sound system for pop-up programming, tours, studying and collaboration.

The first floor includes a digital exhibit for the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement, a University Police substation, and a One Button Studio for recording lectures and presentations.

The lower level retains the name of Charles Yoder Thompson (1875-1970), an NU alumnus and agricultural expert who served 24 years on the Board of Regents. Accessible through a new entrance on the east, the lower level includes the East Campus Exam Commons, with 36 computer stations and three private rooms for student testing.

In conjunction with the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons’ opening, University Libraries is unveiling an expanded research and teaching program addressing the information, data and scholarly communication needs of East Campus and Nebraska Innovation Campus communities.

Michael Boehm, vice chancellor of the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, considers the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons as a cornerstone of East Campus and a powerful reminder of the university’s commitment to IANR and Nebraska agriculture.

“We are grateful for this beautiful building, which will house the library, the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneur Program and the Nebraska Hall of Agricultural Achievement, and we’re eternally thankful to the Dinsdale family, Ruth and Bill Scott and all of the generous donors who made this possible,” Boehm said.

The building’s study spaces will follow current COVID-19 guidelines for safe social distancing. The book collection, currently in storage, will be moved into the lower level of Dinsdale in summer 2021. Future plans for 2021 include adding a first-floor cafe and formally dedicating the building.

The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons hours of operation will be Sunday to Thursday, 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Dinsdale family has roots in Palmer, Neb.

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