The University of Nebraska-Lincoln was established in 1869, two years after the state of Nebraska became part of the United States. In the 1890s, a law school and graduate school were founded – the latter being the first of its kind west of the Mississippi River. In 1896, it also awarded its first doctorate degrees, again making it one of the first of its kind west of the Mississippi. The campuses have botanical gardens and arboreta, a hallmark of UNL as the birthplace of ecology.
Today UNL has 10 colleges that cover science and the humanities. Its primary area of focus is undergraduate education. It runs several programmes that reflect this, such as the Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experiences Program (UCARE), which allows students and staff to work together on project, and the Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science and Management, which teaches students about technology and management, as well as essential leadership skills.
UNL’s research expenditure in 2013 was almost $270 million, with almost $100 million in federal research and expenditures in the National Science Foundation, the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health.
Nearly 80 per cent of the student population comes from Nebraska, with the remainder coming from the rest of the US and more than 100 other countries. Of its alumni, three have won a Nobel Prize and eight have won a Pulitzer.
The university's 624-acre campus is situated in the city of Lincoln with a population of more than 250,000. The city contains a high number of parks and in 2013 the Pinnacle Bank Arena was constructed, with a surrounding entertainment district.