'We must make innovation for the public good': UNO chancellor gives annual address

Posted at 6:11 PM, Oct 06, 2023

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — UNO Chancellor Joanne Li has been at the university’s helm for a little over two years. On Friday she delivered her State of the University address. Her theme: Innovate for the Public Good.

"The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates project that 65% of all jobs will require a bachelor's degree or more by 2030," said Li.

She believes universities that re-imagine education will succeed, and in turn, so will their students and communities.

“They will reduce or remove barriers to access by being flexible to meet them where they are in their personal journey,” Li said to the crowd in the Strauss Performing Arts Center. “They will explore every avenue to reduce education costs so the weight of debt doesn't burden a student's entrepreneurial spirit."

Li touted the university's efforts to get paid internships and work experience for students.

Millard North graduate and theater major McKenna Cottone says she's happy with the real-world experience she's received.

"Our faculty just know a lot of people and opportunities just spring up in Omaha,” said Cottone. “You know, our arts are very interconnected."

The chancellor cited programs aimed at improving skills for people already in the workforce with micro-credential programs and continuing education.

"We must make innovation for the public good," she told the crowd.

The afternoon concluded with the faculty senate honoring NU Regent Barbara Weitz and her husband Wally for their $19 million donation to the university.

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