The University of Nebraska (UNL) was founded in 1869 in Lincoln as part of the Morrill Land Grant Act. Through the nineteenth century, the university sought to establish a higher-learning institution even as the state of Nebraska developed and provided new opportunities to its citizens.
A group of Omaha physicians founded the Omaha Medical College (OMC) in 1881. The proprietary school was successful in drawing and educating students, but struggled financially. OMC merged with the University of Nebraska in 1902 to create the University of Nebraska College of Medicine.
The University of Omaha was founded in 1908. By 1930, the University of Omaha became the Municipal University of Omaha (OU) to help ease financial burdens. In 1967, city voters approved the merger of OU with the University of Nebraska to create the University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO). Merger ceremonies were held on July 1, 1968.
The OU/UNL merger prompted the transformation of the College of Medicine into the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). In the years to follow the Colleges of Nursing, Pharmacy, and Dentistry would all shift administrative control to UNMC.
In 1903, the Nebraska State Normal School at Kearney was founded. The school produced the teachers central and western Nebraska needed and grew quickly, changing its name to Kearney State College (KSC) in 1963. As the breadth and scope of the school’s mission changed it was essential that KSC affiliate with a larger university system. In 1989, the state legislature approved the merger with the University of Nebraska System. The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK) officially joined the system in 1991.