In 1985, the bell tower and fountain had not yet been built. It would be another two or three years before the bell tower was built and a couple more years after that for the fountain.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the bell tower served as the main meeting place for all events until the fountain was built. Before the fountain was built, you were able to drive through campus and park on the street.
From past to present, things always change over time, some for the good and some for the better. For UNK, changes have been for the better.
Michelle Widger, alumni assistant director and a 1990 graduate from UNK said a lot has changed on campus over the last 20 years. “But what hasn’t changed is the high quality of education from UNK.”
“A lot of the buildings are newer,” Widger said. “When I was here, it was the height of the enrollment era, and they had three students to a dorm room at times in Ludden Hall.”
Ludden Hall, then situated next to Copeland, across from Men’s Hall, was torn down two years ago to make room for the new dorm (Nester Hall) to be built.
Today all dorms are coed either by floor or hall. “When I was here CTE and CTW were female only,” Widger said. “Mantor was all men, and you couldn’t be in a men’s hall past midnight.”
One of the major differences on campus today is the fountain in the center of campus.
Tammy Haden, a 1990 graduate of UNK who now works with the UNK Alumni Association said you could drive right through campus and park in the middle.
Widger said the fountain is a nice place for Blue and Gold Week to congregate. Before the fountain was built, Widger said, “If we were congregating, we would do a lot by the bell tower and the library.”
Over the years, homecoming has become a lot bigger than it used to be. “The one difference I’ve noticed about homecoming is now the dorms tend to win,” Widger said. “When I was in college it was pretty much Greek focused.”
“I think the thing that’s remained the same is the professors are still very friendly and truly care about the students and their successes,” she said.
“I think that’s another thing too: that Kearney’s really open as far as employers to college students,” Hayden said. “I think that’s why a lot of people stay in Kearney after they graduate.”
“I really enjoyed college everyday. Everybody was so friendly, and I think that still holds true today,” Widger said.