NWU Breaks Ground on Duane W. Acklie Hall of Science
Nebraska Wesleyan University broke ground Tuesday, April 4 on a new science center named after a cherished member of the Lincoln community who was known for his service, entrepreneurship and philanthropy.
The Duane W. Acklie Hall of Science is the university’s first new academic building in 36 years and will house the biology, chemistry and psychology programs. The facility will be located on 50th Street between St. Paul Ave. and Baldwin Ave. on the west side of campus.
Acklie served as Crete Carrier’s CEO from 1971 to 1991 and served as chairman thereafter until his death last September. Duane and his wife, Phyllis, have generously supported Nebraska Wesleyan for many years with Duane serving as chair of the NWU Board of Governors from 1983 to 1986. He served as an advisor to former NWU President John White and current NWU President Fred Ohles and he helped open doors for NWU in Lincoln, Omaha and beyond. In 1988, Acklie was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. The couple has been members of Nebraska Wesleyan’s Presidents Society for over 20 years.
“Duane W. Acklie did everything for and with Nebraska Wesleyan University except study here,” said President Fred Ohles. “Given all these connections and signs of Duane’s devotion, it is fitting to honor him today by breaking ground for the Duane W. Acklie Hall of Science.”
“We think he would have been humbled and gratified knowing that thousands of students will pass through these classrooms to find the educational tools and passion for their life’s work,” said Jeff Schumacher, a member of Nebraska Wesleyan’s Board of Governors and son-in-law of Duane Acklie.
The three-story facility of approximately 75,000-80,000 square feet will house classrooms, laboratories, student study spaces, and a greenhouse. The $27 million project has been funded through generous donations. The building is scheduled to be complete by early 2019.
Science has long been one of Nebraska Wesleyan’s greatest strengths. For example, NWU has an 85 percent medical school placement rate, a 90 percent dental school placement rate, and celebrates over 750 physicians who have earned bachelor’s degrees at NWU with nearly 400 of those working in Nebraska.
“Here we will offer the study of psychology, chemistry and biology,” Ohles said during the groundbreaking ceremony. “Here we will nurture opportunities to engage the intersection of these disciplines and others. Here we will foster Nebraska Wesleyan’s enduring commitment to personal attention for each student. Here we will continue the excellence that we prize.”
The Clark Enersen Partners were recently selected as architects of record for the project. Celli-Flynn Brennan of Pittsburgh, Penn., were the design architects. Sampson Construction is the construction manager. Building construction begins in June.
About Duane W. and Phyllis A. Acklie
Duane W. and Phyllis A. Acklie have been prominent and cherished members of the Lincoln community and are known for their service, entrepreneurship and philanthropy. In 1971, they purchased Crete Carrier Corporation, which, under their leadership, became one of the largest privately-owned trucking companies in the nation. Duane was Crete Carrier’s CEO from 1971 to 1991 and served as chairman thereafter. Phyllis serves as vice president, secretary and a board member.
Duane has served on many boards, including the American Trucking Association, the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Nebraska State Highway Commission, and was chair of the USO World Board of Governors. He also was an advisor to several U.S. presidents and was a longtime Republican National Committeeman representing Nebraska. In 2005, Duane was appointed as a delegate to the U.S. Mission of the United Nations and served as a senior advisor. Among the many awards bestowed upon him was the U.S. Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.
Phyllis serves on the board of the Wyuka Historical Foundation and is a past president. She is a former director of both the Bryan Memorial Hospital Foundation and Bryan Memorial Hospital. Both she and Duane have served on the boards of Union Bank and Trust Company, the Lincoln Parks Foundation and the George W. Bush Presidential Center in Dallas, Texas. They both have served as directors of the Lincoln Community Foundation and Duane served a term as chairman.
Duane and Phyllis have generously supported Nebraska Wesleyan for many years. Duane served as chair of the NWU Board of Governors from 1983 to 1986 and was recognized with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1988. They have been members of the Presidents Society for over 20 years.
Their family includes Laura Schumacher, M.D. (NWU class of ’78 and former member of the NWU Board of Governors) and Jeff Schumacher (a current member of the NWU Board of Governors) and Holly and Tonn Ostergard.