From a generous partnership with John Deere to the creation of new, in-demand programs and the launch of our most ambitious fundraising campaign ever, 2022 was a fantastic year at the University of Northern Iowa!  Here are some of our biggest stories of the year:

Breaking ground on AEB project
Breaking ground on the new Applied Engineering Building

UNI @ Iowa Community Colleges Initiative makes it easier for place-bound learners to get their degree
In a major milestone toward providing adult and place-bound learners greater access to four-year degrees, the University of Northern Iowa launched the UNI@IACC (Iowa Community Colleges) initiative in July, which enables Iowans with an associate’s degree from any Iowa community college to earn a online degree from UNI without having to leave their hometown.

Nursing program coming to UNI with Dr. Nancy Kertz at the helm
To expand student access and ultimately increase the number of working nurses in the state of Iowa, the Board of Regents approved the University of Northern Iowa to develop and implement a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, which will launch in fall 2024. With 17 years of experience in higher education leadership and nursing program development, Dr. Nancy Kertz will lead the development and implementation of UNI’s first stand-alone nursing program. 

Our Tomorrow CampaignUNI launches its biggest-ever fundraising goal with Our Tomorrow campaign
In order to secure its future for generations to come, the University of Northern Iowa launched its “Our Tomorrow: The Campaign for UNI,” which aims to raise $250 million to support all areas of the university. Organized around four strategic pillars: student access and success, engaged learning, academic programs and faculty and iconic spaces, the comprehensive campaign is designed to invest in all facets of the university including students, faculty and staff, as well as its academic programs and learning spaces. The campaign saw a massive launch party during homecoming week that included a concert and The Verdin Company's one-of-a-kind mobile foundry. 

Celebrating UNI with homecoming, a campaign launch and NFL MVPs
What better way to kick-off the largest fundraising goal ever, than to invite some notable alumni back for a hugeKurt Warner and President Mark Nook party? University of Northern Iowa alum and pro-football Hall-of-Famer, Kurt Warner returned to Cedar Falls to serve along with his wife Brenda as VIPs in the UNI Homecoming Parade and help launch the university’s Our Tomorrow campaign. This was the second time Warner has visited the community this year. Previously, the two-time National Football League MVP teamed up with fellow Super Bowl MVP and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Peyton Manning at a local HyVee to film an episode of “Peyton’s Places,” a TV series on ESPN+ which features Manning as he visits former players, coaches and key figures to “get to the heart of football history and its cultural impact.”

Watch video for Homecoming Week kick-off here.

Investing in the future, UNI furthers its commitment to developing skilled professionals in advanced tech and engineering
Joined by Governor Kim Reynolds, representatives from John Deere and other industry leaders, UNI broke ground on the new Applied Engineering Building (AEB). The $44 million project is a renovation and expansion of the former Industrial Technology Center (ITC) to create a modernized engineering  hub for UNI’s industry programs. The nearly 50,000-square-foot expansion and modernization will equip UNI’s Department of Applied Engineering & Technical Management to increase enrollment by 40%, with more than 95% of graduates starting careers with an average base salary of nearly $70,000. The project is on schedule to be completed by 2024.

Foundry 4.0UNI’s Industry 4.0 Initiative bolsters high-tech industry growth
A new partnership between the University of Northern Iowa, Youngstown State University and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining will leverage $10 million in first-year funding to increase the number of small-to-midsize enterprises using advanced technologies, bolster critical areas of the defense manufacturing supply chain and create jobs. The partnership will provide hundreds of businesses each year with support to remove barriers to adopting Industry 4.0 technologies, including robotics, artificial intelligence and 3D printing, enabling a faster output of quality parts while expanding and strengthening the supply chain.

Breaking records, UNI continues to see increases in graduation rates
Achieving record-high levels for the second year in a row, the University of Northern Iowa’s graduation rates increased by five percent over last year, and is nearly 20 percentage points above similar universities. Additionally, UNI welcomed an incoming class of 2,200 freshmen and transfer students this fall. The university’s total fall enrollment is 8,949, which included students from all 99 Iowa counties, 43 U.S. states and 51 countries across the globe.Spring 2022 commencement

UNI’s Black Student Union celebrates 50 years of history and progress
The University of Northern Iowa’s Black Student Union (BSU) celebrated a major milestone, marking its 50th anniversary on campus with two days of events honoring BSU’s history, celebrating the progress that’s been made and looking ahead to the group’s vision for the future. Formerly known as the Afro-American Society (AAS), established in 1968, AAS was a platform to make campus a more welcoming and inclusive space for students of color. Upon the dissolution of AAS in 1972, the BSU was formed and has continued to encourage advances in African American culture and Black excellence by emphasizing fellowship, improvement of character, rejoicing in Black culture, speaking up on Black issues and being the teachers of Black heritage.

Interested in high-tech jobs? UNI’s one-of-a-kind Automation Engineering Technology program will put you in high demand
Building on a $44 million renovation project and the strength of its business college, the University of Northern Iowa announced it’s offering a Bachelor of Science in Automation Engineering Technology (AET) program, the first of its kind in Iowa. Combining industry-relevant training and hands-on experience, the AET program will help equip students to work in one of the fastest-growing areas of technology with the demand being particularly great in the automotive, metal casting and energy industries. 

Study groupFocusing on learning outcomes and in-demand job skills, UNI rolls out new general education program
The University of Northern Iowa revamped its general education program, designing it to better align student learning outcomes with the top skills employers are seeking. With just 37 credit hours, the UNI Foundational Inquiry (UNIFI) creates a more efficient and flexible path for students to complete their general education requirements, while giving them a future-ready foundation of employable skills, critical thinking abilities and well-rounded credentials, and leading to timely graduation. 

2022 was a big year for The Northern Iowan and its executive editor
In celebration of its 130th year at the University of Northern Iowa, The Northern Iowan student newspaper editorial team showcased notable moments of coverage throughout the paper's history with a “Golden Issue” coupled with an exhibition highlighting the paper’s history and its impact on the UNI campus. The paper’s first Latino executive editor, Nixson Benitez, was also named a 2022 winner of Campus Compact’s Newman Civic Fellowship this year for his efforts to elevate underrepresented voices through the power of journalism.

UNI continues to rank among the top regional universities in the Midwest
Confirming its reputation as one of the top four-year institutions in the Midwest providing affordable, easily accessible, high-quality education, the University of Northern Iowa was named the second-best regional public university in the region — a ranking it’s consistently held for roughly 20 years — in the 2022-2023 Best Colleges report by U.S. News &TK and TC World Report. UNI also saw notable mentions in other categories including the Best Colleges for Veterans among Regional Universities (Midwest) list; the Most Innovative Among Regional Universities (Midwest) category and the Best Value Schools (Regional Universities - Midwest) list. 

With so many amazing projects and opportunities coming to life in 2022, the University of Northern Iowa is looking forward to 2023 and many more exciting things to come! It’s great to be a Panther!