UNK Mission

The University of Nebraska at Kearney is a public, residential university committed to being one of the nation’s premier undergraduate institutions with excellent graduate education, scholarship, and public service. 

UNK Vision

The University of Nebraska at Kearney will achieve national distinction for a high quality, multidimensional learning environment, engagement with community and public interests, and preparation of students to lead responsible and productive lives in a democratic, multicultural society. 

Key to such improvement will be: clear focus on mission imperatives, fidelity to historic core values, and continuous and rigorous self-appraisal or assessment of outcomes.  


  • 4,427 undergraduate students and 1,848 graduate students.
  • Students come to UNK from 92 of the 93 Nebraska counties, 47 states and 56 foreign countries.


  • 315 full-time and 141 part-time faculty.
  • 83% of courses are taught by full-time faculty (not graduate assistants or adjuncts).
  • Nearly 75% of full-time faculty have the highest degrees in their fields.
  • Student/faculty ratio: 13 to 1.


  • UNK offers 121 undergraduate majors, 21 pre-professional programs, 54 graduate programs, and 11 certificates.
  • Each year, the UNK Honors Program accepts more than 120 freshmen based on a minimum top 25% class rank, a minimum 27 ACT score, letters of reference, extracurricular accomplishments, and essays. At present, there are 400 students in the Honors Program.
  • UNK’s undergraduate research program is a national model. Campus programs support students working one-on-one with professors to conduct original research and creative projects. More than 30% of UNK students do research outside of class and present their projects at academic conferences.
  • UNK is the only campus in Nebraska to participate in the National Student Exchange that allows students to attend one of 175 other universities or colleges across the continent for a semester or a year, often at UNK tuition rates.
  • 100% of students participate in experiential learning projects that leads to resume-building expertise.

Student Placement

  • Many UNK programs have a job placement rate that's almost 100%, including Accounting, Athletic Training, Education (particularly those with endorsements in Biology, Chemistry, Language Arts, Math, Music, Physics, and Special Education), Cyber Systems, Graphic Arts, Industrial Technology, School Psychology, and Speech-Language Pathology.
  • 79% of Nebraska's PK-12 schools have UNK graduates teaching. Almost 43% of all school Superintendents and approximately 30% of all Principals in the state of Nebraska are UNK graduates. Approximately 36% of all School Psychologists and 54% of all ESU School Psychologists in the state of Nebraska are UNK graduates. 21% of all School Counselors in Nebraska are UNK alumni. Approximately 33% of all Speech-Language Pathologists in Nebraska are UNK graduates.
  • Many UNK graduates become administrative leaders in both the public and private sectors of the state and the nation. Others go on to successfully apply to medical, law, and other professional and graduate schools across the country.


  • Member of NCAA Division II—Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association.
  • Programs include softball, football, volleyball, wrestling, women’s swimming and diving, women's soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s tennis, women’s golf, and men’s and women’s track and field.
  • Colors: Royal Blue & Old Gold.
  • Nickname: Lopers (for the Pronghorn Antelope)
  • UNK athletes are students first. The average cumulative GPA from more than 440 student-athletes participating in 14 varsity sports is 3.32.

Campus Life

  • More than 180 student organizations, including six sororities and six fraternities.
  • Seven traditional-style residence halls, one suite-style residence halls, two Greek chapter house complexes, and one university apartment complex.
  • All residential units are within easy walking distance of the academic buildings, the library, the student union, and the Health and Sports Center.
  • Campus is comprised of 515 acres, including University Village. UNK has more than 48 buildings including classrooms, labs, residence halls, and athletic venues. The proximity of the campus offers easy access to the city's vibrant and growing community including: cultural events, shopping centers, outdoor recreational facilities, affordable housing, award-winning restaurants, as well as hockey, musical shows, plays, and a variety of concerts, many within walking distance of the campus.
  • UNK has invested millions renovating or expanding every academic building and residence hall, the College of Education Building, the Nebraskan Student Union, Foster Field, the Antelope/Nester complex of residence halls, which provide apartment style living and many new amenities for students. A new Wellness Center addition to the Health and Sports Center/Cushing Coliseum opened in fall 2014. The new Health Sciences Complex houses the UNMC College of Nursing and College of Allied Health Professions  that support numerous programs. Discovery Hall, a 90,000 square foot building, opened in August 2020, housing offices and classrooms for STEM programs.
  • The UNK campus is also a Nebraska Statewide Arboretum site.

What's a Loper?

mascot antelope louie clappingIn 1910 the student body selected the antelope as the school mascot, because “it symbolized strength, swiftness and the ability to adapt to adverse conditions.”

From the school student paper: the antelope is “the swiftest, most beautiful and most graceful animal in the Western plains. (The) Antelope appeals as a fitting emblem of a school located on the broad prairie of Nebraska, where the antelopes once roamed so freely.”

During the 1950s, The Kearney Hub began using a shortened version of antelopes (Lopers) to refer to the school’s athletic teams. The student paper quickly picked up “the Lopers” and the name stuck.

Loper legend is that the mascot is a North American Antelope, yet, fact is, there are no antelopes in North America. The pronghorn, which looks much like an antelope and is commonly called an antelope, is most likely what the students in 1910 were referring to.

There are 91 species of antelope indigenous to regions in Africa and Eurasia.

Pronghorns were brought to scientific notice by the Lewis and Clark Expedition in South Dakota and their range extends from Canada through Minnesota and Texas to California, to northern Mexico.

Louie the Loper emerged in the early days of UNK, and he wears a blue football jersey and blue shorts in the summer and fall, and white basketball jersey and white shorts in the winter and spring.