The University of Nebraska Foundation is greatly saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Charles Durham.
“Chuck Durham was a great visionary and close friend to the University of Nebraska. He is one of the university’s most generous benefactors and left an enduring legacy of giving that transformed the university. He is a pillar of philanthropy in this state.”
Terry Fairfield, chief executive officer of the University of Nebraska Foundation
Following are highlights of the extraordinary support provided by the late Charles and Margre Durham to benefit the University of Nebraska.
Durham Research Center & Durham Research Plaza
On August 26, 2000, the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha announced major support from Charles Durham for construction of a $77 million Research Center of Excellence. The gift is believed to be the largest single donation ever received for the campus and marks the second major donation by Charles Durham to UNMC. On October 23, 2002, UNMC announced it named the 10-story tower the Durham Research Center and the complex around it the Durham Research Plaza. The Durham Research Center was dedicated on November 13, 2003. The 289,000-square-foot facility houses 116 research laboratories, a 319-seat auditorium, three classrooms and 12 conference/seminar rooms. Five of the 12 primary researchers in the center are involved in cancer research. Durham’s gift also helped to construct a much needed 540,000-square-foot employee parking structure that opened in 2003.
Durham Research Center II
In 2004 the Durham Foundation announced a major gift toward construction of a second 10-story research tower to be connected to the Durham Research Center. The new 252,179-square-foot building is estimated to cost $74 million and will be nearly identical to the first tower. It is expected to open in early 2009.
Charles W. and Margre H. Durham Excellence in Medicine Fund
The Durhams established the Charles W. and Margre H. Durham Excellence in Medicine Fund for the University of Nebraska Medical Center in 1998. The endowment supports research in prostate cancer, arthritis and minimally invasive surgery. With the funds, UNMC was the eighth medical center in the country to acquire the robotic da Vinci Surgical System, putting Nebraska on the map in the area of computer-assisted surgery. In recognition of their gift, the Outpatient Care Center was renamed the Durham Outpatient Center.
Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction
On August 5, 2005, the University of Nebraska announced a major gift from Charles Durham to establish the Charles W. Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the Peter Kiewit Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The school combines the university’s disciplines of architectural engineering, construction management and construction engineering to create a unique school of its kind focused on all elements of the building environment. Durham’s gift includes both expendable resources and endowed funds for perpetual program support of the school.
Charles W. Durham Scholarship
In 2001 Charles Durham established the Charles W. Durham Scholarship for students studying at the Peter Kiewit Institute of Information Science, Engineering & Technology in Omaha. As of 2007, 24 students have received Durham Scholarships.
The Charles W. and Margre H. Durham Distinguished Professorships
On August 31, 2000, Charles Durham established a permanent endowment at the University of Nebraska Foundation for two professorship programs for The Peter Kiewit Institute in Omaha. The Charles W. and Margre H. Durham Distinguished Professor of Information Science and Technology and the Charles W. and Margre Durham Distinguished Professorship of Engineering and Technology are awarded to professors with strong teaching ability, research ability and academic promise.
UNO Aviation Institute
In 1993, the Durhams provided a major gift for support of the Aviation Institute at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Aviation was one of Mr. Durham’s passions.
Henningson Memorial Campanile & Henningson Plaza at UNO
The University of Nebraska at Omaha announced on January 16, 1988, a gift from Margre Durham for a campanile named the Henningson Memorial Campanile in memory of her father, mother and sister. The gift provides a 168-foot tower, a carillon of 47 bells from France, and a plaza around the campanile. It is a highly recognizable and beloved campus landmark located in the center of UNO’s main campus.
Durham Science Center at UNO
In 1984, Charles and Margre Durham announced a major gift commitment to the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Diamond Jubilee Campaign (1983-1987) in support of a new science facility. The Nebraska legislature approved the $14.5 million project, which included $9.5 million in state appropriations and $5 million in private gifts. The Durhams’ gift was the largest single contribution toward the project. Construction of the facility began on September 19, 1985, and it was dedicated and named the Durham Science Center on September 21, 1987. It is located on the west end of the UNO campus and is home to the chemistry, geography and geology, mathematics and physics departments.