Tribute layout

A graphic rendering of the tentative design for the Veterans' Tribute project.

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is set to honor veterans and military members with a $3.75 million Veterans’ Tribute.

To honor all of the nation’s veterans, UNL plans to build a tribute that begins at the outside of the Military and Naval Science Building and stretches to the Coliseum. Construction on this project is set to begin in spring 2020 and will be completed within a couple of years, according to Michelle Waite, the assistant to the chancellor for government and military relations.

“It will be a space in honor of our veterans and members of the military and their families,”  Waite said. “It will be a permanent reminder of the courage and sacrifice of so many of our veterans.”

Waite and a group of around 25 people with military backgrounds worked alongside each other to come up with the design. According to Waite, the tribute’s design includes glass panels that are inspired by the American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial in Washington D.C. These panels will represent moments in a veteran’s life, such as training, deployment and family life.

The steps will feature words that describe what it means to serve in the military including duty, courage, sacrifice and honor. The tribute will also have benches and landscaping, with the goal of creating a thought-provoking space, according to Waite.

“It’s meant to illustrate the multiple facets of a service member’s life, including the importance of family, faith and camaraderie, and depicts the personal sacrifice the military service entails,” she said.

The project has a fundraising goal of $4.5 million, according to Robb Crouch, senior director of public relations at the University of Nebraska Foundation.To reach the goal, Crouch said the foundation has set up several opportunities for people to give to the cause, including launching social media efforts, a mail campaign and a space on its website available for donations.

“We are really excited about sharing this project with alumni and non-alumni,” he said.

To celebrate Veteran’s Day in 2018, two plaques were hung at the original entrance of Memorial Stadium to honor UNL students who fought in World War I. Since then, Waite said UNL has been looking to create a more impactful and permanent tribute to veterans of every war.

“We wanted to do something grander and larger to honor all veterans and members of the military and their families, not just those in World War I,” she said.

The veterans tribute will be a great addition to campus, Waite said.

“Having this tribute within an educational setting is exactly where something like this should be,” she said. “Not only to educate our faculty, staff and students, but also members of the public. And, at the same time, honor our veterans and members of the military and their families for their dedication and sacrifice.”