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$25 million gift from Barbara and Wally Weitz to support student growth and success at UNO
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$25 million gift from Barbara and Wally Weitz to support student growth and success at UNO

Omaha philanthropists Barbara and Wally Weitz have made a $25 million gift commitment to invest in strategic priorities and leadership at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and redevelop an historic building at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture (NCTA) in Curtis, Nebraska, to support student growth and success.

The Weitzes’ gift was made as part of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future. The campaign is an historic effort to encourage at least 150,000 benefactors to give $3 billion to support University of Nebraska students, faculty, academic and clinical programs and research to address the needs of the state.

Barbara spent some time with Mike Hogan on “Live & Local” and during this two-part interview explains why she and Wally made this sizeable donation, what her long history with the university is, and how she views the future of Omaha.

Wally was born in Pittsburgh to a social worker and a college professor. He grew up in New Orleans in the 50’s and 60’s, where the roots of both entrepreneurial instinct and social conscience were evident early. He earned a B.A. in economics at Carleton College, where today he serves as a trustee, and went to New York to work for a small Wall Street firm. In 1973, Wally and Barbara moved to Omaha, in pursuit of Midwestern surroundings.

Wally joined Chiles, Heider, a regional investment firm where he spent 10 years managing accounts for individuals and doing equity research. In 1983, he founded Weitz Investment Management which currently manages roughly $6 billion in assets through its family of mutual funds and separately managed accounts. Most recently in 2022, Wally was elected to serve on the board of Berkshire Hathaway.

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