The University of Nebraska Board of Regents will vote this month to name the soon-to-open, $84 million College of Business building on the Lincoln campus after one of their own.

The privately funded building at 14th and Vine streets, replacing the century-old building near 12th and R, will be named Howard L. Hawks Hall to honor the regent's record of philanthropy to the university.

“I have been fortunate to receive extraordinary benefit from my experience and education at the College of Business,” Hawks said in a statement. “I am happy to have the opportunity to help students and faculty benefit from an exceptional educational facility.”

The Carleton native is serving his third term on the university's governing board, representing portions of central Omaha. He served as chairman in 2005 and 2014.

Hawks founded power plant developer Tenaska in 1987 after a 20-year career at InterNorth and Enron, where he ran three of the energy company's subsidiary operating groups.

In 1994, Hawks launched the Hawks Foundation to fund academic and athletic causes at UNL, including an endowed chair within the business college, Hawks Field at Haymarket Park and the Hawks Championship Center football indoor practice facility.

The Omaha regent was one of the lead donors on the College of Business project — which attracted support from more than 1,500 alumni and supporters, according to Donde Plowman, the former dean who is now UNL's executive vice chancellor — and was featured at the building's February 2015 groundbreaking.

The 240,000-square-foot building will feature interactive work spaces, modern classrooms and labs, as well as unique support services for the 4,200 students and 117 faculty in the business college.

In March, regents approved changing the department's name from the College of Business Administration to the College of Business, which was recommended by various advisory boards and committees to bring the unit in line with peers in the Big Ten Conference.

UNL will celebrate the opening of Howard L. Hawks Hall on Aug. 18 from 3-5 p.m. with an "Open For Business" ceremony as part of the business college's annual Back to School Bash.

Other items on the regents' Aug. 11 meeting agenda:

* They will consider purchasing software designed to streamline the university's expense reimbursement process for five years for a total $1.6 million in state-aided funds.

* The board will review a plan to renovate Loop Road to the east of Memorial Stadium with new concrete and engineered soil and turf for $2.4 million in auxiliary and athletic funds.

* The creation of two new programs — a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Security Operations at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and a Masters in Genetic Counseling from the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

* Regents will also consider a five-year, $1.6 million contract funded by athletic revenue for ticketing software for Husker athletic events.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or cdunker@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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