Cross at the Heart

Improving and sustaining campus ministry at the heart of UNL

Heart of the Campus

Heart of Faith

Heart of the Matter

Heart of our Mission

Watch the video, join our mission.

Gracious God,

You call your people into service for the sake of Christ’s mission to the world: to witness to your love wherever you send us. You have called us to proclaim Christ crucified and resurrected in the heart of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

You have provided and sustained this campus ministry for generations; provide and sustain this campus ministry for generations to come. Send your Holy Spirit upon us to guide and empower us in this capital campaign as we seek your will in the mission opportunity before us. Give us generous hearts.

Grant us honesty and creativity to meet the challenges before us. Draw us into a unity of purpose, and grant us energy and grace to carry out the work of the gospel; for the sake of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.


God is at work in Jesus Christ

Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

The 2019-2020 academic year marks the 100-year anniversary of Lutheran Campus Ministry on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus. Over the past century this ministry, which began as a student-led Bible study in 1919, has served tens of thousands of students, equipped innumerable disciples of Jesus Christ, and nurtured dozens of future pastors and other rostered leaders.

Since 1952 when the Lutheran Center was constructed adjacent to the growing University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus, our ministry has been rooted on campus. When Pastor Alvin Petersen, the visionary pioneer behind the Lutheran Center reflected on the dedication some years later, he wrote, “Dedication day was a spontaneous joy!”

Today we are heirs of that living joy — the Spirit of Joy where God is at work in Jesus Christ! Some things, however, have changed. In the intervening years, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus has grown around the Lutheran Center. Now, no longer on the outskirts of the University, we stand as a witness to the Crucified and Risen Christ in the heart of campus. And although the ministry is thriving, the Lutheran Center, built more than half a century ago, has outlived its usefulness.

The leadership of the Nebraska Lutheran Campus Ministry, Inc. and the Lutheran Center see in these changes the seeds of great opportunity for renewal. We believe it is time to replace the current building with a new Lutheran Center. In this endeavor we see an opportunity to grow and deepen our work with student disciples. In re-imagining what a new Lutheran Center could be, we have kept student ministry at the forefront of our thinking.

At the heart of this campaign is what we have come to call a living endowment. By investing in the lives of students through the establishment of an on-site housing community centered on faith, vocation, and service, we will create a revenue stream that we believe will entirely offset the cost of building ownership. Not only will this unique housing ministry shape the lives of students, it will secure the future of this ministry for decades to come.

It’s been nearly 100 years, and we are still serving, equipping and nurturing student disciples. It is time to dream again. It is time to lead again. Living in the certain hope and joy of resurrection, it is time to risk on behalf of another century of college students in Lincoln. I am hopeful that together we can make this bold vision a reality.

Peace in Christ,

Rev. Dr. Adam White – Campus Pastor

Every time I enter this building, it’s special again in its own way. It takes me back to the early 1950s when I first entered this building. This place is a place of acceptance. It was for me and it is going to be years from now. We need what campus ministry offers.

Millie HoweAlumna and Honorary Chair

The Lutheran Center has helped me to grow, not just because of the uplifting worship or the opportunity to take on leadership roles, but because it is a place where I have experienced Christian community at its best.

Cassey LottmanUNL Student

I am extraordinarily thankful for campus ministries such as the Lutheran Center. In the heart of the campus is a place where the love of God is always available and tangible. As an administrator, I find this type of partnership is invaluable to our academic community.

Dr. Matt HeckerUNL Dean of Students

Ready to join the campaign and help us grow?

68% Pledged


Lutheran Student Club is organized at the University of Nebraska


Committee for Lutheran Student Work is established, comprised of the pastor and one lay person from each of the Lincoln congregations.


The Lutheran Student Club officially becomes part of the national Lutheran Student Association.


Pastor Alvin Petersen is installed as the first Campus Pastor to the Lutheran students in Lincoln.


The Lutheran Student House, later called the Lutheran Center, is dedicated at a total cost of $125,000. It was the second Lutheran Campus Ministry Center built in the United States.


The chapel addition to the Lutheran Center is dedicated.


The Lutheran Center choir gives 220th concert.


A Church Occupations Group for persons discerning a call to ministry is established. Over 100 Lutheran Center students have been ordained to the Ministry of the Word and Sacrament.


Rededication of the building following a capital campaign designed to bring the Lutheran Center up to code and make it handicap accessible.


Pastor Meyer passes away after serving as campus pastor for over 16 years at the Lutheran Center.


Lutheran Center students and leaders travel to Haiti for the first of many service trips.


Brother Emile from the Taize’ Community in France visits the Lutheran Center and leads evening prayer.

Take heart in the future

Allowing us to fulfill our mission more effectively.


Replace an aging, inefficient structure with a contemporary, energy-saving building.


Increase our housing ministry by 400 percent.


Achieve cost-neutrality for the building (housing income offsets the cost of ownership and operation).


Provide a dedicated and discreet space for the OpeN Shelf pantry.


Assist in developing the Greek Row neighborhood according to UNL’s Master Plan.


Commit to Lutheran ministry at UNL for the next 100 years.

$6 Million

Estimated Campaign Cost


Estimated Annual Revenue Generated


Estimated Project Completion (100th Anniversary of UNL Lutheran Ministry)

Heart of the campus

Since 1919, Lutheran have had a strong presence at UNL. The growth of the ministry led to a need for a full-service building adjacent to campus in 1952. Due to the growth of the University, the Lutheran Center is no longer at the edge of campus, but now near its center in the historic Greek Row neighborhood. Hundreds of students walk past the distinctive wooden cross in our front yard as they move through campus each day.

This project fits perfectly into the UNL Master Plan and Lincoln’s plan to improve the Greek Row neighborhood. Both the University and city officials are wholly in favor of this highly visionary project.

Heart of faith

The UNL campus is our Center’s primary mission field, serving approximately 700 students each year. For many students, college is a challenging and transitional stage of life. Therefore, we invite people in this academic setting to experience Christ more deeply, so that all may discover and fulfill their vocations as disciples. We accompany students as they question and doubt.

Additionally, during our history, many students have lived in the Center each year, providing a uniquely educational and formative program experience. Furthermore, more than 100 Lutheran Center students have been ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament over the past century.

Heart of the matter

In short, our current building has outlived its usefulness. After 60-plus years of constant use, there are critical issues such as severe water leaks, a disintegrating chapel ceiling and irreparable termite damage, along with inefficient heating and cooling systems and outdated kitchen facilities.

Heart of our mission

Our goal is to replace the current building with a new, fully-utilized Lutheran Center in the same location. The street level will feature a prominent chapel for worship facing 16th Street. It will also include the Meyer Lounge, named in memory of Pastor Larry Meyer, and administrative space. The lower level will feature the Petersen Fellowship Hall, named in memory of Pastor Alvin and Edel Petersen. It will also include classrooms, kitchen facilities and additional worship space.

The upper level will accommodate 11 residential students and one resident advisor with bedroom suites and communal living, kitchen and dining space. This residential area will be named Sjogren House in honor of longtime Lutheran Center alumnus and benefactor, Don Sjogren. The students residing there will form a living and learning community focused on faith, vocation and service. Additionally, this community will create a “living endowment.” The revenue realized by program fees, including housing, will offset the long-term costs of building ownership.

A major outreach to the UNL community is the Lutheran Center’s OpeN Shelf campus pantry. We are committed to providing all UNL  students a healthy college experience in their pursuit of higher education by providing basic necessities to students in need. The new building will provide a discreet, easily accessible entrance to the pantry.

Your gift is more than money, it strengthens our legacy.

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Methods of Giving

PLEDGES are commitments made in good faith, but are not legally binding. Donors may want to consider stretching pledges over a three-year period to maximize the total amount of support. This commitment can be fulfilled through monthly, quarterly, semiannual or annual installments.

Selecting the best gift plan depends on one’s personal financial situation and goals. As tax laws are always changing and each individual’s situation is unique, donors are encouraged to consult with financial advisors to determine which method of contributing is most beneficial to them.

We encourage you to consider a 10-20% initial payment to begin your commitment.

Giving by cash or check are the most common and will allow The Lutheran Center to address its immediate needs. However, while the needs are immediate, The Lutheran Center will gratefully accept gifts in various forms, including the following:

Giving Options


Charitable gifts of stocks, bonds or mutual funds that have been held for at least one year and have appreciated offer special tax advantages. You will receive a tax deduction for the full market value of the gift, but you will not have to pay capital gains tax on the appreciated amount. If you sell depreciated stock and contribute the proceeds, you will receive a tax deduction for the charitable gift and a deduction for the capital loss.

Life Insurance

The Lutheran Center can be named as primary or contingent beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Life insurance gifts are simple; just ask the insurance company for the appropriate forms to make The Lutheran Center the owner or beneficiary of a policy. Gifts of a life insurance policy are tax deductible, as are the future premium payments.

Planned Gifts

Planned giving is the process of carefully selecting the best method and asset for making a charitable gift. A deferred gift through an estate plan or life income gift offers you the ability to support The Lutheran Center and retain the income from those assets during your lifetime. Such a gift can enable you to take full advantage of the tax laws to accomplish your financial and charitable goals. Planned gifts can be made through:

  • Bequests by will or living trust
  • Charitable Lead or Remainder Trusts
  • Charitable Gift Annuities
  • Beneficiary benefits from IRAs, pensions, or financial accounts

Real Estate

Donations of appreciated homes, and other real property, are entitled to an income tax deduction equal to the full value of the property and no tax on the capital gain. If debt-free property is donated, the gift is deductible at the property’s appraised value. It may even be possible to make your gift of property now, but still maintain the right to use the property. By making the gift now, rather than in your will, you can realize an immediate tax deduction.

Commemorative Opportunities

Your gift to the Lutheran Center will make a lasting difference for the future students who will continue to grow in their faith through connection with the Lutheran Center. You may be interested in a naming opportunity to commemorate your gift or the collective gift of your family. A gift may also be made in honor or in memory of someone as a lasting tribute. Your gift will be recognized by names on plaques or on a donor wall.

  • Petersen Fellowship Hall
    All gifts in honor or in memory of Pastor Alvin Petersen, first Lutheran Campus Pastor, and his wife Edel Petersen.
  • Meyer Lounge
    All gifts in honor or in memory of Pastor Larry Meyer who passed away while serving as Lutheran Center Campus Pastor for 16 years.
  • $3M Chapel
  • $75K Hall Kitchen
  • $25K Patio
  • $15K Housing (each)
  • $10K Office (each)

University of Nebraska Foundation

Many companies and corporations match gifts made by their employees to non-profits. These matching gifts can double, triple or even quadruple your gifts. Check with your human resources office or business office to get matching gifts documentation.

Some companies and corporations may not match gifts to religious organizations. Most will, however, match funds to educational institutions. In this case, donors may make a gift to the Lutheran Center through the NU Foundation. In fact, any gifts to The Lutheran Center can be made through the NU Foundation.

The Lutheran Center is a recognized student organization and affiliate of the university. Gifts should be made payable to the NU Foundation and mailed directly to the Foundation at 1010 Lincoln Mall, Lincoln, NE 68508. Please memo The Lutheran Center Fund #01134460 on your gift. The Foundation will notify us of all gifts received. Donors will receive recognition as a donor to the NU Foundation AND the Lutheran Center.

Join us as we bring the heart of Christ to the heart of campus.

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