The has announced a $30 million gift from the Clifton Foundation and to establish a leadership institute focused on developing the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.
Named for the late Donald O. Clifton, who was a popular instructor and researcher at UNL before becoming chair of . and later of the Gallup organization, the Don Clifton Strengths Institute will promote the early identification and accelerated development of thousands of future leaders, business builders, and entrepreneurs, with a focus on an individual's strengths. Based at UNL's , the institute will include the Don Clifton Strengths Lab, which will provide training, education, workshops, and coaching related to strengths-based leadership; undergraduate degree programs in management and entrepreneurship for CBA students and a proposed minor in leadership available to all UNL students; early identification and acceleration of high-achieving students with leadership and entrepreneurial abilities; and support for faculty and student research in strengths, leadership, management, and other areas of business.
In addition, the institute will offer a survey methodology research graduate degree with support from Gallup. That collaboration also will result in the world's largest Strengths Lab, to be housed in the $84 million, 110,000-square-foot College of Business Administration building set to open in 2017.
Clifton, who taught at UNL for two decades, was recognized with a Presidential Citation from the as the father of strengths-based psychology. His research led to the , an online assessment tool released in 1999, which has helped more than ten million people discover, understand, and maximize their innate talents. The accompanying book, StrengthsFinder 2.0, was named Amazon's No. 1 bestselling book in 2013 and 2014.
"This partnership is a rare intersection of the business and academic community to create a collaborative relationship focused not only on the legacy of a great American, but a great philosophy adopted by leading companies, societies, and educational institutes around the world," said Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Dean of CBA. "The Don Clifton Strengths Institute is created with a focus on identifying and maximizing talent and to help Nebraska, the nation, and the world to identify the next generation of high-achieving leaders, entrepreneurs, and business builders."