A new partnership between the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) received a $1 million boost this week thanks to the generosity of UNI alumni Mark and Jill Oman of West Des Moines.
The university-community college teaming, Iowa’s first partnership of this size and scale between a Regent university and community college, aims to help location-bound students in Des Moines earn a four-year degree through UNI.
The Omans’ generous gift will support the new program. Mark Oman, managing director of Oman Capital, is a first-generation college student who wanted to help others receive the same benefits that a bachelor’s degree provided him.
“UNI changed my life,” Oman said. “The UNI at DMACC Program will bring the same advantages of a four-year degree to students at DMACC’s Urban Campus without requiring them to leave their jobs, families and community. Jill and I believe education is critical. It is the key to opportunity.”
Multicultural students at the DMACC Urban Campus in downtown Des Moines will start the first two-year leg of the program in the fall. Degree options will include a bachelor of liberal studies (BLS) or criminal justice (BAS).
“Through their gift, the Omans are creating invaluable, meaningful change for our students,” said UNI President Mark A. Nook. “Their generosity will provide necessary support for the Urban Campus building project and help create a modern educational space to help students focus and succeed.”
Once the BLS and BAS degree programs are underway, the two institutions will develop a bachelor of applied science degree in managing business and organizations, a program designed for graduates of DMACC’s two-year associate of applied science programs (AAS).
UNI also offers a bachelor of arts degree in elementary education through online and on-site courses at other DMACC campuses, including Ankeny and Carroll.
The DMACC Urban Campus is currently undergoing a significant expansion and renovation project called Building Community. The project includes construction of a new 60,000-square-foot Student Life and STEM Center, which will open to students this fall.
For more information about the UNI at DMACC program, visit the UNI website.