Holman launches Strategic Fund for Innovation

Wednesday, January 17, 2024 - 9:00am

by Kaitlin Van Loon

College of Journalism and Mass Communications alumna Margaret Holman ('73) recently established the CoJMC Strategic Innovation Fund. The fund will allow the college to quickly react to changes in the ever-evolving mass communications industry and adjust accordingly.

Holman is the founder and president of Holman Consulting, Inc., chairperson of the college's capital campaign and former University of Nebraska Foundation Board of Directors member.

Throughout her career, she's worked with numerous nonprofits. With nearly 50 years of experience as a fundraising consultant, Holman knows there are two things every nonprofit wants: a healthy endowment and an innovation fund.

"Having an innovation fund is personally important to me because it means you don't have to wait, you can innovate right away," Holman said. "When you see a trend that is happening, you can get ahead of the curve."

Margaret emphasized the impact of technology on journalism and broadcasting. She remembers hauling reel-to-reel audio equipment around campus and tuning into Walter Cronkite once a day to watch the news.

Today's public has access to the news 24/7. The challenge students in media are facing is the need to develop a diverse range of skills in the face of rapidly evolving mediums that depend on streaming.

"Technology is driving so many things now and it's pretty much all artificial intelligence," Holman said. "The Innovation Fund is going to have a lot of work to do, especially at the intersection of journalism and AI."

The college's commitment to using AI as a tool to stay ahead, rather than replacing human roles, is a priority. Holman already foresees the Innovation Fund enduring a major workout to determine how to take this challenge and make it work for the journalism and mass communications industries.

Holman's dedication to the CoJMC goes far beyond her professional hopes for the industry. Her relationship with the University of Nebraska is deeply personal and rooted in gratitude for its role in her life and her husband's legacy.

During her senior year of college, she worked in the university's public relations department, which is how she met Richard "Dick" Holman, who at the time was an education reporter for the Journal Star. The two were introduced at a campus press conference for the university's science department and married six months later.

From Margaret's first job post-grad covering the unicameral on the camera crew for Nebraska ETV in 1973 to founding her own full-service fund-raising and consulting firm in 1991, Dick was there for it all.

Margaret thinks of herself as an "adopted Nebraskan." Although her husband was from McCook, she lived in Nebraska for only four years, her last two years of college and their first two years of marriage. Throughout their 42 years of marriage, much of it spent in New York City, they stayed close with the friends they'd made in Nebraska.

When Dick passed away in 2016, his fraternity brother Ken Green was a member of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s Board of Directors and when his spot on the board opened that year, Green recommended Margaret for membership.

She just wrapped up her eighth and final year of membership and now chairs the CoJMC's capital campaign committee. To Margaret, it's a full circle moment.

"I have to say that I really owe my life to the college, for my husband and my career," Holman said.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications Strategic Innovation Fund was established at the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit and support the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. For information on giving to the college, contact Director of Development Jeremy Lohrman at jeremy.lohrman@nufoundation.org or 402-458-1177.

Margaret Holman
Margaret Holman