As the University of Nebraska celebrates its 150th year, it is hoping to honor the families that helped it come into existence. The first of those families, the Winters, are the first to be recognized.

"I'm really proud to be part of that family," Neva Winter said. 

Winter’s family has lived on the same parcel of land for 153 years. That land was part of a land-grant from the state. Nebraska used those funds earned from the Winters and other land-grant families to establish the University of Nebraska. 

"I think it's great," Winter said. "I've had several grandchildren graduate from the university. I was really surprised, I didn't know that, but I think it's great."

According to Nebraska extension Director Chuck Hibberd, there are over 400 parcels of land and 11-hundred families that live on that land. But Wednesday was about the Winters, their land, and the historic connection it has to the state.

"I'm really glad [my family] could be here and participate," Winter said. "They love being on the farm, and we're still there."

Winter still lives on the land in Madison County. Three of her daughters live nearby in Norfolk. They and their spouses help maintain the house and the land it sits on. Winter has a fourth daughter that lives in Montana.  

The University of Nebraska also launched a new website Wednesday to further explain the history of the institution's status as a "land-grant university." University officials also hope the website will allow people to read the stories of families like the Winters whose land helped fund the founding of the university. 

You can visit the new website at