COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) — Officials at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have been barnstorming across the state in an effort to connect with supporters, alumni and prospective students.

Chancellor Ronnie Green and others representing the university have been meeting in coffee stops, hotel ballrooms and high school cafeterias to discuss Nebraska's largest public university campus, the Lincoln Journal Star reported.

University officials have visited communities as far away as Ogallala and Valentine on the annual statewide tour. Green said he tries at each stop to share a small preview about the state of the university and its goals.

On Monday, Green stopped in Columbus and told members of area's Chamber of Commerce that he expects the university to enroll 30,000 students in the next few years.

He said the University of Nebraska-Lincoln has been experiencing growth, while other institutions in neighboring states or within the Big Ten Conference are shrinking.

Green also projects doubling research spending to $600 million. The university's main research focus is tied to agriculture, but researchers are also making strides in materials engineering, physics and national defense, according to the chancellor.

The university hopes to continue training the next generation of engineers, agriculturalists, business owners and others, he said. Officials are trying to expand the university's outreach to half of the state's youth through development programs, such as 4-H.

Green said he hopes the university can continue being a transformative force while meeting the needs of the state and its students.

___

Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, http://www.journalstar.com