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Spring 2008

O! what a University! INSIDE: • Holland Comptuer Center opens to global audience • CBA to get new building • New cell model could unlock mysteries

Join UNO faculty, staff, students and alumni for

Centennial Opening Week Oct. 8-11, 2008

Wednesday, Oct. 8

Friday, Oct. 10

Convocation 10 a.m. CPACS Building Dedication, 11 a.m. Campus Reception, Noon

Campus Bus Tours, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. All-University Homecoming Celebration, 6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 11 Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008 HPER Groundbreaking Ceremony, TBD

University Open House, 9 a.m. Pre-game Tailgate Party, 11 a.m. Homecoming Football Game, 1 p.m.

For more information visit the UNO 100 events calendar at Or contact Deb Smith-Howell,, or Kevin Naylor,


Spring 2008

College Pages CCFAM


Recognizing exceptional students.



Holland Center opens to global audience.



Building robots that swam like ants.



Introduction of five new faculty.



Professionals tap into the classroom.

Arts & Sciences


Group develops complex cell model.



Charting NBDC’s big impact.

A quest for quilts Page 21. Photo by Shannon Cross

Features Immigration’s impact


UNO scholars begin a new study to fill the gaps in contentious debates.

Treasure or trash?




UNO Professor Jeremy Lipschultz explores the changing standards of TV and other media.

Breaking through


Recent graduate Casey Wu lands her first job — in the Country Music Capital of the World.

Long way from home


Former Mav soccer standout Beth McGill joins an AIDS-fighting organization in Africa.


Thoroughly modern


Jill Anderson returns to her roots and to Omaha’s thriving stage scene.

Association Departments


Alumni Association in Action

UNO Alum Magazine, Spring 2008 Editor: Anthony Flott Contributors: Leo Adam Biga, Bryce Bridges, Shannon Cross, John Fey, Tim Fitzgerald, Don Kohler, Tom McMahon, Ward Schumaker, Tom Stanford, Wendy Townley. Alumni Association Officers: Chairman of the Board, Rod Oberle; Past Chairman, Deborah McLarney; 1st Vice chair, Mark Grieb; 2nd Vice Chair, Kevin Munro; Secretary, Patricia Lamberty; Treasurer, Dan Koraleski; Legal Counsel, Martha Ridgway Zajicek; President & CEO, Lee Denker. Alumni Staff: Lee Denker, President & CEO; Sue Gerding, Diane Osborne, Kathy Johnson, Records/Alumni Cards; Julie Kaminski, Staff Assistant; Sheila King, Activities Coordinator; Greg Trimm, Alumni Center Manager; Anthony Flott, Editor; Brian Schram, Business Manager; Loretta Wirth, Receptionist. The UNO Alum is published quarterly by the UNO Alumni Association, W.H. Thompson Alumni Center, UNO, Omaha, NE 68182-0010, (402) 554-2444, FAX (402) 554-3787 • web address: • Member, Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) • Direct all inquiries to Editor, (402) 554-2989. Toll-free, UNO-MAV-ALUM • email: • Send all changes of address to attention of Records. Views expressed through various articles within the magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the University of Nebraska at Omaha or the UNO Alumni Association.


Celebrate 100! campaign launches; ROTC alumni reunion; UNO Young Alumni June 5 graduate reception.

Class Notes


Moves, promotions, marriages and more. w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Spring 2008 • 3

Letter from the Dear Alum:



Until next time,

John Christensen, UNO Chancellor

4 • Spring 2008

Photo courtesy Sport Pix.

t’s hard to believe, but an event 100 years in the making is just around the corner – UNO’s Centennial Celebration of its founding in 1908! Over the past two years, a campus committee of students, faculty, staff and alumni has been busy discussing showcase events, reviewing special project proposals and compiling a yearlong calendar, commencing with our Fall 2008 Convocation. The committee also developed a special Centennial graphic that will be used throughout the celebration period, shown here. The “Central to Our City” theme truly captures our unique metropolitan mission. I’m also proud to announce that the following individuals have accepted our invitation to serve as “Centennial Hosts,” providing invaluable input, vision and direction, as well as an on-site presence during anniversary events. My sincere gratitude goes out to all for serving in this significant capacity: • Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey; • Omaha business leader, Dick Holland; • The First Lady of Nebraska, Sally Ganem; • Former UNO Chancellor and past NU President Ronald Roskens and Lois; • UNO Chancellor Emeritus Del Weber and LouAnn; and, • Union Pacific Corporation President/CEO Jim Young and Shirley. It is with great pride that I note that Dick (‘48), Sally (‘71; ‘75) and Jim (‘78) all are UNO graduates! Additional details about Centennial Celebration events, activities and information will be published on a special Centennial page that will be a regular feature of the UNO Alum magazine throughout our anniversary. That begins with this issue (Page 9). For now, I hope you will make plans to attend Homecoming 2008 events planned for the weekend of October 10-11. Your UNO Alumni Association has been working hard to coordinate several special events of particular interest to alumni. What better time to renew old friendships, take a walk down “memory lane” and see what’s new at your alma mater! Homecoming always is a great time to visit campus, but never more so than during this 2008-09 Centennial year. Come help us celebrate 100 great years, with the promise of an even brighter future.


Campus SCENE

Photos by Tim Fitzgerald Last Champs: UNO won the final North Central Conference swimming and diving championship in February, the host Mavericks edging defending champ North Dakota by 1.5 points in the HPER pool. With the win came the honors — UNO coach Todd Samland was named Coach of the Year, swimmer Laura Kemp was named Freshman of the Year and Kristy Gmeiner was named Newcomer of the Year. With the NCC disbanded UNO will compete next year as an independent.

Mav cagers also win last NCC title J

erry Bennett (in photo with trophy) scored 22 points with nine rebounds and earned most valuable player honors in leading UNO to the North Central Conference tournament championship in the league’s final basketball game March 9 in Mankato, Minn. UNO defeated North Dakota 75-68. The Mavs at 24-6 earned the automatic berth in the NCAA Division II regional tournament, which began March 15 after the Alum went to press. UNO was to face Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Champion Fort Lewis in the first round. The tournament title is the second for UNO, which also won in 2004. Michael Jenkins and Mitch Albers added 16 points each for UNO. Denny Johnston scored eight, added six rebounds and had no turnovers while playing the full 40 minutes. Besides Bennett, Mitch Albers and Johnston were named to the all-tournament team.

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Spring 2008 • 5

Alumni Association in Action

R O T C Re u ni on s et for Oct. 10-12

n AFROTC and Angel Flight/Silver Wings Alumni Reunion will be held Oct. 10-12 in conjunction with opening week of UNO’s Centennial Celebration. The tentative schedule: Friday, Oct 10 • Golden Circle Lunch Bunch, 11 a.m. (45-year alumni grads only); or, • Tour of Strategic Air and Space Museum (transportation available) • All-University Centennial Celebration, 6 p.m., UNO Fieldhouse. Includes cocktails, dinner and entertainment. Saturday, Oct 11 • All-Campus Open House, 9 a.m. (includes AFROTC offices) • Homecoming Pre-Game Party, Pep Bowl, 11 a.m. • UNO Football Game, 1 p.m. (B-2 flyover tentative) • AFROTC Social, 6:30 p.m. (Location TBD) • Dinner, 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct 12 • Brunch, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Centennial Hall, Alumni Center. Guest Speaker TBD. Individuals interested in attending the reunion can email Chuck Holderness at Or, call him at work (402-6824548) or home (402-5711557). Please try to do so before March 31. If you are an ROTC graduate but not sure if alumni records have you marked as such, send a records update to Sue Gerding at Also, keep an eye on the UNO Alumni Association Web site,, for updated reunion information and a formal registration form to be posted soon. Information on the reunion and other ROTCrelated matters also can be found on the 470 Detachment Web site at


6 • Spring 2008

CELEBRATE 100! Annual Fund campaign calls begin in April T he UNO Alumni Association in April will begin its yearly campaign calls in support of the CELEBRATE 100! UNO Annual Fund campaign. The campaign celebrates UNO’s upcoming centennial anniversary. Letters were sent in early March to current and past donors seeking donations or pledges in advance of the calling. Doing so limits the Alumni Association’s phone and mail expenses, leaving more support for the university. The UNO Annual Fund impacts numerous areas of campus, furthering its academic excellence, supporting students, fostering dynamic teaching and helping today’s bright students achieve their educational dreams. Several benefits have been introduced to 2008 donors: • All NEW Century Club Donors ($100 or more/ unrestricted) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO History Documentary DVD.

• All current Century Club Donors who increase their 2007 gift by $100 (unrestricted) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO pictorial history book AND the DVD. Century Club donors of $100 or more can receive one of five personalized mementos corresponding to giving level. New and level upgraded members are recognized in the UNO Alum magazine (see details page 46). Prize Drawings All donors of $100 or more (unrestricted) also will be included in random drawings for a Grand Prize $1,000 gift card to Nebraska Furniture Mart and for a First Prize $500 gift card to Borsheims. Additional campaign details and a gift form are available on Page 47. Gifts also can be made online at

Large crowd chills at Night on the Ice

ore than 300 people attended UNO Alumni Night on the Ice hosted by the UNO Alumni Association, gathering for the UNO hockey team’s showdown with the University of Miami (Ohio) Jan. 12. The evening began with a pregame buffet reception at Qwest Convention Center, punctuated by visits from UNO’s Power Play band and the Mav Dancers. Coach Mike Kemp also addressed the crowd, as did former Mavs David Brisson and Andrew Wong. School of Communication alumni also joined the association’s event and were seated together at the buffet and game. Children who attended Alumni Night on the Ice received free Mav tattoos, Mav beads, inflatable “Go Mavs” noise sticks and other gifts. “Alumni Night on the Ice has been a great event for us because we get so many young families to attend,” said Sheila King, the association’s activities director. “It’s beginning to rival homecoming in terms of our most popular offerings.” The alumni group watched the game in special lower bowl seating and was recognized during the game. A season-high crowd of 8,932 people saw the Mavericks lose 4-1 to the Redhawks. Now in its fifth year, Alumni Night on the Ice is the first of three major family-oriented events the alumni association will host in 2008. The association next hosts Shakespeare on the Green July 2 and UNO Decked in Mav gear at Alumni Night on the Ice were Homecoming on Oct. 11. For more information on alum- the Whitcombs, clockwise, from left, Savannah, baby ni association events visit Whitcomb, T.J., Gabrielle and Barrett.



News, Information & Activities

UNO Young Alumni hosting June 5 new graduate celebration U NO Young Alumni members are getting together again — and all UNO grads 40 and younger are invited to join them. The group’s next social event is Thursday, June 5, as it celebrates the commencement of UNO’s first Class of 2008 graduates. The group will meet from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Fox & Hound, 120th and Dodge streets. All UNO graduates under the age of

40 are welcome to join the celebration/networking event. UNO Young Alumni was formed in 2007. Based on records of the university’s 80,000 living graduates, an estimated 45 percent are 40 years of age or younger. That includes nearly a third of all graduates who are in their 30s. The group in December selected the following members to its

executive committee: Chairman, Garrett Anderson; Co-chairman, Matt Burke; Membership Chair, Angela Rushing; Social/Events Chair, Ryan Nelson; Communications Chair, Elizabeth Kraemer; Treasurer, Brad Yoder. Other 2008 UNO Young Alumni Events: Wednesday, July 2: Shakespeare on the Green picnic.

Saturday, Oct. 11: Centennial tailgate and football game. Friday, Dec. 12: Family night at the Henry Doorly Zoo. Young alumni interested in attending the June 5 Graduation Celebration or in joining UNO Young Alumni should email Alumni Association Director of Activities Sheila King at or call her at (402) 554-4802.

New year, new logo T

Mav mania spreads to Southern California M av Mania is spreading everywhere — including to a kindergarten class in Southern California. The bug began in December when Hemet Elementary kindergartner teacher Lilia Andersen sent an email to UNO Alumni Association President Lee Denker requesting that UNO sponsor her class. Andersen’s son, David, is a freshman engineering student at UNO and a pitcher for the Mav baseball team. “He just loves Omaha and the whole university life,” his mother wrote. “He thinks that people in the Midwest are very friendly, and believe it or not, he loves the weather.” But why the sponsorship? Andersen is encouraging

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her students and parents that they, too, can attend college. Colleges are being asked to sponsor classes and “Every Monday each student will wear the colors of the college that has adopted them,” Andersen wrote. The UNO Alumni Association decided to sponsor Andersen’s class, sending UNO playing cards, hats and Mav “horns.” “I have 26 students in my class and they are very excited about UNO. We go online every Monday morning to see the campus and all the activities your college offers to students,” Andersen wrote. “Thank you again for adopting my class and helping change the life of our students, parents and community.”

he UNO Alumni Association has designed and implemented a new organizational logo (above). Rich in symbolism, its most visible element is the word “Alumni,” constructed of block letters to represent the strength of UNO’s graduates. Rising from the letter “N” is the familiar Henningson Memorial Campanile, its apex pointing toward the university’s bright future. Its emergence from the N also represents UNO’s impact on Nebraska as the state’s premiere metropolitan university. The letters “UNO,” in crimson red, use the word alumni as a foundation on which to stand, a salute to the power of alumni in advancing the university. Omaha graphic designer Jennifer Frazier of Ideas Inc. developed the logo. It will be used on all Alumni Association print and electronic communications and for various other items requiring its brand.

Spring 2008 • 7

University News

Four campus posts open

Still searching s the country searched for its next American Idol, UNO was searching for its next senior vice chancellor for academic and student Affairs. And a vice chancellor for business and finance. And deans for the College of Arts & Sciences and the College of Education. Interviews for the posts began in January and continued into March. Finalist visits included campus sessions and opportunities for the community to meet candidates. No decisions had been made as of March 10. The finalists:


Senio r vice chancello r for academic and student affairs • Dr. Charles D. Hurt, former provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls; • Dr. Terry Hynes, dean emerita and professor in the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications; • Dr. Gordon McQuere, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas; and, • Dr. Suzanne Ortega, dean of the University of Washington Graduate School and vice provost.

Hynes made a second visit to campus Feb. 25 and met with UNO Chancellor John Christensen, deans, campus faculty and staff, and community members. “We have not eliminated anyone from our final candidate pool at this time,” Christensen said. No other candidates were asked to return. Vice chan cellor for bu siness and fin ance • William Conley, managing director of Flatwater Ventures, LLC in Omaha; • Thomas Johnson, vice president of Finance and Operations at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa; • John Patterson, vice president for Administration and Campus Life at the Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas.; and • Andrew Soll, vice chancellor for business and student services at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Dean, College of A rts & Sciences • Dr. David Boocker, chair and professor in the Department of English and journalism at Western Illinois University, Macomb, Ill.; • Dr. Steven Haggbloom, department head and professor of psychology at Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, Ky.; • Dr. Susan Maher, chair and professor of English at UNO; and

Serious savings from student service pproximately 500 students donated more than $95,000 in labor renovating five north and south Omaha homes during UNO’s spring break March 15-22. The students donated their time as part of UNO’s Seven Days of Service project. This year’s project also includes work at the Salvation Army community center and a clean up at the Malcolm X Birth Site. “This project allows students to apply what they are learning in the classroom,” said Kathe Oleson, assistant director of Service Learning at UNO. “Just as importantly, students learn about their community and its issues.” The collaborative efforts of


8 • Spring 2008

UNO student volunteers, Wells Fargo Bank and Family Housing Advisory Services has resulted in various restorative projects for the past six years to improve the community. This year the Salvation Army and Habitat for Humanity will benefit, as well. “Since the inception of Seven Days of Service in 2003, approximately 2,000 volunteers have renovated more than 20 homes in north and south Omaha,” Oleson said. Students in UNO’s construction systems, social work, journalism and public administration classes coordinate the program through their coursework and bring UNO students, staff and other

metro area students and community members together to give back to the community during spring break. Also participating were members of the UNO Young Alumni chapter and UNO Alumni Association representatives Lee Denker (president/CEO) and Sheila King (activities coordinator) The mission of Seven Days of Service is to facilitate the building and strengthening of the Omaha community by actively engaging with the community and responding to the urban need. For more information visit UNO’s Service Learning Academy Web site at servicelearning

• Dr. Marshall Sundberg, professor of biology at Emporia State University, Emporia, Kansas. Dean, College of Education • Dr. Tom Clees, director of Special Education at the University of Georgia; • Dr. Alfredo Cuellar, chair of educational research and administration at California State University-Fresno; • Dr. Rik D’Amato, director of the Neuropsychology Laboratory at the University of Northern Colorado; • Dr. Jill Russell, vice president for strategic planning/executive assistant to the President at Springfield College, Mass.

NU Regents approve new CBA building he University of Nebraska Board of Regents on March 7 approved UNO’s proposal to build a new College of Business Administration (CBA) building. The enw CBA facility will cost $31 million and be located on UNO’s Pacific Street campus near the Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI). Private funds will support the building project. “This project is the most significant development at UNO since the establishment of the Peter Kiewit Institute,” said Chancellor John Christensen. “The new facility will enhance the overall capacity of UNO while achieving our vision of becoming the leader among metropolitan universities. It is a project we greatly anticipate, especially as we move closer to the year-long celebration of UNO’s 100th anniversary that kicks off in October.” The building, which will be 120,000 square feet, is expected to be completed and occupied by August 2010. Students would begin using the facility the fall semester of that year. “CBA has the right combination of highquality students, motivated and talented faculty and staff, and first-rate programs,” said CBA Dean Louis Pol. “It is our belief that bringing a state-of-the-art building to the mix will result in a transformed business college, one ready to meet the needs of our business, nonprofit and government communities in the 21st century.” CBA currently is housed on the Dodge Street campus inside Roskens Hall, which was built in 1975. Other UNO departments and programs will assume the vacated CBA space. Check the next issue of the UNO Alum for updates on the CBA building.



Centennial Celebration Information & Activities to mark the UNO Centennial

University to mark its 100-year anniversary beginning Oct. 8

Centennial Celebration countdown begins he Centennial Celebration countdown has begun. The University of Nebraska at Omaha will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning Oct. 8, 2008, exactly 100 years after the university was chartered. It will continue into 2009, concluding no later than Oct. 8 of that year. Through various events the centennial celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant, and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” The theme acknowledges past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come. “We are all privileged to be a part of this great institution as it celebrates 100 years of rich history and charts a course for an even brighter future,” said UNO Chancellor John Christensen. “The Centennial theme, ‘Central To Our City,’ is truly representative of the mission of our metropolitan university. We look forward to joining all our civic, academic and corporate partners in making this celebration memorable.” Several signature events are planned, including a four-day campus-wide Centennial Opening Week that coincides with Homecoming in October 2008. Events


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Join UNO faculty, staff, students and alumni for

Centennial Opening Week Oct. 8-11, 2008 Wednesday, Oct. 8

Saturday, Oct. 11

Convocation 10 a.m. CPACS Building Dedication, 11 a.m. Campus Reception, Noon

University Open House, 9 a.m. Pre-game Tailgate Party, 11 a.m. Homecoming Football Game, 1 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 9, 2008

For more information visit the UNO 100 events calendar at

HPER Groundbreaking Ceremony, TBD

Friday, Oct. 10 Campus Bus Tours, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. All-University Homecoming Celebration, 6 p.m. (details above) include a convocation and campus reception, campus bus tours, an all-university homecoming celebration, an open house and homecoming festivities. The Centennial Celebration capstone event will be a community-wide gala in February 2009. Opportunities also will be available to participate in special collegeand unit-specific events throughout the Centennial Celebration. Deborah Smith-Howell and Kevin Naylor chair the UNO100 Steering Committee and Task Force. The university also has launched a cyberspace presence for its centennial at An information hub for a variety of events, projects and grant opportunities, it includes links to

Or contact Deb Smith-Howell, or Kevin Naylor,

the newly digitized Gateway student newspaper, to a campus photo album and to a UNO timeline. “Some great work connected to the centennial has already been done and we know more creative projects will be developed,” said Smith-Howell, dean of graduate studies and associate vice chancellor for academic affairs. “It’s going to be fascinating to see what develops as the centennial approaches,” said Naylor, UNO senior community services associate. The UNO Alum magazine will publish additional Centennial-related content beginning with this issue and continuing until the Centennial’s conclusion.

Spring 2008 • 9

Studying the big and small of immigration’s impact


By Leo Adam Biga n debate on immigration, the fence typically falls along ideological lines. Pronouncements on the issue often derive from anecdotal observations or emotional opinions rather than measurable, scientific results.

Proponents and opponents cherry pick what information they find to support their points of view. Nebraska’s growing immigrant Latino population

undoubtedly impacts the economy in various ways. But what reliable, objective data exists to quantify these effects? Not much, say UNO scholars engaged in a new study designed to help fill that gap. The Nebraska Immigration Economic Impact Project is a multidisciplinary effort of the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS), the College of Business Administration (CBA) and the Center of Public Affairs Research (CPAR). The study charts the micro-macro fallout of this immigrant wave. The project is funded in part by the CBA and the U.S. Department of Education. “This is not the panacea study that’s going to answer all the questions,” OLLAS Director Lourdes Gouveia says. “But we do hope to contribute to a more informed debate and discussion about immigration-immigrant Gouveia issues and economic development needs in the state in order to inform better policies and programs.” Gouveia says policymakers desire firmly grounded facts. “They have expressed to us the need to go beyond anecdotal information. It’s our responsibility as scholars.” The study is a way of rising above partisan assumptions. “Good data is the best myth debunker,” she adds. Project leaders represent various disciplines. Gouveia is a sociologist. Principal investigator Christopher Decker is an associate professor of economics. CPAR Director and Senior

10 •• Spring Spring 2008 2008 10

Research Associate Jerry Deichert is a demographer. “The study’s going to be reflecting a lot of different areas of expertise and I can only believe that is going to make for a high-quality product,” says Decker,

urban areas.” Variables among immigrants, industries and communities are factored. “The goal is to try to get an aggregate picture and then try to make a quantitative assessment of the breakdown as well,” Decker says. Workers’ legal status, training-education level and family size all have an effect. Some communities feature industries, like meatpacking, that depend on a sizable immigrant labor force. Others don’t. Towns with an aging, declining populace may experience a rebirth due to an influx of new arrivals. Any population surge means added costs. More expenditures may be a boost or a drag on local economies. Wages may or may not go up. As economies are comprised of interlinked sectors, Decker says the study’s digital model gauges ripple effects or spillovers from one sector to another.

“This is not the panacea study that’s going to answer all the questions. But we do hope to contribute to a more informed debate and discussion about immigration-immigrant issues and economic development needs in the state in order to inform better policies and programs.” OLLAS Director Lourdes Gouveia Mammel Faculty in Residence with OLLAS. “One of the benefits of a study like this is to get a broader picture. Having a common base, a common foundation will improve decisionmaking. If nothing else, it will focus the debate.” He says the project measures immigration’s impact in four spheres: demand (workers), Deichert supply (employers), services (schools, healthcare) and fiscal streams (tax revenues). “These four basic elements give us a reasonably good picture of what the economic impact will be both statewide and in rural and

The project, which draws on existing data from federal and state government sources, is more than just a study. “It’s a process where we’re putting together a way of looking at things that can be used again and again,” Deichert says. “It can be updated if necessary. It’s not just going to sit on a shelf.” “It’s a tool,” Gouveia adds. “This is the platform for exploring this very important topic in a longitudinal sense, so we’re able to follow-up after so many years.” A preliminary report should be completed by the summer. “This wonderful interdisciplinary collaboration involving three units in the university is UNO’s work at its best. It’s the kind of thing we can do more of,” Gouveia says. O AA LL UU M M UU NN O

University makes push into western Iowa

Reduced UNO tuition offered to 3 Iowa counties By Wendy Townley, University Relations


he distanc e on a map re mains the sa me , bu t Iow a nev erth eless is a little c lo ser now to the Univ ers ity of Nebras ka at Omaha . In an effort to increase the university’s nonresident enrollment, raise the educational level in the Omaha metropolitan area and prom ot e reg io nal ec onom ic dev elopm en t, U NO w ill off er s tu dent s in th ree m et ropo lit an I owa c ount ies t he op port unit y to a tt end UNO a t s ig nifica ntly re duc ed tu ition rates s ta rting this fall.

or reciprocal agreement model. In the Midwest that includes Through a new tuition initiative at UNO called the Metropolitan Kansas, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Advantage Program (MAP), residents of Pottawattamie, Mills and Minnesota. Harrison Counties of Iowa — an area with a population of 120,000 UNO and the University of Nebraska received the support of — will be eligible to attend undergraduate and graduate programs Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman following the announcement in at UNO for 150 percent of resident tuition. Students must meet October. UNO’s academic requirements for admission to the university. “This is the kind of innovation that has the potential to attract “This is truly an exciting announcement for UNO and for more young people to our state, while also continuing to strengthen Nebraska,” says UNO Chancellor John Christensen. “For the past our quality workforce, which is so critical when it comes to our 100 years our university has done an outstanding job serving the business recruitment efforts,” Heineman says. “I believe there are needs of students in the greater Omaha metro area. The Metropolitan Advantage Program is a wonderful example of how our dedicated faculty and staff have worked to help more students meet their educational needs at UNO.” Nebraska leads the way in number of UNO graduate resiSaid University of Nebraska President dents, boasting 41,696 as of Dec. 31, 2007. Iowa is secJames B. Milliken: “We hope this new opporond with 3,688 UNO graduates. tunity will attract significant numbers of western Iowa students to UNO’s campus, Top 10 states resulting immediately in more students 1. Nebraska 41,696 enrolled at the university and ultimately a 2. Iowa 3,688 more educated metropolitan Omaha and 3. Texas 3,010 Nebraska.” 4. California 2,737 The new UNO tuition will be close to the 5. Colorado 2,205 rates charged by the University of Iowa, Iowa 6. Florida 2,056 State and the University of Northern Iowa. 7. Arizona 1,594 Per-credit hour tuition rates UNO’s 2007-08 undergraduate resident UNO Resident UNO-Iowa Univ. Of Iowa 8. Missouri 1,233 Undergrad $154.75 $232 $224 tuition rate was $154.75 per credit hour and 9. Virginia 1,230 $349 $289 $192.75 its graduate rate was $192.75. Iowa’s MAP 10. Kansas 1,164 Graduate rates would be $232 (undergraduate) and opportunities for Nebraska colleges and universities to benefit from $289 (graduate). The University of Iowa charges $224 a credit hour programs such as this. I commend the university for helping lead for undergraduates and $349 for graduates. the way.” “With this new initiative, we believe UNO will compete well on The new tuition rate – which is offered to both new and current the basis of quality, cost and convenience,” Milliken said. “Our ultiIowa students who sign up for programs and courses specifically at mate goal is to encourage more college graduates to live and work in Nebraska. This is an important strategy for the state of Nebraska. UNO – adds up to about half of nonresident tuition. In addition to the new Metropolitan Advantage Program, UNO And one of the best ways to do that, according to studies on migraalso will offer Iowa undergraduate students in the three-county area tion, is to attract nonresident students, many of whom tend to stay an opportunity to reduce tuition even further through the new in the area to live and work.” Maverick Advantage Scholarship. To qualify for the scholarship, In the fall of 2006 a total of 274 students from the three Iowa incoming undergraduate students from Iowa must present a 23 or counties attended UNO, including 212 from Pottawattamie County. higher ACT score or rank in the top 25 percent of their high school Those three counties have a population of 120,000. According to classes. Transfer students must present a 3.0 cumulative GPA on a the Iowa Department of Education that includes a 2007-08 high 4.0 scale. school student population of 7,175, 1,646 of them seniors. More MAP information is available at According to UNO, 35 states use some kind of reduced tuition

Alumni by state

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Spring 2008 • 11

Treasure or trash? UNO Professor Jeremy Lipschultz explores the changing standards of TV and other media content By Tom McMahon • Illustrations by Ward Schumaker watchers in the early 1960s might remember married couple Rob and Laura Petrie pulling the covers tightly to their chins from separate beds in “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Forty years later, the fare is decidedly different – take the weekly bed-hopping exploits of “Sex and the City’s” Carrie Bradshaw and her kiss-and-tell unmarried friends, for instance, or the sexual shenanigans of “Desperate Housewives.” The covers are off. UNO Professor Jeremy Lipschultz has observed such changes for nearly two decades. Since joining the university in 1989 he’s researched, wrote and taught about media content, and the government’s effort to monitor it, most recently publishing his third book on the topic, “Broadcast and Internet Indecency: Defining Free Speech.” His interest began not in his family room, but in the classroom. “Students would ask questions and I started researching to get the answers,” says Lipschultz, UNO’s School of Communications director and holder of its Robert T. Reilly professorship. Lipschultz Questions and answers led to conference papers; conference papers to published articles, articles to books (including “Free Expression in the Age of the Internet” and “Broadcast Indecency: FCC Regulation and the First Amendment”).


Culture’s Push Lipschultz contends that U.S. culture is driving the media’s loosening taboos and that government is not the entity 12 • Spring 2008

that should be attempting to rein them in. He says that the sexual revolution of the late 1960s and 1970s that led to open marriage, “loving the one you’re with” and unleashed American libidos pushed its way into print and broadcast media. “Media watchers filed only a few complaints with the FCC in the 1950s and ‘60s,” he notes. Radio was an early battleground. Talk show hosts, for instance, quizzed housewives about their sex lives after their children caught the school bus. Shock Jock Howard Stern, Lipschultz says, once asked listeners to imagine a penis-playing piano man, causing the Federal Communications Commission to fine the station after it received numerous listener complaints. Yet the FCC has a difficult time determining what is indecent, he says. The agency decided Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl halftime breast exposure was; a series of NYPD actors showing their backsides was not. CBS appealed the FCC’s Janet Jackson/Super Bowl fine to a federal appeals court and media watchers are awaiting its decision. Lipschultz discusses that case and several others in his recent book. The UNO professor contends that it is impossible to precisely determine how a particular audience would judge media content. In obscenity cases, a local jury decides if a play, movie or work of

art violates community standards. But because radio and TV use the public airwaves, those media must contend with the FCC. “As with obscenity, the FCC must apply contemporary community standards when deciding if language or images are indecent. But that becomes a more difficult task when Washington bureaucrats are the ones making the decision,” Lipschultz says. “It’s a complaint-driven system and the complaints are decided on a case-by-case basis.” The FCC’s initial purpose was far removed from seeking sexual slip-ups. Congress created the agency in 1934 because radio and wire transmission signals were crossing. Lipschultz believes its focus should be on engineering, not indecency. “There is no way a five-member committee in Washington, D.C. can determine how people in Omaha will respond to a program.” He adds that overall the FCC supports the communications industry and has allowed a relaxation of standards. “The FCC wants to promote the industry and keep it UNOALUM

moving forward.” But in what direction? The path of TV content is chartered by the Parent’s Television Council, a conservative watchdog group that files many of today’s FCC complaints (and offers online complaint forms the public can use, according to Lipschultz). In 2005 the PTC reported that 64 percent of shows contained some “sexually-derived vulgarities.” Only one of the so-called seven dirty words comedian George Carlin made famous has not been heard on primetime television (when including “Saving Private Ryan,” a graphic World War II film). Three of the words have appeared in scripted TV shows. Rather than increased governmental regulation, Lipschultz’s research has led

Our Children.” One of his daughter’s friends had introduced her to Spice Girls videos. Common Sense Media spokesperson Jay Senter agrees with Lipschultz that parents should be the arbiters of what their children are watching. “What offends one family may not offend another,” he says. “Our organization provides as much information as possible about what’s in video games, movies and TV shows so that parents can make informed decisions.” Senter argues that the media industry needs to regulate itself and that consumers can influence such regulation. Lipschultz says the public can have an impact on media content by complaining to their local affiliates and program advertisers. He notes that about

“The public needs to be educated. Parents have That’s what this is really about – protecting kids.” him to advocate for what he refers to as increased media literacy. “The public needs to be educated. Parents have to be involved in monitoring. That’s what this is really about – protecting kids.” Controls like the v-chip and Internet blocks are available to parents, Lipschultz says, and should be used to keep their children from objectionable content. “Parents need to be more assertive in raising their kids. We don’t need a government nanny raising them.” Web sites such as, and offer parents guidance on navigating the media and monitoring their children’s involvement with it. James Steyer, who headed a family media company called JP Kids, founded Common Sense Media in 2003. Its Web site offers reviews on movies, TV, video games, music, Web sites and books. Steyer’s interest is personal. “I’ll never forget watching with no small degree of horror as our tiny firstborn child (age 5), provocatively danced and lip-synced to her favorite Spice Girls tune, ‘If You Wanna Be My Lover,’” he writes in his book “The Other Parent: The Inside Story of the Media’s Effect on

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television, would be considered indecent. That also pushes the cultural taboos against formerly forbidden media content. The Internet is not governed by FCC rulings. “In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Internet constitutes publishing. Publishers are afforded broad First Amendment rights,” Lipschultz says. “More recently, the government required libraries receiving federal funds to install filtering software or place Internet computers out of the reach of children. The courts have upheld such narrowly tailored restrictions. Of course, obscenity in any media form may be restricted as illegal.” But those are local cases decided by local courts. Lipschultz argues current trends don’t bode well for those wanting tight

to be involved in monitoring.

half of the ABC affiliates nationwide, including Omaha’s KETV, decided not to run “Saving Private Ryan” in 2004 because of language and violence concerns. Several others delayed the program until after their late-night news. “They were worried the FCC would pull their licenses. But the FCC said it was OK. It makes it difficult for them. They don’t know until they run a program what the consequences might be.” He also contends that the media is tamer in the United States than in many other countries and that as the global village continues to shrink, it will be more difficult to keep a lid on programming content. In addition, competition from cable networks, such as MTV, Showtime and HBO have put more pressure on commercially regulated media to push the envelope. The Internet, meanwhile, is filled with words and images that, if they appeared on

restrictions on what is broadcast over the airwaves. He says the culture has become coarser and he expects the media to mirror that change. “On television and in public places, it is much more likely one will hear profanity than a decade or two ago.” Lipschultz doesn’t offer a judgment about whether that is good or bad. “The only judgment I draw is that it is difficult to keep it from happening. But global trends, especially on the Internet, tend toward more open, unrestricted communications.” And broadcast regulations may wither on the vine. “If they don’t, the industry may be fatally wounded and unable to compete.”

Spring 2008 • 13

Breaking through Casey Wu goes from studying to working in the Country Music Capital of the World

by John Fey


photo by Tom Stanford

asey Wu can’t be blamed for pinching herself each morning when she arrives at work and wonders if it’s all for real. After all, how many 2007 UNO graduates can say they’ve already landed a dream job in their field of study? When Wu settles into her office at Warner Brothers Records in Nashville, Tenn., – yes, the Country Music Capital of the World — she

14 • Spring 2008

can’t help but be amazed at how fast her life has changed since her final semester at UNO just one year ago. Then she was studying. Now, she’s promoting some of the top performers in country music after they’ve produced their hit songs and albums. “I’m really glad to be where I’m at today,” she says. “I know a lot of people would die for one of these jobs.”

Soon after graduating last May, Wu entered the ground floor of the music industry as a “social networking guru,” which requires extensive use of the Internet. She communicates online with followers of various artists and monitors popular sites such as Facebook and YouTube to see what fans are looking for from bands. “My job is to interact with fans,” she says. “I want them to let me know what they think.” Wu, 23, knew long before she enrolled at UNO that she wanted a shot at the music industry. While attending Omaha Burke High School she was no different than her friends who listened to rock bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Tool. But her passion for music ran deeper

than others her age. “Once I got into music and started listening to all types of music,” she says, “I really didn’t want to do anything else. I realized I could make this as a career.” She got an early taste of that during her senior year at Burke by working for Omaha music organizations known as “street teams,” groups that promote album releases, area concerts and musicals through activities such as distributing stickers or hanging fliers and poster displays. That helped sharpen her communication skills and “enabled me to think outside of the box in terms of brainstorming promotional ideas,” she told the UNO Gateway earlier this year. “I think it was a good experience, and it UNOALUM

was the perfect way to get my foot in the door.” First, though, Wu had to step onto UNO’s campus. Putting her ambitious vocational goal into motion, she jumped right into her studies in the College of Business Administration, majoring in marketing. Her classes created a path for her journey to Nashville. “They made a big impact on my career,” Wu says. “It taught me a lot about the business and the back end of the business. I think it gave me a good overview of what I expected.” While classroom work built the foundation, it was Dr. Jonna Holland’s internship program that gave Wu a true taste of the music industry’s real world during her final three semesters. First came a stroke of good fortune. On a cold day during winter break, Wu was stuck at home. While surfing the Internet she stumbled across the popular Website Craigslist, an online classified ad site. Scrolling down job postings, something caught her eye. “I saw where Warner/ Elektra/Atlantic [WEA] was looking for a representative,” Wu recalls. “They were looking for an intern in the Omaha area.” After interviewing for and getting the job, Wu turned it into an internship opportunity as part of Holland’s program. “She encouraged me to go after it,” Wu says. “She helped guide me with the internship.” Holland, who places around 150 students in various internships, remembers Wu as a quiet student who worked well in small groups. That quiet student’s ambition left an impression on the

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instructor. “It was very clear that what she wanted to do was apply her skills to the music industry,” Holland says. “She used all sorts of creativity and got rave reviews from

they’re going to break into the music industry.” Timing with Wu’s next step also was impeccable. Last spring, Warner Brothers Records in Nashville had an opening for an entry-level

Problems with pirates The music industry more and more is adversely affected by the Internet. Though anticipates working in her chosen field for years to come, she acknowledges that online music pirating can’t be ignored. “It’s one of those things you have to think about,” she says. “It’s kind of freaking

out the industry.” her supervisor.” The paid internship entailed marketing in the Omaha area for WEA’s various artists. For Wu, that meant visiting music stores and concert venues in Omaha, Council Bluffs and Lincoln to set up displays featuring new releases or bands. “Casey showed she could frame her marketing skills and bring them to the table,” Holland says, adding that Wu’s music marketing internship was essential to getting her where she is today in such a competitive field. “Every kid who got a sixstring for a present thinks

marketing position. She interviewed and wasted no time accepting the company’s ensuing job offer. Nearing the end of her first year in the business, Wu’s days are busy helping to promote the company’s clients, who include Faith Hill, Blake Shelton and Big & Rich. “My job is to check up on what everybody else is doing and get there before they do,” she says. “Country music has always been 10 steps behind. We’re not really up to pace.” She says 99 percent of fans use the social networking outlets to submit questions to artists, something Wu’s office

has turned into a regular YouTube video segment for Blake Shelton. “We integrate a lot of contests and activities for fans to connect with the artists,” she says. “Simple things like having James Otto do video liners for an ipod Touch Giveaway.” Wu finds the pace of her job and life in Nashville exciting – similar in size to Omaha, but with more options. That would include events like the Country Music Awards. Wu attended a postCMA party hosted by Warner Bros., dining with one of the label’s new artists, The Dirt Drifters. Then bigger stars like Shelton, Big Kenny and Cowboy Troy began coming through the door. Kid Rock showed, too. “My girlfriends and I were trying all night to score a minute to get a picture taken with him, but I think he was arguing with some guy all night and he got away from us the second we turned away,” says Wu. “We found out later that he ran off to John Rich’s after party. I think one thing that impresses me about Nashville, is how exciting this place is. People definitely know how to live it up here. It’s a bit intimidating at first but it’s exciting.” Like all dream jobs.

See more, hear more Want to see some of the fruits of Wu’s work? Part of the UNO graduate’s efforts include getting artists to answer online queries from fans. At YouTube, Warner Brothers has created a regular Q&A segment for Blake Shelton. Find a link to it at this UNO Alumni Association Web site address: Warner Brothers also integrates online contests and other activities for fans to connect with artists. For instance, check out the ipod Touch Giveaway promoted by artist James Otto at YouTube by following this association link:

Spring 2008 • 15

Shortly after graduating from UNO McGill, far right, now holds graduation ceremonies for children participating in the Grassroot Soccer program.

A long way from home Former Maverick soccer star Beth McGill takes her shot at ending AIDS in Sub-Sahara Africa BY TIM FITZGERALD , University Relations


t’s a long way from UNO’s manicured grass soccer turf to the rock-strewn playing fields of South Africa. For former Maverick soccer star Beth McGill, the trip has taken her thousands of miles away from family, friends and comfortable surroundings to a life-changing experience working with and educating South African youth. Three times an All-American with the Mavs, McGill arrived in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, just weeks after graduating from UNO with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Since late August she’s been volunteering as a member of the Grassroot Soccer team, an international organization that educates youth about the dangers of AIDS. “Grassroot Soccer is a nonprofit organization that provides African girls and boys with the skills and support to live HIV-free,” McGill wrote via email.

16 • Spring 2008

“We use the power of soccer to connect with African youth.” McGill knows the attraction. She began playing soccer when she was just 5 — at her mother’s insistence. “This kid had way too much energy and I needed something that would wear her out,” says her mother, Maureen. Years later that high-energy output was put to use at Omaha Marian High School, then at UNO. With the Mavs she was a three-time All-American and Academic All-American, helping UNO to the 2006 national championship. She was the 2005 and 2006 North Central Conference Player of the Year and finished with Maverick career records for goals (58) and points (147). Maverick soccer coach Don Klosterman describes her as 5-foot 4inches of non-stop energy. “Anyone who can hold down two jobs, go to school, play soccer and do everything above average is pretty

remarkable,” says Klosterman. “That’s Beth. So I’m not surprised at what she’s doing now because she’s that type of person who is always looking for the next adventure and how she can help somebody or challenge herself. “We’ve never had a player work extra with soccer like she did. She was always trying to make herself better.” McGill first learned about the Grassroot program from a friend during her freshman year at Marquette University in Milwaukee. It remained in the back of her mind after transferring to UNO for her last three years of college. The program requires each volunteer to raise their own travel funds and money for everyday expenses. Grassroot provides housing. Both mother and daughter said one of the more difficult assignments was raising the money to cover the airfare and costs of living in Africa for 10 months. They came up with a variety of imaginative fundraisers, including a poker tournament, a cut-a-thon at an Omaha Garbo’s Hair Salon, and donations from Gladiator Soccer Club parents, friends and families. “I’ve always told my kids to live their dreams and make them happen,” Maureen McGill says, “and I would never put a stop to my child’s dreams.” UNOALUM

Today that dream includes the daunting challenge of ending the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, where one in every five adults is infected with HIV. According to the UNAIDS 2007 report, 33.2 million people worldwide are infected with HIV and Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 22.5 million cases. “Grassroot Soccer works primarily with youth and our target age is 10-14,” McGill writes. “The program aims to start education early as a preventative means to the spread of HIV so that youth are knowledgeable about HIV and can make educated decisions involving sex.” The nonprofit program provides an interactive learning experience for kids through four- to eight-week programs in local schools. “We teach HIV education through games so kids can enjoy themselves while learning potential life-saving information. The next step is to take our graduates and motivate them to go out into their communities and share their knowledge and understanding of HIV.” Every Grassroot Soccer program begins with a pre-quiz to assess what the children know and think about HIV/AIDS. Another quiz is given at the end of every program to evaluate the effectiveness of the program. McGill was assigned to work with more than 1,500 students in eight different schools in Port Elizabeth. “I attend school sessions every day, play the Grassroot Soccer games with the kids, and take notes of successes and problems of the day.” Adjustments were necessary. “At first I found it difficult working in Africa,” she writes. “As time passed, I have learned to adjust to the way things work in Africa.” McGill says she’s learned to relax and work with her local staff. Eating also has been an adventure. “I’ve tried several foods that I normally wouldn’t eat at home, including octopus, ostrich, kudu [a species of antelope], Botswana peanuts [worms], cow head and lamb liver. So far I’ve only enjoyed the ostrich and kudu.” Over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, McGill and her roommates explored the sights of South Africa, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Botswana and Zambia. “Most of our time was spent in w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

the Zanzibar Archipelago, where we were either camping or living in thatch huts with no electricity or running water. I loved every minute of the trip.” More recently she attended a training seminar in Lusaka, Zambia, to prepare her for establishing a new Grassroot program in the city of Richmond, South Africa. She also has been playing soccer for a township team called the City Lads. At her first game, team members had a pre-game meal of Coca-Cola and bananas with the players wearing all manner of different color and mis-

vating others by sparking interest in high school and college students to volunteer their time and talents to those in need.” Her mother already can tell a difference in her daughter. “She truly has a deeper appreciation for her privileged life in the United States,” Maureen McGill says. “Sometimes people have to go away to realize what a wonderful life we have here and how privileged we really are. I think Beth really has an empathy for the hardships of the African people and

McGill was a three-time All-American and Academic All-American who holds the Maverick record for career goals (58) and career points (147). She also was named the 2005 and 2006 North Central Conference Player of the Year. “Anyone who can hold down two jobs, go to school, play soccer and do everything above average is pretty remarkable,” says Coach Don Klosterman .

“That’s Beth. She’s that type of person who is always looking for the next adventure and how she can help somebody.” matched uniforms. Ten seconds into her first international playing experience, McGill had a breakaway from half and dribbled all the way into the box, ready to score her first goal. “I felt like I was playing again at UNO. I had done this all the time back home … piece of cake! Well, just as I went to take the shot, I tripped over my shoelace and landed straight on my face in the dirt and rocks. I stood up, blood all over my knees and face and started laughing while the whole crowd chanted ‘Mlunglu’ which means white person! After the game everyone came up to me laughing, giving me hugs and making sure I was OK.” McGill notes that her African experience has made her more culturally aware and interested in the rest of the world. “I find myself reading the world news now and I’m curious about other countries — what they have to offer me and what I can offer them. “Help is needed everywhere, and when I return to Omaha in June I hope to start moti-

everyday life there and the illnesses due to AIDS. I think she truly understands their hardships and wishes she could do even more.” McGill was only 10 when her 34year-old father died. “You need to make your life matter and your life worth something,” said her mother. “You don’t always have that luxury of a long life, so I think Beth’s made a great start in making her life matter, and I’m excited to see what she comes up with next.” What is next following the Africa experience? McGill will return to Omaha in mid-June and will be looking for work before applying for dental school. “By then I will not have had a paycheck for more than a year and I might go a little crazy when I get that first check.”

Blogosophere For more about McGill’s experiences in South Africa, including photos, check out her blog at Spring 2008 • 17

More on Anderson Want to learn more about Jill Anderson? Visit the 1990 UNO grad’s Web site at 18 • Spring 2008


Thoroughly Modern Jill Anderson returns to her roots — and to Omaha’s stage scene by don kohler • photos by bryce bridges


ob Fischbach couldn’t have given Jill Anderson a better “Welcome Home.” Reviewing Anderson’s performance in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the Omaha World-Herald reviewer gushed with praise for the UNO graduate (BA, 1990), lauding the lead star’s “fast feet, vocal chops and larger-than-life comedic skills” as 1920s flapper Millie. Perhaps the rave shouldn’t have come as a surprise, though, considering it was a role Anderson already had lived: Midwest girl heads for the Big Apple. Only Anderson came back to the Big O, returning last summer after four laborious years chasing her own dreams in New York City. It took just a few months to reestablish her career, landing “Millie” after auditioning for Omaha Community Playhouse Artistic Director Carl Beck. “I came home in June 2007 and had asked Carl for a meeting,” the viva-

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cious performer says. “I told him that I was in town and ready for some acting. I received a call a couple of weeks later and was thrilled to get the role. It was a lovely role with plenty of music and a lot of dance. It was great to be on the great big stage with a fantastic cast.” A multi-talented entertainer with credits in several genres of music and theatre, Anderson is no stranger to the bright lights of Omaha’s performing arts scene. She has performed in numerous theatre productions over the years, including a starring role in “The Miracle Worker” at the Omaha Community Playhouse that earned the best actress award from the Theatre Arts Guild of Omaha. She acted in, cowrote and produced two other TAG award-winning productions at Omaha’s Blue Barn Theatre: “Psychobilly Jamboree” and “How Ghetto Claus Funked Christmas.” She’s also worked extensively with Opera Omaha and the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival. Nationally, Anderson in 2001 was one of four singers to perform a concert presented by the New York Festival of Song at the Woodrow Wilson Theatre in the Library of Congress. The ensemble included international opera star Sylvia McNair. Her New York City theater credits include “Spokesong” at the Storm Theatre, “Coup de Graae” at Helen’s Hideaway cabaret, and “I Love My Wife” at Queens Theatre in the Park. She also has appeared on the big screen, where she appeared in a starring

Spring 2008 • 19

to test my mettle there.” Yet because of a hectic travel schedule as a member of the Actor’s Equity Union, Anderson rarely had the chance to enjoy life in the Big Apple. “I was involved with regional theatre and was actually in New York very little of the time that I lived there,” she says. “I was constantly fighting the cost of living and the stress of the city. There are a lot of difficulties and hurdles to surpass in order to be an artist there.”

“The way I have things set up now, I never get bored. I have my acting, my teaching, my music. “I never have to clock in

and do something I don’t enjoy.”

role in “Omaha: The Movie” and she garnered a speaking role in Alexander Payne’s “About Schmidt.” Anderson reflected on her career just hours before taking the stage for Orpheum Theatre’s 80th birthday bash. “I put in a lot of rehearsal time, but I still get nervous when I perform,” she says. The evening’s performance would come as a soprano singing along Broadway legend Gary Mauer, who’s starred on Broadway as the “Phantom of the Opera’s” Raoul a record 1,500-plus times. It was “stability and security” like that which brought her back to Omaha. “New York City is the hub for all theater across the country, and it really is the optimal place to be if you want to do this as a career,” Anderson says. “One of the reasons I went there was because a very cheap apartment came open in a beautiful neighborhood. I had a curiosity about New York and wanted 20 • Spring 2008

The unsettling big-city lifestyle and a yearning to be closer to home nudged her back to Omaha. “In the end, that lifestyle of traveling and living in hotels as an actress was depressing to me, and I wanted to come home and be closer to my mother and father. I come from a very tightknit family, so that was important to me. I felt extremely comfortable coming back to Omaha. It is the easiest and cheapest place to live in the world, and there are plenty of opportunities here. This city is wide open to creativity. There are a lot of talented artists here willing to work on great projects. I’ve done so much work musically and theatrically that it was comfortable to come back” Although she left the hustle and bustle of New York, Anderson still is juggling a busy performance schedule. She presently is preparing for various stage projects and performing voiceover work for television commercials and jingles. She also gives acting and voice lessons from her home in midtown Omaha, and this spring will resurrect another of her loves, Celtic music. Her former band, Beyond the Pale, was a widely popular local Irish trio that performed from the early to mid-1990s in Omaha and Chicago. Since then, Jill has produced two solo Irish CDs and performed her favorite Celtic music at numerous area events. She’ll be presenting a Celtic Cabaret at PS Collective in Benson March 14-16. “In high school a friend of mine played me some vinyl records of Irish folk music and it just captured my imagination,” Anderson says. “A couple of college friends and I got together in the early ‘90s at an open mike night and it went so well that we formed a band, Beyond the Pale. We starting gigging regularly and developed quite a following.” Anderson will be hitting the road again soon, but this time it will be on her terms. “I am always juggling,” she says. She leaves for the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Va., in April to perform in “Keep on the Sunny Side,” a telling look at the lives and music of the Carter family and the historic Bristol Sessions recordings. She returns to Abingdon in August to begin a twomonth run as the female lead Mrs. Lovett in “Sweeney Todd.” “The way I have things set up now, I never get bored,” Anderson says. “I have my acting, my teaching, my music. I never have to clock in and do something I don’t enjoy.” UNOALUM

A quest for quilts w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

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by leo adam biga • photos by shannon cross

Curator Carolyn Ducey searches far and wide to add to the world’s largest public quilt collection


maha native Carolyn Ducey hails from a family of stitchers. Thanks to her mother, she and her seven siblings learned to do everything with a needle — except quilt. That’s ironic given that Ducey today is curator of collections at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum in Lincoln, Neb., home to the world’s largest public quilt collection. Ducey now works with 2,300-plus quilts, spanning four centuries and 24 countries, in the center’s new $12.5 million

Ducey began as a journalism major but later switched to art at UNO.

building designed by Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York. The three-story structure welcomes visitors with a distinctive bowed facade of glass panels stitched together in a quiltlike pattern. The 37,000-square-foot facility, funded entirely by private donations, is quite a coup for an arts organization established just 11 years ago. Ducey, who began working there almost from its start, says the expansive new digs allow “the breadth and depth of the collection” to be showcased as never before. “The new building allows us to really explore the collection more fully, without the restrictions and challenges we had,” says Ducey, a 1995 UNO graduate. “We have the space we need now in our conservation work room to prepare the quilts with a lot more ease.” Until now the center and its rare, multimillion dollar-valued holdings shared improvised space in the Home Economics building on the University of Nebraska Lincoln’s east campus. Minus a gallery or dedicated work areas, quilts were exhibited locally on a limited basis, and then only at guest venues, such as the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery. 22 • Spring 2008

Selections traveled the world and continue to today. An increased slate of exhibits means taking a more comprehensive look at quilt themes, some of which transcend time and culture. “A lot of elements in quilts are universal,” Ducey says. The opening exhibit that runs through Aug. 17, “Quilts in Common,” juxtaposes works of different eras and styles that share motifs. “Showing quilts in a new and fresh way is our goal.” The center considers quilts from a global perspective. “There’s always been a perception that quilting is very much an American art form. It certainly flourished here like it did not flourish in other countries,” she says, “but we’re in the process of uncovering all kinds of information about quilting traditions around the world. It’s a priority focus of ours.” Scholarly research is a considerable part of Ducey’s job and the center’s mission. She puts her UNO and Indiana University (MA, ‘98) art history degrees to work unthreading the social, economic, historical and aesthetic dimensions of quilts. “A lot of what I do is to examine primary records — birth, education, social status — to find out who were these quilt makers,” she says. Ducey originally majored in journalism at UNO. She fixed on art after returning to school as a single mother. She got by waiting tables. She developed a passion for antique quilts working with the Kirk Collection in Omaha and the textiles program at UNL. Kirk Collection owner Nancy Kirk says Ducey was destined to do something in the field. “She’s very, very passionate,” Kirk says. “She always had the necessary intellect and drive. Then it was just a matter of getting the needed academic credentials.” Ducey’s studies reveal, among other things, that quilting wasn’t always a proletarian art. “Up until about 1850 quilting was really what we believe to be an upper-middle class endeavor because fabric was so expensive. I’m always intrigued with the fact the introduction of cotton into the European market changed the world in the same way the introduction of digital technology revolutionized our own age,” she says. “Printed cottons simply weren’t available in Europe. Once trade began with Eastern countries, particularly India and the Spice Islands, these wonderful fabrics came back and they really had a huge part in launching the Industrial Revolution.” UNOALUM

New machinery to process cotton and to manufacture clothes and other goods, she says, helped drive the progress of Western nations. “It wasn’t until after the Civil War, when fabric became inexpensive, we saw huge numbers of quilts being made. That’s when quilting became a democratic art affordable to anyone,” she says. Early quilts are an area of specialization for Ducey, who enjoys the discoveries she makes unraveling their context. “For example,” she says, “in the 1700s there was a style of quilted clothing that was a real rage that we know very little about and that’s something I’m intrigued by. For over a hundred years in the 1700s France outlawed the import of chintz from India and women turned to embroidery instead of quilting. So there are endless opportunities for research. I find that fascinating.” Entire caches of quilts still surface. “Sometimes it’s individual pieces,” she says. “One of our most outstanding pieces is a dated 1808 quilt by an unknown maker from the U.K. that a family had in Wyoming.” After the owners called, Ducey did her due diligence and discovered “the piece really was exquisite.” That’s not always the case, which is why she proceeds with caution and often must disappoint folks. As chair of the center’s acquisitions committee Ducey stays abreast of the quilt world. “Some amazing collections out there are coming to light,” she says. She gets to know collectors, artists and dealers. It means much travel. When not writing about or researching historical quilts she steeps herself in the work of contemporary studio artists who make art quilts designed not to cover a bed but to hang on a wall. “I’m looking for artists who are doing really fresh and interesting work we can add to the collection,” she says. Far from a dying art, she says “quilting’s happening like you wouldn’t believe.” The nation’s modern quilt movement is traced to the U.S. Bicentennial’s renewed focus on American crafts when up sprang quilt guilds and projects. She attributes quilts’ popularity to their utilitarian, decorative, expressive, narrative qualities. “I think it reflects how accessible quilts are and how they can tell powerful stories in ways even paintings can’t do. They definitely reflect their times.” Traditionally, special quilts address issues or commemorate events, i.e., the civil rights and feminist movements, 9/11, wars, AIDS victims. Quilts may be a protest or a sign of support, but they’re also familiar. Perhaps our mother or grandmother or aunt made one. “Most of us have seen a quilt or lived with a quilt,” says Ducey, who finally did learn to make quilts herself. This comfort quotient is why she believes the center will be a destination place. “There’s a draw quilts have,” she says. Helping create a home for historically and aesthetically important quilts gives her much satisfaction. “It makes me feel like I’ve had a hand in preserving something extremely important that’s going to live on long beyond myself. It’s an incredible thing to be part of.”

Learn more Visit the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at its Web site, w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Spring 2008 • 23

College of

Communication, Fine Arts and Media

UNO Art Gallery exhibition showcasing UNO Print Workshop he UNO Art Gallery is shining its printmaking within the academic Tlight close to home. From Feb. 29 environment of the UNO Department through April 5 the gallery is exhibiting “Printed in Omaha: A Retrospective Exhibition of the UNO Print Workshop.” Established in 1976, the UNO Print Workshop was designed to conduct research and teach collaborative

of Art and Art History. Artists are invited for a residency to work with faculty and students to produce an edition of multiples or series of monotypes/monoprints. The workshop’s initial focus began with the production of prints by print-

College recognizes exceptional students he College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media will recognize exceptional students from each of its academic units at the 2008 CFAM Outstanding Student Honors reception Friday, April 4. These same students also will be recognized at the UNO Honors Convocation Friday, April 11. Bailey Barnard, art history, will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in art history in December 2008. At UNO Barnard was involved with the Honors Program, Organization for the Advancement of the Arts (OAA) and College Republicans. She also


24 • Spring 2008

volunteered for the UNO Art Gallery and the CFAM New Student Orientation and took part in Seven Days of Service. After graduation she plans to attend graduate school. Barnard’s hometown is Ames, Iowa Cynthia Kuthan, broadcasting, will graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in communication, emphasis in broadcast news. At UNO Kuthan was involved with Mav Radio, the Omaha News, Phi Kappa Phi and Kappa Tau Alpha. She also interned at KVNO Classical 90.5. After graduation she would like to

makers, but today the workshop has published prints with artists from every region of the United States and several other countries. The “Printed in Omaha” collection represents one of the most significant bodies of work produced in Nebraska. Artworks range from traditional woodcut, intaglio and lithograph printmaking techniques to contemporary printmaking approaches such as screen-print, collage, and new digital technologies. “The result is a collection of prints that are innovative in approach, and the range of mediums and methods of production are as diverse as the artists themselves,” says Colleen Heavican, UNO Art Gallery director. The exhibition is supported partly by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding also comes from the H. Don & Connie J. Osborne Art Appreciation Fund and the CFAM Office of the Dean. The UNO Art Gallery is located on the first floor of the Weber Fine Arts Building. Exhibitions are free and open to the public. Gallery Hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday noon to 4 p.m.; Thursday noon to 8 p.m.; and Saturday 1 to 4 pm. For further information call (402) 554-2796.

work in production for a radio station. Kuthan’s hometown is Omaha. Becky Morine, art education, graduated in December with a bachelor of arts degree in studio art (concentration in ceramics) with K-12 certification. Morine hopes to achieve her master’s degree through the UNO CADRE program and go on to teach art in the public schools. She also plans to build a ceramics studio in her home and to pursue a career as a ceramic artist. Morine’s hometown is Omaha. Andrew Norris, music education, will graduate May with a bachelor of music degree (emphasis in woodwinds) with K-12 certification. At UNO he was involved with the Marching Mavs, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Heartland Philharmonic Orchestra,

University Band, UNO Chamber Orchestra, WW5 Woodwind Quintet, UNO CMENC, Kappa Kappa Psi Honorary Band Fraternity and the Student Leadership Council. He currently is student teaching at Westside Community Schools. After graduation Norris would like to be a band director in Nebraska and to eventually pursue a master’s degree. Norris’ hometown is Omaha. Ramon Otero, speech communication, is pursuing a bachelor of science degree in communication. Otero is a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, where he works as a military weather forecaster for the intelligence community. He has used the speech skills he has learned at UNO to brief officers, including generals, on important weather conditions for various military operations. Upon graduaUNOALUM

On display at “Printed in Omaha: A Retrospective Exhibition of the UNO Print Workshop” are prints shown here. Page 24, “Ancient Geology,” Karen Kunc, 1987 color woodcut on Kaji Natural 100 percent Kozo Paper, edition of 30; Page 25, left, “Saturation,” Arthur L. Weger, 2003 color intaglio and aquatint on Murillo white, edition of 30; right, “Uzzle,” John Himmelfarb, 2001 color intaglio on Bluff Rives, edition of 25. The show runs through April 5. tion he plans to retire from the Air Force. Otero’s hometown is Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Ashley Spessard, theatre, graduated in December with a bachelor of arts in theatre, emphasis in performance. At UNO she was involved in the UNO Matadors, Fine Arts University Student Theatre (FAUST), UNO Ambassadors, UNO Theatre Recruitment Ensemble, UNO CFAM Student Advisory Committee and Seven Days of Service. Spessard plans to continue her work using theatre as an educational tool with Omaha’s RESPECT troupe and continue being a part of Omaha’s growing theatre community. Down the road, she hopes to attend graduate school in theatre for education and community development. Spessard’s Hometown is Round Lake, Minn. w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Abby Supenski, journalism, will graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in communication, emphasis in public relations/advertising. At UNO she has been involved in the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) as the newsletter editor, Seven Days of Service, and the Mav Solutions Student PR Firm. She currently is working as an intern on the College World Series account with advertising agency Bozell. After graduation she would like to do PR work for an advertising/public relations agency. Supenski’s hometown is Bellevue, Neb. Timothy Va l l i e r, music performance, will graduate in May with a bachelor of music degree, emphasis in music composition. At UNO he was involved with the Concert Choir, Chamber Choir,

University Choir and the Choir Council. After graduation he plans to pursue his master of music degree in music composition at UNO. Vallier is from Omaha. Kristen Wheeler, studio art, will graduate in May with a bachelor of arts degree in studio art with a concentration in graphic communication arts & design. On campus she worked with the UNO marketing department to design marketing pieces for the National Science Foundation scholarship. Wheeler also worked with the Joslyn Art Museum to promote Young Art Patron’s events, and was a freelance designer on the student advertising committee for the Henry Doorly Zoo’s Omaha Zoofari Fundraiser. After graduation Wheeler will get married, then move to Chicago or Seattle to pursue her design career. Wheeler’s

hometown is Omaha. Elizabeth Weisser, Writer’s Workshop, graduated in December with her bachelor of fine arts degree in creative writing, emphasis in fiction writing. At UNO Weisser was involved with the UNO American Sign Language (ASL) club Talking Hands. She also volunteers extensively in the community. Her achievements in writing include publishing three poems in Fine Lines magazine and a short story, “Crocodile Eyes,” in an issue of Other Visions E-zine. She also creates children’s books for individuals with language difficulty. Weisser’s post graduation plans include completing her ASL certification at Metro Community College and publishing her writings. Weisser’s hometown is Bellevue.

Spring 2008 • 25

Peter Kiewit Institute

From left, Victor Perez and Barbara Carlson of Panasas Inc. present a check to Dick Holland, lead donor to the Holland Computing Center, Walter Scott Jr. and University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken to initiate “The Panasas Scholarship Fund in Memory of Mary Holland.”

Holland Computing Center Opens to global audience outed as key elements

Tin the search for

knowledge and answers that could have a tremendous and positive impact on the world, the Holland Computing Center and its supercomputing tenant, named Firefly, were unveiled to considerable acclaim Dec.7. Nearly 150 corporate leaders, scientists, academics, and local, state and national government, military, civic and philanthropic leaders attended a daytime reception and tour of the facility before gathering at a formal dinner. 26 • Spring 2008

Lt. Gen. Robert J. Elder, Joint Functional Component commander for Global Strike and Integration with the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) at Offutt Air Force Base, called Firefly “an impressive system.” “I have toured other supercomputer facilities and, architecturally, I can assure you the Holland Center is cutting edge,” Elder said in an interview. “In terms of application, so much of what we do right now, in particular regarding numerical

analysis, our modeling data to date has been rough. There are a lot of things that precise modeling can support. This Center is capable of improving that modeling. “It’s almost endless, the things we can use it for. It’s definitely a step forward. Its connectivity, in terms of bandwidth, is really impressive,” he continued. “Other centers might have the computing power, but the Holland Center has the bandwidth to match.” Elder said the Global Innovation and Strategy

Center (GISC), within walking distance of The Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI), “will definitely” put Firefly to good use. “A lot of modeling there has typically been outsourced,” he said. “Going forward, there won’t be any reason to look outside. It’s right here.” The Holland Computing Center is named for Richard and Mary Holland, the principal donors. The name Firefly indicates that the nodes and machines in a supercomputing cluster have distinct features but work together to converse with the whole, much the same as the rhythmic bursts of light from fireflies allow them to communicate with and within a larger group. Attendees received a brief glimpse of Firefly’s hardware and capability from David Pratt, Ph.D., chief scientist, fellow and vice president for technology at Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a PKI partner. The supercomputer has 150 terabytes of storage “enough to hold a novel 750 billion pages long,” Dr. Pratt said. In terms of memory, Firefly has 8 gigabytes of memory per node and 1,151 nodes, for a total of 9 terabytes of memory. “Those are amazing numbers,” he said. “Firefly puts PKI in the top eight academic supercomputing centers in the country.” Dr. Pratt referred to Nebraska as the new Silicon Prairie, thanks to UNOALUM

the Holland Center. He reminded the audience that in order to thrive, a prairie requires people to care for it and water to grow. “Information is the water of the future,” he said. “Firefly is the well.” U.S. Sen. Ben Nelson toured the supercomputer and talked about its potential to bring new industry to the area. “With the Holland Center recognized as one of the top supercomputers in the nation, more and more people will look at Omaha as an opportunity,” he said in an interview. “The educational aspect of the Holland Center is extremely important because it sets the university apart from so many other schools.” Neb. Gov. Dave Heineman agreed. “It shows we continue to be at the forefront technologically and academically, and that we are determined to stay there. PKI is an exceptional facility, and the Holland Computing Center

David Pratt, Ph.D., chief scientist, fellow and vice president for technology at SAIC, says that “Firefly puts PKI in the top eight academic supercomputing centers in the country.”

w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

will continue to move our state forward.” University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken called the Holland Center “a great example of the tremendous momentum the university is enjoying today. The growing number of partnerships (at PKI) are an indication of this momentum.” Richard Bell, chairman of the Holland Center Board of Directors, said the computing center has the power “to position our university, the city and the state to join an elite group of prestigious entities.” The dinner opened with the performance of a lively, original Chip Davis composition titled “Firefly.” Corporate executives from around the globe representing the many business partners of PKI and the Holland Center lauded the supercomputer for its potential. Victor M. Perez, president and CEO of Panasas Inc., and Barbara Carlson, vice president of international sales at Panasas, announced the company’s $20,000 donation to a scholarship fund in memory of Dick Holland’s wife, Mary. “What has been done here is very impressive,” Carlson told the audience. “The caliber of students and the contributions by the industry are unparalleled.” Anthony Salcito, general manager for U.S. enterprise education business at Microsoft Corp., stated that the Holland Center “provides the leverage to drive some real-world change.”

He noted that the Holland Center is the largest deployment of Microsoft cluster technology in the world. “Every citizen in the state should be proud of what you have here,” Salcito told the dinner guests. “(Microsoft is) honored to be a partner here and to help continue the journey.” The Holland Center also will be the first Microsoft partner to run the new Windows HPC Server

take 30 seconds on Firefly.” That impressive computing prowess did not go unnoticed. In a conversation with Dick Holland, Dr. Lee Simmons, director of Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo, related a problem the Zoo’s genetic researchers had been working on for several weeks using their own computing system. “This beast,” Simmons said, referencing Firefly, “I’ve been told will do that in just a few minutes.”

Firefly to the rescue ccording to Henry Doorly Zoo Director Dr. Lee Simmons and his research team, the first test on the project he mentioned during the Grand Opening has been completed using Firefly¸ and the results are amazing. The genetic testing done on the Zoo’s in-house equipment previously took nearly two months ... Firefly’s time (using only four of the 1,151 nodes), took 3 minutes and 15 seconds. Additional Zoo projects with Firefly already are underway.


2008. By this affiliation, the Center will be able to offer unsurpassed educational and research opportunities to Nebraska students and attract multinational industries ranging from medicine and defense to geospatial research and advanced data mining. Walter Scott Jr., chairman of Level 3 Communications and chairman of the PKI Board of Policy Advisors, congratulated Dick Holland on his vision. “I think you believe in progress,” Scott said, “and you’re starting to get others to believe it, too.” Dr. Pratt put the incredible power of Firefly in perspective for those who are more accustomed to working with a laptop or PC. “What takes three months on a Mac,” he said, “might

In closing, PKI Executive Director Winnie Callahan recognized the many contributors who pulled together to build the massive supercomputer in less than six months and obtain an initial ranking of 43rd in the world before completion. She acknowledged Gallup for selecting the Holland Center to house their “World Poll” to reach more than a billion people by 2010, and once again thanked Dick Holland for his lead gift and desire to help provide Nebraska youth with the power to change the world. *** More can be learned about the Holland Computing Center and Firefly by contacting The Peter Kiewit Institute at (402) 554-3333. Spring 2008 • 27

College of

Information Science and Technology

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Finding value working for real-world clients are, from left, Shoira Tahirova, Kevin Engelkamp, Matthew Bentz and Jan Beier.

fficials at Avantas say that when they agreed to serve

Oas a real-world client for the teams of students in the

spring semester Applied Business Simulation class, they were hoping for, at the most, a baseline model they could utilize as they determine the feasibility of taking one of their products to a new city. They got more.

needed.” The first-time class is being taught by Dr. Gerald Wagner, distinguished research fellow at UNO’s College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T). He says the class fills an immediate need to provide students with intensive, real-life experiences of creating business models.”I feel that, for the most part, we have lost the art and the science of teaching simulation modeling in our universities,” Wagner says. “We teach Excel with fillin-the-blank examples, but we don’t teach the students how to model the decision processes associated with decision making. “We don’t teach how to build complex models from scratch where they can ask ‘What if?’ questions and immediately see answers. Every application is different and everyone sees a process differently, and that’s why canned applications fall short.” In the course, student teams work as consultants with actual companies and organizations to build business simulation models using the Planners Lab modeling software. The Planners Lab is both intuitive and easy to learn,

Students thrive in Applied Business Simulation Class

Building from scratch “The students were creative and added pieces in their models that are more complex than we expected,” says Michelle Krapfl, vice president of operations and administrative services at Avantas, an Omaha company that works with health care organizations throughout the United States to provide work strategies and products that address nursing staff shortages. “In fact, we will be using one of the student team’s models as a starting point,” Krapfl says. “It’s 90 percent there, and it’s been built in such a flexible way that we can make the changes and tweak the information as 28 • Spring 2008


which allows the students to focus on understanding the clients’ needs and delivering useful results. Teams of three to five students consult and produce models for five clients over the course of the semester, spending three weeks on each project. Four clients are situated in Omaha; one is in El Paso, Texas, requiring the teams to communicate by phone and electronically. Each student team works with the same client at the same time. For example, all four teams worked with Avantas from January 18 until they presented their models February 8. The teams are reorganized for each client.

Matthew Rogers, business management; Shoira Tahirova, business finance; Robert Tisdel, business management; and James Young, business management. Tahirova says she didn’t know what to expect when she signed up for the course. “It’s a very practical class and very challenging, too,” she says. “Your work is judged by professionals, and it’s exciting and useful to get feedback from those professionals.” Bentz says he appreciates the opportunity to work with real-life clients. “It’s not all laid out for you like it might be in a textbook,” he says. “The needs and questions keep changing, and that requires a lot of quick thinking and teamwork.” Beier agrees. “Working with a team on a real-life problem is a completely different experience than you’d get in a traditional class. The real-life problems are more complex than any basic assignment.”

Student proctors Three students familiar with the software and simulation modeling, Alex Bucevicius, Josh Saltz and Ronnie Tyson, serve as proctors and assist teams with modeling needs. In addition, several faculty members and area business people act as “consulting mentors” for Networking bonus the teams. The consulting mentors Engelkamp, a senior, says workattend class while their particular ing with a variety of local clients client’s model is being developed also provided the opportunity to and during the teams’ presentanetwork with potential employees tions. The teams are allowed to prior to graduation. schedule additional time with their M i c h e l l e K r a p f l , Av a n t a s V i c e P r e s i d e n t , “Not only is it an awesome, mentors as needed. Operations and Administrative Ser vices hands-on experience, the networkEach team keeps a weekly jouring opportunities are incredible,” nal that is to be a summary docuhe says. “For someone who wants ment of lessons learned, obstacles, to stay in Omaha and work perhaps with one of these breakthroughs, frustrations and other experiences that companies, meeting these people and getting a chance to document the overall experience for that client. The jourknow each other is really valuable.” nal is due at the time of client presentations. Wagner says the students’ final grades will be largely “This is a very rigorous, intensive course,” Wagner says. determined by the clients’ feedback regarding their satis“It isn’t easy to develop a business model and present it faction with each team’s results. The consulting mentors to a different client every three weeks.” also judge final presentations, and the students rate their Dorest Harvey, executive-in-residence at IS&T and a peers within a team. consulting mentor for the Avantas teams, says the course He says he hopes to teach the course on an annual brings together the academic and business worlds. basis. “There’s a dual synergy here,” Harvey says. “It provides “I’d welcome any potential clients who are interested in insight into real-world business problems that can be eyeproviding students with a problem to solve through busiopening from the students’ point of view. And the business community gains by being the beneficiary of the stu- ness simulation modeling to contact me about becoming part of the next course,” he says. “It really amounts to a dents’ fresh perspectives and ideas.” win-win situation for the students and the clients.” Class participants Krapfl says Avantas would not hesitate to take part in The students in the class and their major: Jan Beier, the class in the future. MBA; Matthew Bentz, MBA; Wesley Brown, business “It was a good way to get a jump-start on building a management; Tim Corcoran, management information business model to analyze the feasibility of a new prodsystems (MIS); Kevin Engelkamp, MIS; Derek Jensen, MIS; uct,” she says. “It was a great experience all around.” Rick Knudson, computer science; Jonathan McDermott, Wagner can be reached by telephone at 402-554-2562 MIS; Ernie Miranda, marketing; Kamron Ochsner, MBA; or email him at

“The students were creative and added pieces in their models that are more complex than we expected. In fact, we will be using one of the student team’s models as a starting point.”

w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Spring 2008 • 29

College of

Information Science and Technology


ANTS rom tiny creatures on the ground to tiny robots in

Fspace, the research being conducted by Computer

use by designing teams of unmanned spacecraft to explore asteroid belts. Another grant, awarded jointly with 21st Century Systems by the Department of Defense (DoD-Navair STTR), explores the use of swarming technologies to control unmanned aerial vehicles and perform reconnaissance and targeting missions in battlefield conditions. “Within our setting here at the college, obviously we cannot work with unmanned aircraft,” Dasgupta says, smiling. “So we test our techniques by using ground robots.” One of the robots they utilize is called the e-puck. About the size of a tennis ball, they are inexpensive to build but the amount of on-board memory and sophistication of their sensors are limited. “The robots do not have a lot of storage space on them and this limits the amount of computation each robot can perform,” he says. “To complete a task, we must use sev-

30 • Spring 2008

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Science Associate Professor Prithviraj (Raj) Dasgupta and his students at the College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T) is unique in the United States, and perhaps the world. Dasgupta and his students are combining techniques from biologically-inspired swarmed systems with techniques from computational economics to control a group of miniature robots and enable them to perform complex tasks as a team. The concept of game theory, a branch of economics that deals with strategic decision making, and swarm intelligence, a branch of biology that studies the collective behavior of insect colonies, are the foundation for Dasgupta’s research. Dasgupta is director of the Collaborative MultiAgent Networked Technologies and Intelligence Computation Lab (C-MANTIC) at IS&T. He and his students are applying their research to mini-robots, mobile sensor platforms and other small, resource-constrained components to enable them to perform complex tasks that could not be performed if each robot had worked individually. For example, a grant Dasgupta has been awarded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) would put the knowledge to Utilizing small robots for research are, from left, Fan, Cheng, Dasgupta and Jumadinova.


GISC internship sharpens skills

eral robots that coordinate their actions with each other so they perform the task collaboratively.” The robots begin by exploring their environment for tasks. “We have developed novel techniques for different facets of the multi-robot coordination problem, including distributed multi-robot task allocation, dynamic path planning and distributed terrain coverage by the robot teams,” he says. An algorithm is an established, recursive computational procedure for solving a problem in a finite number of steps. Algorithms are the basis for most computer programming. Dasgupta and his current students – Ke Cheng, Janyl Jumadinova and Li Fan – are testing their algorithms using a robot simulator called Webots as well as on actual robots such as the e-puck and Kephera. “We simulate the desired behavior of the robots using the software on the robot simulator, fine-tune the performance under different simulated scenarios and then transfer our software to the hardware on the robots,” he says. “With a swarm, there are no real-time guarantees on how the system will behave, and that behavior emerges over time. “Because of the difficulty guaranteeing the system’s behavior, we are applying more structured techniques, such as those from game theory and market economics. Those tell us how humans behave in strategic situations, and that is particularly useful to design sophisticated robot behavior.” Dasgupta earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees in computer engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and engineering from Jadavpur University in India. Interest in the field of swarm intelligence has increased the past few years, in academia as well as in industry. Some commercially available gaming systems already use swarming, he says. “Our technology is novel,” he says. “To the best of my knowledge, other researchers haven’t considered incorporating the aspects of game theory into swarmed intelligence for multi-robot control. “The problem is not an easy one to solve and we are looking forward to the new challenges we will encounter.” w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations Jared Brower, a senior studying computer science and MIS, and Sheila Korth, a senior majoring in MIS and economics, were among 12 UNO interns with the Global Innovation and Strategy Center.


ollege of Information Science & Technology students Jared B ro wer a nd S heil a K o rt h ar e am on g the i nter ns wh o too k pa r t i n rese arc h and analys is projec ts i dentify ing pote ntial nationa l se curi ty t h re a t s o n b e h alf o f t h e Glob a l In n ov a t ion a nd S tr at e g y C e nt e r (GISC). P a rt o f t h e U. S. S tr at e gic Co mma n d, t he GIS C u tilize d 1 2 s t ud en t s representing a cross section of UNO colleges for the four-month i n te rn sh i p p rog ra m. Th e s tu de n ts in v es t ig a te d t wo t op i cs : t u nn el detection and space debr is. The student teams detailed their find ing s in several presentatio ns atten ded by g overn men t officials and some of the militar y’s top officers. Kor th, a senior ma jor ing in mana gement infor mati on sy stems ( MI S ) a n d e c o no m ics , wo rk e d on t h e t u n ne l d e t ec t io n p r oje c t t ea m . Her concentration was on policy. She calls the internship “an amaz ing experience. “ It d e f init e ly o pe n e d my e y es t o t he in n e r wo rk in gs o f g ov e rn ment, academia and industr y,” says Korth, who is a recipient of a prestigious Truman Scholarship. “I was able, both inside the GISC and outside, to speak with a lot of experts and gain their insight. It really helped shape my knowledge regarding funding and policy. ” B row er i s a s eni or s tu dy in g co mpu te r s ci en ce and MIS, wi t h a c onc ent rati on i n i nfo rmati on as su ra nc e a nd a min or i n math ema tic s. H e worke d on the sp ace deb ri s p ro jec t t eam. “ Fo r m y p a rt in t h e g ro u p, I go t a g o od , in- de p th lo ok a t t h e a e ro s p a c e i n d u s t r y a nd ho w c on t r a ct o r s an d t h e g o ve r n m e n t w o r k together, ” h e s a y s . B rower say s he s ha rpen ed hi s re port writ in g and i nf orma ti on d e l i v e r y skills. “ Once you present yo ur find ing s to a three- star gen eral, other scho ol p resentation s ar en ’t so scar y a n y m o r e . ” K orth a nd Bro we r a ls o de ta il ed t hei r in te rnsh ip s fo r p rofe ss ors a n d st a f f a t T h e Pe t e r K ie wit I n s t itu t e F eb . 2 9 a s p a rt o f t h e I S&T Roundtable Series.

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Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Public Affairs & Community Service

CPACS faculty members, from left, Peter Szto, Lyn Holley, Troy Romero, Pete Simi and Angela Eikenberry.

Converging paths people, diverse in age, background, interests and points of origin, yet their paths have led them to Ftheyivetheteach College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS). As varied as they are in the subjects and the research they conduct, they share a passion for knowledge. Each is eager to continue learning – and to pass what they learn on to others. “They are indicative of the dedication, the expertise and the talent inherent in our junior faculty,” says CPACS Dean B.J. Reed. Angela Eikenberry, Ph.D., Assistant Professor School of Public Administration ith an interest in the role of philanthropy, non-profit organizations and civil society in democratic governance, one of Angela Eikenberry’s research streams focuses on “giving circles,” groups of individuals who pool their money and other resources and decide together where to give these away. “It’s a form of philanthropy that has grown recently in the United States and now abroad,” she says. “It is a grassroots movement among people who want to avoid the bureaucracy inherent in traditional philanthropic structures.” While the idea behind giving circles is actually quite old, only within the past five to 10 years has it been recognized as a phenomenon in the world of organized philanthropy and been given its name. Eikenberry is completing a book manuscript on giving circles. Eikenberry earned her bachelor’s degree in international studies and her master’s and Ph.D. in public administration from UNO. She taught at Virginia Tech University for two years before returning to UNO last August. Through her research, she says, “I am trying to under-


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stand issues about small-group democracy, and what nonprofit and social agencies can do to address social problems. Studying giving circles is one way for me to try and determine whether small groups can really meet the needs of society at a time of privatization and government cutbacks.” Lyn M. Holley, Ph.D., Assistant Professor Department of Gerontology yn Holley grew up in Beachwood, N.J., which at the time had a population of a few hundred people. “Most girls I knew had aspirations to own a washer and a dryer,” she says. “I was desperately interested in college.” She earned her bachelor’s degree from American University in 1964 and began a career with an emphasis on tests and measurement and personnel management. She worked for the U.S. Army, the Departments of Agriculture and Housing and Urban Development, the United Nations, the Smithsonian Institution and the U.S. Customs Service. From 1987 to 1990, she served as project director for compensation and job classification with the National Commission on the Public Service (the Volcker Commission).



“I had worked devising performance management systems in seven federal agencies, at the U.N. and internationally,” Holley recalls. “One day I realized I was overseeing work done by people who had their Ph.D.s” When her husband took a job at Union Pacific Railroad, they moved to Omaha and she returned to school, earning her master’s degree and her Ph.D. in public administration from UNO. She teaches and conducts research into topics including government policies relating to Alzheimer’s patients and their caregivers. She finds her work in gerontology at this point in life a joyful experience. “I can teach and be ‘Exhibit A.’” Troy Romero, Instructor Goodrich Scholarship Program hen he was a child, Troy Romero’s parents were custodians at UNO. “Now, I’m working in a building my mother used to clean 15 or 20 years ago,” he says. An Omaha native and a graduate of the Goodrich Scholarship Program, Romero is working on his Ph.D. at UNO in industrial/organizational psychology in a program offered through the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His dissertation will examine the current obstacles faced by marginalized students in higher education. He hopes the work will one day result in strategies that improve the way at-risk students receive and are accepted for higher education. “I can relate to the students in the Goodrich program,” he says. “I understand where they are coming from, and I have seen the potential barriers that might lead them away from higher education.” Romero also is a faculty member of the Office of Latino/Latin American Studies (OLLAS), which contributes knowledge and understanding of Latino and Latin American communities and migrants within Nebraska and across the region. He is pleased to take an active role as an instructor in the Goodrich program. “My work is service-learning in many respects. I see the effects, sometimes directly, that I have on students. I get from my 9-to-5 job the kind of satisfaction that most people have to go out and perform community service to find.”


Pete Simi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor School of Criminology and Criminal Justice o determine how violence becomes central to the way individuals and groups define themselves, Pete Simi focuses his research on U.S. racial extremist groups. He has done extensive interviews, attended the groups’ rallies and festivals, and lived in extremists’ homes. An active volunteer in projects that promote safe neighborhoods and residential care for at-risk young people and adults with developmental disabilities, Simi knew it would be difficult for him to spend so much time with


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those who embrace violence and hatred. Despite his mental preparation, what he saw was shocking. “In the summer of 2004, I lived with a neoNazi family in California,” Simi says. “The husband and wife are veterans of the white supremacist movement, and they’re raising five children to become neo-Nazis.” The couple’s 5-year-old son was already saluting Nazistyle and referring to himself as a “skinhead.” He had become increasingly violent, having killed a bird and attempted to kill a cat – at school during show-and-tell. “My son was the same age as this little boy, and it was deeply troubling to see the things this kid was going through; how he had become the victim of a completely dysfunctional family.” A native of Vancouver, Wash., Simi received a bachelor’s degree from Washington State University, and his master’s and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Nevada at Las Vegas. He is completing a book-length manuscript detailing his face-to-face study of hate groups. “Ultimately, I’m most interested in research that informs our understanding of these social problems and offers ideas about preventing and intervening in them.” Peter Szto, Ph.D., Bachelor of Social Work Coordinator School of Social Work orn in New York City, Peter Szto witnessed as a child the plight of that city’s poor and homeless. Szto earned a bachelor’s degree from Calvin College, master’s degrees from Michigan State University and Westminster Theological Seminary, and a master’s in social work and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. He has extensive clinical experience working with preteens and adults with chronic mental illness. He came to UNO in 2004. “A colleague lured me here. I was living in Michigan,” he says, chuckling, “and I wanted to come south for warmer weather.” Beyond his teaching, Szto has tapped an interest in China by accompanying UNO students to the country the past three summers. He also is conducting research regarding race relations, racial identity, institutional racism and mental illness in China, and has been using photography to document his work. “I want to create a better understanding of the history of mental health and practices in China, and bring these practices to light in America. I also want to better apply the use of photography in social work, to build understanding and to enhance social work in an autobiographical form.” His photographs will be the subject of an exhibit titled, “The Floating Population in Guangzhou, China,” at the W. Dale Clark Library in downtown Omaha in May. He will be taking another group of students to China this year – and will witness how the country deals with social welfare issues in preparation for the summer Olympics in Beijing.


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All photos by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations


A lawyer, an electrical engineer, a vice-president of finance and a marketing representative. What’s the common bond? Each professional has left satisfying careers to follow a passion — teaching — by participating in the Teacher Academy Project (TAP)

Teacher Academy Project

Tapping into a new career egun in 2000-01 to increase the number of teacher

Bcandidates in high demand areas, TAP was developed

cooperatively by the College of Education and the Metropolitan Omaha Educational Consortium (MOEC). It provides individuals the opportunity to pursue a career in secondary education and to earn a certification to teach within one calendar year. Candidates must already have an undergraduate degree in a content area related to a secondary level. They can earn a secondary education certificate by completing 24 hours of coursework in an area of secondary endorsement, interning in a participating MOEC school district, and student teaching one semester. TAP Coordinator Dr. Lawrence Heck says the program typically attracts three groups of people: • Recent graduates (within two to three years) who decide to return to school; • Older individuals who have worked with teenagers and want to teach; and, • People nearing or at retirement who choose teaching as a second career. Derrick Nero, an electrical engineer and presently a math and science teacher at Lewis and Clark Middle School, decided to teach after working with at-risk teenagers. “I looked forward to tutoring on Saturdays compared to my engineering job,” Nero says. “I know I benefited from great educators and I want to give back to others who look like me and come from similar back34 • Spring 2008

A former vice president of finance, Julie Kemp now is a business teacher at Millard North High School.

grounds. I want to help these students be successful.” As a lawyer for 26 years, Richard Bollerup worked with many juveniles in crisis and with their families. “That kind of work takes a toll on you; you measure success in small increments,” Bollerup says. “I want to work with kids in positive ways. As a teacher, I can do that.” Bollerup currently is enrolled in the TAP program and is student teaching government classes at Millard South High School. Individuals who choose to pursue secondary certification begin by completing an application packet. Candidates must meet minimum grade-point requirements in an area of secondary endorsement and must pass the Pre-Professional Skills Test. They also must interview and be selected to student teach by a MOEC school district. After admittance to TAP, teacher candidates begin coursework during the summer session. Classes continue through the fall. An internship also begins in the fall; teacher candidates spend 20 hours per week working with students, faculty and administrators and observing effective teaching techniques and strategies. The capstone experience, student teaching, is completed during the spring semester. For those wishing to pursue UNOALUM

a master’s in secondary education, 15 to 18 of these hours can be applied toward that degree. Nearly 60 percent of the 140 people who have completed TAP also have gone on to earn master’s degrees. Participants agree that completing the program as a cohort is a powerful experience. “For me, the cohort was wonderful,” says Julie Kemp, a business teacher at Millard North High School and former vice-president of finance. “We met 10 minutes before each class and shared our ideas and brought these to class. Those 10 minutes were a huge learning time for all of us.” Nero feels the cohort experience provided camaraderie not found in regular classes. “Everyone brought similar levels of experiences. Also, many of the people had children. They were able to provide input from a parent’s point of view. This perspective gave me new insight on dealing with students.” Students also gain new insights. Says Heck: “The real-life experiences these teachers bring to their classes are greatly beneficial to the students.” Bollerup agrees, saying that he can bring knowledge that might not be available in books. “It’s one thing to talk to them about theory, but another to be able to explain to them how that theory affects human beings in a realworld setting,” Bollerup says. Kemp, for instance, tries to relate what she is teaching to her business world experiences. That includes blunders as well as successes. “My experience allows me to bring relevance to what I’m teaching and what the students are learning.” For these teachers, making a difference is their motivation. As a student teacher at North High School, Michelle Ricard, a former marketing representative, helped a struggling student go from failing her class to earning an A. The next fall, Ricard, now a newly hired physics teacher, once again had this student in her class. The student thanked Ricard with a cup, which she keeps on her desk. “Now I have a reminder that teaching is worth it. We do make a difference,” Ricard says. Bollerup offers this advice for those contemplating a career change, “Think about what you have to offer and what responsibility you have at some point in your life to give back.” Adds Kemp: “Teaching is the best career out there if it’s your passion. Don’t worry about the negatives. If you do something you love, it makes it worth it.” For more information about the TAP program visit, call 402-554-2733 or email w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Nero (top photo) had a career as an electrical engineer. Today’s he’s teaching math and science at Lewis and Clark Middle School. Bollerup was a lawyer for 26 years before enrolling in TAP last year. He’s now a student teacher at Millard South High School.

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Arts & Sciences Religious Studies Assistant Professor “goes home”

A Passage to India ... via Omaha r. Michele Desmarais made her

Dfirst trip to India this January, and

for this Métis Canadian from Omaha, it was all about “going home.” Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at UNO, Desmarais began her study of Indology and yoga many years earlier, bringing her passion and her research into focus with her doctoral work at the University of British Columbia. There she received a national doctoral fellowship for her research on philosophy of mind in Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras, one of the Hindu scriptures. “A lot of people think that Yoga is just about postures and perhaps some breathing exercises and meditation,” says Desmarais. “Yoga is actually one of six traditional schools of thought and practice in Hinduism. Other Indian religions such as Buddhism and Jainism also utilize yoga practices. The chief sutra, or text, for the Hindu school of Yoga is the Yoga Sutra. It contains a particular metaphysical perspective of reality that explains mind largely in terms of matter. That’s combined with an interesting and well-defined psychology and practices that aim to change one’s mind, identity and consciousness.” In addition to teaching courses in Sanskrit, Hinduism and Buddhism during the last four years, Desmarais has been writing a book that is a continuation of her graduate work — but with an exciting turn down a new path. “Changing Minds: Mind, Consciousness, and Identity in Pantanjali’s Yoga Sutra and Cognitive Neuroscience” examines the Yoga Sutra and its main commentaries. “However,” Desmarais says, “the Yoga Sutra was never meant to be just a thought experiment. So given that, along with the idea that, in this text, mind is primarily matter, I have chapters that examine what may hap36 • Spring 2008

pen in the brain of a person who undertakes this path. I have tried to be as rigorous as possible with the studies that I include in the neuroscience part of the book, and also tried to explain the very bare basic bones of brain function as well as I could, given that it is aimed at Indologists rather than neuroscientists.”

ter.” When Desmarais learned that Motilal Banarsidass (MLBD) a leading Indian publishing house, was eager to publish her book, plans to augment her spiritual and academic journey with a physical journey to India began to take shape. The publisher was so impressed with Desmarais’ work that he insisted on and arranged

“The chief sutra, or text, for the Hindu school of Yoga is the Yoga Sutra. It contains a particular metaphysical perspective of reality that explains mind largely in terms of matter. That’s combined with an interesting and well-defined psychology and practices that aim to change one’s mind, identity and consciousness.” Dr. Michele Desmarais Desmarais dedicates her book to her graduate supervisor Professor Ashok Aklujkar (Asian studies, University of British Columbia) for teaching her Sanskrit, Indian Philosophy and an interdisciplinary approach. “This interdisciplinary emphasis is a fundamental strength of the Indian tradition,” she explains. “It is also one reason why all too many people who are not part of the tradition distort it when they try to focus only on the philosophy, or the psychology, or the practice, or the religion — or relegate the whole tradition to religious studies, for that mat-

for her presenting her work at the World Congress on Psychology & Spirituality 2008, held in New Delhi in January. The Congress invites scholars in the fields of psychology, consciousness studies, Indic traditions and philosophy, as well as medical and psychological clinicians and spiritual teachers from diverse traditions to present on a wide range of topics. This year’s inaugural address, “Dharma and Governance,” was given by Lama Samdhong Rinpoche, prime minister of Tibet in exile, “on behalf of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.” UNOALUM

Desmarais says her conference highlights included meeting R.P. Jain of MLBD, Rajiv Malhotra, philanthropist and founder of The Infinity Foundation, along with people from 38 other countries, all interested in the spiritual. “After I presented my paper a number of people came up on stage to talk,” she says. “It turned out that one of them was a Canadian physician from my hometown of Vancouver. She said to me, ‘It’s my first time here, too. Oh my God, don’t you have culture shock?’ “After a second’s thought, I had to admit that I didn’t have any culture shock. I think I’ve been in culture shock with regards to Western culture my entire life.” Desmarais was invited to give two additional lectures while in Delhi, arranged for her by B.K. Goswami. She had been introduced via email to Mr. Goswami by Dr. Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean of UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology. One lecture was at the Center for Sanskrit Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University and the other for a gathering of influential Delhi women. “These are powerful women — leaders in education and business —and along with that, many of them are Yoga practitioners,” says Desmarais. Drawing her back to Omaha were Bill Arab, her husband, who keeps her “happier in life than [she] ever would have imagined,” her cats Sita and Spike, “dear friends” in the Religious Studies program and the local yoga community, her “tremendous” students, and the “truly good and decent” people of Omaha. “This seems to be one of the real gifts that Omaha brings to the world,” she says. “I go back to Vancouver now and store clerks say to me, ‘You’re so nice! Where are you from?’ And I say, ‘I’m from Omaha, Neb.’ My colleagues and students have rubbed off on me. Store clerks never used to comment before, when I lived in Vancouver, on how friendly I w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

was.” Desmarais looks forward to sharing the inspiration of India with UNO students: “Everywhere I went in Delhi, whether it was at the Congress, with the publisher, or at the other talks, I met people who did not separate any aspect of their lives or their practice from their deep intellectual knowledge of, and commit-

ment to, their traditions. For me, this was simultaneously humbling and inspiring. “I’ve certainly returned with a deeper sense of purpose in my own life, my studies and in my teaching. In a fundamental way, it all makes much more sense now. I no longer wake up each morning and think, “What am I doing in Omaha?”

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

UNO group’s complex cell model could unlock biological, medical mysteries NO’s Mathematical Biology Research Group has created a model of a cell — not the simple coloringbook cell memorized in introductory biology classes, but a phenomenally complex and dynamic cell capable of processing “tens of thousands of random combinations of inputs” taken in by thousands of chemical receptors. Analyzing the cell’s response to the different combinations may yield answers to an unlimited number of biological and medical mysteries, including those surrounding cancer.


Publication of the group’s success in the Feb. 12 edition of The Proceedings of the National Academy of the Sciences under the title “Emergent decision-making in biological signal transduction networks” marks the beginning of an exciting new stage in the group’s research. The group’s next step is to take the model into the laboratory. It has begun working with Dr. Hamid Band of the University of Nebraska Medical Center Eppley Cancer Center to do just that. Members of the Mathematical Biology Research

Group (pictured, left to right): Tomas Helikar, a graduate of UNO’s bioinformatics program, research technician for UNO and Ph.D. student in bioinformatics at UNMC; Dr. John Konvalina, professor of mathematics; Dr. Jack Heidel, professor and chair of the mathematics department; and, Dr. Jim Rogers, cell biologist and assistant professor of mathematics. The group’s project was funded by a three-year, nearly $600,000 grant provided by the National Institutes of Health.

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Arts & Sciences

Sherrets reflects on education and lifelong mission for justice olitical science alum Jim Sherrets set out on his career

Ppath at an early age.

He describes his inspiration as, “being beat up by a fifth-grade bully when I was in the third grade, and again in fourth grade by a seventh- grader. Those caused me to seek empowerment. I decided by fourth grade that I would become an attorney.” Other inspiration came from Mrs. Steskal, his fourthgrade teacher. “She taught me that I had something of interest to say,” Sherrets explains. “Like the old saying about the pen and sword, an attorney’s words in court can be very powerful indeed.” Sherrets honed that sword throughout his education. He graduated from Benson High School in 1971 then added significantly to his arsenal while attending UNO from 1971 to 1975, when he graduated with a political science degree. “I chose political science because of my interest in the law. I thought it was a logical extension of my interests. I wanted to learn more about the inner workings of government. I knew that would aid me later as an attorney.” es at UNO.” Dr. Jim Johnson, political science professor, remembers Sherrets’ experiences at UNO outside the classroom Sherrets as an original thinker and “one of our outstandalso contributed to his education. He was a member of ing majors.” Sherrets likewise has fond memories of the the Student Senate and in the spring of 1974 was elected Political Science faculty. “Bernie Kolasa was great,” he Student Body President by a second balloting. The first recalls. “Dr. Menard was wonderful. Jim Johnson was ballot was perhaps his first life lesson not only in politics wonderful. Johnson has offered the world more smiles but also in how the “law” can keep bullies at bay. than almost anyone in my career. All were great guys.” “We had enacted a limit on spending. It turned out that Like many CAS alumni, Sherrets discovthe Greek candidate drastically exceeded ered the full wisdom of a liberal arts curricuthose spending limits. As a consequence, the lum some years after graduation. court threw out the election and banned him “When I went to school, most students from running for reelection as a remedy. I was were questioning the ‘relevance’ of classes,” elected first place on the second balloting.” he says. “We all asked why did we have to Other victories for Sherrets were as a scholtake this class or that. Well, let me tell you arship member of the debate team. “I traveled as an attorney that litigates complex matters and had great success as an intercollegiate on all kinds of topics, in all types of indusdebater. I truly enjoyed the competition and I tries, I use that information. From meteorolearned much from the many speech classes I logical classes, which have helped me win took. Dwayne Aschenbrenner was an inspiracases involving hail damage and suits tion and an excellent instructor.” regarding accidents, to biology to geology to After graduation from UNO Sherrets went geography, I have used and continue to use on to law school at the University of Nebraska all of it. at Lincoln, obtaining his degree in 1978. “I can honestly say I never took an irreleHe remembers with pride the struggles of J im Sher rets vant course in college. I only wish I had those younger years. “I was aided by some understood that at the time.” scholarships but paid my own way through Sherrets especially appreciated his economics classes. college as most UNO students do. I often had two jobs. I “I have been served in both my legal career and my perlived on my own from age 17 … I borrowed enough in sonal investments by the knowledge gained in Econ class- law school to cover tuition, but worked for living expens-

“I can honestly say I never took an irrelevant course in college. I only wish I had understood that at the time.”

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Photo courtesy Jim Sherrets.

College of

es. I worked hard enough to buy a stripped down VW Rabbit as a senior.” He’s maintained his base of operations in Omaha, where he helped raise his three children. He’s also licensed in Arizona and Colorado and has litigated in 25 states. His children have ventured to other states in seeking their career paths. His oldest son recently graduated from Wharton School of Business and is employed in the tech industry in Palo Alto. His daughter has graduated from Kansas University and is employed in advertising in Kansas City. His younger son is a senior at KU and, like his father, has been accepted to UNL Law School. Complex commercial litigation is the focus of Sherrets’

practice at present. According to Sherrets, it can include “fights between business people, contract disputes, construction failures, and high-end personal injury disputes.” He has represented fellow lawyers as well as litigating malpractice cases against other lawyers. He has developed a reputation among lawyers as a passionate champion for his client, regardless of popular opinion. “Fortunately, I am no longer the smallest boy in class,” says Sherrets, “so that is seldom an issue any more. Having a law license and the skills that come with it certainly has helped me assist my clients when they meet their own bullies: the government, partners or unfair spouses.”

New Center for Islamic Studies committed to understanding n keeping with the liberal arts mission of educating students for life and for the world, the College of Arts and Sciences is proud to announce the creation of the Center for Islamic Studies at UNO. “Recognizing the growing attention to Islamic ideas as a motivating force in political action and the role of Muslims in the global community,” says Dr. Paul Williams, director of the Center, “the faculty of the Center for Islamic Studies intend to draw attention to the significance of religious, cultural, and historical aspects of Islam over the past 1,400 years and in the present. “We will study the rich diversity of Islamic civilization throughout history and throughout the world, as well as the more provocative issues related to conflict, violence and peacemaking in the 21st century.” The Center is an interdisciplinary program including the departments of Foreign Languages, History, International Studies, Political Science, and Religious Studies and is being built upon the strengths of existing programs and faculty. At the instigation of Fred Amis, UNO history instructor and community benefactor, the Omaha Community Foundation has contributed $180,000 for faculty recruiting and development, library acquisitions and student scholarships.


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FACULTY Dr. Moshe Gershovich, professor of history, will offer courses in The Modern Middle East, Islam and the West, Israel and Palestine and US and the Middle East. Gershovich is a native of Israel and earned his B.A. in Middle Eastern and Jewish History. His Ph.D. is from Cambridge University, where he focused on Moroccan history. In 2006 Gershovich (photo, second from left) led UNO students on a Study Abroad trip to Morocco. Bridget Blomfield joined the faculty this fall and holds a Ph.D. in religious studies from Claremont Graduate University. She will be teaching courses in Islam and Women in Islam. For the past five years she has taught religion, Middle Eastern studies and Islamic studies at the University of Redlands, San Jose State University and Long Island University. During the 2006-07 school year she taught Islamic studies in New York, Turkey and India as she traveled with 12 American college students. Blomfield is excited about the creation of the Center. “So far teaching at UNO has been a real joy,” Blomfield says. “A third of my students in my Islam courses are Muslim, and I’m looking forward to bringing both Muslim and nonMuslim students together to work on projects, to work for a better understanding of one another.”

Guy Matalon is the Jewish Federation of Omaha Professor of Judaic Studies at UNO and will be teaching Medieval Jewish and Islamic Thought. He was born in Jaffa, Israel, and immigrated with his family to Los Angeles in 1981. He attended New York University’s Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, where he received his M.A. in Medieval Jewish Thought. His Ph.D also is from NYU. His area of specialization is Medieval Jewish and Islamic Philosophy. Paul Allen W illia ms, assistant professor of religion and chair of the Religion program, also will be teaching courses in Islam. Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and raised in both Congo and Texas, he earned a B.A. in anthropology and Asian studies from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts degree in religion from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of

the Southwest. At the University of Chicago Williams studied history of religions, with an emphasis on African religions, Buddhism and the history of Christianity. At Chicago he earned an M.A. in religious studies and a Ph.D. in history of religions. The Political Science Department will hire a faculty member to fill a full-time tenuretrack position in Middle East/Islamic Politics for the start of the Fall 2008 semester. “The department will be dramatically enhanced with the addition of a teacher and scholar on the Middle East,” says Dr. Loree Bykerk, chair of Political Science. “Being part of the developing Center for Islamic Studies will help integrate and develop our new colleague.” The Foreign Languages program will hire an Arabic instructor as funding and expertise are available.

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College of

Business Administration

continued sales and future process savings by client companies. NBDC in 2007 also: • Served 1,954 Nebraska ters in the United States,” businesses in 189 Nebraska says Bob Bernier, NBDC communities and trained state director and assistant 3,616 Nebraska workers. dean of UNO’s College of • Packaged 176 successBusiness Administration. ful loan applications totalNBDC provides manage- ing $35.3 million. These ment and small busitechnical nesses made 10 big years assistance to their own From 1997-2006 NBDC served businesses equity investan average of 1,570 clients per throughout ments of year, those coming from 435 Nebraska. Nebraska communities. In those $4.8 million The center’s for a total 10 years NBDC totaled: boost to capital • $441 million in business Nebraska’s investment (loans and equity); investment • $364 million in increased economy is by NBDC staggering — sales or in cost savings on entrepresales; more than neurs of $40 • 29,432 jobs created/saved. $378 million million. in 2007 These busialone. Economic impact nesses generated sales of was determined by measur- $57.3 million and created ing NBDC assistance in or saved 540 jobs. capital access, sales and • Helped 423 small marketing, and in operabusinesses learn how to tional savings. The $378 obtain government conmillion was calculated by tracts and assisted them in adding increased sales and obtaining $93.9 million in operational savings, investgovernment contracts. ments in businesses, and These contracts created or the value of jobs created. retained 1,878 jobs. Bernier emphasized that • Provided process the figure does not include analysis and

$378 Million in Nebraska in 2007

NBDC’s big impact elping small businesses

Hhas become big busi-

ness for one of UNO’s biggest stars — the Nebraska Business Development Center. Founded in 1977 and one of only five original small business development centers partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration, NBDC has from its start been a leader in Nebraska and the nation. In its inaugural year, NBDC conducted more small company consultations than any other university in the nation. Today, NBDC offers more programs than any other Small Business Development Center and it continues to expand. In February, NBDC received funding to run the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange. “Important because we are the clearinghouse for all of the pollution prevention resource information cen-

improvement assistance to help Nebraska manufacturers reduce process costs by $56.5 million. These same manufacturers invested $12.3 million in their operations. They created or saved 223 jobs. Expansion has come regularly for NBDC. In 1982 it added its Management and Technology Training program. In 1996 it added its Procurement Technical Assistance program with funding from the Defense Logistics Agency and its Manufacturing Extension Program with funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology through the Nebraska Department of Economic Development. With funding from the Environmental Protection Agency NBDC also operates the Pollution Prevention Resource Information Center. No other university in the country offers all four programs. NBDC offices are located in Omaha, Lincoln, Wayne, Kearney, North Platte, Scottsbluff and Chadron.

CBA welcomes new faculty Patti Meglich: Joining the management department as an assistant professor, Patti Meglich (at left in photo) has had a distinguished corporate career as an HR director for a multi-site manufacturing firm serving the automotive industry. Meglich focused on acquisition integration and employee career development. Her research interests include workplace harassment and creating a respectful workplace. She received her undergraduate degree from Bowling Green State University, her master’s from Cleveland State University and her Ph.D from Kent State University. Jennifer Blaskovich: Previously a faculty member at Saint Louis University, Jennifer Blaskovich (right) joins the accounting department as an assistant professor. Before teaching, Blaskovich worked as a senior auditor, senior financial analyst and controller. Her primary research interests include behavioral judgment and decision-making issues, focusing on accounting information systems and auditing. She received her undergraduate degree from Northwest Missouri State University, her master’s degree from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and her Ph.D from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. 40 • Spring 2008



Class Notes

SUBMIT A CLASS NOTE ON THE WEB: 1957 Lars Weber, associates, writes from his home in San Jose, Calif., that “I found the article in the Fall 2007 UNO Alum about Miss Marguerite Keller very interesting. I graduated from Underwood High School in 1947 and Miss Keller was our class counselor. While I transferred to Underwood High School just a few weeks before I graduated, Miss Keller is about the only one of the faculty I do remember. Hence, I was quite pleased to see and read the article about her.” 1958 William Grassman, BA, was featured in the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil after writing a book, “Is God Your Final Answer?” The paper described the book as “based on scripture that describes the personality and purpose of Jesus’ birth, life and death.” 1963 Paul W. Schwartz, BSBA, lives in Brentwood, Calif. He writes, “Working full time at The Center Bank for three years while attending UNO, I graduated in 1963. Bank of America recruited me at UNO and I worked there for 30 years, primarily in Northern California in the areas of credit and credit management. I had an outstanding career, working in 15 different assignments, three at world headquarters and five in regional administration. I was most fortunate to have a rewarding and challenging career. My wife, Christel, and I have two sons. We return to Omaha/Atlantic, Iowa, annually, but do not miss the colder winters. My current job is golf, usually three times a week, and traveling. We love Mexico. Bottom line: Enjoyed my three years at UNO - but always anxious to get on with a career. Do enjoy the UNO Alumni magazines.” Send Schwartz email at 1964 Mar y K. Wise, BS, was listed in Omaha’s Strictly Business publication after being honored by

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Metropolitan Community College for her 30 years of service with the college.

demic excellence, he was a compassionate teacher. I learned much from him and passed the exam with an A.”

1965 Herb Rhodes, BA, was featured in the Omaha World-Herald’s business section as the newest director of the Nebraska Cattlemen, an association of about 3,000 Nebraska ranchers and cattle feeders. Rhodes owns American Harvest Co. Inc., a commodity trading office.

Jim Vlcek, BS, is owner and president of Vell Advertising & Marketing in Omaha. He also owns Vell Photography, is editor of Concrete News magazine and is a feature writer for Omaha Builder magazine. He frequently visits his home and office near Breckenridge, Colo.

1968 Robert N. Crowe, BGS, writes from his home in South Carolina, “Thanks for the UNO Alum Winter article sharing the career of Dr. Wayne Wheeler. I was in one of his first classes at UNO and failed the final exam on the morning my first son was born in medical distress. Dr. Wheeler understood my distress and gave me another chance. In addition to Dr Wheeler’s aca-

1969 Larr y J. Geringer, BGS, lives in Gig Harbor, Wash., and writes: “I still remember Dr. Lewis’ Real Estate Classes and our Rho Epsilon Real Estate Frat/Sor Group. I was also a member of the Pen and Sword. It was a great time, except that some of the Profs were decidedly anti-military and they knew how to put me in my place when I talked about the great life in the

UNO Flashback File

U.S. military. My GPA took a hit, but I still made a 3.0 … went on to officer training and retired as a major. Signed on at Boeing and have been there for 25 years. It’s been a blast … thanks, UNO.” Send Geringer email at 1970 Bill D. Poindexter, BS, lives in Highlands Ranch, Colo., and writes, “I was a Bootstrapper, enrolled full time from 1/70 through 8/70 after having spent years attending numerous night classes at various Air Force bases earning enough credits to qualify for the Bootstrap program. I am most grateful to UNO and the USAF for that rewarding opportunity. I had outstanding professors at UNO, and most notably recall Drs. Bill Brown, marketing, and Warren Francke, journalism. I hope they are both well and still teaching. Email him at

‘I’ll take presidential losers for $34.25’

From the Oct. 3, 1944, Alumni Gateway


By Barbara Muir oes an elephant drink with his trunk? Men in the Arctic don’t stand up rapidly because (a) their clothing would crack, (b) they would fall down, (c) polar bears would see them? If a doctor gives a patient some pills to take every half hour, how long would it take the patient to take three pills? Of course you don’t know the answers to these questions, but Omaha U’s “Quiz Kids,” Kaho, Lord, Garlough and Fore, proved that they did when they won the Nebraska-Iowa radio quiz Sunday, September 24. The radio show featured

four members of the University of Omaha faculty vs. four faculty members from Drake university, with Omaha winning, 160-140. Miss Ellen Lord, librarian, modestly gives Harry Fore, the English department, all the credit for winning the $97 jackpot question, “Name five defeated presidential candidates still living.” Mr. Fore is reported to have popped up with the last name when there were only three seconds left in which to answer. Miss Lord and Miss Elizabeth Kaho of the music department each supplied two names. The Omaha contestants viewed the radio show in different lights. Miss Lord laughingly admitted she

had a “terrible case of mike fright,” while Dr. Garlough, head of the science department, declared he was “never so scared in his life.” Miss Kaho said she enjoyed it very much after she got there, although she was a little nervous about it before the broadcast. Miss Kaho took away in prize money $34.25 and Dr. Garlough $31.25, which he plans to spend for a war bond and a book. Mr. Fore also won $34.25 and Miss Lord, $24.25.

Spring 2008 • 41

Class Notes

W i l l i a m F. Denman, BGS, lives in Port Orchard, Wash., and writes, “Since leaving UNO, I have earned master’s degrees in business management, Central Michigan Univ.; education, Southern Illinois Univ.; and a master’s and Ph.D. in Christian counseling, International Bible College & Seminary. I retired from the government after 48 years in 2003, 25 years active duty military and 23 years with the military as a civilian. I have also wrote a book, published in 2007: “Mediation - A Scriptural and Christian Perspective.” Send Denman email at 1971 Jeanne Stark, MS, retired from Lincoln Public Schools in 2007 after a 28-year career as a Spanish teacher. She served as the World Language Department Chairperson at the time of her retirement. She now has her own business, Warm Memories, where she makes memory quilts for her customers. She is married to fellow UNO graduate Barry Stark (1971). Send her email at Barr y Stark, MS, is principal of Norris Middle School in Firth, Neb., and is completing his 38th year in education. He also is current president resident of the National Association of Secondary School Principals. In 2002 he was selected as the Nebraska Middle Level Principal of the Year. He was president of the Nebraska State Association of Secondary School Principals in 2001. He is married to fellow UNO graduate Jeanne Stark (1971). He writes, “None of this would have been possible without the preparation for both of our careers through the UNO Graduate College. We have appreciated that preparation and have certainly applied that education. Send him email at 1973 Jeanne M. O’Donnell Baker, BS, lives in Glendale, Ariz. She writes, “I have been living in Phoenix for the last 14 years. I went back to teaching five years ago. I teach in a self-contained special education class. UNO prepared us well. I have 42 • Spring 2008

Future Alums

Sons & Daughters of UNO Alumni Jacob John Szatko, son of Judi and Jerome (‘93) Szatko of Omaha.

Lauren Nakashima, daughter of Andrea and Brad (‘02) Nakashima of Ewa Beach, Hawaii Tesa Jailyn Dykstra, daughter of Tonya and Matthew (‘00) Dykstra of Omaha Emelia Kay Daubendiek, daughter of Jim and Kay (Mausbach, ‘97) Daubendiek of Omaha. Addison Kayhart Walker, son of Kelly and Ray (‘97) Walker of Coral Springs, Fla. Gabriel Kohl Bisher, son of Heather and Joshua (‘04) Bisher of Oxford, Ohio. Mackenzie Mae Nissen, daughter of Mike Nissen and Kathy Mohlfeld (‘96) of Wayne, Neb. Cooper William Knight, son of Wayne and Amy (Gilroy, ‘01) Knight of Omaha and grandson of Cindy (Hollins, ‘71) and John (‘70) Gilroy of Waterloo, Neb.

been married for 31 years and have four children. 1974 Larr y King, BS, was named director of content initiatives for the Omaha World-Herald. Previously the paper’s executive editor, King also will oversee the newspaper’s web site, 1978 Thomas Kevin Hanrahan, BS, is completing his 29th year as senior staff member in the Office of the Clerk with the U.S. House of Representatives. He began as a staff member to former Congressman John Cavanaugh. Send him email at 1981 David G. Brown, BSBA, has joined

Harmony Hope Hufford, daughter of Lee (Winterfeld, ‘87) and John (‘87) Hufford of Lakewood, Colo., and granddaughter of Gertrude, ‘59, ‘67) and David (‘59, ‘67) Hufford of Omaha.

Klaire Elizabeth Wilson and Grace Rose Wilson, twin daughters of Erika (Carlson, ‘02) and Brian (‘01) Wilson of Omaha. Jacob Alen Milbrodt, son of Kelly (Stroh’02) and Matt (‘02) Milbrodt of Rogers, Ark. Brooklyn Nicole Vaughn, daughter of Kirby and Nicole (Bourgeois, ‘99) Vaughn of Omaha. Liliana Margaret Schechinger, daughter of Jeremy and Tina (Flores, ‘97) Schechinger of Papillion, Neb. Jared Allen Huffman, son of Chad and Stacy (Bowsman, ‘02) Huffman of Papillion, Neb. Bennett James Novacek, son of Shawn and Lara (Swerczek, ‘99) of Cedar Rapids, Neb.

Aaron Andrew Christian, son of Kerri and Ron (‘94) Christian of Colorado Springs, Colo. Jackson Derek Parks, son of Lindsay (Kemnitz, ‘02) and Derek (‘06) Parks of Leawood, Kansas. Bridget Irene Boster, daughter of David and Janet (Walker, ‘05) Boster of Omaha.

Submit a Future Alum on the Web: Provide a birth

announcement (within 1 year of birth) and we’ll send a T-shirt and certificate, plus publish the good news in an ensuing issue of the UNO Alum. Do so online at Mail announcements to: Future Alums, UNO Alumni Association, 60th & Dodge, Omaha, NE 68182. FAX info to: (402) 5543787. Include address, baby’s name, date of birth, parents’ or grandparents’ names and graduation year(s).

Joseph Decosimo and Company as its tax manager. He previously worked in private industry and public accounting.

XVI. Gilg is pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Parish in Omaha and is superintendent of Catholic schools. He was ordained a priest in 1966.

1982 Robert Emmett Mathiasen, MA, lives in Lincoln and was named assistant director/academic adviser for undergraduate distance education programs at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He has been at UNL for 21 years and holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and higher education.

1984 Tom Streitz, BS, was named Housing Policy and Development director for Minneapolis. He will lead the housing policy and development division, which includes single-family housing, multi-family housing and real estate development services. Streitz had served as deputy executive director of the Minneapolis Public Housing Authority (MPHA) since 2001, managing and providing strategic leadership to the largest provider of affordable housing in Minnesota. Prior to his service at MPHA, Streitz was a government relations attorney for the Legal Aid Society of Minneapolis, advocating and

1983 Father James Gilg, MS, was one of three priests of the Omaha Archdiocese honored for their longstanding and dedicated service. The three priests received the title of Chaplain to His Holiness, a title conferred by Pope Benedict


S P R I N G lobbying on behalf of low-income clients and nonprofit organizations. He was the co-counsel and lead implementation attorney in the Hollman v. Cisneros civil rights lawsuit and resulting Consent Decree. That decree ultimately established Heritage Park, the model development in north Minneapolis. Streitz also served for six years as legislative counsel for the U.S. Senate. The position reports to Christenson. Streitz lives in Minneapolis and was a Humphrey Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota, earned a master’s degree in law from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Seattle University. He is married with twin boys. 1985 Todd Fishback, BSBA, is founder, president and chairman of the board of DOCenter Inc. an Omahabased electric content management company that helps emerging to mid-market segment businesses efficiently manage and protect their hardcopy and digital assets. In January the company announced that it was selected to join the Microsoft Startup Accelerator Program. Stewarded by the Emerging Business Team (EBT) at Microsoft Corp., the program is designed to connect high-potential startups committed to the Microsoft platform to an extensive

support network that provides access to Microsoft people and programs, guidance on future directions, and support to accelerate their success. Founded in 2000, DOCenter is headquartered in Omaha’s Scott Technology Transfer and Incubator Center. Current clients include: Securities America, Union Pacific and Creighton University Medical Associates. Prior to founding DOCenter Fishback was director of business development for Custom Computing Corporation, a medical billing firm. A certified public accountant (CPA), he also worked with the public accounting firms of Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche. He is active in the Association for Information and Image Management (AIIM), American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Omaha Chamber of Commerce. 1988 Chace B. Anderson, MS, was named superintendent of the Wayzata school system in Minnesota and will assume that post July 1. 1989 Mark J. Elliott, BS, lives in O’Fallon, Mo. He was promoted to circulation director of the St Louis/Kansas City market of USA Today in December 2007. He over-

Lost Alums - 1963

Myrtle Weber Abele Richard L. Abrams Donald W. Alberti Townsend L. Albright Paul W. Allen Steven G. Allen Raynor J. Allison Wayne Allred Howard J. Andersen Walter C. Anhalt James Antink Rolland D. Appleton George W. Arnold Noel H. Assink Michael V. Aurigemma Maynard A. Austin James B. Avery John J. Baie Claude W. Baker James C. Bales Floyd E. Bales Carol A. Ehinger Barrow JoAnne M. Bates Richard A. Baynard Paul F. Beavers Arthur H. Beeck Aldorien E. Belisle Joseph F. Bellochi

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Reginald M. Beuttel Robert T. Bianchi Tom L. Bing Albert A. Bishop James L Blackburn E. J. Blank Ralph P. Bliss Thelma Springer Boe Frank T. Bogdanowicz James H. Bogert Joseph C. Boggs Stanley G. Borjesson Frederick A. Borman Robert H. Boulware Robert N. Bowers Richmond T. Boykin Courtland R. Braden Bruce H. Bradfield Sidney C. Bradfield Gerald P. Bradley Edward S. Bramson Harold H. Brandt Howard H. Braunstein George F. Brennan Joseph T. Breunig Douglas A. Brigden Dennis L. Briggs James L. Briley Paul A. Brinkman

James G. Brooks Joseph I. Brown Lawrence E. Brown Arthur E. Brown Robert E. Brown Albert Francis Brunelle John W. Bryson Mattie L. Buettner Ann E. Buis Patricia L. Burke Patrick W. Burke Roland C. Byers Laurence G. Byrnes Richard N. Campany Edward A. Carrigo Victor J. Ceryanec Lloyd F. Childers Donald W. Christian Fred J. Christman John N. Christolos Orville W. Clancy Donald J. Clemens Charles M. Coin Juan A. Colon Carlton Black Colquitt James W. Colton Harbin A. Constance John D. Counselman Norman W. Crawford

sees a circulation budget and staff which distributes newspapers throughout nine Midwest states. His office is in St Louis. Send Elliott email at Bill Thompson, MS, is superintendent of schools for Kimball Schools in Kimball, S.D. He and his wife, Vicki, have five children. 1991 Cynthia L. Buettner, BSBA, was listed in Omaha’s Strictly Business publication after joining Anderson Partners advertising agency as a copywriter/producer. Roger L. Grandgenett II, BA, was announced as the newest shareholder with the Las Vegas office of Littler Mendelson. Grandgenett advises and represents employers in all aspects of labor and employment matters. With nearly 700 attorneys in offices throughout the United States, Littler Mendelson is the nation’s largest law firm dedicated exclusively to the representation of employers in employment, labor and benefits matters. Grandgenett received his J.D. from the University of Kansas School of Law in 1994. He was an adjunct professor at the Community College of Southern Nevada and he serves as editor for the Clark County Bar Association’s Legal

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Journal, Communiqué. Mr. Grandgenett is admitted to practice in Nevada, California, and Nebraska. Jody Woodworth, MA, was been promoted to vice president of academic affairs for Clarkson College in Omaha. Woodworth, who has been with the college for more than 11 years, previously served as dean of Health Care Business and Allied Health. In her new role she will oversee the areas of nursing, allied health and health care administration and professional development. Woodworth received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska Medical Center in nuclear medicine and technology. She currently is working on her P.h.D at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln. 1993 Carol Scott, MSW, received the Leahgreta Spears Career Achievement Award from the Iowa School Social Workers Association. Scott has served as board member, secretary and president of ISSWA. She has planned several conferences, including the 10-state Midwest conference, and has been an advocate for school social workers in Iowa, the Midwest and nationally. She works for Prairie Lakes, AEA, in Storm Lake, Iowa and resides in Hinton, Iowa.

Help us find these “Lost Alums” from the Class of 1963. Send news of their whereabouts to

Ray T. Creech Robert K. Crouch Helen Ann Crouter Gary L. Culton Robert L. Curnow Arthur A. Dalone Russell A. Dalton Wesley E. Daniels Vera E. Davidson Jeff W. Davis Melvin Ted Davis Frank Raymond Davis Robert H. Davis Mitchell C. Davitt Ronald E. Delance David F. Dennis Roger L. Deslilets Edward H. Dey Angelo J. Diesu Wallace R. Dietderich Dennis R. Dippold Kenneth E. Dohleman Merle D. Donaldson Roger P. Dooley Larry J. Dostal Ferdinand A. Dostal Susan A Johnson Draney Herman J. Dube

Octavus Dulaney Mary Jeannine Mullen Dunbier Florence R. Durkee James E. Edwards Albert Elias John E. Fahey Mary J. Buck Fallen Carlo Jospeh Ferraro Lula M. Finch Charles B. Findley Gene A. Finkler Gretchen Fischer Fischer-Hopper Merle N. Fister Hewell D. Fleming Cherie J. Fogarty Howard R. Foster Thomas J. Fournier John C Fout Camille Parrillo Freed Eugene H. Freeman Helen Shuput Fritsch John F. Fuller John C. Gaines Tommy L. Galyon Imo Gash James H. Gentry Lewis M. Gettings

Wilma S. Gibbons James V. Gibson William Giese Philip B. Gilbert Gilbert M. Golis Edwin F. Goodrich M. E. Gordon Louis F Gorr Grover C. Graves Fletcher D. Grentzenberg James E. Grice Warren E. Griffin Joseph K. Griffis William J. Grossmiller Donald G. Gurney Mary L. Hale Richard Haley Robert Lewis Halla Keith C. Hanna Jon D. Hannum Harold E. Hansen David H. Harb Jeanne Rodgers Harbin John R. Harding Dennis J. Harrison Jay N. Hartman Robert N. Havard

Dale A. Hawkins Neal E. Heffernan Gary R. Heffner Guy F. Hellwege Norman A. Henderson Joseph S. Henderson Kenneth P. Henderson Clarence D. Henington John J. Herbert Edison V. Hoey Warren L. Hoffman Robert S. Holmes Flloyd T. Honeycutt Anna F. Hooker Joseph R. Horton Herbert B. Howard Orville J. Howells John Hubner Van Hunn Eldon W. Hunt Gary L. Hurley Verlan E. Huth Douglas P. Hyatt R. Charles Hyde Polly Ibatuan Francis G. Immler Dorcas D Scollay Irwin Paul H. Jacob Arthur C. Jepson

Spring 2008 • 43

Class Notes

1996 Kathy I. Mohlfeld, MSW, lives in Wayne, Neb., and writes that she and her husband, Mike Nissen, in December welcomed a second daughter, Mackenzie Mae Nissen. Kathy is employed at Wayne State College as a licensed counselor and academic advisor.

Mitch Carl, BS, was featured in the Omaha World-Herald in January for his work as aquarium supervisor at the Henry Doorly Zoo. In 2006 he was part of an international team of scientists and aquarium specialists who attempted to establish captive populations of elkhorn coral, using eggs and sperm gathered in the wild. Carl’s batch fared the best in testing. About 90 percent of the world elkhorn coral, noted the World-Herald, has disappeared over the past 20 years. 1998 Eric H. Shanks, MPA, lives in Lincoln, Neb., and sends this Class Note: “I am in my second year of UNL political science program (studying public Policy and American government). I am teaching Black and American politics. My dissertation asks whether civil wars have lasting effects on individual levels of trust in government. I am also corresponding with other scholars on a project that is

Class Notes

exploring biological links between affect, perception and trust in government. I am currently employed as the Public Health Emergency Response coordinator for Southeastern Nebraska through a Homeland Security Grant at the Lincoln/Lancaster County Health Department.” Send Shanks email at Tugba Kalafatoglu, BA, lives in Istanbul, Turkey, and was included in “Who’s Who in the World 2008,” which distinguishes her as one of the leading achievers from around the world. Kalafatoglu demonstrated outstanding achievement in the field of politics, law and business and contributed significantly to the betterment of contemporary society. She also was selected in 2006 and 2007. Send her email at

Anthony Ray Turner, BM, lives in Chicago and writes, “Class Note: Much success to all UNO students, alumni and staff!” Send him email at 2000 Jason Hamman, BGS, was featured in the Express newspaper of Red Oak, Iowa, after being awarded the Bronze Star in Iraq. He served as the Joint Defense Operations Center battle captain in support of

Operation Iraqi Freedom Army operations. 2001 Jeff Leanna, BS, lives in Omaha and notes that he has taken a leave of absence from Washington, D.C.,-based FieldWorks, a political consulting firm, to manage an atlarge, statewide Congressional campaign in Anchorage, Alaska. Leanna earned an MPA from UNO in 2005. Send him email at 2004 Joshua R. Bisher, MA, lives in Oxford, Ohio, and notes that he and wife, Heather, in November welcomed a son, Gabriel Kohl. Both parents work for Miami University in Oxford, OH. Send him email at Andrew Ash, BSBA, was listed in Omaha’s Strictly Business publication after being named property manager for Investors Reality Inc. Prior to joining Investors Realty he managed and leased retail property in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota.

viously worked for three-plus years as event and vendor manager for a corporate event planning company. As a volunteer she has assisted with River City Roundup for 10 years, most recently serving as a member of the corporate ticket committee. She’s also served as a Douglas County Fair Superintendent and is a member of the Omaha Jaycees serving as an area representative for Teens CoChair and Youth for Understanding. 2007 James Wood, BS, was featured in the Republican newspaper of Imperial, Neb., after premiering in his first film, “7 Minutes,” which debuted last June. The movie centers on a college wrestling program. Wood, a former state champion who also wrestled for UNO, currently is studying at the New York Film Academy. Katrinka Kocourek, BGS, was featured in the Council Bluffs Daily Nonpareil for her role with Project Diva, a nonprofit freelance dance company she founded in 2005. Kocourek is the company’s artistic director and choreographer.

2006 Meghan Spence, joined the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben Foundation as event coordinator for Ak-SarBen’s River City Roundup. She pre-

Submit your class note over the web at

What have you been doing since graduating from UNO? Your fellow alumni would like to know! Give us an update by filling out the form below. We’ll publish the news in a future issue of the UNO Alum and on our website. Send the news to Class Notes Editor, UNO Alum, 67th & Dodge, Omaha, NE 68182-0010, or Fax to (402) 554-3787.


Employer ___________________________________

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Phone_____________________________ E-mail_________________________________________ May we post your email address in the next Alum?

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44 • Spring 2008

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_______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________ _______________________________________________


In Memoriam

1930 Earl E. Erwin 1935 Wyman “Woody” M. Woodyard 1936 Leslie D. McClelland 1937 Elaine J. Corkin Miller 1938 Elizabeth C. McCluskey 1942 Maurine Brown Durand 1943 Karnie M. Sundell 1945 John A. Olson Ann E. Tichy Van Valin 1947 Frank J. Hanna Leslie M. Ward, Jr. 1949 Patsy H. Brown 1950 Ray Schmidt John M. “Jack” Tollinger Harry J. Polacek 1951 Kathryn Loukas McLaughlin 1952 Mary E. Carey Bailey James C. Krin Philp M. Wellman 1953 William C. Borowiak Donald L. Peters Bette G. Erickson 1954 Anton J. Kasun 1955 Arnold G. Kaiman 1956 David L. Evans, Jr. 1957 Henry H. English Mark F. Holland Donald E. Stiles 1958 David C. Feiler James H. Reed James W. Thomas 1959 Mary M. Moore Allen Charles C. Allison Kenneth H. Christensen Lillian B. Guthrie Alma E. Kemble Hughes Elizabeth Betty Hillman Sharer Jack Stiss 1960 Delores Kay Henry H. McKee 1961 Hugh J. Bickerstaff Clyde S. DeLong, Jr. Lowell E. Oder Mylon J. Stelling 1962 Gordon B. Hermanson

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1962 Evelyn M. Hougland John M. House III Norris A. Johnson Manfred Kelman Francis S. Logan Veryle D. Lund Robert L. Sickler 1963 Dennis J. Allen Earle P. Brown Amelia “Amy” Saunto Damme Gordon F. Ferris Harry E. Gibb Thomas H. Goninion Peter M. Graff Angelo Grills Jack C. Haslanger Champ C. Hawkins Eleanor J. Holmok Donna Mae Anderson Johnson Robert H. Kleinfelder Donald Vincent Torbett James R. Vance Earle P. Brown 1964 Ronald L. Walker H. Allen Childress Robert C. Fischer Richard “Dick” R. Fletcher Leonard Folk Terrell H. Foster Sidney L. Fouts Charles B. Glasscock Harry S. Glendenning, Sr Ralph V. Gonzales David M. Goode, Jr. Edward J. Gotthelf III Peter G. Grasser Julian H. Hall George E. Haripar Scotty L. Hatch John J. Hill Clyde W. Hunter Robert D. Janca George E. Tsongranis 1965 Richard B. Edelen Charles L. Ekblad Jerold L. Eustace

1965 Dennis R. Fanning Markwell A. Fletcher, Jr. Kenneth B. Floto Douglass E. Glinski Harry A. Goodall John W. Halsey Joseph F. Hamilton Arthur A. Hoy Charles M. Hunter Jack Hurley Robert L. Johnson Henry J. Victor 1966 Lester A. Erikson Lois Joan George Benjamin F. Guiles Joseph M. Haber Hubert M. Hatley Charles M. Henderson Clarence B. Henderson George A. Horseman Paul P. Hoza John Huncharek Claude T. Ivey Ramon S. Jeska Hervey E. Keator Donald P. Russell Donald W. Shankle Robert C. Cope 1967 Donald E. Deyarmin Richard B. Erickson William S. Hinton Francis L. Hoch Wallace D. Horton 1968 David C. Buman William H. Fogel Walter J. Ganevsky Muril V. D. Garten William H. Gollnick Thomas L. Hauer Lois A. Heitman David J. Rak 1969 Herbert E. Grabau George “Buddy” S. Koziol Kurt S. Peterson Lee A. Phelps Patrick Orin Smith 1970 Elton D. Clay Nicholas G. Hlywa George M. Jones Edward F. McManus 1971 James L. Kincaid

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1971 Kathleen L. Klemme Ellermeier Donald R. Hempel Olen Russel 1972 Carl D. Lange Gregory K. Primmer 1973 Leslie L. Close Lilia D. Rivera Cruz Kathleen A. Frede Marjorie I. Clark Hoffman Stephen B. Lee Robert J. McMahon Paul D. Merritt Thomas P. Morgan John F. Rebolt 1974 Walter M. Coble Shirley J. Simmons John P. Stapleton 1975 Charles R. Bercaw Patrick R. Gillen Mary C. Walsh Blum Hills Karen L. Hoffman 1976 Craig Ruble 1977 Lawrence Bele 1978 John M. Brooks 1982 Cynthia R. Brown Ramsey Swoopes 1984 Kimberly M. Dahlgren Engstrom Keith L. Cieri 1985 Louise C. Spire Michael W. Winslow 1986 Salvatore L. Shadlow 1989 Gayle A. Genovesi 1990 Garrett A. Burton 1991 Gary J. Udron 1994 Brad K. Hofman 1999 Matthew P. Brester Tony T. McCormick 2000 Richard A. Barry 2007 Christopher J. Rudloff

In Memoriam Notices Send notice of deceased alumni to Director of Records Sue Gerding, 6705 Dodge St., Omaha, NE 68182. Call with information toll-free at UNOMAV-ALUM (866-628-2586). Send email notices to sgerding

Spring 2008 • 45

UNO Century Club he UNO Century Club was inaugurated in 1973 with 44 charter members as the Alumni Association’s premiere giving society. Today, membership includes thousands of donors. Membership consists of individuals who support UNO with gifts of $100 or more. Century Club gifts help the alumni association impact numerous areas of campus, furthering its academic excellence, supporting students, fostering dynamic teaching and helping today’s bright students achieve their educational dreams. With their UNRESTRICTED gift, Century Club donors receive one of five personalized mementos* (pictured at right) correspondng to giving level and recognition in an annual report. New and upgraded Century Club members are recognized in each issue of the UNO Alum magazine. To celebrate UNO’s 100 years the UNO Alumni Association has instituted new donor benefits for 2008: • All NEW Century Club Donors ($100 or more/ unrestricted) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO History Documentary DVD! • All current Century Club Donors who increase their 2007 gift by $100 (unrestricted) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO pictorial history book AND the DVD! Help us CELEBRATE 100! with a Century Club donation today! To do so, complete and return the form on Page 47 or on the inside of the attached envelope. Or give online at


* The tax-deductible portion of Century Club donations are reduced by the value of the memento received.

46 • Spring 2008

Thanks to these upgraded Century Club donors!

Welcome to these new Century Club donors!

(Dec. 1 to Feb. 29)

(Dec. 1 to Feb. 29)

To Platinum ($2,500 or more) R. William & Patricia A. Johnston

Gold ($500 or more) Garrett G. Anderson Bernard Wieger

To Diamond ($1,000 or more) John E. & Janis Christensen To Gold ($500 or more) Richard A. Callis Robert E. Costello Shelli Crow-Johnson Kathy L. Divis John W. Hancock, Jr. To Silver ($250 or more) Maj. (Ret) James D. Bailey Norman A. Crews John R. Dappen Bruce Fowler John J. Griffith Kazuichi Hamasaki Donald E. Jacobson Daniel J. Nealon Barbara L. Pille Nancy Rodenburg Dorothy J. Spence John A. Stirek LTC (Ret) Charles E. Toomer Jeanine M. Wrightson

Silver ($250 or more) Todd J. & Joan L. Freeman Judith & John Harvey Connor A. Isgett, Jr. David H. & Lori A. Craft Bronze ($100 or more) Arthur & Susan J. Aden Lawrence & Marcia Adler Mark L. Allen Robert C. Autry, Jr. Jeanne & Daniel Baker Jeanne M. Baker Col. (Ret) Richard W. Beck Steve Beins Thomas W. Berger Robert Bergeron John A. & Kathryn M. Byrnes J. Kevin Colton Lee F. Courtright Terry W. Curnes Alfred T. Dasi Judith & John DeVries Theresa M. Dowling John R. Ehlers W. Kirby Eltiste Daniel A. Engelhardt Judy K. Epstein Robert D. Foehlinger Josephine A. Fox Christine Fullerton Robert S. Georgecink

LTC (Ret) Stephen C. Gibson Catherine R. Glasser Danielle Green Bryan P. & Stephanie Guy Lori Beth Hansen Gail L. Henderson Rebekah Huber Hugh J. Irwin Laura L. & Stanley J. Kapustka Michael G. Keleher Harrell C. Kitchens Daniel D. Koukol LeRoy F. Kozeny Paul L. Lemar Steven J. Lustgarten Amy M. Mandolfo Patrick J. & Marilyn A. McCarthy Mary T. McGovern Maurice S. & Rosalie P. Meiches Larry J. Melcher Richard A. Nordberg Donald R. Nugent Carl & Deann Olsen Robert L. Pelshaw Jenifer Piatt Majorie L. Reed-Schmid Chris C. Richardson F.K. Mack Sennett Gene T. Slichter George E. Smallwood III Jennifer K. & Troy A. Starosick Dorothy H. & Austin B. Thompson Michael L. Vittitoe Frederick R. Walters Mary Wilcox Robert G. Wright


Century Club Membership Donors of $100 or more join the UNO Century Club, the Alumni Association’s premiere giving society. Founded in 1973, the Century Club is essential to UNO’s advancement. With unrestricted donations, Century Club donors can receive one of five personalized mementos* corresponding to giving level. New and level upgraded members are recognized in the UNO Alum magazine.


10 0! Join your fellow alumni in celebrating UNO’s 100 years with a special anniversary gift of $100 to the 2008 UNO Annual Fund!

PLUS — Prize Drawings! All donors of $100 or more (unrestricted) will be included in random drawings for: Grand Prize: $1,000 gift card to Nebraska Furniture Mart! First Prize: $500 gift card to Borsheims!

Here’s how: • All NEW Century Club Donors ($100 or more/ unrestricted) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO History Documentary DVD!

Contribute Today! To give, complete and return the form below or on the enclosed envelope. Or, give online at

• All current Century Club Donors who increase their 2007 gift by $100 (unrestricted) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO pictorial history book and the DVD!

2008 UNO Annual Fund Donation Form

I will 1Give- YES! to the UNO

2- Tax-deductible gift information (select one)


Check enclosed for $

$100 or more


PLEDGE: Bill me for $

$250 or more

q I authorize the UNO Alumni Association to collect

Annual Fund!

q Bronze Century q Silver Century

q Golden Century q Diamond Century $1,000 or more

3 - Complete Name and Address Name__________________________________________________________________ As you wish it to appear in the Annual Report

through my:

my gift of $ Visa





Card No.:

q Platinum Century q Other


Address________________________________________________________________ City/State/Zip____________________________________________________________


Expiration Date:____/_____


$2,500 or more $___________

The UNO Annual Fund: Serving UNO since 1953


in month


$500 or more

. Payable to UNO Annual Fund.

* The tax-deductible portion of Century Club donations are reduced by the value of the memento received. See Page 46 for a photo of mementos designated by giving level.



Phone__________________________________________________________________ E-mail: _______________________________________________________________________


THANK YOU! Remember, your gift is tax-deductible.

w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

May we post your name in our website’s email directory (email addresses not shown)?

q Yes q No

Spring 2008 • 47

The Thompson Center at UNO

10% room rental discount for UNO Alumni Card holders!

An elegant, versatile event facility, ideally located and open to the public

— Remodeled and expanded! — Rooms for large & small events — Private and shaded park-like grounds — Professional staff on-site — Free parking Catering by Brandeis with full and varied menu and event-planning assistance

• • • •

Weddings & Receptions Beautiful Outdoor Weddings Breakfasts & Brunches Luncheons & Dinners

Ask about Friday night discounts! Book your next event online —

University of Nebraska at Omaha Alumni Association 6705 Dodge St. Omaha, NE 68182-0010

• • • •

Meetings & Seminars Banquets & Conferences State-of-the-art A/V Free high-speed Wi-Fi

67th & Dodge



UNO Alum - Spring 2008