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Summer 2008

Head of the Herd Herb Rhodes steers the Nebraska Cattlemen

Also inside: Saving the Caribbean’s elkhorn coral • Student investment club pays dividends • Flying high as a deaf pilot • Student initiates sobriety campaign • A first look at CBA’s new building •

GO GREEN at the annual Shakespeare on the Green Alumni Picnic Wednesday, July 2 Picnic: 6 to 7:15 p.m. Performance: 8 p.m Thompson Alumni Center Join the UNO Alumni Association Wednesday, July 2 (rain or shine), for the Shakespeare on the Green Alumni Picnic followed by a performance of “Much Ado About Nothing.” Cost is $12 per person. Here’s the lineup: • Picnic Buffet (Chicken, BBQ pork, potato salad, baked beans, cole slaw, cookie, beverages). • Reserved spot “down front” at the play. • Reserved parking near the Green. • “Much Ado” preview by UNO Professor Cindy Melby Phaneuf, co-founder/artistic director of Nebraska Shakespeare Festival (NSF). • Satisfaction knowing part of your fee helps underwrite a donation to the NSF. To Register, complete form and remit with payment. Questions? Call Sheila King at 554-4802 or e-mail







q I (we) will attend “Much Ado” AND the picnic! q I (we) will only attend the picnic.

I have enclosed $ Charge my:


people to attend at $12 each. (Make checks payable to UNO Alumni Association).

q Visa q MasterCard q Discover.

Exp. Date ___ / ___ Names for Name Tags



Card No.

Send to: Shakespeare Picnic UNO Alumni Association 6705 Dodge St. Omaha, NE 68182-0010


Summer 2008

Head of the Herd Page 18 Herb Rhodes dons yet another hat. Photo by Bryce Bridges

College Pages IS&T


Real teamwork in a virtual world.



Labor Studies Institute bridging divides.

Arts & Sciences


In Bloom: College award winners.



Teaching teachers in Africa, Nicaragua



A look at four Distinguished Alumni. UNO Alum Magazine, Summer 2008 Editor: Anthony Flott Contributors: Leo Adam Biga, Bryce Bridges, Tim Fitzgerald, Rich Kaipust Don Kohler, Tom McMahon, Eric Olson, Meagan Phenix, Wendy Townley, Veronica Wortman, Terry Zank.

Features London calling


UNO’s London Study Abroad program marks 35 years — and a change in leadership.

Paying dividends?




Begun with a grad’s $250,000 donation, the studentled Mav Investment Club has doubled its fund.

A new home


Sparked by the largest gift in UNO history, CBA unveils plans for a new home.

In control


Personal struggles spark student’s sobriety campaign.

Flying high



Deaf pilot Matt Herrman earns a rare certification with the Federal Aviation Administration.

Caring for coral


Mitch Carl is on the cutting edge of the effort to save the Caribbean’s elkhorn coral population.

Association Departments


Alumni Association in Action

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-MAVALUM • 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 offers fuel card drawings; Shakespeare on the Green picnic July 2.

Class Notes


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

Summer 2008 • 3

Letter from the Dear Alum:



s I write this letter for the next edition of the UNO Alum, I can’t help but reflect on what a great week this has been in the life of our university. Thanks to the generosity of benefactors Joyce and Carl Mammel and Ruth and Bill Scott, we broke ground for a new College of Business Administration building on the Pacific Street Campus. Spurred by the largest single philanthropic gift made to UNO in its 100-year history, this $31 million facility will provide 120,000 square feet of space when completed in a little more than two years. That’s 25,000 square feet more than CBA’s current home, Roskens Hall. More than sheer bricks and mortar, this new building will advance UNO’s academic agenda in several ways, providing a first-rate building to attract outstanding students and faculty and helping us build capacity across campus by freeing up space on the Dodge Campus. Its proximity to the Peter Kiewit Institute, Aksarben Village and Scott Technology Center also will offer new avenues to collaboration and community outreach. We are deeply indebted to the Mammels, the Scotts and other visionary donors who will make this dream — a decade in the making — come true. When completed, the CBA Building will bring UNO’s total occupied space to more than 2 million square feet, spread over nearly 230 acres on three campuses. When considering non-occupied facilities like the Henningson Campanile and parking structures, that figure grows to 3 million square feet. By way of comparison, spacious Oak View Mall in Omaha contains about 870,000 square feet of retail space. The campus holdings of today are a far cry from the university’s first home, Redick Hall, at 24th and Pratt Streets. Could those early founders have envisioned the enormous progress and growth that has been made during the past 10 decades? Probably not, but their goal of creating a “greater university of, and for, Omaha” remains strong and guides us still. With the new CBA Building, the renovation and expansion of the Criss Library, College of Public Affairs and Community Service, and the Health Physical Education and Recreation Building, and the addition of more student housing and parking, UNO truly is building capacity for the future. Thanks to the generosity and encouragement of donors like the Mammels and the Scotts, we move forward with confidence and vision, knowing that our best is yet to be. What an exciting time to be a Mav! Until next time,

John Christensen, UNO Chancellor

4 • Summer 2008


Campus Scene

Photos by Tim Fitzgerald

Commencement: UNO graduated another class of smiling students, more than 1,200 of them earning diplomas during the university’s Spring 2008 commencement ceremony May 9 at the Civic Auditorium. Aaron Albin, an Omaha native, presented the student commencement address. UNO Chancellor John Christensen, meanwhile, received the UNO Alumni Association’s Citation for Alumnus Achievement (see story, page 6). The ceremony increased UNO’s alumni body to more than 94,000 since the university’s start in 1908.

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Summer 2008 • 5

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Alumni Association in Action RO TC R eunion Oct . 1 0-1 2 he AFROTC and Angel Flight/Silver Wings Alumni Reunion is set for Oct. 10-12 on the UNO campus, held in conjunction with the opening week of UNO’s Homecoming Centennial Celebration. The schedule:


Saturday, Oct 11 • AFROTC Open House, 9 am • Homecoming Pre-Game Party, Pep Bowl, 11 a.m. • UNO Football Game, 1 p.m. • AFROTC Social, 6:30 p.m. • Dinner (individually arranged), 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct 12 • Brunch, 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Milo Bail Student Center. Guest Speaker Gen. Kevin Chilton, USSTRATCOM Commander. Entertainment by UNO Chamber Choir. To register, visit Direct questions to Chuck Holderness, (402) 682-4548, or (402) 571-1557, or email g

Bootstrapper reunion also set for Oct. 9 -11 UNO’s former Bootstrappers also will reunite during UNO’s Centennial Homecoming Celebration. Campus activities include a banquet on Oct. 9 and breakfast and lunch Oct. 10. Attendees also can attend other homecoming events (see page 9). For more information contact Kathy Menke at (402) 554-4832 or email 6 • Summer 2008

Former UNO Chancellors Del Weber and Ron Roskens visited campus in May, gathering with past chairpersons of the UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors for a luncheon at the Thompson Alumni Center. Seated, from left, Rod Oberle (2008 chair), Doug Durbin (1994), Don Winters (2002), Bruce Bisson (2001), Warren Whitted (1955-56), Robert Schropp (1960-61), John Estabrook (1976-77). Standing, left, Alumni Association President Lee Denker, 2008 2nd Vice Chair Kevin Munro, Larry Stoney (1992), Chancellor Emeritus Ron Roskens, Kevin Naylor (2003), 2008 1st Vice chair Mark Grieb, Chancellor Emeritus Del Weber, Gary Sallquist (1969-70), Mark Jefferson (1988), Gerald Karlin (1997), Deborah McLarney (2007), Michael Nelsen (1984), John Jeter (1965-66), Harold Kosowsky (1995), Stephen Bodner (2004), D. Nick Caporale (196768), Alumni Association President Emeritus Jim Leslie, Mike Kudlacz (2006).

Sitting down with past chairs

Chancellor receives 146th Citation T he UNO Alumni Association bestowed its Citation for Alumnus Achievement upon UNO Chancellor John Christensen during the university’s spring commencement May 9 at the Omaha Civic Auditorium. Christensen was named UNO’s 14th chancellor on May 8, 2007, becoming the first UNO graduate and first Omaha native to lead the institution. He had been serving as interim chancellor since September 2006. The Citation, inaugurated in 1949, is presented at each UNO commencement. The association’s highest honor, it encompasses career achievement, community service, involvement in business and professional associations, and fidelity to UNO. Association Chairman of the Board Rod Oberle presented the award to Christensen, the 146th Citation recipient. “Chancellor Christensen’s appointment is a point of pride for all of our alumni,” said Association President Lee Denker. “It is symbolically fitting that a UNO graduate is at the university’s helm as it prepares to celebrate its centennial anniversary. “Chancellor Christensen’s talents, experience, passion, integrity and openness this past year have rejuvenated our campus. And, as NU President James Milliken has noted, his ambitious vision for UNO’s future sets the stage for great things to come.” Christensen, 59, earned a master’s degree in special education/speech pathology from UNO in 1974. He has spent nearly his entire academic career at

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Friday, Oct 10 • Golden Circle Lunch Bunch, 11 a.m. (for grads 1963 and before) Followed by tour of campus. OR, • Tour of Strategic Air and Space Museum (transportation available) • All-University Centennial Celebration, 6 p.m., UNO Fieldhouse. Includes cocktails, dinner, entertainment.

2008 UNO Alumni Association Chairman of the Board Rod Obe rle, right, prese nted the Citation to Cha ncellor Christensen.

UNO, beginning in 1978 as a faculty member in the College of Education’s department of special education and communication disorders. He subsequently served as chair of that department for 12 years. He was dean of the College of Education from 1998 to 2003 and vice chancellor for academic and student affairs from 2003 until his appointment as interim chancellor in 2006. UNOALUM

News, Information & Activities

Going Green: Association hosting July 2 Shakespeare picnic oin fellow graduates and UNO faculty and staff on Wednesday, July 2 (rain or shine), for the annual Shakespeare on the Green Alumni Picnic followed by a performance of the Bard’s “Much Ado About Nothing.” The evening begins with a picnic at 6 p.m. at the William H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center followed by the “Much Ado” performance at 8 p.m. in Elmwood Park.


Cost is $12 per person. Part of that fee helps underwrite a UNO Alumni Association donation to the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival. Other event details: • Picnic Buffet: Chicken, BBQ pork, potato salad, baked beans, coleslaw, cookie, beverages. • Reserved spot “down front” at the play. • Reserved parking near the Green. • “Much Ado” preview by UNO

Professor Cindy Melby Phaneuf, co-founder/artistic director of Nebraska Shakespeare Festival (NSF). UNO Young Alumni also will gather for the picnic and performance. To register, complete and return with payment the form on Page 2 of this Alum. Additional information is available through Sheila King at 5544802 or

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Celebrate 100! campaign offering fuel card drawings oin fellow alumni in celebrating UNO’s 100 years with a special anniversary gift to the 2008 Celebrate 100! UNO Annual Fund. All donors of $50 or more by June 30 will be entered in five random drawings for $100 fuel gift cards! Other benefits for 2008 donors: • All NEW Century Club donors ($100 or more) in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO History Documentary DVD. • All current Century Club donors who increase their 2007 gift by $100 or more in 2008 will receive a commemorative UNO pictorial history book AND the DVD. Century Club donors of $100 or more also 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). All donors of $100 or more 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


From left, Michele Desmarais, Pauline Brennan, Steve Bullock, Saundra Wetig, Roger Sash, Karen Weber, B i l l Mahoney, and Julie Parnell. Scott Copple not present.

Nine faculty receive Alumni Teaching Awards he UNO Alumni Association marked the 12th year of its Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards program when it presented the honor to nine faculty members at the UNO Faculty Honors Convocation Breakfast April 10. Association President Lee Denker presented the awards, established in 1997 to honor distinguished teaching in the classroom. Peer committees in each college choose recipients, each of whom received a $1,000 award. Denker presented recipients with commemorative tablets during the convocation breakfast. With the 2008 awards the association has issued $104,000 in AOTAs since the program’s start in 1997. Receiving 2008 UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards: Pauline Brennan, criminal justice, College of Public Affairs and Community Service.


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Steven Bullock, political science, College of Arts & Sciences. Scott Copple, accounting, College of Business Administration. Michele Desmarais, religious studies, College of Arts & Sciences. Bill Mahoney, computer science, College of Information Science and Technology. Juliette Parnell, foreign languages, College of Arts & Sciences. Roger Sash, computer & electronics engineering, College of Engineering. Karen Weber, communication, College of Communication, Fine Arts & Media. Saundra Wetig, teacher education, College of Education.

Summer 2008 • 7

University News

3 of 4 posts filled

New to campus NO filled three of four administrative posts this spring, naming permanent heads for Academic and Student Affairs, Business and Finance, and the College of Arts and Sciences.


D a v i d B o oc k e r David Boocker was named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences on April 17. He currently serves as chair and professor of the department of English and Journalism at Western Illinois University in Macomb, Ill. He earned his doctorate in English literature from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1988. His bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in English, came from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette in 1980 and 1983. “I’m honored to have been selected to serve as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,” Boocker said. “I have been very impressed by the achievements of the students and faculty, and I look forward to working together with the faculty, staff, administration and students as UNO celebrates its 100th anniversary and looks toward its bright future.” Boocker will start as dean in July. He succeeds Shelton Hendricks, who is retiring.

Terr y Hynes Terry Hynes was named UNO’s senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs on March 14. Hynes was serving as dean emerita and professor in the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida. She also is the public outreach director for the university’s Documentary Institute. She came to Florida as dean in 1994 and served in that role until 2006. In 2006 and 2007 she also was Florida’s assistant vice president for University Relations. Hynes earned her master’s degree and doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. “I am honored and delighted to have been selected as UNO’s next senior vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs,” Hynes said. “I was attracted by UNO’s mission and its clear and strong student-oriented focus, in serving the greater Omaha metropolitan area, the State of Nebraska and the region. Hynes took her post June 15. She succeeds Sheri Noren Everts, who was serving on an interim basis and who now is provost and vice president for academic affairs at Illinois State University. William Conley William Conley was named UNO’s vice chancellor for business and finance on March 27. He was managing director of Flatwater

Students win major research awards

wo UNO students earned major awards this spring to continue graduate-level research.


Jordan M ertes December 2007 grad Jordan Mertes received a Fulbright Award, enabling him to spend 10 months in Norway studying arctic geology and geophysics at University Center at Svalbard. Mertes received a bachelor’s degree in physics with an emphasis in geology. In August he will begin studies on Svalbard, a small island north of Norway’s mainland on the 80th parallel. He has been accepted to work on his master’s degree in glaciology and

8 • Summer 2008

climatology at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Mertes will take courses in glaciology, remote sensing and air-ice-sea interactions at University Center at Svalbard, and conduct fieldwork in an environment well suited for the topic of study. For nearly two years, as a UNO undergraduate, Mertes studied under Jack Shroder and Michael Bishop while monitoring from Omaha glacial changes in the Himalaya Mountains. “Jordan is, without a doubt, the best student I have had in the past 39 years here at UNO,” Shroder said. “It just goes to show what a few

skills with math and computers will do for you.” Mertes is co-author of five research abstracts and posters submitted at numerous national and international organization meetings and is working on other research projects. Ad am S mith UNO psychobiology graduate student Adam S. Smith received a prestigious Graduate Research fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The three-year fellowship will provide Smith with a $30,000 annual stipend, and includes $10,500 per year to cover tuition.

Ventures, LLC, since 2007. Prior to that he worked at the Omaha World-Herald Company in various executive posts starting in 1990. Most recently he served as vice presidentdirector of administrative services and president of World Investments Inc. Conley received his bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1984 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master’s in business administration from UNO in 1992. “It is a privilege to join the UNO community. As a lifelong Omaha resident and proud UNO graduate, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to work at an institution I care so deeply about,” Conley said. “This is an exciting time at UNO. I look forward to working with the faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni and community in contributing to UNO’s continued success.” Conley joined UNO May 15. He succeeds Julie Totten, who was named interim vice chancellor for business and finance in 2006. Colleg e o f E ducation David Conway was named interim dean of the College of Education after a national search failed to produce a replacement for retiring Dean John Langan. A second search for a permanent dean will begin in September. Conway had been serving the college as associate dean.

The focus of Smith’s research is on the neurobiology of social behavior. He works with marmoset monkeys, squirrelsized primates from Brazil. These monkeys are monogamous, and form long-term “pairbonds” between adult males and females. Smith is evaluating the role of the neurohormone oxytocin in regulating the establishment and maintenance of social pair bonds in marmosets. Smith’s research is conducted in UNO’s Callitrichid Research Center, a facility dedicated to the noninvasive study of marmoset and tamarin monkey breeding and social behavior. Smith’s advisor, Jeffrey French, professor

of psychology, said that competition for the fellowships “is extremely steep for this prestigious award.” A survey of the other awardee institutions reveals that Harvard, MIT, CalTech, Stanford, Chicago, UC Berkeley, and Duke are prominent in the fellowship list. “I’m so proud that Adam’s work has put UNO in the company of these distinguished institutions,” Dr. French said. Smith’s fellowship was the only one awarded to a Nebraska graduate student in any of the fields supported by the National Science Foundation, and one of only 26 awards given nationwide to research in the neurosciences.


Centennial Celebration Information & Activities to kick off the UNO Centennial

University to kick off its 100-year anniversary beginning Oct. 8

SAVE THE DATE! w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Mark your calendar for UNO’s Centennial Gala Feb. 21, 2009, at Qwest Center Omaha! Summer 2008 • 9


By Veronica Wortman


ooking out a window into the garden at 10 Downing St. in England, Mary Stumbaugh’s eyes fell upon thenPrime Minister Tony Blair enjoying afternoon tea. “That is Tony Blair, just hanging out!” she recalls. “I couldn’t believe it.” A private tour of the British prime minister’s home is one of many experiences students have enjoyed in the London Study Abroad program. Since 1972, criminal justice majors at UNO have been visiting London to further study the differences between U.S. and English criminal justice systems and cultures. On the first trip, Professor James Kane led 10 students around London, with the help of London Metropolitan Police Inspector Anthony Moore. Since Dr. William Wakefield became involved in 1978 the program has grown to include more than 80 students each year. That now includes participants from a number of other UNO departments, as well as criminal justice students from Dana College and Chadron State College. The trip is part of a for-credit semester-long class based on a book coauthored by Wakefield. The trip (costing about $3,000, plus spending money) is taken at the end of the spring semester. Once in London students spend 15 days visiting academic and cultural sites of interest, including a trip to Scotland Yard. Wakefield’s goal is to encourage selfawareness. “To experience another culture is so important for students,” he says. “They become more sophisticated themselves. It is most rewarding for me to be there and witness their cultural awakening.” Stumbaugh, a 2000 UNO graduate,

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Longtime friend of the program and now-retired Inspector Moore presented UNO students Mary Friend, Rachelle Lauritzen, Emily Shanks and Carrie Conley with Wakefield Scholarships. The inaugural Founder Award, given to an individual who aids the program’s growth, was presented posthumously to Kane. Kane’s daughter Susan Kane accepted the award. Stories were shared during the banquet. Scholarship winner Shanks said she was apprehensive about going to London for the first time. “I got to meet a few people who I really connected Photo courtesy CPACS Dean B.J. Reed

London Calling

has been on the London trip five times. “What I noticed was the rapport that the police officers have with the citizens,” Stumbaugh says. “There is a mutual respect and a level of comfort that was different from how police and citizens interact in America.” Dr. Deborah Circo, director of social work at the Munroe-Meyer Institute, took her London student trip in 1979. There she developed an appreciation for what it feels like to rely on the hospitality of locals — something she keeps in mind today when working with families and patients from different cultures.

Among the London Study Abroad highlights is a trip to famed Scotland Yard. Bill Wakefield stands beneath the Scotland Yard sign with a group of students.

“That positive experience has stayed with me and with all international families and patients I interact with,” says Circo, a 1981 UNO grad who also earned an MSW in 1990. “I base my interactions and outreach on the warm reception we received in London.” Faculty, former students and honored guests gathered at the Thompson Alumni Center in March to celebrate the program’s 35th anniversary and the University of Nebraska Foundation’s establishment of the William Wakefield Scholarship Fund to defray trip costs for recipients.

with. After talking with the people I met, I lost all nervousness and want to leave right now,” the junior said. Wakefield, who has made more than 30 trips to London and whose wife, Ellen, is from England, last year stepped aside as director of the program, passing the torch to Dr. Pauline Brennan of the School of Criminal Justice. Brennan has numerous UK connections, most notably working as former Prime Minister Blair’s intern. “I know she has the ambition to preserve the program so that it still exists in another 20 years,” Wakefield says. O AA LL UU M M UU NN O

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald, University Relations

Academic Excellence

Members of the Mav Investment Club. Front row, from left, Tammy Drucker, Laci Willenborg. Back, left, Dr. David Volkman, Jake Tyler, Jessica Coufal, Bob Loewens and Kayla Coleman.

Paying Dividends By Wendy Townley, University Relations


group of College of Business Administration students have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a classroom-based program designed to teach investing in what students, with joking sincerity, call “the real world.” The Mav Investment Club began eight years ago when Col. Guy M. Cloud contacted UNO about donating money to create a student-managed investment program. A year later, Cloud, a UNO alum who lives in Texas, provided the first donation of $250,000, which established a fund in his name. Since 2001 UNO students under the guidance of finance professor David Volkman have managed the fund, growing it to an impressive value of more than $500,000 at year-end 2007. The fund, Volkman says, also has outperformed the S&P 500 since its inception. “This feat is unusual, even for profes-

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sional money managers,” says Volkman, who launched the program with just 10 students. Today the Mav Investment Club has a membership of 70 undergraduate students. Management of the fund continues even between semesters by three levels of UNO students: general members, junior analysts and senior analysts. Any student can join as a general member; junior and senior analysts must take the Principles of Investment Management course and the Portfolio Management course, respectively. “The continuity [of the club] is maintaining through the rotation of senior analysts mentoring their junior members of the club,” Volkman says. “This structure has proven to be very popular with the students at UNO.” Kayla Coleman, the club’s marketing director and a two-year member, says she has learned about investing not only

from Volkman, but also from fellow students and from guest speakers who addressed a finance symposium she attended. The educational experience, Coleman says, has helped her better understand her personal finances. “I have been able to see the ramifications of my own decisions with real money, and it makes you realize that a portfolio is not something to play with,” says Coleman. “You have to be ready to wholly dedicate yourself to the management of your own future. This is a lesson that I have learned that not only applies to investments, but to real life.” Donald Spafford, a triple business major (banking and finance, investment science, portfolio management) says the club has provided helpful tools when evaluating company performances. Spafford and fellow students have learned to develop spreadsheets, quickly changing and comparing company data to determine whether the company is a good investment. Lessons on using investment software such as Research Insight and Bloomberg also have been beneficial. “These tools alone are valuable assets to help us land the career we are searching for,” says Spafford, who has been a club member for about a year. The Mav Investment Club is part of a larger investment program in the College of Business Administration at UNO, which offers financial literacy to high school students and even to UNO graduates. A summer investment camp also is part of the larger program, which provides high school students between their junior and senior years a three-day session on financial literacy. The program is extended to undergraduate students at UNO which, Volkman says, often leads to involvement in the Mav Investment Club. “Few academic institutions have focused a major in investment science such as the one at UNO,” says Volkman, who also points to the larger program’s graduate level, where students manage a $2 million fixed income portfolio for First National Bank. Summer 2008 • 11

Room, with a view CBA is getting a new home with plenty of space, view and vision By Rich Kaipust Louis Pol always liked the view from his fourth-floor Roskens Hall office: Memorial Park, Dodge Street, St. Margaret Mary Church. The dean of UNO’s College of Business Administration never complained about what he could see. But view and vision, so close together in the dictionary, can be so far apart in actual meaning. Pol for years had limits to what was visible from that office — both in scenery and in the future of his college. When a new CBA building opens on the Pacific Street campus in summer 2010, its dean, faculty and students will be under no such restrictions “I don’t think we really understood exactly how valuable that spot would be until it became a reality that we were going to have a building and we could start talking about where it could be located,” Pol says. “Then and only then, at least from the college’s perspective, did we start thinking seriously about the other opportunities.” The future sits on some grass and part of a pre-existing parking lot at 67th and Pine Streets just south of the Peter Kiewit Institute — not far from where the famed Aksarben racetrack once stood. It will be named Mammel Hall in honor of Omahans Carl and Joyce Mammel (see sidebar profile page 14), longtime CBA supporters and lead donors for the $38.5 million project — $31 million for building construction and $7.5 million toward an endowment to enhance CBA programs and benefit students and faculty. The Mammels’ exact commitment is undisclosed but has been cited as the largest single philanthropic gift to UNO in the university’s 100-year history. Omahans Ruth and Bill Scott (see sidebar profile page 15) have made a second significant gift toward the project. Both gifts were announced during a June 2 groundbreaking ceremony. Construction begins this summer and is expected to be completed in time for the 2010-11 school year. 12 • Summer 2008

“I frankly believe that this is the most significant change that’s occurred at UNO since the building at PKI,” says Chancellor John Christensen. Wow factor It was around the time when the Peter Kiewit Institute opened in 1997 — UNO’s first foray south of Pacific Street — that some of the limitations of Roskens Hall became more and more evident to CBA administrators. All those will be addressed when the three-story Mammel Hall joins PKI, the Scott Center, Scott Village residence halls, Aksarben Village and a hotel amid some of the most changing acres in Omaha. The new CBA building will be 120,000 square feet, an increase from 95,000 at Roskens Hall. Business no longer will share space with other colleges. A potential 10 to 15 percent spike in business students is considered possible from the current total of 2,500. It will handle all power needs, offer corroboration space and have room to entertain. And, Pol adds: “It won’t be just space and it won’t be just technology. There’s going to be a fair amount of ‘wow factor’ in this, too.” An atrium will rise nearly five stories high and dominate the main entrance. A ticker board will be visible to the investUNOALUM

Illustration by Holland Basham Architects

Moving away from the current building’s emphasis on brick and mortar, CBA’s new home will feature plenty of glass, including its most notable feature, a nearly five-story atrium at the main entrance.

ment science lab and to those who enter the building. There will be a virtual stock market trading room and laboratories devoted to computers, statistics, real estate and business innovation. A “first-rate” 24- to 30-person corporate-style boardroom will be available to the business college, other UNO groups and outsiders. Offices will be available for the Nebraska Business Development Center, currently housed off campus. Pol says Mammel Hall also will offer the chance for the business college to hold receptions or host speakers. Such facilities are expected to advance new or proposed programs in innovation and entrepreneurship, information assurance/business security, risk management and investment science, international business programs, real estate research and transportation science. Just about everything was done with an emphasis on encouraging students to stay around, giving them places to work by themselves, with each other or with staff. Dave Nielsen, director of the College of Business Administration, says input was sought from just about everybody who would be using the building. “I will say it’s probably the most collaborative process I w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

have ever been involved in,” Nielsen says. “If the building’s not right, it’s our fault. They made the point that when they hand over the keys, we have to live with it. “It’ll be 180 degrees opposite of this building in some ways. Where it was hard to find space before, you just have to look right or look left for it. And it’ll be a much more open environment. We’re cinder-block walls here, and it’s hard to see through those.” Those cinder-block walls will stay put on the UNO campus and Roskens Hall will retain its name, an honor to Ron Roskens, UNO chancellor from 1972 through 1977, and his wife, Lois. Roskens Hall will become the new home of the College of Education, currently housed in Kayser Hall. Kayser will be used to satisfy various needs for space. Everybody benefits, says Christensen. “Capacity has been a real issue, not just for the College of Business but for the entire campus,” Christensen says. “We grew for about 10 years and that leveled off a few years ago. If we have more capacity, I believe we’ll continue to grow.” CBA has occupied Roskens Hall since 1975. Discussions have come and gone during the past decade about a new CBA Summer 2008 • 13

building. Pol says they could be traced to former Chancellor Nancy Belck’s vision in the late 1990s. Pol always believed it would be on this plot of land or nearby space. In the meantime, CBA had to sweat the possibilities of the land being used differently for another UNO academic enterprise or by a commercial entity. So people like David Volkman, the finance department chair, always hesitated to get too excited until they saw something more concrete. “We’d been down this path before,” Volkman says. “We’ve cried wolf a couple times before.”

Carl and Joyce Mammel executive benefits, employee benith their contribution to the efits planning and wealth transfer new UNO College of planning. In 1991, his firm Business Administration building merged with The Redland Group Carl and Joyce Mammel have to become Silverstone Holdings made the largest single philanthropic gift to UNO in the universi- Inc. He was named chairman of ty’s 100-year history. In recognition of their support the new facility will be named Mammel Hall (pending regent approval). “The Mammels’ generous gift is a major step in the continued development of UNO’s Pacific Street campus, and we deeply appreciate their interest in and support of Carl and Joyce Mammel with CBA Dean Lou Pol, far right. Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations the university,” said UNO Chancellor John the board. Christensen. “By building capacity Carl also was a founding partfor the entire campus, and particner of M Financial in 1978 and ularly, a new generation of busiserved as chairman of M Financial ness administration students, Holdings Board of Directors. M Mammel Hall will also encourage Financial is the nation’s largest expansion of CBA’s many partnerinsurance and investment marketships within business and indusing organization specializing in try, while stimulating economic executive benefits and wealth development. transfer planning. “The Mammels’ vision will Joyce graduated from UNL in ensure that future business execu1957 with a degree in education. tives have the education and skills She currently serves on the advithey need to be successful in any sory board of Campfire USA and business environment.” also served on the board of Family The Mammels are longtime Service. supporters of UNO. In 1998 the Carl is past chairman of the couple began funding student board of the Omaha Symphony, scholarships and a faculty-in-resiChildren’s Hospital and the Omaha dence for professors, programs Community Foundation. He curthat have totaled nearly $750,000 rently serves as president of the since then. Mammel Foundation and as a Carl is a 1955 graduate of the member of the NU Foundation University of Nebraska-Lincoln Board of Directors and the Omaha (UNL) College of Business Performing Arts Society. Administration. He founded In 2004, Carl received UNO’s Mammel, Schropp, Swartzbaugh, Order of the Tower, the campus’ Engler and Jones in 1959. The highest non-academic award. company provides services in


14 • Summer 2008

But Christensen says he considered it one of UNO’s top three capital improvement priorities when he took over for Belck. Dreams became reality once Mammel made his pledge and the Board of Regents approved the project in March. Lead donors Pol says Mammel’s role in all of this wasn’t totally surprising, even though he isn’t a UNO graduate. The couple provided a gift in 1998 that turned into the Mammel Student and Faculty Excellence Fund for CBA students and the Faculty-in-Residence Program for professors. The scholarships have totaled $500,000 for 107 students, providing them an opportunity for hands-on experience with local businesses during the summer. The Faculty-in-Residence Program has totaled $240,000 for 24 professors, local businesses matching the contribution. Pol says UNO maintained a relationship with the Mammels and kept them connected to students. Their own trips into Roskens Hall helped them realize the business college’s limitations. “It’s not like it fell from the sky, but I feel like it fell from the sky because we never had a conversation where he said, ‘Well, what do you need?’“ Pol says. “I think he just figured it out.” The Mammels have stayed out of the spotlight through most of the process. Carl, a member of the University of Nebraska Foundation board of directors, declined an interview request. He was introduced at the June 2 ceremony but commented only in a university release attributed to him and his wife. “During the last 10 years we have observed the achievements of the students and have become aware of the effective leadership of the college,” said the Mammels. “It also convinced us of the needs of the business college for improved facilities. “We are pleased to help fund the completion of this new hall and believe it will greatly benefit both the students and the business community.” At the start Roskens Hall has helped anchor the northeast edge of campus since a boom in the 1970s that included five new buildings totaling $20 million in construction costs. The CBA building made its way onto campus under protest, according to “A History of the University of Nebraska at Omaha, 1908-1983,” written by UNO History Professor Tommy Thompson. With few alternate sites available, it was put on the lawn in front of Arts and Sciences Hall. That meant some elm trees lining the sidewalks had to be sacrificed. University officials argued that the trees were diseased and would need to be removed anyway. But the courtyard that was supposed to go on its south side landed to the east — and never was quite utilized. Its narrow hallways created between-class traffic jams that could not be alleviated without other places for students to gather. It’s been a while, Pol says, since the building has been what UNOALUM


o s tr a nge r s to c ommu ni ty investment, R uth a nd Bill Sco tt join ed Carl and Joyce Mam mel with a second signifi cant gift to the new UN O C o l l e g e of Bu si ne ss Ad min i st ra ti on b ui l d ing. “U NO greatly appreciates the g e n e ro s i t y o f Ru t h a n d B i l l S c ot t i n sup port in g th is t ran sf orma ti on al projec t on our Pacific Stree t ca mp us,” s aid Joh n Chri stens en, UNO chancellor. “Their ongoing s up po r t o f U N O a nd it s m i ss i on as a m etropolitan university is exceptional. And com bined with t h ei r c om mi t m e nt s t o ke y p ro j e c t s a c ro s s t h i s c o mm u n i t y h a s greatly en han ced ou r city in a quiet yet extraordinar y way. ” The Scott s ha ve g enerously s u p p o r t e d p ro j e c t s t h r o u g h o u t Omaha. That incl udes gi fts bene -

fiting the College of Public A ff a i rs a n d C om mu ni t y S er v i c e and th e Peter Kiewit Institute at UN O and sever al signi ficant bui lding proj ects at U NMC. S o n J o h n Sc o t t sa i d h i s p ar ents are deeply committe d to the c ommuni ty — i ts pro gress , health and vitality. Their gift to the CBA project , he adde d, is a n in v e st m e nt in t he e d u ca t io n of the community’s future business leaders and in the economic development the college can help foster. “Fir st, our family would like to recognize the leadership of Carl and Joyce Mammel in th is mean ingful endeavor, ” h e r e m a r k e d . “M y p a re nt s e n jo y th e o p po rt un i ty to pa rt ner w it h t he M a m m els i n h el pi ng bri ng th is pro je c t to fruition. They share in C ar l and

it’s needed to be for the department. “It really began, I would argue, in the late ‘80s, early ‘90s, and that’s odd because that made it only 15 years old in 1990,” Pol says. “But part of what happened with a lot of buildings is that people were having to retrofit communications technology. We had our IT staff in these duct works and everywhere else to try and wire the building.” Says Nielsen, who was a UNO business student in the early 1990s: “When this building was built, what we have now for technology was not envisioned.” Yet the College continued to advance and to build a respected status. That only stands to grow when it finds itself with new accommodations two years from now. “We have such a great program here, but we’re like the hidden secret,” Nielsen says. “You can almost say that about UNO itself. Having a building that will be state-of-the-art for the business program, that people write stories about, that brings attention, and that will open eyes to, ‘Wow, that’s what they’re doing there?’ It’s just hard to get people as excited about remodels.” Pol says a university wants prospective students to be impressed first with a program. But programs are not independent of a facility, and soon CBA can be equally proud showing off both. Holland Basham Architects of Omaha has been hired to construct Mammel Hall with help from Gensler, a leading global design, planning and strategic consulting firm. “You want a learning environment that draws you in and makes you want to seek out space within that building to work as teams, to study independently, to go to laboratories, to go to visit with faculty members and staff people,” Pol says. “You want to have that environment and that’s what we’re trying to create. And I think we will.” w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Joyce’s passion for s upp orting e xce l lence in education a n d i n p rom ot i ng t h e e c o no m i c s t r e n g th o f our community. ” Ruth and Bill S c ot t b ot h a re g ra d u at es o f th e Un iversit y of N ebraska-Lincoln. Ru t h Sco t t earn ed a bachelor’s degree in education in 1952. S he w en t o n t o t e ac h sch ool an d later Ruth and Bill Scott in attendance at the June 2 CBA f ounded the Omaha Bridge Studio, where groundbreaking. she teaches “the t he trust depa rtment at U .S. ga me sh e l oves so mu ch.” National Bank’s Investment Bill Scott earned a degree from the U NL College of Business D i v i s i o n , a m o n e y m a n a g e r i n Detroit, with th e investment Administration in 1 953. He joined Buffett Partnership in 1959 department at Banker’s Life in D es Moines, and a state bank and Berkshire Hathaway in 1970, examiner with the Nebraska r emaining ther e until the ear ly Department of Banking. 1 990 s. Prior to t hat , he was with

Good neighbors Environment will be everything on the Pacific Street Campus. Volkman says he was more excited about the new building’s location than the building itself. “Right across the street you have Aksarben Village — movie theatre, restaurants, clothing stores,” Volkman says. “It’s going to be so exciting to have a college where students or faculty walk out and walk down to a Starbucks just down the street. We’re going to be moving further away from being like a commuter campus here and more to a real campus.” Improved parking also accompanies the move. A conference center won’t be part of the new building, but UNO’s Scott Conference Center is just a short walk away and visitors can be put up at a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, scheduled to open this summer about 100 yards away. Pol says the business college won’t hesitate to form partnerships with any or all of its new neighbors. Also predicted for the future is a stronger presence in the building from local employers. The west end of the first floor will be an area devoted to advising, student clubs and organizations and career services. “For example, we can have Union Pacific or First National Bank come in and spend a day there and the students will know they’re there,” Pol says. Leaving one place for another is never without its sentimental moments. Pol won’t be able to look out his window and see Dodge Street traffic and Memorial Park. The whole CBA operation will be blocks away from its longtime headquarters. But views and visions change. “I think people will get over it pretty quickly,” Christensen says. “This is really a transformational time for UNO. People tend not to look back on these things, but look forward.” Summer 2008 • 15

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Bill and Ruth Scott

It started with McGovern by Leo Adam Biga t started with George McGovern. Born in Chappell, Neb., and raised in Denver, Colo., Dana Howitt cut her political teeth as a teen working on McGovern’s 1972 presidential campaign. “I mostly got hooked on politics because of the climate at the time — the antiVietnam War protests, the civil rights movements, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy,” she says by phone from her Virginia home. After years volunteering as a state Democratic Party foot soldier, Howitt finally became a paid campaign staffer in 1996, the start of her professional career in politics. She went on to the Democratic National Committee in Washington,

and motherhood instead of continued studies. Only later did she begin college, at thenKearney State. After moving to Omaha Robert Cummings Photography, Alexandria Va.


Howitt transferred to UNO, joining its ranks of nontraditional students as the mother of a 4-year-old. She was 30 when she earned her journal-

“When you’re working on a campaign you feed on the energy. If the opportunity is taken anyone in this country really has a voice.” Dana Howitt D.C., and today is CFO and deputy executive director of Grassroots Democrats, an independent nonprofit political organization in the Beltway. It’s been a long journey. At 17 Howitt and her family moved back to Nebraska, settling in Sidney, where she graduated high school. A top student, she chose marriage 16 • Summer 2008

ism degree with a political science emphasis in Soviet studies. Howitt credits UNO professor Meredith Bacon as a major influence saying the educator “made me realize I could do a lot greater things than I was pushing myself to do.” Howitt’s political immersion began in earnest after she relocated to Denver, UNOALUM

where she worked as a paralegal. She chaired her county party and pitched in on countless races. “I literally worked every level of campaign,” she says. “I was really active in state party politics.” She describes 20-hour days, seven days a week. She’d report to a campaign’s headquarters in the predawn darkness, work a few hours, then head off to her regular 9-to-5 paralegal job before going right back to volunteer until midnight. “When you’re working on a campaign you feed on the energy,” she says. More than the rush, she loves the process. “If the opportunity is taken anyone in this country really has a voice,” she says. “I’ve always been into grassroots politicking. When you go knocking door-to-door I’m always amazed at how educated people really are about the issues, no matter what neighborhood you walk. People really do know what’s going on and I think a lot of times the political process doesn’t give people credit for that.” Her work with Grassroots Democrats doesn’t involve canvassing voters so much as state party machines across the nation. She provides training to staff on campaign finance compliance and fundraising and helps acquire nonfederal monies for campaigns and committees. She’s also a liaison between donors and state parties. She’s excited by Barack Obama’s campaign but being stuck in Washington makes her feel disconnected. “I wish I was closer to it right now,” says Howitt. “I miss that part of it, I really do.”

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From underdog to insider by Leo Adam Biga


arlos Castillo found his niche in Nebraska politics in his 20s, cemented his status as a Republican campaign manager guru in his early 30s, and now — all of 34 — is establishing himself as a state government insider. Managing political races and serving as Douglas County Republican Party executive director, Nebraska PAC director and Douglas County Election commissioner prepared Castillo for his current post as Nebraska Department of Administrative Services (DAS) director. The 2001 UNO political science grad has been a loyal part of the state Republican machine during the party’s decade-long dominance. After twice helping Lee Terry win his U.S. Congressional seat Castillo

are where you really make your reputation.” The upset Castillo engineered caught the attention of Campaigns & Elections Magazine, which named him one of its “rising stars” for 2007. Since accepting Gov. Heineman’s appointment as DAS director at the start of that year, Castillo has not worked on any campaigns, though he’s often consulted.

the scenes.” The political bug bit Castillo in the early ‘90s at UNO. He was recruited on campus to volunteer on his first statewide campaign and fell in love with the fastpaced, ever-changing culture. His organizational abilities, people skills and team- building talents made him a natural. Castillo applied his savvy to student politics in the UNO Student Senate then delved into Nebraska politics via campaign and party posts. There were some stinging losses, notably John Breslow’s failed 1998 governor’s bid and Scott Moore’s failed 2000 U.S. Senate run. Win or lose, though, Castillo comes away smarter. “I always try to learn something. I always ask lots of questions. It’s easy to get

“I love to be the underdog. It’s a great strategic position to be in. If you can win those kinds of races, you can win just about anything.” Carlos Castillo scored his biggest victory when he managed Dave Heineman’s successful 2006 Nebraska gubernatorial campaign. Few gave Heineman any chance against Tom Osborne. The slim odds appealed to Castillo, who threw himself into the race, his first managing a statewide campaign. “The big show” he calls it. “I love challenges,” Castillo says. “I love to be the underdog. It’s a great strategic position to be in. If you can win those kinds of races, you can win just about anything. The challenging ones

Might he throw his own hat into the ring one day? “I get asked that question all the time. I think about it every now and then. I don’t think I’m interested in that path but you never close that door. Unfortunately now it takes so much money, so much time. “Politics in general has gotten much more complicated and negative. That’s not really appealing to me. You have to basically give up your life and always be raising money. I’m just not sure I’d be cut out for that. I like to be the operative behind

left in the dust if you’re not staying up on what’s the latest and where things are going. I’ve been very fortunate to have some great teachers along the way.” His job today is carrying out the governor’s vision for what state government should look like. Making divisions more efficient is a major DAS goal. “Yeah, it’s a lot of politics, just a different kind,” he says. What’s he think of being called a guru? “You’re only as good as your last campaign. It just so happens my last one was a big one.”

Summer 2008 • 17

Head of the Herd By Eric Olson Photo by Bryce Bridges

Herb Rhodes has worn many hats since graduating from UNO: beekeeper, commodities trader, sheepherder and now, head of the Nebraska Cattlemen

18 • Summer 2008


IF YOU SPEND A COUPLE HOURS WITH HERB RHODES, BE PREPARED TO LISTEN. And listen carefully, because odds are you’ll learn something new. He’ll tell you about growing up as an African-American in the 1950s and ‘60s and how it made him the man he is today. He’ll talk politics. He’ll talk sports. He’ll talk about, of all things, beekeeping and sheepherding and the folly of the nation’s ethanol policy. Eventually, he’ll get around to telling you about his two passions — the cattle business and trading commodities. Rhodes also will tell you that he’s crammed a lot of living into his 65 years. He’s showing no signs of slowing down, either. It’s not part of the makeup of this man who once held the Omaha University record for the mile run. he passed the test, and the rest is history.” One of Rhodes’ latest endeavors — and he’s had lots of That was one of many lessons the son learned about the them — is serving as director for the Nebraska Cattlemen. The rewards of hard work. Rhodes remembers taking care of 3,000-member association of ranchers and cattle feeders sets lambs on his grandparents’ land on the south end of Omaha policy on legislation and regulations affecting the state’s beef when he was as young as 3 or 4 years old. He helped tend industry. their gardens. The seeds of the agrarian mind-set he has to this Folks who know him will tell you that Rhodes is a natural day were planted long ago. But those seeds remained dormant for the job, based on his 20-plus years in industry, his people as Rhodes worked his way through school. skills and his insatiable appetite for knowledge. “You ask Herb what time it is, and he wants to talk about how you make a Rolex,” says cattle buyer Chuck Leonard, a longtime friend. “He got this picture of a keyboard and would practice on it. Then


he shut his eyes and would have me monitor how well he was doing against this picture. When it came time to take the

Rhodes has worn many hats, but his motivation has remained the same for as long as he test, he passed the test, and the rest is histor y. ” can remember. “I’ve always had an urge for economic independence,” he says. Rhodes suspects his drive stems from his days growing up in North Omaha. His father, also named Herb, often told him On the run that a black man had to make his own breaks. Then young He graduated from now-defunct Cathedral High and chose Herb watched his dad do just that. to attend Omaha U. after track coach Lloyd Cardwell offered His dad worked in a South Omaha packinghouse but was him an athletic scholarship. determined to have a better lot in life. The elder Rhodes even“I have a lot of respect for the teachers I studied under tually shed the blue collar for a shirt and tie, working many when I was at Omaha University,” he says. “It was not a years in the federal court system. But before he could get that school that offered agricultural courses. They offered business job, he had to pass a typing test. courses. My primary goal was to graduate and go to law Problem was, Herb Sr. didn’t know how to type and the school.” family couldn’t afford a typewriter. Rhodes, who graduated in 1965 with a history degree, was “He got this picture of a keyboard and would practice on active in many facets of campus life. He was a distinguished it,” Rhodes recalls. “Then he shut his eyes and would have me graduate of the ROTC program and a member of its adjunct monitor how well he was doing against this picture. After he Arnold Air Society. He was involved in Spanish Club, Society got good on this picture, he went and rented a typewriter and of American Military Engineers and the O Club for lettermen. practiced on the typewriter. When it came time to take the test, Then there was Rhodes’ athletic pursuits, which came at a w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Summer 2008 • 19

time when Omaha U. was enjoying its heyday with Marlin Briscoe quarterbacking the football team and Roger Sayers running alongside Rhodes on the track squad. Rhodes is best remembered for setting the school’s mile record of 4 minutes, 30.6 seconds at the 1962 conference meet in Pittsburg, Kansas, in May 1963. “Being an athlete gives you perspective and strength of character because of the training that’s required and the selfmotivation that’s required to be successful,” Rhodes says. “The discipline of sports helped me.” Rhodes attended Creighton University Law School for a short time after graduating from Omaha U. before taking a job at Western Electric. He whet his appetite for financial markets by working as a commodities trader. Later, he was a senior manager responsible for metal recycling. He retired from one of Western Electric’s incarnations, Avaya, in 2002. That was just his day job. He and two of his children, Stacey and Herbie, delved into the beekeeper business in the early 1970s. As his father did before him, Rhodes thought it was important to teach the value of hard work to his children. The business turned out to be more than they bargained for, and they stayed in it for about 10 years. The family went from with one hive to 400

site. I am very sensitive to racism. In negotiating rates, talking cattle, it’s just not there. I have not experienced it.” Leonard, Rhodes’ longtime friend and business associate, says race has never been an issue to cattlemen. “I would tell feeders that Herb will be coming and that this is going to look funny to you. What does a black guy from North Omaha know about this business? Then he starts to tell you what he knows, and you better listen. He’s earned his spurs,” Leonard says. Rhodes started with 75 to 100 head of cattle, and now his herd numbers about 200. He had about 300 head at one time, but tough economic conditions caused by high feed and fuel prices forced him to cut back. He contracts with landowners in several areas of the state for grazing. And he continues to trade commodities and securities at American Harvest Co., which he founded in 1979. He and his staff of five work in an office in a refurbished building near the corner of 24th and Lake Streets, not far from where Rhodes grew up.

Following the trends

Pictures hung in American Harvest’s reception area are a reminder of his family’s past in the old packinghouses. On another wall is a snapshot of Rhodes in cowboy get-up in a corral. A steer’s head juts out from another wall. The TV in his private office is tuned to a “You would think that because I’m African-American, I could tell financial news network, a computer monitor you of some type of rejection that has happened to me in rural sits atop his tidy desk and commodity charts America. It’s been just the opposite. I am ver y sensi cover a wall. Rhodes tries to explain a corn commodities tive to racism. In negotiating rates, talking cattle, it’s just not chart to an uninitiated visitor. “If you were to there. I have not experienced it.” follow that one line, would you say that chart is going higher or lower?” he says. “Looks like it’s going higher, right?” producing a ton of honey and wax per year. “I got stung so But it’s not that simple. often, I couldn’t even feel it anymore,” he says. “The question is, ‘Why is the line going higher?’” Rhodes says he shut the business down because he noticed According to Ray Carr, managing partner of Bassett Feed the bees were getting more aggressive and he didn’t feel it was Yards and the person who recommended Rhodes for the direcsafe to have them around his family. tor’s post with the Cattlemen, Rhodes usually gets the answer right. And that’s what has made him so successful. Head of herding “He’s an expert in the financial world,” Carr says. “As far So it was on to sheepherding. With $2,000 and a line of as recognizing trends, knowing the markets and anticipating credit from the bank, Rhodes found nine acres of pastureland what will happen. He’s very good at looking at the future.” near Eppley Airfield and built his herd from about 20 to 150. Another intangible that works in Rhodes’ favor is his pasHe learned the ins and outs of the livestock business with sion. those sheep and graduated to cattle in the late 1980s. “He’s like a kid with a new toy in the cattle business,” Carr “I’ve always wanted to be in the mainstream in Nebraska,” Rhodes says, “and I always thought that would be in the cattle says. “Although he’s been around awhile, he still has a ton of enthusiasm, as much as anyone in the business. And he’s business.” interested in improving things as an industry.” Rhodes does not shy from the obvious. There aren’t many Rhodes long ago achieved the economic independence he blacks in the business of buying or selling cattle. Rhodes says so desired. He says he might retire someday and turn the busihe knows of one black rancher in Wyoming and a couple of ness over to son Herbie. But that day is not in sight yet. There black cattle buyers in California. are more cattle to be bought and sold, more commodities to “You would think that because I’m African-American, I trade, more hats for this urban cowboy to wear. could tell you of some type of rejection that has happened to No, this old miler isn’t slowing down. me in rural America,” Rhodes says. “It’s been just the oppo-

20 • Summer 2008


In control

By Terry Zank. Photo by Bryce Bridges


he final semester before graduation is when many college students focus on achieving personal goals and getting started on their career. While obtaining the last three credit hours needed for her UNO undergraduate degree, Allyson Schneiderwind did something focused on helping others — she conducted a public relations campaign about the dangers of binge drinking and drunk driving. Culminating in a series of events on campus April 15, Schneiderwind’s campaign may have positively impacted hundreds of UNO students. And though she conducted the campaign for a public relations independent study course, it was more than just another assignment. “After I went away to college in Columbia, Mo., I started partying too much,” Schneiderwind says. “I ended up dropping out during my second semester and coming back to my parents’ home in Omaha. “I had developed an addiction to marijuana. In the winter of 2007, I realized I needed help. I went through outpatient treatment that renewed my entire outlook on life. I’ve been sober since February 13 of last year and have never looked back.” She enrolled at UNO to complete her studies. In addition to drawing from her own experience, Schneiderwind researched high-risk behaviors common to college students who drink alcohol. The result was her “1-5-0 and in Control” campaign. “The ‘1’ stands for one drink an hour. For most people, that’s considered manageable,” Schneiderwind explains. “But if you’re a 90-pound female and you have a drink every hour for six hours, that’s not going to work.” That’s why the last part of the slogan stresses the need to maintain control when drinking. The “5” refers to five alternatives to drinking and driving 1. Use a Designated Driver: Assign a DD BEFORE you go out or start drinking.

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2. Call a Sober Driver: Ask a responsible non-drinker to be your emergency ride home. 3. Take a Cab: They accept credit cards and will let you get money from your destination to pay. 4. Sleep Where you Drink: Do NOT sleep in your car. You can be arrested just being in your car while impaired. 5. Walk home, if feasible. The “0” is for zero excuses. “If people follow these suggestions, there’s no excuse for having trouble with drinking,” Schneiderwind notes. “The 1-50 also stands for 150 calories in the average beer. That hits home with students who are conscious about their weight.” Schneiderwind’s “1-5-0 and in Control Festival” on April 15 consisted of three events held in and near the Milo Bail Student Center. In the morning, Patty Spady spoke about the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning. Spady’s daughter, Samantha, died of alcohol poisoning while a sophomore at Colorado State University. After Spady’s presentation, Schneiderwind and a group of volunteers hosted a root beer “mocktail” party. This was followed by a cookout outside the student center featuring free hot dogs, more root beer and a band. The group also distributed written materials and key chains listing the five alternatives to drinking and driving, along with phone numbers of three Omaha 24-hour taxicab companies. The key chains were intended to make a long-term impact. What’s next for Schneiderwind? Having graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, she plans to study media management in graduate school. As for her campaign, the Public Relations Students Society of America at UNO is considering making it an annual event. Summer 2008 • 21

Flying High UNO grad Matt Herrman — profoundly deaf since birth — earns a rare FAA certification By Don Kohler. Photo by Bryce Bridges

22 • Summer 2008



ike Larson encountered his share of jittery students during his tenure as flight training coordinator for UNO’s Aviation Institute. When your classroom is the cockpit of a Cessna 150, there are likely to be tense moments for students and staff alike.

But when Matt Herrman entered the aviation program in 2001, Larson sensed an air of confidence rarely seen in a fledgling pilot. Herrman was taking business and aviation courses at Iowa Western Community College when he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot, but the Glenwood, Iowa, native had one large obstacle to overcome in his quest to fly: He was born profoundly deaf. “It was remarkable when Matt came into the program because he was so excited about flying,” says Larson, who served as the Aviation Institute’s flight instructor from 2000 to 2007 and now is chief pilot for Advanced Air Inc., in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “I have to be honest. There were some people that were less than enthusiastic about a deaf young man getting into the air, but I said ‘Why not?’ There was no reason why this student shouldn’t have been allowed to pursue his dream. He was a very bright student and very motivated. In this business, like any other, one of the most important things you need to succeed is to have passion for what you do, and Matt certainly had that.” The Aviation Institute took Herrman under its wing, and today the 2003 UNO graduate has become just the second deaf person ever to earn Federal Aviation Administration designation as an instrument-rated pilot. With the coveted rating, Herrman is allowed to fly in poor visibility or low clouds using instruments rather than sight to glide the plane into a landing, although he still must utilize a hearing co-pilot during such flights. As a deaf pilot, Herrman is allowed to fly solo into the more than 12,000 uncontrolled airports across the country. At uncontrolled airports, pilots are not required to use their radios to communicate with other pilots and personnel on the ground. With more than 400 hours of flight time, Herrman is ascending into what he hopes is a full-time career in aviation. In May he was honored with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Aviation Institute’s Honors Convocation. “Overall, it was a very positive experience at UNO,” Herrman said through his interpreter. “I was very fortunate because everyone was so open-minded and accepting to having me in the program.” Herrman said he received encouragement from his parents, Larry and Charlotte Herrman, to pursue a career in aviation. The 28-year-old — born on the Dec. 17 anniversary date of the historic Wright Brothers flight — was fascinated by airplanes as a youngster growing up in Glenwood. “I was always interested in planes and flying,” he said. “My family understood that, so they really encouraged me and wanted me to follow my dreams.” Herrman also gained valuable insight and inspiration from Stephen Hopson of Ohio, who was the first deaf pilot to receive the FAA instrument rating. Hopson also was active in

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the Deaf Pilots Association (DPA), which provides information and resources to more than 200 deaf pilots nationwide. The organization conducts a fly-in ceremony annually to bring together deaf pilots from across the United States. Herrman, who is vice president of the DPA, hosted the 2006 fly-in event in South Sioux City, Neb. “Steve Hopson really helped me get going toward my instrument rating training,” Herrman said. “He sent me a lot of information about the process he went through to earn his certification, and provided me with valuable information about the FAA and training.” Training at the UNO Aviation Institution was rigorous, Herrman said, and helped prepare him for his inaugural flights. “I really loved all of the flight trips that we had during our training, especially the mountain training in Colorado Springs,” Herrman said. It was during the Colorado training exercises that Herrman was able to conduct a landing at the highest airport in the United States, Leadville, Colo., which is 9,920 feet above sea level. “That was one of the most beautiful flights I have made,” he said, his face breaking into a smile. “It is such a great feeling to be in the air and to feel the freedom of flying. It’s such a great feeling to have a birds-eye view of the world.” Herrman also was a member of the Flying Mavericks competition team that took part in regional flight contests in Salina, Kansas, and Norman, Okla., and a national event in Grand Forks, N.D. Training a deaf student offers several challenges, Larson says, but the two devised an effective communication system utilizing a dry erase board and hand signals during the instrument rating test. Larson recalled the obvious hesitation of the FAA examiner who climbed aboard the flight with Herrman. “The FAA was a bit reluctant, because there were only two or three deaf pilots in the nation that had did this,” Larson says. “When I first contacted the gentleman from the FAA he had a lot of questions, but when he saw us working together he was very supportive. He was … from my generation of thinking that any young person that has the desire to reach a goal should be allowed to do it. I am very proud of Matt and what he has accomplished.” Herrman said there is much more to accomplish in his dream career field. He currently works full time as a computer numerical cutting operator at Lozier Corp. in Omaha. With his instrument flight rating, Herrman can perform various commercial jobs such as crop dusting, banner flying, sky diving flights and power pole patrol. “It is a challenge to find employment because companies are just not willing to work with a deaf pilot, but I am still going to keep flying,” he said. “My next goal is to earn my flight instructor rating so that I can eventually teach other deaf students to fly.” Larson says that with the advancement of text-messaging technology there may be more opportunities in the future for deaf pilots to expand their aviation careers. He looks forward to working with Herrman on his quest to become an instructor. “Matt knows it won’t be an easy road, but in this world you have to be optimistic and persistent, and he’s certainly shown both of those qualities.”

Summer 2008 • 23

Caring for Coral Mitch Carl’s cutting-edge efforts are helping to save the Caribbean’s elkhorn coral population by Don Kohler • photos by Bryce Bridges

24 • Summer 2008


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Summer 2008 • 25

Saving the Caribbean’s elkhorn coral Henry Doorly Zoo Supervisor of Aquatic Invertebrates Mitch Carl carried the two-liter bottles he brought back from Puerto Rico through the Omaha zoo’s gates. The glass receptacles weren’t filled with the island’s famous rum, or with papaya drinks intended for the zoo’s concession stands. Instead, Carl’s cargo contained the centerpiece of his young life’s work — 34,000 elkhorn coral larvae he hoped would develop into adults and help save the endangered species. Carl cultivated the corals in 2006 and 2007 as part of SECORE (SExual COral Reproduction), a group of public aquaria and zoo professionals that travel to the tropical island in an effort to preserve an elkhorn coral population that has decreased by more than 90 percent since the mid-1970s. A 1996 UNO graduate (BS in biology), Carl says disease and pollution accompanied by Caribbean hurricanes have put the coral on the endangered species list. The animals are worth preserving, he says, because coral reefs provide a barrier to the sea’s buffeting waves and offer a protective environment for many marine species. So, liter bottles in hand, Carl accompanied other U.S. and European aquarists to Puerto Rico for the corals’ annual latesummer spawn. “It is right after the August full moon every year,” he says. From about 9:15 p.m. to 10 p.m., corals release millions of eggs and sperm bundles into the ocean — bundles that Carl and his cohorts collected and fertilized. Each aquarist brought thousands of larvae back to a zoo or aquarium.

Of the 34,000 larvae Carl brought back in 2006, 1,110 survived after three months. His were the only ones to survive from any of the participating zoos. Carl shipped most to other facilities and currently is nursing 150 colonies at the zoo. In 2007 he brought back 57,000 larvae, 750 of which were still alive after three months. Carl said the zoo with the next highest total had 40 surviving larvae. Carl shared some of his second batch, too. “Certain people have a knack for certain things,” says Mike Brittsan, Columbus (Ohio) Zoo and Aquarium curator who participated in the elkhorn project. “Mike is good at watching and observing the conditions under which these corals survive.” Brittsan said his fellow aquarists appreciate Carl’s efforts and willingness to share. “We have been using and abusing him,” Brittsan says with a laugh. “He’s a sharp guy we like to tap into.” Carl’s laid-back, pony-tailed persona belies the intensity he brings to his coral creation. He credits his success to his many years handling the salt water animals. “I have been working with corals for a long time,” Carl says. “I know what they need.” Keeping the tiles clean is a top priority, he adds. As supervisor of the zoo’s invertebrates, most of Carl’s daily tasks revolve around supervising staff and overseeing exhibits — ensuring supplies and water quality are properly maintained. Henry Doorly Zoo Director Dr. Lee Simmons says Carl’s coral contribution adds to the zoo’s reputation as one of the nation’s finest. But the effort is not in Carl’s job description or one Simmons directed. “The bottom line is we have all kinds of mundane tasks that need to be done every day,” the zoo director says. “But something like this takes a special effort. You have to have a passion for it, and Mitch has that fire in his belly. “From my standpoint, Mitch’s achievement is great. It shows you don’t have to be a huge institution in a tropical location to make a contribution to coral conservation.” And Henry Doorly is on the cutting edge of conservation efforts, he adds. Broken back, grumpy boss While Carl’s conservation bent and interest in science led to his biology major, a broken back and a grumpy pet store owner’s decision eventually led him to pursue a career working with saltwater animals. While a UNO student, the 20-year-old Carl took a spring break trip hiking in the Ozarks. While climbing a steep trail, he fell 60 feet and fractured his back. As his recovery progressed, Carl returned to his job at a former Omaha pet store. Initially, he assisted customers in his wheelchair but soon progressed to crutches.

“Something like this takes a special effort. You have to have a passion for it, and Mitch has that fire in his belly. From my standpoint, Mitch’s achievement is great. It shows you don’t have to be a huge institution in a tropical location to make a contribution to coral conservation.” Henry Doorly Zoo Director Dr. Lee Simmons

26 • Summer 2008


Leader in the field Carl is called on to present at workshops and to teach larvae gatherers the secrets of his success. He and Brittsan recently presented at a coral restoration workshop in Key West, Fla. The two roomed together to save their respective zoos money. Brittsan says Carl, who is at the top of his professional game, is easy to get along with and unaffected by his own success. Upon arriving in Key West, Carl suggested the two men rent motorized scooters as an additional cost saving measure. Brittsan scoffed at the idea. “Mitch sweetened the possibility by suggesting a bet to see who was more proficient driving the scooters through Key West streets,” Brittsan says. He took the bait. “It was definitely the way to go,” the reluctant Brittsan concedes, despite losing the bet and an undisclosed payoff. Carl has a penchant for beating the odds. In addition to indirectly influencing his career choice, Carl’s broken back also led him to his wife, Jena. The two met at Methodist Hospital in Omaha where Jena was a student nurse assigned to the wounded hiker’s care. They have three daughters: 5year-old twins and a 2-year-old. The girls are regular zoo visitors and Jena assisted Carl on his most recent coral collection. “It doesn’t hurt that the project takes place on a tropical island,” the coral conservationist says with a laugh. He plans to return this year, with Dr. Simmons’ blessing. “It makes it nice. If you have an idea, they are very receptive,” Carl says. “The zoo has been a big supporter of what I have done.”

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Photo courtesy Craig Enenbach

“The owner said I was too slow on the crutches and wanted me to get back into my wheelchair,” says Carl. He refused and took another position at a pet store that specialized in salt water animals. “I had always been a fresh-water hobbyist,” Carl says. “I got involved in corals at the new job and that piqued my interest.” Carl’s sense of humor is evident from an autobiographical sketch he wrote for a seminar presentation he was making. The sketch relays what happened after he graduated from UNO: “With degree in hand, he marched immediately to the Henry Doorly Zoo and demanded/pleaded for a job. After being mocked mercilessly, he was offered a volunteer scuba/underwater custodian position. Soon after, one of the aquarists mysteriously disappeared and he was offered the job and began his zoo career in 1997.” Eleven years later, Carl makes his way to the zoo’s underground coral tanks where he nurtures the larvae he retrieved from off the Puerto Rican coast. Small groups of tiny coral are growing on tiles, miniature versions of the massive reefs Carl hopes they will one day become. As they grow larger, the coral-laden tiles are glued to rocks, allowing the growth process to continue. Fish swim under and around the new life form, eating algae and helping keep the water clean. “Hopefully we will get them back to the Caribbean,” Carl says. He notes that the process takes time, stressing that the cultivated elkhorn corals cannot be returned quickly into the wild, lest the animals die.

Playing games By Meagan Phenix weat pours, the heart races, adrenaline pumps and fans cheer. There’s nothing like the feeling of competition and the camaraderie that comes with being part of a sporting event, says Craig Enenbach, local coordinator for the 28th annual National Veterans Wheelchair Games. A 1975 UNO graduate, Enenbach (pictured) knows the feeling firsthand. He’s competed at the Games — and often medaled — in events such as archery, bowling, the 100- and 200-meter races, air guns, handcycling and slalom. “I saw it as a way to physically become more active,” says Enenbach, a nine-year U.S. Air Force veteran who has used a wheelchair for ambulatory purposes since 1992, largely due to an automobile accident. He has undergone three spinal surgeries. Eight years as a competitor led Enenbach to take an even larger role in the event after joining the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in May 2006. That followed a nearly 30-year career with Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company, Enenbach retiring in 2005 as manager of its prescrip-


tion drug card program. With Veterans Affairs he joined the Nebraska-Western Iowa Health Care System and, as overall coordinator of the 28th Veterans Wheelchair Games, successfully lobbied for Omaha as host. The Games will be held July 25-28 at various Omaha locations, including the Qwest Center and UNO. To compete, athletes must be a military veteran who uses a wheelchair due to spinal cord injury or disease, amputation or certain neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis. Nearly 600 athletes from across the United States, Puerto Rico and Great Britain will compete in 17 medal events and sled hockey, an exhibition. A group of Iraq War veterans also will be participating, an opportunity, Enenbach says, to meet others who deal with similar injuries and to see that they are not alone in their struggle. “The rehab that takes place during the Games will help the athletes to feel better about themselves,” Enenbach says. “It’s a golden opportunity for them to do things they thought they couldn’t do before.” Summer 2008 • 27

College of

Information Science and Technology

The brainstorming tools area of the IS&T research island on Second Life.

Real teamwork in virtual world magine you are part of a team conducting a project for

Ia worldwide corporation, yet members of the team are

dispersed around the globe. Communication would be limited to conference calls, emails and video-conferencing, where people sit in front of a Web camera and talk. You can see the other people on your team, but you can’t always see what they mean. You can’t stand beside them and try out an idea, build a machine or test a device and immediately – or physically – experience the results. You can in a “virtual world.” A virtual world is defined as a computer-based, simulated environment where the computer users, or residents, interact by utilizing avatars. An avatar is a representation of the user that can be either a two-dimensional icon, as in an online forum or chat room, or a 3-D model, much like those in computer games. Immersive 3-D virtual worlds are known as metaverses. These metaverses provide virtual team members new ways of overcoming geographical barriers to collaboration. Metaverses and their enormous, valuable potential are being explored by researchers and students at the College of Information Science & Technology (IS&T). While commonly associated with computer gaming, 28 • Summer 2008

the use of virtual worlds is expanding rapidly as a source for collaboration within the corporate world. Companies including IBM, Sears and Circuit City are testing the business opportunities presented by virtual worlds. These companies, along with other businesses, individuals and educational institutions, are renting pieces of virtual land in an Internet-based virtual world called Second Life, a development of Linden Research, Inc. Second Life is just one example of the online virtual worlds that exist today. Since opening to the public in 2003, Second Life has attracted more than 13 million users, or residents, from around the world. At any given moment, about 40,000 residents are using Second Life space. Beginning last fall, students and faculty at IS&T partnered to form a research team and utilize Second Life as part of a doctoral seminar on virtual world project management. The Ph.D. students were John Murphy, Alanah Davis, Chi Zhang and Dawn Owens. The faculty members of the research team were Ilze Zigurs, professor and chair of the department of information systems and quantitative analysis (ISQ&A); and Deepak Khazanchi, associate dean and professor of ISQ&A. UNOALUM

In addition, Jay Austin, a senior majoring in computer ing avatar appearance, was important in the process. science, assisted in building and setting up the team’s Participants commented on each other’s appearance, and “island” on Second Life. some outfitted their avatar in professional attire to partici“An island is a piece of virtual land where you can pate in the project. build whatever you want to build, whether it’s a house or The unique technology capabilities of virtual worlds an entire business,” says Khazanchi. “On our island, we can lead to increased flexibility in how a team behaves, have built a digital art studio, a lounge for gathering, an which provides opportunities for VWPM. Virtual worlds area with brainstorming tools, and a place where you can offer a shared space where teams can meet and interact build 3-D objects.” and where project coordination can be enhanced. The island’s experimental environments can be used to Project coordination is a major element of project manmanage teams of avatars and collaborate on projects. agement. Virtual worlds can help minimize coordination They also can be used to explore the capabilities of virtuchallenges by providing: al world technology and its applications in academic and • Ability for immediate feedback when communicating business real worlds. among team members; “We want to use it as a teaching tool, and to create • Ability to establish trust through multiple channels of some excitement communication; about IT (informa• Removal of geotion technology) and graphical boundwhat IT can do for aries; and, people,” Khazanchi • The ability to says. view one another’s Zigurs says the artifacts as they are size of the space working on them. rented in a virtual The overall goal of world is limited the projects at IS&T only by the users is to enhance and their investresearch and pracment. “IBM, for tice on virtual teams example, owns a working in virtual couple of continents worlds. on Second Life.” There are many The space in a virpotential benefits to tual world can be understanding virtudesigned to imitate al worlds, says the real world or Khazanchi. just the opposite. “Organizations and “There are busiThe portal to the UNO Second Life “island,” as designed by computer science major Jay Austin. academic institunesses that are creat- The avatar is Austin’s representation of a UNO Maverick. tions that are exploring some very realising the use of metatic spaces,” Zigurs says. “I know of a hospital that has cre- verses can benefit by seeing specifically how metaverses ated a high-tech, 3-D duplicate of its facilities in Second might enhance team functioning. Life so patients, doctors and other interested people can “Researchers can benefit from the foundation for future see what it has to offer.” research in terms of constructs, propositions and chalShe says the island utilized by the UNO researchers lenges,” he says. “Virtual team managers can benefit by was specifically designed not to resemble the physical being aware of the basic characteristics of this new enviworld – or its limitations. ronment, and how its technological capabilities have the Virtual world project management (VWPM) is the potential to provide a richer form of interaction for virtual process of managing a project through coordination, teams.” communication and control within the bounds of a virtuZigurs says the fact that there currently are more quesal world environment. tions than answers simply adds to the excitement of In the IS&T Second Life project, it was observed that exploring the potential applications of virtual worlds. the teams where participants interacted with each other “In the early days of the Internet, no one was really established trust and had successful project outcomes. sure how it would eventually be used,” she says. “Right The research team also found that appearance, includnow, we are in the wild, wild west of virtual worlds.” w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Summer 2008 • 29

College of

Information Science and Technology

IS&T a model of innovation ike the revolutionary

Lidea that led to its incep-

tion more than 10 years ago, the College of Information Science and Technology continues to be recognized throughout the world as an academic pioneer in education, collaboration and research. By forging new paths of study, attracting the best and brightest students and renowned faculty, and creating opportunities for cutting-edge research and entrepreneurial concepts and technologies, the college is perfectly positioned to lead the interdisciplinary advancements in information technology (IT) into the next decade and beyond. One of two academic components that comprise the University of Nebraska’s Peter Kiewit Institute (PKI), IS&T and its unique programs and business and governmental partnerships have become a model for other universities and a magnet for students from around the globe. IS&T includes the departments of computer science and information systems and quantitative analysis, as well as programs in bioinformatics, telecommunications, information assurance and a doctorate program in information technology (IT). The college goes well beyond offering students the fundamentals. Local and national businesses, academic entities 30 • Summer 2008

and governmental organizations partner with IS&T faculty and students on coursework, internships, mentoring programs and product development. The college plays host to visiting faculty from around the world and welcomes many

and students have benefited a wide-range of entities beyond the UNO campus, from the Douglas County Historical Society, to inmates of the Douglas County Corrections Center who are learning basic computer skills, to area

provide free wireless access throughout the city, a feature that would greatly benefit residents regardless of income or education, and that would help establish the city as a rising star in the world of information technology.

international experts for presentations and symposiums, while IS&T faculty regularly travel to foreign universities to teach and are invited to chair prestigious international events. Service-learning programs led by IS&T faculty

public health agencies, to small businesses through the community that receive instruction and advice as to how technology can better enable them to succeed. The Wireless Omaha project led by IS&T Dean Hesham Ali is working to

The college impacts the community far beyond the university boundaries. That is due to a far-reaching vision of being a leader by taking information technology from the classroom into the research lab and the corporate environment, UNOALUM

and directly to the public. Its interactive nature has made the college a part of the fabric of the Omaha community as well as major businesses and government agencies throughout the nation. The Global Innovation and Strategies Center (GISC), also situated on the Aksarben campus, and the U.S. Strategic Command (USSTRATCOM) headquartered at Offutt Air Force Base just south of Omaha, regularly tap into the pool of eager IS&T students for internships and ideas. Some of these relationships have been sparked by other entities that call IS&T home: the Center for the Management of Information Technology, the International Academy for Advanced Decision Support, the Nebraska University Consortium on Information Assurance (NUCIA), and in a partnership with the other five colleges on the UNO campus, the Institute for Collaboration Science. One example of the college’s recognition as a high-quality institution is its ongoing designation as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance by the National Security Agency. In 2001, NUCIA was one of the first 20 centers to receive the designation. IS&T was established in 1996, combining three existing units: computer science, information systems and quantitative analysis (ISQA), and the Center for Management of w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Information Technology. The size and renown of the faculty since has grown with the addition of professors recognized as experts in their fields of study and research. Their ideas have led to further interdisciplinary collaborations between IS&T and other institutions, including the public health researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The work at IS&T results in a significant number of research grants. Most recently, the National Science Foundation awarded UNO researchers a two-year grant for a curriculum development project in bioinformatics. The research team, led by IS&T’s Mark Pauley, Ph.D.,

and Dean Ali, will develop, test and disseminate a set of six curriculum modules in bioinformatics that can be integrated into curricula in the biological sciences, computer science and other disciplines. The IT industry has seen tremendous growth both in terms of innovation and opportunities for reemployment. Subsequently, the role of IT education today is changing. IT faculty and students are being challenged to integrate with various disciplines and further exciting areas such as bioinformatics and media technology, to provide the tools to other academic disciplines and help them achieve their goals, and to take advantage of the growth of the new IT

hybrid areas to expand the IT core. The motto at IS&T is “IT Innovation Through Collaboration.” It is the mission and intent of the college, through advancements in IT research, education and innovation, to continue to make a profound, positive impact upon the world. That goal requires vision, expertise and dedication from everyone – from firstyear students through graduate students, from the most junior faculty member to seasoned professors, staff members and administrators. It’s the kind of vision that led to the establishment of the college – and it is the same vision that will help propel IS&T into the future.

IS&T students develop stimulation therapy system A

s t imu la t io n t h e ra p y sy s t e m for older adults living with var ious physical and mental disabilities, developed by grad uate students at the Co llege of I n fo rm at ion Sc ien c e a n d Technology (IS&T), is being tested in Omaha. T h e stu d en t s d evelo ped t h e Co mputer Assisted Recreation al T h e ra p y Sy s t e m i n c o nj u n c ti o n w it h th e D oug las Coun ty He alt h Center. The health center resid en ts will b e th e f irst t o u se th e system. It is an arcade-like e nv iron ment t ha t off ers ga mes a n d fi t ne s s t o i mp ro ve th e p hy s ical and co g n it ive f u n cti on in g o f The Capstone Team, from let, David Lauer, Devin Brisco, Nick Spies, John Croasdale, t he re si de nt s us in g cus to mLeesu Khang, Anne Helzer, Cristina Popescu and Baye Niang (seated). Not pictured, d eveloped and off-the-sh elf Maisee Xiong. hardware and software. Examples include memor yres i de nt s a re un ab l e go o ut i n to t he wo rld du e to bui lding ga me s, puzzl es, I nternet new s, music physical and medical limitation. Through thi s pr oj p rog ram s, and b icycle and automo bile driving e ct , t he s t ud e nt s h av e b ro ug h t t h e wo rld t o t h em . ” simulators. IS&T gra dua te s tu den ts s ee king a ma st er of sc i “ The UNO students played a vital role in bring en ce deg ree in management in formatio n system s i ng computer te chnology into t he li ves of our resi ( MI S ) cr eate d the pr oje ct a s pa rt of a ne w c our se d e n t s , ” s a y s M a r y Po we ll, dir ec t o r o f nu rs in g at guid ed by I S &T pr ofe ssor s A nn Fr uhl ing and Ge r tthe Douglas County Health Center. “Many of our Jan de Vr e e d e .

Summer 2008 • 31

College of

Public Affairs & Community Service

Learning about labor Labor Studies institute bridges university, labor community ew people would pick up a novel and turn to the mid-

Fdle page to begin reading. The same, says John

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Kretzschmar, is true when it comes to learning about the American labor movement. “It’s important to understand the history of the employer/employee relationship in the United States,” says Kretzschmar, director of UNO’s William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies. “It’s the history of our economy, where the concept of at-will employment came from, the notion of giving employees the legal right to organize a union and gain an independent voice in the workplace. “I think that’s an important story.” It’s one of the stories being taught by the William Brennan Institute for Labor Studies. Established July 1, 1980, the Institute is named for William Brennan, who at his death was serving as president of the Nebraska State AFL-CIO and as a state senator. Originally a part of the College of Continuing Studies, the Institute today is an entity of the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS). Kretzschmar came to UNO in 1977. One of his first assignments was to work with the university, organized labor and the Nebraska Legislature to secure the funding and establish the programs that were the foundation of the Institute. The Institute includes educator Edgar Moore and staff assistant Robin McNutt. Their offices are at the Peter Kiewit Conference Center in downtown Omaha. Kretzschmar Kretzschmar says the Institute provides a unique bridge between the university and the labor community. Its statewide mission is to “foster critical and creative thinking among labor leaders, potential leaders and members by providing relevant information and training in the skills necessary for success in today’s changing economy and workplace.” The Institute is funded to cover salaries and operating costs. It charges participants and sponsoring labor organizations a fee for its classes. The classes are conducted across the state and range between eight and 16 hours. Subjects include collective 32 • Summer 2008

Teaching, Ser vice, Research T he William Bren nan Institute for Lab or S tud ies eng ages in teach i n g , s e r vi ce and res earch that include: • O pe n- en r oll m ent n on- c re di t cour s es fo r a ny m em b er o f a l ab or organiz ation that engages in collective bargaining. • C u st o m- de s ign e d c o u rs es f o r int e re s t ed u nio n s, s t at e a s so c ia tions an d central labo r co uncils. • Applied research and information requests from organized labor. • Pu blic education ser vice to in terested o rg an ization s in sid e an d outside the labor m ovem ent. And, • An annual labor conference ti tled “Promoting the General We lfar e ,” ty pica ll y he ld in ear ly Apr i l.

bargaining, grievance processing, parliamentary procedure, leadership training, strategic planning, immigration and common-sense economics. Between 2003 and 2008, the Institute has averaged 22 classes a year, with an average yearly attendance of 433 participants. In addition, it averages 27 presentations a year, with an attendance of more than 1,360 people. The Institute is one of about 40 labor education programs housed in colleges and universities around the United States that are members of the United Association for Labor Education (UALE). To be a university-based institutional member of the UALE, a labor education program must have a Labor Advisory Committee (LAC). “The role of the LAC is to interpret the educational needs of the labor movement and evaluate the programs that the Institute offers,” says Kretzschmar. “It acts as an advocate for labor education in the labor community and the university.” The Institute’s LAC is composed of representatives from the university and the labor movement. Current members are: Ken Mass, president of the Nebraska State AFL-CIO; Terry Moore, president of the Omaha Federation of Labor; B.J. Reed, CPACS dean; Herb Schimek, head of government relations for the Nebraska State Education Association; and Ron Withem, associate vice president for university affairs and director of governmental relations for the University of Nebraska. In the 1990s, Kretzschmar served for four years as secretary of the organization that preceded the UALE. He says the role of labor unions today is largely misunderstood. That, he says, is because few people know the history of organized labor. “Students may learn about the growth of our nation’s economy and the changing focus from agrarian to industrial to service, and still know little or nothing about the UNOALUM

“There was no statutory law dealing with labor unions and collective bargaining. The judge, in a landmark piece of common law, ruled it was legal for any single employee to ask for more pay, but if two or more asked together, they were engaging in an illegal conspiracy.” That went basically unchanged for more than 100 years, until the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 was passed to protect the rights of employees to form unions, to encourage collective bargaining, and to curtail certain private sector management practices which can harm the general welfare of workers, businesses and the U.S. economy. The act established a federal agency, the National Labor Relations Board, with the power to investigate and decide on charges of unfair labor practices and to conduct elections in which workers had the opportunity to decide whether they wanted to be represented by a union. The act was an attempt to bring dignity to the workplace and give employees a collective voice, Kretzschmar says, “in other words, to expand democracy to the workplace.” These are the lessons he shares with the Institute’s classes. Though they are the same lessons he has taught for 28 years, he sees no reason to stop. “I love my job,” he says. “I love the people I work with, both at the university and those I teach and interact with.” One day, he hopes to expand that audience. “I’d like to find a way to work with school systems across the state to get some of the history of labor into civics and social studies education,” he says. “It’s a story that too often goes untold.” Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

role of labor unions in increasing the dignity with which employees are treated.” The history lesson begins at the founding of the United States, which the preamble to the Constitution states was created “in order to form a more perfect union.” “We are a nation based on empowering the previously subservient,” says Kretzschmar. “Our founding fathers aimed at creating a new nation where there would be ‘liberty and justice for all,’ not just for the elite.” However noble their intent, the founding fathers recognized that at the time there existed a division of people based on class. “Our Constitution contained a fugitive slave clause and counted slaves as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of boosting representation in our southern states,” he says. “More to the point, there was a clear distinction between ordinary people and land owners when applied to the very important right to self-determination, as judged by the right to vote. “Wage earners neither owned property nor composed a large part of the populace. Because they didn’t normally own the required amount of property, together with women and people of color, they were denied the right to vote in the majority of states.” Kretzschmar says the first court case dealing with unions and collective bargaining didn’t take place until 1806, when the bootmakers’ union in Philadelphia demanded to be paid the same wage as those doing the same work in Boston and New York. Their employers formed their own association and took the bootmakers’ union to court.

Construction is nearing an end on the $18.7 million renovation to the new home for the College of Public Affairs and Community Ser vice. Faculty, staff and students will occupy the building beginning this August. See details at

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Summer 2008 • 33

College of

Arts & Sciences

In Bloom

Spring has sprung, bringing not only new blossoms but also awards and honors for various College of Arts and Sciences students and faculty. The following pages detail some of those honorees.

UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching hree Arts and Sciences faculty received 2008 Alumni Outstanding Teaching Awards at the UNO Faculty Honors

TConvocation Breakfast April 10, each receiving a $1,000 award and commemorative tablet. Bullock and Parnell photos by Tim Fitzgerald, University Relations. Desmarais photo by Karen Kempkes Steven Bullock Alyson Roach, a political science student, wrote in support of Steven Bullock’s nomination, “Dr. Bullock’s classes in constitutional law kindled an enduring passion for the subject in me, which I am pursuing as a graduate student.” Bullock is an assistant political science professor whose primary areas of specialty include the American founding, constitutional law, and the intersection of sport and American culture. He also has focused his teaching efforts in recent years on developing innovative graduate courses for K-12 teachers. In addition, Bullock heads UNO’s Dual Enrollment program, which has a current enrollment of approximately 2,000 students. The program allows talented high school juniors and seniors to enroll in UNO courses while simultaneously encouraging these students to interact with various components of the university. He was a lecturer at UNO from 1997 until 2003, when he joined its faculty. Bullock earned his bachelor’s degree from Midland Lutheran College (1993), his master’s degree from UNO (1996) and his Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2001). 34 • Summer 2008

Michele Desmarais Former student Tammi Owens writes in support of Michele Desmarais’ nomination, “Her professionalism, dedication to her students, and breadth of knowledge in her field has been a powerful inspiration to me.” Dr. Desmarais is an assistant professor of philosophy and religion whose primary focus are Sanskrit and Indian thought, particularly Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism) and Buddhism. She teaches courses on Eastern Religious Traditions, Hinduism, Buddhism and world religions for UNO’s Religious Studies Program. She also teaches courses on the Sanskrit language and is a member of the Native American studies faculty at UNO. Her book, “Changing Minds: Mind, Consciousness and Identity in Patanjali’s Yoga-sutra and Cognitive Neuroscience” recently was published by Motilal Banarsidass, a noted publisher in the field of Indology. Desmarais earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology (1986) from Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. She earned an M.A. in religious studies (1992) and a Ph.D. in Asian studies (2001), both from the University of British Columbia.

Juliette Parnell Courtney Wheat, a student of Dr. Juliette Parnell, writes, “Dr. Parnell has challenged me to work harder, be stronger, bolder, and more precise. She has given me the tools and the inspiration to make the most of every class.” Parnell is an associate professor of French in UNO’s Foreign Languages Program. She teaches beginning, intermediate and advanced French classes. Her specialty topics are French civilization, contemporary France, French films and business French. Parnell produced a CD-ROM for the beginning French textbook “Voilà” in 2006. Her other teaching interests focus on business French and writing at the advanced level. Parnell also has been an AP French reader and consultant since 2005. Her research has been on 19th century French women and politics. Parnell earned a B.A. in history (1976) from Paris I and a B.A. in English (1978) at Paris VII in France. She then moved to the United States to pursue graduate studies in French at the University of California at Los Angeles, where she earned an M.A. (1978) and Ph.D. (1991). UNOALUM

writing teacher at UNO since 1985, Maria Anderson-Knudtson was recognized at the 2008 Faculty Honors Convocation for her contributions to service-learning at UNO. Well before many knew of the term “service-learning,” Knudtson realized the need to make classroom assignments into “real-world” experience for students of writing. “The advantage to the students is that their people-power is directed to a client who can use their work,” Anderson-Knudtson explains. “It doesn’t dead-end at the professor’s desk.” Clients — businesses in the local community who partner with the university in servicelearning — get quality products at no cost. “They also get fresh ideas, creativity,” Anderson-Knudtson adds. “I might have 60 brains working on a single project. Think about the power in that! The fascinating aspect is that those many brains do have different levels of creativity. Art history majors do view and approach tasks differently than civil engineering students. The diversity of their ideas and perspectives is a great benefit to each client.” Much of Anderson-Knudtson’s work with service-learning has been through her teaching a course called Technical Writing across the Disciplines. She describes the course as fol-


lows: “The Technical Communication class is basically a writing class that introduces students to applications in professional situations. The assignments differ from writing academic papers like essays, which students traditionally produce in general composition classes in colleges. Tech Com focuses on the writing situation, audience, format of documents, researching, and editing documents such as reports, resumes, letters, memos, technical definitions and descriptions.” Clients for her classes have included the Omaha Henry Doorly UNO Chancellor John Christensen and Vice Chancellor Sheri Zoo and the Omaha Online Public Nore n E ve rts , rig ht , re co gn ize d Ma ria A nd ers on -Kn ud ts on f or Art Project. her ser vice-learning cont ributi ons at U NO. Anderson-Knudtson also has offered several workshops for other faculty incorporating servects for students; ensuring high-quality and ice-learning in their classes. effective student work; maintaining excellent A colleague wrote in support of Knudtson relations with community partnerships; and that she, “exemplifies what a faculty member actively supporting service-learning, not only working with service-learning should embody: on campus and community-wide, but nationaldeveloping and coordinating meaningful projly as well.”

Dean’s Award, Student Honors key component to the

Atraditional liberal arts

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

education is the study of a second language. Through this level of immersion in another culture, students achieve an intimacy that opens their minds to other

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cultural perspectives — a fundamental hope to the future of our world. Perhaps no one better represents such hope than Aaron Albin. A Spring 2008 graduate, Albin received this year’s Dean’s Award in Student Honors for the College of Arts and Sciences and subsequently was selected as the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Award and as the student commencement speaker. He graduated with a 3.99 GPA, a double major in English and Spanish and a certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. The Omaha native stands out even among the bright-

est honors students in the role he plays as an ambassador to UNO’s international students and, ultimately, to the international community. In addition to his university study of Spanish, Albin has taught himself Japanese. He puts his extraordinary skill in language to use by tutoring for the intensive English program, the Foreign Languages program and the UNO Writing Center. He has served as an orientation leader for international students and as secretary for the student organization Friends of Japan. Albin is a past recipient of the English department’s most prestigious scholarship, the Marion Basler/Helen Basler Anderson Scholarship,

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Excellence in service-learning

UNO’s Hansen Distinguished Scholarship, and a UNO Regents Scholarship. He is active in Omicron Delta Kappa (National Leadership Honors Society), Sigma Tau Delta (International English Honors Society) and Sigma Delta Pi (National Collegiate Hispanic Honors Society). English Professor and department Chair Dr. Susan Maher writes, “Among the linguists in my program, Aaron is held in high esteem, celebrated as one of the most gifted linguistics students we have ever taught.” This fall Albin plans to enter a master’s program in linguistics in Indiana, where he also will teach Japanese courses through an associate instructorship. Summer 2008 • 35

College of

Arts & Sciences Excellence in Teaching Awards for Part-time Teachers ”life-changing experience” is what the very best Arts and Sciences instructors offer their students each semester.

ARecently honored for being among the very best are Dawn Cripe (Women’s Studies), Christian Haunton (Religious Studies) and Julien Fielding (Religious Studies). According to nomination letters from their students, these winners of the Excellence in Teaching Awards for Part-time Teachers alter students’ perceptions of themselves and their world by three persistent techniques.

of students stayed after class to talk to Christian about the material,” Blizek says. “Christian stayed until every student had asked his or her question.” Haunton is an Omaha native who earned his B.S. in criminal justice at UNO (1998) and his M.A. in religious studies at the University of Iowa (2006). His areas of academic interest include religion in the ancient and classical Mediterranean world, archaeological investigation of religion, and issues of definition and interpretation in the study of religion. From left to right, Christian H aunton and Julien Fielding receive their aw ards fr om Religious Studies Pr ofes sor Bill Blizek.

Making it personal One nominator wrote of Fielding, “College is expensive and sometimes I wonder why I decided to take this class and spend all my money on something that is not even going to help me in my field of work … but it is in my field of life. Her teaching helped me discover more of who I was and what I believed in.” This discovery is all part of Fielding’s plan. She says of her students, “I want to inspire them to seek education for the personal rewards it offers.” Fielding graduated summa cum laude from UNO in 1992 with a B.A. in art history and minors in religious studies, English, medieval studies and French. She earned her M.A. in religious studies from the University of Kansas in 1996. She has been teaching classes in religion at UNO since 2005 and also teaches at Midlands Lutheran College and Metropolitan Community College. Among her current projects is completion of a book on religion and film to be published by Scarecrow Press this winter. Being responsive These sentiments expressed by one of Haunton’s supporters are echoed for all three instructors: “Mr. Haunton never ignored a question, and he answered them adequately and without bias. Acknowledging the questions of ill-informed people and answering them without arrogance, no matter how unusual they may seem, marks the character of a good person.” Religious Studies Professor Bill Blizek testifies to the same on visiting Haunton’s class. “A large percentage of students asked questions during the class and a number 36 • Summer 2008

Staying passionate Fielding, Haunton and Cripe all were lauded by student nominators for their caring and enthusiasm. A student who nominated Cripe writes, “Dawn adds excitement to her lectures. She is never monotonous, as she cares strongly about all the material in her course and is always excited to share it with her students.” Cripe earned a B.S. in journalism from UNO with a minor in women’s studies in 2000 and an M.A. in communication in 2004. She teaches journalism, speech, and women’s studies at UNO and also teaches for the College of St. Mary. Communication Professor Shireen Bingham writes, “Whether she is designing a new course, creating an activity or assignment, selecting a film or textbook, bringing guest presenters in to her course, or taking her students into the community, Dawn fully and meaningfully engages her students in processes of critical Dawn Cripe, left, receives her award thinking and active learn- from Professor Karen Falconer AlHindi, Director of Women’s Studies. ing.” Making it personal, being responsive and staying passionate all require time, energy and commitment to the ideal of a liberal arts education. For their commitment to this ideal, Cripe, Fielding and Haunton were awarded plaques and checks for $1,000 each at the Arts and Sciences Faculty Reception. UNOALUM

Photo by Tim Fitzgerald/University Relations

Outstanding Graduate Mentor NO’s Outstanding

UGraduate Mentor

Award for 2008 was awarded to Lisa KellyVance, who has served as advisor, mentor and advocate for the Department of Psychology’s graduate students for 13 years. Her work extends far beyond the classroom, encompassing research, advising, mentoring and career preparation. “With her teaching, guidance, and support, I have achieved things I never thought possible, helped children in ways I never thought I could, and learned invaluable information both inside and outside the classroom,” writes Abbey Modica, a school psychology graduate stu-

dent. Another graduate student, Karin Mussman, explains how Kelly-Vance earns the title “outstanding”: “One of the other key features that makes Dr. Kelly-Vance a superb supervisor is her wide network that she has built with other school psychologists and community members. She is involved in state, regional and national committees and organizations, not just for herself but also for her students.” Kelly-Vance, director for the School Psychology Program, previously received the University Excellence in Teaching Award and the UNO Alumni Outstanding

UNO Chancellor John Christensen and Vice Chancellor Deb Smith-Howell, right, recognized Lisa Kelly-Vance with UNO’s Outstanding Graduate Mentor Award for 2008.

Teaching Award, both in 2002, and the University of Nebraska Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award in 2004. She earned her Ph.D. in

educational psychology in 1990 from Indiana University and taught at Creighton University for several years before coming to UNO.

We forgot to mention ... n the Spring 2008 issue of the

IAlum magazine, we neglected

to give credit to Karen Kempkes for two photographs that accompanied an article about Michele Desmarais. Kempkes took both the featured portrait of Desmarais (see page 34 of this issue) and the cover photo (left) for Desmarais’ new book, “Changing Minds: Mind, Consciousness and Identity in Patanjali’s Yoga-sutra and Cognitive Science.” Desmarais writes, “Karen Kempkes is an alumna of our Religious Studies program, the business manager in Continuing Studies, and a very good friend. She is also a wonderful photographer. “The publisher asked me for ideas about a cover design, and w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

also a photo if I had it for the book. “The Samkhya-Yoga system of thought (upon which the book is based) uses a metaphor of the soul, purusha, as an audience member who watches the material world, prakirti, perform a show. I draw on this imagery throughout the book.” Desmarais explains that, though the photo of the stage was her idea, Kempkes thought to include the chair. She adds, “When I went to Delhi and met my publisher, he took me to meet the people who worked on the cover of the book. They were raving about the cover and the empty chair on stage! One of them exclaimed, ‘It’s perfect! You sit in the chair, and your mind changes!’” Summer 2008 • 37

College of

Photo courtesy Carol Mitchell


M a n y o f th e t e a c h e rs i n L e s o t ho r e l ie d o n l e c t ur e s : s t u d e n ts k n e w th e o r y b u t d i d n ’ t k n o w h o w t o a p p l y t h a t k n o w l e d g e . M i t c h e l l m a d e h a n d s - o n l e a rn i n g a priority, incorporating the use of dancing raisins, inflatable balloons and the unquenchable candle to explain science concepts.

COE faculty help counterparts in Africa, Nicaragua

Teaching the teachers aiting for the teacher to begin the daily lesson, the

Wchildren sit quietly, dreaming of a better life for

themselves and their families. They look to education as their way out of poverty. Unfortunately, many of their teachers lack adequate training in how to teach. Three UNO educators — Dr. Carol Mitchell, science education; Julie Delkamiller, special education; and Dr. Sandra Squires, special education (retired) — are reaching out to help teachers in Lesotho, Africa, and Leon, Nicaragua, gain the knowledge and strategies needed to help students realize their dreams. Lesotho, Africa Mitchell traveled to Maseru, Lesotho, in December 2007 to facilitate the second Summer Math/Science Teacher Institute. The purpose of the institute was to focus on increasing student involvement and achievement in mathematics and science by concentrating on 38 • Summer 2008

teaching/learning strategies that incorporate a “hands-on” approach. As the institute began, Mitchell found that teachers used lecturing to focus on test taking. While students knew theory, they didn’t know how to use the information. For example, they knew what a chemical reaction was, but they had never learned how to apply that knowledge. Mitchell knew that by engaging students with hands-on learning, they would be better prepared for the future. As a result, investigations were a major part of the institute. Mitchell also used dancing raisins, inflatable balloons and the unquenchable candle to explain science concepts. “I can certainly be improved by practicing the five Es,” said one high school teacher referring to engage, explain, explore and extend with evaluation taking place at each step. “Although it looks time consuming, I predict the UNOALUM

Photo courtesy Carol Mitchell

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Summer 2008 • 39

Photo courtesy Sandra Squires

results will be excellent.” Among the problems facing teachers in Lesotho is immense poverty. With an average yearly income of $136, teaching resources are severely limited. Mitchell says it was important that she model “things that teachers could do with little or no cost.” After completing her work with the institute, Mitchell spent a week working with students. “Although students are poor, they don’t know it,” she says. “They have a thirst for knowledge. They respect their teachers and education. “Teachers from Lesotho do care about their students and want to give them the best education they can. Through careful planning and preparaSqui res and D el kami l le r spent f our days vi si t ing school s, incl udi ng a Speci al School tion, even with limited resources, I believe they for children with disabilities. Squires, second from left, and Delkamiller, second from can provide their students with successful learning right, flank four parents of such children. The two UNO teachers were assisted by experiences.” translators Omar (far left) and Uli ses (far right). The UNO College of Education also is doing its poverty and a lack of resources. As a result, teachers part to help. The college supplied lab coats to teachers resort to lecturing while students sit in rows and take and students, who were so appreciative of the gifts that notes. During the training sessions, Delkamiller and they wore them throughout the day in extremely hot Squires engaged the participants in a series of activities, weather. modeling different approaches to teaching. While the teachers liked this approach, it did take them time to Leon, Nicaragua adjust. In March 2008, Delkamiller and Squires traveled to the Delkamiller and Squires spent four days visiting University of Nicaragua-Leon, a sister university of UNO’s schools, including the Special School for children with College of Education. There they trained teachers in lesdisabilities and Los Pipitos, a school for hearing-impaired son planning, teaching strategies, and adapting for differelementary children. ent learning styles, especially in the areas of special eduBoth were disillusioned with the lack of education cation and deaf edugiven to these students. Children only attend school for cation. half a day and education is compulsory only through Delkamiller found sixth grade. Few, if any, accommodations are made for that teachers lacked children with special needs. They are the forgotten souls training and did little whose future is bleak without an adequate education. The preparation for their attitude that these students never will accomplish anyclasses. thing is one that Delkamiller hopes will change. “It was dishearten“I feel like I’ve been preparing for this project my entire ing that teachers life. I believe passionately in the power of education and weren’t prepared and creative teaching,” Delkamiller says. didn’t know how to Since her return, Delkamiller has kept in touch with the prepare,” Delkamiller teachers who have used some of the strategies and are says. “Once Sandra excited about learning more. “Education is the miracle. and I found that they There’s a basic desire for building relationships through didn’t have the basics education. We need to be responsible for doing that. for lesson planning, That’s what motivates me.” we had to restructure She plans to return to Nicaragua in July to continue the our presentation to work she’s begun. better meet their Mitchell, too, will return to Africa. “I believe teaching is needs.” a gift and I have been given the gift to teach,” she says. The teachers in With the help of these educators and others like them, Leon face the same Donning a College of Educat ion-donated lab the dream of a better life will become a reality for these problem as those in c o at , a s tu de n t in Le s o th o p os e s wi th th e children. Lesotho — extreme Summer Institute’s “ m a s c o t . ”

College of

Business Administration

Four honored as CBA Distinguished Alumni NO’s College of Business Administration honored

Ufour alumni during its 2008 Distinguished Alumni

Achievement Award luncheon in May. Of more than 17,000 CBA alumni, only 73 have been honored as CBA Distinguished Alumni. Following are profiles of the 2008 honorees. Michael J. Geppert Fi rst Data Soluti ons Michael J. Geppert is president of First Data Solutions, a division of First Data Corporation. First Data Solutions serves leading financial institutions, retailers and collection agencies with applied analytics and information solutions in credit, fraud and debt collections. Geppert received his bachelor of science in business administration (BSBA) degree with a specialization in marketing from UNO in 1982. Prior to First Data Geppert was with the Omaha World-Herald. From 1998 to 2000 he served as president of, a whollyowned subsidiary of infoUSA. Before working at infoUSA, Geppert was senior vice president at First Data Solutions. Geppert is past chairman of the MidAmerica Council Eagle Scout Association and currently is a member of the Mid-America Council Boy Scouts of America board of trustees. He also is an active member of St. Vincent de Paul church in Omaha, serving on numerous parish committees. Geppert and his wife, Adri, are natives of Omaha and are strong supporters of Maverick hockey. They have four children, including John, a freshman at UNO. Jane H. Gilbert American National Red Cross Jane H. Gilbert is the senior vice president for chapter operations at the American National Red Cross. She is responsible for the activity of the Red Cross chapter network, which includes 749 American Red Cross chapters across the United States. Gilbert earned an Executive MBA degree from UNO and a BA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Gilbert’s Red Cross career began in 1995 with the Heartland Chapter in Omaha, where she served as the deputy director of marketing and development. During this time she helped increase the fund balance of the chapter and assisted in the completion of a capital campaign. In April 1999 Gilbert transitioned to chief executive officer of the Charter Oak Chapter in Hartford, Conn., which serves as coordinating chapter for the state. There Gilbert managed chapter operations across 81 counties. In 2003 Gilbert moved to Raleigh, N.C., where she became the first executive of the mid-Atlantic service area. She was promoted to her current position in August 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the gulf coast of the United States.

40 • Summer 2008

Building Coverage Check out coverage of the new CBA Building on pages 12-15 of this Alum! Matthew T. Norris, CFA Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company Matthew T. Norris is a senior vice president of Waddell & Reed Investment Management Company and Ivy Investment Management Company. As director of equity research he supervises the investment research and economics departments. Norris earned an MBA degree from UNO in 1992 and a BS in cellular biology in 1986 from the University of Kansas. Before joining Waddell & Reed, Norris was affiliated with Advantus Capital Management Inc. in St. Paul, M.N., from 1997 to 2003. He joined Advantus as a growth analyst and was appointed large cap value portfolio manager in 2000. Prior to joining Advantus he was an equity analyst and portfolio manager for Norwest Investment Management Inc. from 1994 to 1997. Norris joined Waddell & Reed as a portfolio manager in July 2003. He was appointed director of equity research in June 2005. He is portfolio manager of the large cap value institutional accounts, Waddell & Reed Advisors Value Fund, W&R Target Funds Value Portfolio, and Ivy Value Fund. Norris is a Chartered Financial Analyst and a member of the Kansas City Society of Financial Analysts. He and his wife, Renee, married in 1991 and have two children. Ro lland (R .C.) Th omps on Tactical Air Support Inc. Rolland (R.C.) Thompson is president and CEO of Tactical Air Support Inc. Prior to founding TAS Thompson served 26 years in the U.S. Navy, retiring as the “exec” to the commander, U.S. Strategic Command. Thompson has an Executive MBA degree from UNO, an MS in national security strategy from the National Defense University, and a BS in aeronautics from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. During his active service Thompson served as the commander of an operational carrier air wing, as the strike warfare commander for Operation Enduring Freedom, and as the commanding officer of the Navy’s elite TOPGUN school. Thompson logged more than 6,500 total flying hours during his career, including 5,500 hours in the Navy’s frontline fighters. After retirement from the military Thompson worked in the government contracting industry for three years before founding Tactical Air Support Inc. TAS provides consulting services and responsive, costeffective adversary training for military aviators. His company currently uses F-5s, SU-27 fighters, the L-29 Super Delfin, and the L-39 Albatross to provide realistic air and electronic combat training.


SUMMER 2008 1941 Eugene P. Jorgensen, lives in Lincoln, Neb., and is a great-grandfather. He wrote the following: “Days that long have past. I acknowledge precious time that ticks away so fast. I hold a great deal tighter to loving friends’ embraces. And oh, how I cherish laughing children with Life’s smudges on their faces. Yes, I may walk a little slower and old they may call me. But do you know I see, I hear, and I love much better than that young boy I used to be.” 1954 Dick McCord, BGS, lives in Prescott, Ariz., and is a member of the Geritol Hipsters band. The group three times has been selected gold medal winner at the National Veterans Creative Festival. 1964 James Koller, MS, received an honorary doctor of science degree from Alfred State College (Alfred, N.Y.) during its 24th annual honors convocation in April. Koller’s involvement with Alfred State College began in 1981 when then-

Class Notes

New York Gov. Hugh Carey chose him to fill a vacancy on the college council. Koller went on to serve on the Alfred State College Development Fund Board and as vice president of the SUNY Association of Council Members and College Trustees (ACT). He also served on the honorary board of directors of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2000 the Jim Koller Volunteerism Award was established. Koller is retired from Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, as manager of film and paper manufacturing, Kodak Park Division. 1966 Raymond Lawrence Smith, BGS, lives in Alexandria, Va., and sends this Class Note: “Writer of four novels: ‘The Ice Cream Man,’ ‘The Peach Cobbler Lady,’ ‘The Buttermilk Biscuit Man,’ and ‘Supper Table.’” Send Smith email at

Louis F. Zylka, BGS, lives in Del Rio, Texas, and writes, “It has been 43 years since I graduated from UNO. It was a great experience

UNO Flashback File


attending the university. Thank you for offering the Bootstrap Program that I was able to be a part of. After graduating I returned to the Air Force, at Bunker Hill, now Grissom Air Force Base. Re-entered civilian life, returned to Westinghouse Electric in Pittsburgh. After 20 years at Westinghouse I became part of Siemens Automation and Engineering in Jackson, Miss. In addition to industry, I owned my own construction business. My son helping me, we built a 175passenger party boat for our pastor in Jackson. That was a great accomplishment, plus all the homes we remodeled. The year 2002 found me retiring to Del Rio. This has been quite an experience with more opportunities. As a retired person, I became involved in the community Main Street Program. My next experience was to volunteer my skills to build a school playground, and a junior high academic center for Sacred Heart Catholic School. My next

challenge was building a restaurant for a friend, renovating a building built in 1902 and turning it into a tappas/martini bar and restaurant. Now on a low scale, I still build furniture, do small renovation jobs and find it very satisfying helping people. My experience at UNO enhanced my outlook on life. I can be thankful to the super professors at UNO, and a wonderful university to be proud to call my alma mater.” Send him email at 1968 Bill Jansen, BS, lives in Palm Coast, Fla., and notes that two years ago he and his wife, Marilyn Rasmussen Jansen, both retired from public school teaching in Massachusetts and moved to Florida. “I’m back teaching in a small, private high school in Daytona Beach. My wife runs the household and is enjoying her retirement. Our two grandchildren live in the area and our middle son

Frosh student Peter Fonda labels Omaha U ‘Vapid’

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Photo courtesy Criss Library Archives


From the Feb. 14, 1958, Gateway enry Fonda’s son, Peter, doesn’t object to identification with the famous star. “I don’t let it bother me when people refer to me as ‘Henry Fonda’s son.’ But I prefer to be Gordon Hathaway, man on the street.” Peter came to Omaha University as a freshman this fall as a result of the encouragement of Arts and Science College Dean William Thompson. He had previously attended Westminster Prep School in New York. Commenting on his acceptance at Omaha U., Peter says, “I don’t like the people who are impressed with my name; I do like those to whom it makes no difference.” At first he felt as if he were treated as someone “new,” but he now feels that this has worn off and he has made friends. What does Peter think of OU?“Vapid.” What does he think of the student body, “Rabble without a Cause.” If possible the eighteen-year-old freshman hopes to enter Yale in the fall. He believes that the education available on the extreme East or West coast is superior to that offered in the Midwest. As for his famous father, Peter is an ardent fan, having seen all of his plays, including the most recent, “Two for the See Saw.” He did, however, miss actor Fonda’s movie, “Mr. Roberts,” since he has been out of the states whenever it was playing.

Fonda, far right, had a supporting role in University Theatre’s production of “The Happiest Millionaire” in 1960. Fonda would attend Omaha University for two years.

Would he choose dramatics for a career? “Either dramatics or law, but I believe there is a great deal more personal satisfaction in dramatics.” Peter took one parting shot at the average Omaha U. coed. “Why do they have to wear those socks rolled down their ankles?”

Summer 2008 • 41

Class Notes

lives farther south in Florida.” Send Jansen email at

Roger Mahnke, BGS, lives in Camarillo, Calif., and writes in response to the Fall 2007 UNO Alum magazine that featured an article on the new Holland Computing Center at the Peter Kiewit Institute. The article included a photo of UNO’s “National Cash Register” computer installed in 1967. Mahnke writes, “I was employed by the computer center as a full-time programmer from 1965 through 1968 while I was completing my BGE in mathematics. I remember that NCR 315 RMC (rod memory core) system very well. The men in the picture are, from left to right, Jerry Kilgore, Bob Moore and our operations manager. Not pictured but assigned to the university account full time was Bob Smalley. I was lead on two noteworthy application systems. The first was an alumni system produced for Mr. Warren Wittekind, the alumni director. The next major effort was a flexible school scheduling system developed in conjunction with Westside High School and District 66. On a personal note, I went on to graduate school at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash., and enjoyed a long-term career in high tech until my retirement in 2005. Those early days were fun times in computing because we didn’t know system or personal limitations so we would try to do anything. Great fun seeing that set of equipment again!” Send Mahnke email at 1969 Kenneth R. Walters Sr. , BGS, lives in Marion, N.C., and is retired for good. He first retired in 1979 as a CMSgt. with the U.S. Air Force. He spent the next 24 years in civil service with the Air Force, retiring again in 2004 after working as a meteorologist. “Now living in beautiful western North Carolina — reminds us much of growing up in California. Wife, a BSN nurse, also is retired. UNO Operation Bootstrap was vital for my civilian career. Would love to go back to Omaha for a visit (in the fall — we won’t discuss winter and summer; I can see why Grandfather Walters left Iowa in 1906 for California), but 42 • Summer 2008

Future Alums

Kaylee Addison Anzaldo, daughter of Jonathan and Krissy (Olson, ‘01) Anzaldo and granddaughter of Marcia (‘93) and Dean (‘85) Olson of Papillion. Laurel Ann Downes, daughter of Scott and Melissa (Nihsen, ‘97) Downes of Yakima, Wash., and granddaughter of Rhonda Chantry (‘94) of Omaha. Nicholas Pagliuca, son of Mark and Michelle (Martin’96) Pagliuca of Elkhorn, Neb., and grandson of Richard Martin (‘93) 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).

not with gas $3.50 a gallon and climbing. You have a superb school.” Send Walters email at 1970 Joel C. Snell, MA, lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and is a professor emeritus at Kirkwood College. He invites grads to visit his blog, Send him email at

1971 Paul J. Kilburg, BA, lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and on May 1 became Chief Bankruptcy Judge for the Northern District of Iowa. Send him email at

Sons & Daughters of UNO Alumni Delaney Jeanette McMullen, daughter of Jessica and Joe (‘91) McMullen of Lincoln, Neb. Lauren Rebecca Speckmann, daughter of Carol (Stevenart, ‘93) and Troy (‘93) Speckmann of Omaha.

Alexander Michael Treat and Nathaniel David Treat, twin sons of Kristen (Mohr, ‘00) and David (‘01) Treat of Omaha. Barrett Gordon Bumsted, son of Molly and Shane (‘01) Bumsted of La Pine, Ore.

Leah Elaine Pugliese, daughter of Tara (Buzzell, ‘99, ‘01) and Billy (‘01) Pugliese of Omaha.

Dalan Mathew Hochstein, son of Matt and Nicole (Kuchta, ‘05) Hochstein of Bellevue, Neb.

Simon Conine Damrow, son of Traci (Conine, ‘96’99) and Scott (‘00) Damrow of Omaha.

Brady Michael Dunning, son of Mike and Jennifer (Knievel, ‘99) Dunning of Sugar Hill, Ga.

Nolan Jacob Sweazy, son of Sarah (Van Zyl, ‘02) and Denver (‘01) Sweazy of Omaha.

Michael John Chalmers, son of Victoria (Meier, ‘04) and James (‘01) Chalmers of Omaha

Nathaniel William Gust, son of Delray and Kimberly (Schiermeyer, ‘02) Gust of Omaha.

Brisea Noelle Ahl, daughter of Katrina (Hess, ‘90) and Chris (‘90) Ahl of Omaha.

Cosette Claire Bartling, daughter of Jodi and Jason (‘00) Bartling of Omaha Allison Rose Arkfeld, daughter of Thomas and Kimberly (Scarlett, ‘05) Arkfeld of Omaha. Alena Franksmann, daughter of Beth (Borgeson’99) and Brett (‘97) Franksmann of Omaha.

Lloyd Roitstein, BS, was recognized by the Boy Scouts of America as a Distinguished Executive. President of the Mid-America Council, Roitstein has been involved with scouting for 37 years, 28 in Omaha and 16 in his current post. Send him email at 1979 Paul Sather, MSW, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. His career as a social worker included work with the Nebraska Children’s Home Society, the Hudson Center and Woodhaven Counseling Associates. Sather currently serves as the director of the Service Learning

John Eugene Blickenstaff, son of John and Elaine (Han’01) Blickenstaff of Omaha. Claire Maria Locken, daughter of Vicky (‘05) and Rob (‘06) Locken of Omaha. Helen Amelia Christen, daughter of Blaine and Jennifer (Feregrino, ‘00) Christen of Omaha.

Academy and American Humanics Program at UNO. He was the recipient of the 2003 Award for Excellence in Service Learning Teaching at UNO and the UNO Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award for CPACS in 1999. In 2006 he also received the Administration Commendation in Service Learning Award from the Midwest Consortium for Service Learning in Higher Education. 1980 Tim Mathern, MSW, is a North Dakota state senator who in April was chosen by that state’s Democratic NPL party to be the Democratic candidate for governor. The state’s gubernatorial election will occur in November. Mathern has been a North Dakota state senator since 1989 and is a member UNOALUM

S U M M E R of the senate’s appropriations committee. He is vice president of public policy for Prairie St. John’s hospital in Fargo, N.D. He is married with four children. See more about him at Paul J. Strawhecker, MPA, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. Founder and president of Paul J. Strawhecker Inc., he has spent his entire career assisting nonprofit organizations in fundraising, marketing, planning and public relations activities. Throughout his career he has been responsible for programs generating more than $200 million, assisting government, social service, healthcare, education and religious organizations. The current chair of the AFP Foundation for Philanthropy (International), Paul also serves as an adjunct professor at UNO and coordinates and teaches in the university’s Certificate in Fundraising Management program. He also is a frequent speaker at regional and national conferences. 1981 Frank Peak, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. He has a long history in community activism and social justice leadership. He is community outreach services administrator for the Creighton University Medical Center Partnership In Health and is co-founder and president/CEO of Nebraska Ethnics Together Working On Reaching Kids Inc. He also serves as a member of the Statewide Minority Health Advisory Committee of the Nebraska Health and Human Services System Office of Minority Health, the Douglas County Board of Health, and the executive committee of the Nebraska Partners In Prevention State Incentive grant project, by gubernatorial appointment. Peaks also earned an MPA from UNO in 2000. 1982 Janice Price, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni w w w. u n o a l u m n i . o r g

Awards for Excellence in Public Service. She is interim administrator of the State Unit on Aging. In 1989 she became a care manager with the Nebraska Department of Social Services in the Medicaid waiver program, working with older adults who wished to remain in their own homes. In 1997 she began as a program specialist with the State Unit on Aging, working with the state-wide care management program. In 2000, Price also became project director for Nebraska’s Alzheimer’s Disease Demonstration Grants to the States and the National Family Caregiver Support Program. She earned a graduate certificate in gerontology from UNO. 1984 Peg Harriott, MSW, was named president and chief executive officer of the Child Saving Institute of Omaha, a not-for-profit child welfare agency that has served Omaha and Nebraska children and families for more than 116 years through adoption, pregnancy counseling, parenting services, foster care, emergency residential care, child and adolescent therapy, adolescent substance abuse and developmental childcare. It has more than 120 employees and three locations, including its main building at 45th and Dodge Streets. Harriott previously was executive director of Omaha’s YWCA since 1999. She also earned an MBA from UNO in 1995. She takes the CSI reins from interim CSI president/CEO Judy Kay, also a UNO alumna (MSW, 1986).

1985 M a r y A n n C o rn e t t Da n i e l s on , BSBA, lives in Omaha and recently was named associate vice president for Academic Excellence and Assessment at Creighton University. She also was promoted to professor of communication studies. W. “ H an k ” H e nr y, BGS, lives in Phoenix and is twice retired, once from the U.S. Air Force (1983) and from HUD (2006). He writes, “I was sad to read of the passing of Dr. Wayne Wheeler. I regret that I never took the time to let him know that I thought he was a terrific professor (I am sure I still have my annotated copy of Tocqueville around here somewhere.) Let me take this opportunity to say thank you to another superior professor, Dr. Warren Francke. He was always knowledgeable, accessible and enthusiastic. These two gentlemen helped make my years at UNO a pleasure.” Send Henry email at 1986 Donna Mar ie Schneider m an Scheer, BS, lives in Castle Rock, Colo., and writes that she has branched out from science and now plays music. She has a CD out titled "Simply Donna." She has become a multi-instrumentalist playing guitar, dobro, mandolin, dulcimer and some harmonica, banjo and ukelele. Send her email at

Lost Alums - 1963 Bob W. Johnson Jerry L. Johnson Paul M. Johnson Stanley C. Johnson Dale A. Johnston James L. Jones Charles V. Jones Horst K. Joost Senora Jorgensen Patricia A. Orr Jorgensen Alice Jorgensen Russell E. Julian Michael A. Kadenacy Philip A. Kalisch Frank Z. Kamer Phillip Kaplan Stephen H. Kaster Nancy L. Kautz Gordon H Keller Arthur L. Kelly Walter G. Kennedy

Mickey L. Kennedy Paul E. Kenney Rogers B. Kent Harold R. Keyt William R. Kidd Richard D. Kimball Richard J. Kinder Rita J. King Gordon L. Kinley Frank Kirmss John S. Komp E. C. Kopeschka Thomas F. Kozeliski Margaret M. Krusen Thomas C. Kuhn Edwin G. Labbe Kelly P. Lacombe Gerard J. Ladner William A. Lafferty Donald Earl Lair John E. Landis

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1987 Susan A. Laughlin Berson, BA, lives in Leawood, Kansas, and is a partner with The Banking & Tax Law Group LLP. A courtroom veteran, she also has published her second book, “The Model Rules of Personal Finance for Professionals” published by the American Bar Association. Serving on various boards and committees, she has recently been appointed as a member to the state advisory committee for the Commission on U.S. Civil Rights. Send Berson emails at 1988 Jamesena “Jamie” Grimes Moore, MSW, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. She is vice president of volunteer and community services at United Way of the Midlands, where she has been employed since 1988. Moore joined the United Way as a social work practicum student and within five years rose to the position of vice president. She has been instrumental in program development and implementation of programs, such as Heartland Blueprint and NE 2-1-1on the local and national levels. She is the only Nebraskan to serve in an elected position on the national board of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and has been selected twice as the Nebraska Social Worker of the Year.

Help us find these “Lost Alums” from the Class of 1963. Send news of their whereabouts to Nelson B. Landman Hal C. Lane Vernon D. Langenberg Robert J. Langlands Jerry A. Lanning LeRoy M. Larson Gerald D. Larson Bert D. Lassman Humberto R. Laurel Donald E. Lauzon Robert K. Lavender John A. Leahey Vernon B. Lewis James D. Liles Katherine M. Lloyd David Lollis Wilbur R. Long Arthur S. Loughry William R. Lucas Doreen L. Lundgren Floyd B. Lyerla

Otis C. Lynn Herbert W. Macfarlane Joseph B. Maddalena Chesley Maddox J. Woodson Mader Rufus M. Marchant Robert W. Marden Todd S. Marsh Bob Marshall James W. Marsio Hugh G. Martin Samuel H. Martin Oren V. Maxwell Paul Mazzuca Raymond C. McAdoo James R. McBurnett Otis E. McCain Allan R. McClane Robert J. McClellan John McCloskey Frank H. McClurg

James D. McClusky Theodore R. McDaniel Richard D. McFarland Joseph F. McGraw Thomas A. McGuire George E. McIntyre Ralph A. McKee John J. Mehringer John Meleky Charles C. Mercer Weldon W. Michael Marcus R. Michles Tadas Mickus Donald D. Miller Huey P. L. Miller George M. Miller Henry D. Millican George C. Mitchell Maurice S. Mitchell Richard W. Molinaro Seamon J. Molkenbuhr

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Class Notes

1989 Eddie J. Edwards, BSET, lives in Omaha and writes that in October 2007 he passed the Nebraska Professional Engineer’s Exam. “Currently employed as a senior engineer at Omaha Public Power District in the telecommunications department.”

Michelle Schindler, BS, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. She has served as the director of the Lancaster County Youth Services Center since 2006. She previously was deputy director of the center. Schindler also has served as the transition coordinator for the current Youth Services Center, is past president of the Heartland Juvenile Detention Association and has worked closely with national juvenile justice organizations to promote effective detention services. 1991 Barbara Weitz, MSW, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. She is a former faculty member of the UNO School of Social Work. Her years of teaching included work with service learning. She and her colleagues,

Class Notes

Patricia Carlson and Paul Sather, were early innovators in the use of service learning in social work education. The three organized the first national social work conference on the use of service learning in social work education, resulting in the first book published on the subject. She received the UNO Alumni Outstanding Teacher Award in 2001.

Cynthia L. Ruma-Buettner, BSBA, lives in Bellevue, Neb., and corrects a previous Class Notes entry that erroneously stated that she had taken a job at Anderson Partners. Instead, she is the division manager of customer service operations at Omaha Public Power District. 1992 Scott A. Carlson, BS, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. He is the statewide coordinator for problem-solving courts for the Nebraska Supreme Court administrative offices. He began his post in 2005 and is responsible for organizing and supporting the 21 existing statewide problem-solving courts and assisting the establishment of problemsolving court services throughout Nebraska.

1993 Jennifer Aden Murnane, BSBA, lives in Omaha and is the assistant director of Bellevue University’s Human Capital Lab, where she coordinates research efforts and establishes and cultivates relationships with corporate clients and research participants. Her own research interests in the area of human capital management are around tuition reimbursement and knowledge management. She also is an adjunct professor at Bellevue University, teaching management and finance. She will be completing her Ph.D with Iowa State University in 2008. Send Murnane email at Mark Healy, BS, joined fellow UNO graduates Stephanie Healy (1991), his wife, Tim Healy (1985), his brother, and Sheryl Healy (1983), his sister-in-law, in purchasing Doc’s Choice Premium Dog food company in 2007. The company is located in Fremont, Neb., and sells through Hy-Vee and Bag-n-Save stores. For more information visit Mark is a current member of the UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors. 1994 Jana Wheatley, BSBA, with her husband, Bryan, owns Team Green, a Wheatley Grounds Management

company that specializes in fullservice grounds management, including design, installation and maintenance of residential and commercial properties. Clients include residential and commercial properties in Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri. The family, which includes three children, is active in the community. See more at Send emails to 1996 Paul J. Winner, BFA, lives in New York, where he was married after receiving a master of arts degree from Union Theological Seminary. He has begun teaching Shakespeare to high schoolers in East Harlem. Send him email at Cynthia Wilhelmi, MA, lives in West Des Moines, Iowa, and writes, “This former GTA has just been elected CEO (LocSec) of Central Iowa Mensa! Email me if you live in western or central Iowa! We’ll recruit your membership and ask if you’d like to add your expertise to our group — and add the membership to your resume! Mensa is for ages 14 on up. Get ready to tickle your brain by having fun with a great group of people!” Send Wilhelmi email at

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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City ___________________________ State, Zip______________________

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

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44 • Summer 2008

May we include your name in our website’s email directory? (Email addresses do not display)

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S U M M E R 1996 Carolyn Rooker, MSW, was elected to the National Program Services Grant Review Committee for the CJ Foundation for SIDS. The committee’s role is to review program services grant applications and make recommendations to the CJ Foundation for SIDS board of directors. Rooker was selected to serve on this committee due to her experience and expertise in the non-profit sector, as well as her knowledge of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), infant mortality and other maternal child health issues. Rooker is a Community Relations/Grant Coordinator for the Visiting Nurse Association. In her 10th year at the VNA, Rooker has been instrumental in identifying and securing funding to maintain and expand VNA mission services to continue to provide health care to the most vulnerable, at-risk populations in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area. 2000 Gabe Romero, BSBA, was among

In Memoriam

1927 1933 1935 1936 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942 1944 1945 1947

1948 1949



Dorothy Braasch Anderson Jean E. Andrews Capps Richard C. Boyer Donald W. Ryan Edgar A. Howe Katherine E. Campbell Fritz Gertrude R. Brodkey Amelia Hartman Bernice Grice Johns Patricia Caley James Willard I. Friedman Dorothy R. Kaplan Janice M. Cooper Maynes Evelyn B. Reid Victor B. Sailors Clarence "Bob" Speelmon Robert C. Bernhard Paul W. "Bill" Kistler Marilee Steinman Allen Patsy Hummel Brown Dorothy A. Johnson Husselman Marvin L. Ireland Ray A. Schmidt Edward Van Steenburg Frances "Jean" Clure Bedell Lloyd F. Jelinek Harriet E. Oviatt Schneider Wilson

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12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. He has been with Aureus Group, a division of C&A Industries, for more than four years. While there, Romero has received accolades as top performer and employee of the quarter and has been promoted from account manager to branch manager and earned designation as a certified personnel consultant. Romero also is an active member of the Omaha community having served as both secretary and vice president for the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce Tips group. 2001 John Fiene, MPA, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. Fiene is UNO’s associate vice chancellor for technology. His responsibilities include leading technology partnerships

1951 Richard G. Keim 1953 Nina M. McEwen Pascale 1953 Alice E. "Bette" Gayer Erickson 1954 Orville C. Jensen 1955 Robert T. Sigler 1956 James E. Kinstler 1957 Carol J. Bingham Gates 1959 John L. Schrag 1960 Ruby H. Brewer Louise H. Holmquist Donald D. Scholes Robert L. Shields James F. Taylor 1961 Carl R. Amos Jr. Harold L. Coffman John M. Traylor Jr. Gilbert H. Wichert 1962 Bernel Jones Antoinette "Toni" Tiarks Longmeyer Ann F. Hespen Means Joseph E. Trojan Dorothy Sieck Wright 1963 George D. Allen Jr. Joseph S. Henderson Walter R. Nabity George L. Vaughn John A. Wagner

across the campus, in the community and in distance education. Prior to joining UNO in 1991 he led a software development and integration firm. He also volunteers as information technology director for the Open Door Mission and as a consultant for area non-profits. Carly Kudrna Thomas, BSBA, lives in Omaha and notes, “I began working for Peterson Bros. Insurance Inc. in 1999, first as an executive assistant and then in 2001 as a licensed agent. Peterson Bros. has been locally owned and operated since 1955 and arranges personal, commercial, life, health and annuity coverage. This past March I became a principal, officer and key shareholder of the firm.” Send Thomas email at 2003 Jason L. Hansen, BSBA, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in

1963 Murray M. Welch, III 1964 Harvey A. Childress Donald A. Lowery James A. Lowery Donald T. Marshall Alice Christensen Pratt 1965 Robert M. Behr Betty Barker Roberts Henry J. Van Doorne 1966 Robert C. Cope Cecilia I. Kenney Gatrost Charles D. Johnson Robert C. Lindig Harold F. Redinger Albert L. Reinschmidt Jr. Gary V. Pugh 1967 Charles W. Erftmier 1968 Russell A. Behr Jr. Arthur L. Johns 1969 Charles L. Johnson Rosemarie M. Miner Kohl Lorraine M. Baska Sheldon David Toplon 1970 Ray J. Burkhalter Raymond F. Galas Edward F. McManus Jr. George L. Medeiros 1971 Ann Gooch Bradford Roger W. Brown Mary "Jane" Moran Carl R. Patton Theodore R. Rowe Jr. Joseph P. Stroesser

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Public Service. Hansen is a vice president in American National Bank’s commercial lending division. His past and present community involvement includes volunteering for the Young Professional Councils, Junior Achievement, Project Wee Care, Habitat for Humanity and as a football coach at Omaha North High School. Stephen McCoy, BS, was among 12 UNO alumni honored by the College of Public Affairs and Community Service with its annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service. He has worked six years for the Omaha Airport Authority, where he is an operations supervisor overseeing the daily operations of Eppley Airfield and the Millard Airport. McCoy also is an adjunct faculty member with the UNO Aviation Institute and a certified member of the American Association of Airport Executives. He currently is pursuing a master in public administration degree at UNO.

1972 Donald N. Baird Ulysses Manning Orville C. Pace Jr. 1973 A. Elaine Hoch 1974 Suzanne Hale Richard E. Slama 1976 John E. Worth 1977 Paul B. Campbell Robert l. Fowler Warren D. Rippey 1979 Robert H. Bredemeyer Richard D. Kissinger 1981 Jackie L. Roffman Christensen David M. Horan 1982 Susan A. Swancutt Hinkle Carol J. Olsen 1983 Charles R. Haskins 1984 Paul S. Kiroff 1985 Bernita McBride Bradley 1987 Todd A. Hodges Fehrman 1988 Merrillyn Van Zandt Krider 1989 Linda L. Martindale William L. O’Conner Bruce M. Stuva 1991 Dale Fausset 1995 Marjean F. Hansen Sack 2002 Homayon M. Rahmanzai 2004 Megan R. Bosselman 2007 Martin A. Wright

Summer 2008 • 45

UNO Century Club NO Century Club 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, and fostering dynamic teaching. 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. See the page at right for details. 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.

Thanks to these upgraded Century Club donors!

G old ($500 or more) Timothy D. & Debra J. Hart Daniel M. Littley Jr.

March 1 to May 31


To Diamond

($250 or more) Maj. (Ret) Ralph P. Altvater Charles & Carla Faulk Kimberly D. & Kenneth H. Kingston Chuck Sigerson Scott Tarry J. Robert Vipond

($1,000 or more) Ilze Zigurs

To Gold ($500 or more) William & Sylvia Conley Don & Eileen Darling Maj. (Ret) Carl W. Gaborik Robert Kreitner Kevin & Shari Munro Darold N. Nelson Suzanne Nelson Tolman Walter C. Nodean Karen L. Sorenson-Hutchinson Margaret A. Sova Thomas & Aileen Warren

To Silver ($250 or more) David W. & Sharon K. Andersen J. Patrick Anderson Ronald & Rhonda Baldwin Ann M. Cichetti Judith M. Clendenin Connie D. Gore Willie L. Harper Clifford Hayes Mae & Jack Hill Delbert C. Huddleston John W. Johnette Eugene F. Kathol Alicia C. Kroupa Dean Matter Stephen E. McColley Shirley J. Neary John A. Prescott Mary Lynn Reiser Thomas A. Romberg Eugene & Kay Trout Noreen & Blaine Ward Michael E. Wielunski Claudia D. Wiethop Steven W. Zuckweiler

Welcome to these new Century Club donors! March 1 to May 31

D ia mo nd ($1,000 or more) Jane B. Crosby Eugene P. Jorgensen

46 • Summer 2008

Br onz e ($100 or more) Kenneth H. Abel Daniel M. Adam Steven R. Adams Ronald B. Adwers Chris Allen Robert S. Allen Susan B. Aller Echo G. Allman Bret & Ingra Anderson Roger H. Anderson Ronald J. Baken Darius V. Bakunas Howard W. Barton David J. Becker Edward G. Belzer, M.D. Robert J. & Deborah A. Bezousek Denise E. Bierma Jayson Bisbee Joseph C. Biscone Jr. Margaret E. Blackstone Donald C. Blaser John Boatwright Jr. Larry & Cathy Bockelman Diane L. Boekelheide Bradley C. Boers LTC (Ret) William W. Brackin Lewis S.G. Braxton Jr. Terrill Bresette Sue E. Brilhart Craig D. Brown Phillip R. Burbach Norman V. Cadorette Jr. Robert Calvert Donald A. Carlson Michael D. Carlson James B. Carpenter Alvin L. Chamberlain LTC Matthew L. Cinotto, USAF Ret. Julieta C. Clarke Shirley A. Clauson Glen & Teri Clinch Oscar C. Coleman Larry & Kris Cornelius Basil H. Correll Jr. Lana M. Danielson Rita J. Dargaczewski Betty J. Davis

LTC (Ret) John H. Dieterle E. Irene Dodder Rhea V. Donaldson Richard L. Donovan James A. Douglas David J. Du Charme Christopher R. Dyksterhuis James M. Ecker Austin H. Edmondson Jr. Clifford D. Edwards Sandra D. & Brian W. Erickson Frank J. Evans Richard J. Evans, III James H. Ferry Richard J. Fiddelke Thomas C. Fisher Jeffrey M. Flake Denver Fugate Marie R. Galda Richard A. Gerbeling Donna B. Gess Jerome F. Gillogly Udoxie Goodwin Barbee Russ Gorman Walter B. Graham Jerome L. Greenberg Robert B. Gregory Ernie J. Gubbels John R. Gustafson Helen Halker Kensinger Thomas Halvorson Marilyn A. Haman Brian & Carey Hamilton Michael F. Hansen Dale W. Harkert Arthur & Margaret Helligso Roger C. Henderson Michael T. Hoesing Charles Wayne Holderness William E. Holley Donald J. Hooper Norihito Hosokawa Norman L. & Barbara J. How Azar A. Jackson Thaddeus E. Jackson Jr. Dennis O. Jett Howard M. Johnson Jr. Michael R. Jones Kim S. Kadel Dennis & Beth Kaiser George W. Kane Kimberly S. Kavalec Robert W. Kelley Kathy Kennedy Christopher S. & Christine D. Kenny Kathleen M. Kersey Clyde W. Ketelsen Betty J. Kieran Gayle F. Kingery Daniel J. Kiper Kevee Kirshenbaum Jack A. Kiscoan Paul A. Klein LTC. Raymond Koch

Diane G. Kohler Jay A. Kratochvil Margaret M. Kubat Col. (Ret) Goldie M. Ladner William & Kathryn Lake Dr. Edward M. Lane Robert B. & JoElissa Larsen Joseph S. Lecci Della H. Lee Kimberly S. Lee Richard A. & Charlotte H. Leed Mary K. Leet Judi L. Leibrock Margaret K. Lemen Jeremy Lipschultz Col. Charles Lipscomb Col. (Ret) Richmond N. Long William L. Lupant William MacQuarrie Gayle M. Malmquist Dale I. Marcum Paul D. Marek Melvin L. Masek Leonard A. Mauro Deborah W. McCollister Mary O. McCully Francis McLean Charles P. McMahon Col. (Ret) James P. McMakin Rebecca L. Means Michael J. Mears Orville D. Menard John M. Mendenhall Jack V. Miller Kathleen M. Miller Michael V. Miller Joseph L. Mlnarik William H. Moore Bruce H. Mosley Charles J. Neumann James R. & Mary A. Nicas Ralph A. Nielsen Grant P. Novak Susan E. Paraska A.W. & C.J. Petersen Beverly M. Petersen Peter B. Petersen Timothy Polito Clifford H. Pourtney Debra K. Quam Lucille A. Quinn Emil J. Radik Jr. William L. Raincsuk Francisca C. Rebolloso Donald L. Richardson William P. Riddling Alma L. Rigdon Linda J. Ring Carol J. Robinson Charles F. Rolph, III Richard L. Ruffcorn, II Patrick & Mary Beth Runge Scott A. Safranek Harold E. Sage Benjamin Sandy

LTC (Ret) Roy C. Schaeffer William R. Schlott Aksel M. Schmidt William E. & Sharon R. Schneidewind Robert C. & Louann F. Schropp Kathryn Schubert Laura E. Schulte Charlotte Schultz Lt. Gen. (Ret) Richard J. Seitz Benita M. Seliga Earl Shrago William L. Sickenberger Curtis B. Siemers Donald E. & Elvera W. Skokan Kevin F. Sliwinski Clifford L. Smith D. Eileen Smith Henry Dean Smith Maj. Gen. (Ret) Howard P. Smith Jr. Leigh Snow Charles S. Southerland LTC (Ret) Duane R. Sprick Mark A. Stange Donald R. Stewart John J. Sullivan Raymond L. Sumners Eva C. Swanson Mike & Joyce Szemplenski Ralph Tait James Temme Ellen B. Thiemann James D. Thompson Frank R. Till James A. Tomes Col. (Ret) Milo Treska Robert R. Trumbauer Francis A. Tworek Maj. (Ret) James F. Tynan Ann M. Underriner Harold D. Vanlue David W. Varney Lee D. Velde Gary J. & Sonja M. Vicker Frances F. Ward Diane Watkins Lamb Larry L. Watson Darrell F. Wentworth David W. White Susan H. White Eileen S. Whittemore Carla M. Wieser Alfred E. Williamson Ruth E. Wisner Vernon H. Wood Jr. Jean M. Worshek Marc J. Wuensch Timothy J. Yager Monica A. & Michael C. Yankus Louis F. Zylka


Century Club Membership Donors of $100 or more also join the UNO Century Club, the Alumni Association’s premiere giving society (see right).


10 0!

PRIZE DRAWINGS ! Donors of $50 or more who contribute by June 30 will be entered in random drawings for $100 Fuel Cards: Five winners chosen!

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

Donors of $100 or more 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

Summer 2008 • 47


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

Address Service Requested

UNO Alum - Summer 2008  
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