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omaha’s prestige magazine

AK-SAR-BEN 2008 VOL. 20 NO. SEA Press releases and other editorial information may be sent to: P.O. BOX 241611, OMAHA, NE 68124 or e-mailed to: Publisher Editor-in-Chief

Ak-Sar-Ben Photographers

Danielle Broderick Mike Howard Jennifer Parent Linda Shepard

Andrea L. Hoig Editor Creative Director

Robert P. Killmer Featured Writers


Leo Biga Molly Garriott Susan Kuhlmann Dave Link



Francesca Peterson

Bre Gehrken Chris Purdy Sara Smith

Megan Olson

Most Honored of Ak-Sar-Ben CXII



Loni Craft

WBC Chairman Joni Linquist


2008 Women’s Ball Committee


2008 Court of Honor


2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Horatio Alger Scholars


metro MAGAZINE is wholly owned and operated by the publisher and is not affiliated with any other publication, operating solely on subscription and advertising revenues and the good will of the agencies and charities we support; all of which are very important to the continuing growth and quality of this publication. Thank you to all who support this publication. OFFICE/SALES

PHOTO GALLERY Guests at the Ball


The Coronation


Getting Ready


The Receiving Line


CAMP QUIVIRA Page Luncheon


14 GENTLEMEN, LADIES, IF YOU PLEASE Escorts, Countesses and Princesses Luncheon 26

CIRQUE D’OMAHA Councillor’s Party


Teresa Milner Dinah Gomez Julie Clark




Sales Associates


DINING AND DIGNITARIES Governors Wives Luncheon




Contents of this magazine are copyrighted by ALH Publications, Inc. in their entirety. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means - electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise - without the prior consent of the publisher. © Copyright 2008 alh Publications fka Metro Monthly, Inc. All rights reserved.

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MISSION STATEMENT The mission of alh Publications is to recognize the ongoing efforts of Omaha-area businesses, organizations and individuals to better the community through their support of charitable and civic causes. alh Publications also encourages people’s desire to give something back to the community through volunteerism and philanthropy.


HONOR AND ENCHANTMENT Halley Ostergard reflects on memorable year

402-333-7499 ________________


ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

andrea l. hoig beJEWELED

I wish to take this occasion to personally congratulate the Most Honored Citizen of Quivira, Reverend John P. Schlegel, S.J., along with Creighton University, and to honor Queen Ak-Sar-Ben CXII, Alyssa Michele Grewcock. These two individuals, their families and the Creighton University family symbolize the importance of recognizing not only those deeds that may be widely known but also those that are very privately and personally given. It is not only for the acts which have become public knowledge that all are honored, but also for the very private and less heralded dedication to others which defines their lives in ways unknown to any but those they may quietly benefit and assist. Such deeds are done in the background daily by many who are never recognized. In acknowledging those whose deeds are known, we also honor those whose acts of charity remain hidden, and this is the very spirit of Ak-Sar-Ben. Once again we must express our gratitude to the members of the Women’s Ball Committee for their devotion and assistance in preparing this keepsake edition. We have been covering the Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and rel a t e d activities for over 17 years now, and I continue to find inspiration in the ongoing efforts of those dedicated to fostering scholarship and service through this endeavor and its collective undertakings. We trust our efforts in covering the events surrounding and supporting the Coronation do credit to the combined dedication and devotion of all concerned. This year's 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Special Edition is filled with our traditional photo galleries, background stories, and other highlights intended to take our readers inside Ak-Sar-Ben CXII. I wish to thank all of our photographers for their efforts on the night of the coronation, allowing us to once again provide unequalled photo coverage of this event. If you don’t see your photo here, check our website at where hundreds of photos from the evening can be viewed and purchased. Each year we endeavor to make this special edition a treasured keepsake publication which will provide lasting memories. It is my hope that this edition will accomplish that mission as so many annual special editions have done over the past few decades.

alh P U B L I C A T I O N S






ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




reighton University and Reverend John P. Schlegel, S.J., were honored for their contributions to the Omaha Community at the Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation and Ball on October 11th. In something of a courageous perhaps even a bit risky break from tradition for an event steeped in it, nearly 2,500 attendees witnessed the introduction of not a King, but Quivira’s Most Honored Citizen. The event also included the formal introduction of the 2008 Court of Quivira which included honorees from more than 200 Nebraska and western Iowa families. The Most Honored Citizen of Quivira, Reverend John P. Schlegel, S.J., became President of Creighton University in 2000. Since being inaugurated as the 23rd President, the University has invested $250 million in campus expansion and improvements, adding 40 acres to the campus, and increasing enrollment by 14%. This year marks the first time that a university and its leader have been honored by the Ak-SarBen Coronation Ball. Creighton University, founded in 1878, is one of 28 universities in the United States sponsored by the Society of Jesus. Jesuit institutions are Catholic in their identity and mission, focused on academic excellence and service to the needy in their communities and beyond. As one of six children born to Aaron and Irma Schlegel in Dubuque, Iowa, John Schlegel entered the Society of Jesus in 1963. In 1969 he obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and Classics and in 1970 a Masters of Arts in Political Science from St. Louis University. He went on to earn an honors degree in theology from the Uni-

Photo courtesy of Dwyer Photography

versity of London and was ordained a Catholic priest on June 22, 1973. He subsequently earned a Doctorate in International Relations from Oxford University in 1977, at which time he returned to Creighton to begin his professional career. At Creighton he taught political science and then served as an Assistant Academic Vice President from 1978 to his departure in 1982. Over the next eighteen years, Schlegel served as the Academic Dean and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Rockhurst College in Kansas City; Dean of Arts & Sciences at Marquette University in Milwaukee; and Academic and Executive Vice President at John Carroll University in Cleveland. Moving to San Francisco in 1991, Schlegel became President of the University of San Francisco, a position he held until moving back to Omaha and Creighton in 2000. The Grewcock family was honored for their civic leadership and community service, As a fifth generation Nebraskan, Alyssa Michele Grewcock, was crowned as the 112th Queen of Ak-Sar-Ben. The new Queen attends Hillsdale College in Hillsdale Michigan and will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing in May of 2010. Currently at Hillsdale, she is a member of the Collegiate Softball Team and serves as a Hillsdale College Student Athlete Advisory Committee Member. Ms. Grewcock is the daughter of Doug and Michele Grewcock of Omaha. Queen Alyssa grew up in Omaha and graduated from Marian High School in 2005, where she was a member of the Marian High School Softball Team from 2001 to 2004 serving as Co-Captain in 2004. Grewcock was also a member of the Marian High School Future Business Leaders of America. Father John Schlegel is a member of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Nebraska, the American Council of Education, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. In addition, he serves on the Board of Saint Joseph Hospital and the Board of Regents of Loras College. His local community involvement includes serving as a member of the USSTRATCOM Consultation Committee, the Cathedral Arts Project and a Council Member for the Jesuit Partnership Council of Omaha. He is a board member for

Photo courtesy of Dwyer Photography

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ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

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the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce, Joslyn Art Museum, the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival, Opera Omaha, United Way of the Midlands, Greater Omaha Alliance for Business Ethics, and the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America, serving as Council President in 2006-07. His past civic memberships include serving on the boards of Creighton Preparatory, Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, Loyola University Chicago, Xavier University, World Affairs Council of Northern California, St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation, Western College Association, American Council on Education, American International School of Hong Kong, American Red Cross-Bay Area, California Academy of Sciences, St. Louis University, Heythrop College, University of London, Cleveland Center for Economic Education, Beaumont Academy of Cleveland, and St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. Father Schlegel has three honorary degrees from the University of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, and Loras College. For his service to the greater Omaha community, Fr. Schlegel has been recognized with the Otto Swanson Spirit of Service Award from the National Conference for Community and Justice (2003), the Honored Citizen Award from Woodmen of the World Life Insurance Society Lodge #1 (2004), the Gala Award for Vision from Downtown Omaha Inc. (2005), the Boy Scouts of America Distinguished Eagle Scout and Silver Beaver Awards (both in 2007), and the Tim Rouse Advocate for Women in Leadership Award from the Institute for Career Advancement Needs (2008). He has also been inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu (1979), Leadership Omaha (1979-80), and into the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Northern Lieutenancy (2003). He has also appeared in Who’s Who in America and American Education since 1991. In addition to campus-wide expansion, Schlegel’s tenure at Creighton has focused on strategic planning, fund raising, health and wellness, and diversity. Within two years, he initiated a strategic planning process, a five-year financial plan and completed a campus master plan. In 2005, he launched the Willing to Lead campaign with a goal of raising $350 million. The Campaign is on target to achieve its goal. The campus master plan has capitalized on historical opportunities to purchase land in order to create a more vibrant and robust campus environment. The Mike and Josie Harper Center for Student Life and Learning, the signature east-campus anchor facility of this plan, opened this fall. The building integrates student and academic services under one roof and serves as the University’s new front door, welcoming prospective students and their families, alumni and all campus visitors. The Harper Center complements the addition of the Hixson-Lied Science Center, Michael Anderson Plaza, Morrison Stadium, Davis Square and Opus residence halls, the Venteicher Mall, the renovation of St. John’s Church and Creighton Hall (aka Administration Building). This progress represents a $250 million investment in Creighton’s expansion and infrastructure since 2000. In the fall of 2007, The University broke ground for a new athletic center on campus primarily in support of women’s basketball and volleyball. The Ryan Center and D. J. Sokol Arena, a 46,000 square foot facility, is also expected to be used for other campus and community-wide events such as high school graduations and concerts. This new facility adds to the infrastructure support of a nationally recognized Division I sports program which boasts an annual graduation rate of 92% of all Creighton student athletes. Simultaneously, Schlegel has championed several significant causes on and off campus. His dedication to diversity is reflected in the annual diversity summit and CEO breakfast started in 2001 as well as his commitment to the advancement of women with the addition of women to his higher administration and at the board level. In 2008, he was awarded Resolution #386 from the Nebraska Legislature recognizing this commitment to diversity. As a fitness enthusiast, Schlegel has endorsed a smoke-free campus and medical center, has supported a wellness program for faculty and staff, including the hiring of a full-time wellness coordinator; and relentlessly encourages students to participate in intramural sports; he is seen in many runs and walks in the Omaha area. For relaxation, Schlegel enjoys cooking, classical music and jazz, reading, hiking and other outdoor activities. Creighton University, with Schlegel at its helm, is poised to continue its strong influence on the community, region and nation through its economic impact, its research and professional programs, and its more than 58,000 current Creighton alums living in 89 countries. The story of its founding began with Edward Creighton and his younger brother, John, who came to Omaha in 1854. Edward surveyed the route for the transcontinental telegraph and supervised its construction west from Julesburg, Colorado. Their subsequent business ventures in freighting, ranching, railroading

and banking [First National Bank] became major forces in the economic development of Omaha. Edward died in 1874 and his widow, Mary Lucretia Creighton, who inherited Edward’s fortune, specified $100,000 in her will for the purpose of establishing a school in memory of her husband. Mary Lucretia specifically directed that the school be in the city of Omaha, “of the class and grade of a college. She died in 1876 and her executors, who included her brother-in-law, John Creighton, purchased 6.2 acres of land at the northwest corner of 24th and California Streets. On that site they erected a school building and then transferred the land, the building, and additional securities to the Right Rev. James O’Connor, D.D., Bishop of Omaha, on July 1, 1878. That land and that building are still part of Creighton’s campus. Queen Alyssa Grewcock’s volunteer resume is distinguished serving the Henry Doorly Zoo as an assistant to the zookeepers, training and walking dogs at the Nebraska Humane Society, working with children in the emergency shelter for the Heartland Family Service Student League and planning activities for seniors for the Heartland Family Service Junior Friends. Her sport’s talents were shared serving as an assistant at tournaments for The Softball Factory, Assistant Coach for their All Star Team and Assistant Coach for the Nebraska Fury Softball Team. In 2007 she served as an intern at CWS, Inc., for the Men’s College World Series. In the summer of 2008, she was an Assistant for the Gross High School Freshman Tournament Team. This summer she served as an intern in the Marketing Department of the Henry Doorly Zoo. The Queen’s father, Douglas J. Grewcock, is an Estimating Manager for Kiewit Engineering Company. Born in Grand Island, he moved to Omaha with his parents William L. and Berniece E. Grewcock in 1964, later graduating from Westside High School in 1976. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Construction Engineering from Iowa State University. He gained hands on experience in construction while working summers as a laborer in Omaha and as an intern in Denver. After graduation he moved to Colorado to start his career with Kiewit, working as a foreman on a concrete paving operation. During his time in Colorado he worked in various capacities including field engineer, project engineer and general field superintendent. As a job superintendent in the mid-eighties he was transferred to New Mexico where he ran several jobs. As with any Kiewit employee, an opportunity arose in the newly formed Chicago district and the family packed and headed for the Midwest. After a four year stent in the Chicago area, the family once again packed and moved back to Omaha, where Doug took on the responsibility of job sponsor. In his current position he is responsible for multi million dollar civil estimates at Kiewit Engineering. Professionally, he is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. In 1981, he married Michele L. Marzigliano of Northbrook, Illinois, who graduated from Iowa State University in 1980 with a degree in Interior Design. The couple has two children: Ryan James Grewcock who is a senior at Millard West High School and Queen Alyssa. The Queen’s family has been honored by Ak-Sar-Ben by: the Queen’s father, Doug serving as page in 1966; brother Ryan serving as a Page in 1998 and cousin Keith William Grewcock served as a Page in 1993, Assistant Omaha Escort Chairman in 2006 and Chairman of the Omaha Escorts in 2007. The Queen’s cousin Eric Anthony Grewcock served as a Page in 1996. The mother of the Queen, Michele, is currently serving on the Board of Directors of Heartland Family Service, The Women’s Fund of Greater Omaha, the Methodist Hospital Foundation, and Treasurer for Campfire USA Guild. In 2008 she served as a Co-Chair for the Black Tie and Tails Fundraising Event for Friends Forever with the Nebraska Humane Society, and Co-Chair for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala. Michele has also served in the past on a variety of boards and in fund raising roles for Friends of the Omaha Zoo, the Henry Doorly Zoo, the Heartland Family Service Friends, Child Savings Institute, Great Plains Girl Scout Council, Omaha Theater Company for Young People, the Omaha Symphony Guild, Bob Gibson All-Star Golf Classic, Methodist Hospital Volunteers in Partnership, Nebraska Children’s Home Society, Nebraska Children’s Home Society Family Guild, The American Red Cross, Stephen Center and their Sponsors, The Omaha Community Playhouse, Children’s Hospital Friends, The Durham Museum, Arthritis Foundation, Samaritan Counseling Center, Madonna School, Omaha Performing Arts


Society, Share Our Strength, Millard Public Schools Foundation, Marian Moms, Marian High School, Morton Elementary PTO and Cather Elementary PTO. Her Ak-Sar-Ben involvement includes serving as a member of the Women’s Ball Committee from 2002-2004, a member of the Ak-Sar-Ben Friends Board of Directors, and serving on a volunteer committee for AkSar-Ben’s River City Roundup. She has been honored with the Special Service Award from the Methodist Hospital Volunteers and Volunteer of the Year for the Stephen Center Sponsors. The Grewcock Family was recognized by Heartland Family Service as the Leadership Family for their Salute to Families Event. The Grewcock family has been an integral part of the civic and non-profit sector of Omaha. Queen Alyssa’s grandfather William L. Grewcock is a retired Vice Chairman of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. and the Kiewit Company Board of Directors. During his professional career in Omaha he served on numerous civic non-profit boards as well in several professional organizations. His wife, Berniece E. Grewcock has also been very involved in the community serving a variety of organizations including most recently assisting with the new Butterfly Pavilion at the Henry Doorly Zoo. The Queen’s uncle, Bruce Eric Grewcock, is the current President and CEO of Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc. His wife, Debra, is an avid community volunteer. The Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Ball has a mission of promoting, recognizing and celebrating volunteerism, philanthropy and community pride. More than $3 million in scholarship funding has been raised from Coronation Ball proceeds.




ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




by susan kuhlmann Women’s Ball Committee Chairman Ann Hergenrader





The surprise element was the choice of the male monarch. “This was a very special year,” Hergenrader said. The Coronation Ball Committee thought it was appropriate to honor Creighton University. Families affiliated with it have been recognized, but the school itself--founded in 1878 and an integral part of the heartland since then-has never been honored at the ball. In an effort to do so, the committee chose its president, Fr. John Schlegel, not as the king but as the Most Honored Citizen of Quivira. Hergenrader said Creighton has a significant economic impact on the heartland in the number of people it employs and the education it offers. She noted that when Fr. Schlegel returned to Omaha eight years ago, he wanted to ensure the growth of downtown Omaha and have the school be part of it, envisioning the inclusion of a downtown corridor connecting north and south Omaha. Based on his and CU’s participation in making that happen, it seemed an ideal time for the honor.

She characterized the choice as “a little out of the box,” but said it strengthened the ball and its mission. “It’s much larger than the individual,” she said, citing the fact that the school does wonderful things for the community through its outreach programs, medical clinic and social work. “Public service is important to Creighton and it leads by example,” she said. “There are many needs met because of Creighton volunteers. This was a way to honor all those involved who give of their time. It starts at the top. Fr. Schlegel is a wonderful man who leads by example.” As part of the Jesuit tradition, Fr. Schlegel chose to appear in his traditional black suit and Roman collar rather than in the usual crown and costume. Adding to the school’s recognition, Bill Fitzgerald, president of CU’s board of directors, and his wife Barb joined Fr. Schlegel on stage. Despite his humility, Fr. Schlegel wanted the queen to enjoy all the traditions that go with her position and be duly recognized. In keeping with the sentiment, the prime minister of Quivera took on the role of crowning the queen and placing the ring on her finger. Hergenrader said the crowd responded enthusiastically to the surprising announcement of Fr. Schlegel, giving him a standing ovation, which she believes is a testament to how important CU is to the heartland and how people respect his work.

Hergenrader thoroughly enjoyed working with the Grewcock family as well. “I was in awe each time I met with them,” she said. “They’ve given so much of their time to the heartland. Michele is a passionate volunteer for children and animal causes. They love Omaha. They’ve embraced it as home and want the heartland to be a better place. I’m in awe of both monarchs.” The historical aspect of the night was evident in its “Jewels of the Heartland” theme. Hergenrader chose it based on the explorer Coronado’s coming to this part of the continent to find gold and other treasures. What he found instead was a sea of grass and the native Americans with their rich culture—the true jewels. “The jewels are the people who live here and what they do for the heartland,” she said. “That’s what we celebrate the night of the ball.” Despite the year-long workload that goes with being WBC chairman, Hergenrader was grateful for the opportunity. She gives a great amount of credit to the other committee members, the governors, the councillors and the staff as well as professionals in the community, especially the Playhouse, who help make the ball and events such as River City Roundup and the 4-H programs happen. “I was humbled to be a part of such a long storied tradition that has been so important to the heartland,” Hergenrader said. “So many wonderful individuals have come before me in this role. I can honestly say there were no headaches. I was blessed to have so many people support me.” She enjoyed learning more about Ak-Sar-Ben and its history and gained a new appreciation for how important it is throughout the state and in Western Iowa. The best part of the whole year, Hergenrader said, was being able to provide scholarships to the 50 young people who have had to overcome adversity to get to college. Were it not for the scholarships, most would not be able to go. “That really brings to light why we do the event,” she said. “Recognizing individuals who have given of their time to make the heartland a better place and the scholarship recipients are what the ball is all about. “The year was nonstop but that’s good. I enjoyed every minute of it and I thank my family, friends and committee.” m



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




THE MISSION OF THE AK-SAR-BEN CORONATION BALL IS TO PROMOTE, RECOGNIZE AND CELEBRATE VOLUNTEERISM, PHILANTHROPY AND CIVIC PRIDE. THE WOMEN’S BALL COMMITTEE ENDEAVORS TO FULFILL THIS MISSION BY: • Modeling the concept of volunteerism. • Recognizing volunteer leadership. • Awarding scholarships to future community leaders. • Celebrating civic pride with a special event.

The committee is comprised of 19 women, each selected on the basis of their volunteer experience and performance. Each woman serves a three-year term, with the chairman returning for a fourth year as advisor. The Women’s Ball Committee plans every aspect and executes each phase of the Ak-Sar-Ben Coronation Ball’s year-long process. Volunteer leadership in the community and region is reconized through the selection of the Court.


Front row: Cathi Arnold, Vicki Wampler, Joni Lindquist, Ann Hergenrader, Darlene Mueller, Laura Doll, Ann Hofmann. Second row: Louri Sullivan, Lori Pirnie, Shelley Homa, Mary Johnson, Stephanie Horeis, Mimi Gleason. Third row: Heather Russell, Jeannie Dudzinski, Kelley Stuckey, Patti Pryor, Ann Blunk, Amy Schmid Photo courtesy of Dwyer Photography

The Ak-Sar-Ben Court of Quivira is graced by princesses and countesses accompanied by their escorts. And what court would be complete without the merriment of youthful pages and standard bearers. Over 150 families are represented by this lively cast of young people.



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




The Ak-Sar-Ben Court of Honor, established in 1988, is one of the Foundation’s most prestigious awards. The recognition is given annually to individuals who have excelled in one of the following categories: Agriculture, Arts, Business and Industry, Community Service, Education, Philanthropy, Professions, Public Service, Sports and Youth.

College in 2001, the Dana College Hanson Servant Award in 2003 and Nebraska Lutheran Services Doug Parrott Faith & Action Award in 1997. Dillon and his wife Hazel have four children, Cathy, Lori, Sid and Blake, and 11 grandchildren. Connie Hoy Spellman was born and raised in Wahoo, NE. She received her Bachelor’s degree in secondary education from the University of NebraskaLincoln and began her career as a speech and English teacher at Ashland High School in Ashland, NE.

This year’s inductees are: Dr. John Beasley • Omaha, NE Arts Sidney Clarence Dillon • Fremont, NE Business and Industry Kimball Bowles Lauritzen (posthumously) Omaha, NE Community Service and Philanthropy Connie Hoy Spellman • Omaha, NE Professions Dr. John Beasley was born and raised in Omaha, the oldest of five boys, raised by his mother, a single parent. He credits two of his uncles for his love of storytelling and sports and for his development as a man and the importance of giving to those in need. He became interested in dramatic arts and oral interpretation of prose and literature while a student at Omaha Technical High School, but it was not until he was 45 years old that he began his professional acting career. In 2000 he founded the John Beasley Theater and Workshop in Omaha with an interest in developing new talent and giving opportunities to those looking to pursue acting. Beasley has received many awards including two Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degrees, one from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2005 and Midland Lutheran College in 2008, the Mary Riepma Ross Award at the Great Plains Film Festival in 2001, “CSI Hero” award from the Child Saving Institute in 2006 and the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. award for dedication and perseverance in carrying on in the spirit of unity and service received from the State of Nebraska in 2006. Beasley and his wife, Judy, have two sons, Tyrone and Michael and two grandchildren. Sidney Clarence Dillon was born in Omaha, attended Benson High School and graduated from Technical High School. He worked for his father in the trucking business before serving in the U.S. Navy from 1953 to 1955. He entered the University of Nebraska at Omaha where a lifelong love of cars took him to a job working for the Chrysler Corporation in the 1960’s. A strong desire to be in retail brought him to General Manager of Jim Earp in Omaha. He later was a partner in the first Mazda dealership in Omaha and in 1976 solely acquired the Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership in Fremont. Dillon’s success prompted the acquisition of the Mazda franchise in Fremont in 1979; Chevrolet in 1986; GMC-Pontiac-Buick in Fremont in 1988 and in 1991 the Chevrolet-Pontiac-Olds dealership in Blair, NE. Dillon earned the Oldsmobile Elite title for ten consecutive years, the GM President’s Dealer Advisory Council in 1982 and the top dealer in the U.S. for GM Customer Satisfaction in 1982 and 1983. He has received an Honorary Doctor of laws Degree from Midland Lutheran metroMAGAZINE SPECIAL EDITION


Her love for nature and a passion for learning made Connie the driving force behind Omaha by Design, a privately funded organization dedicated to changing the face of Omaha through urban design and citizen engagement. Connie is the recipient of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben’s Ike Friedman Community Leader Award, Prevent Blindness Nebraska’s People of Vision Award, Leadership Omaha’s Distinguished Alumni Award and the YWCA’s Women of Distinction in Education Award, among others. The Connie Spellman OMAHA 2000 Early Childhood Education Center bears her name. In 2007 she was named the Omaha World Herald’s Midlander of the Year. Connie and her husband Richard have three children, Valerie, Carrie and Mark, and three grandchildren. Kimball Bowles Lauritzen was born and raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, but it was when she met and married Bruce Lauritzen that she moved to Omaha in 1967. As a volunteer, Kimball did not just participate, she usually became leader of the organizations in which she became most active. She served as Chairman of Preserve our Schools Bond Issue-O.P.S, Co-Chairman of the Calder Acquisition Fundraiser for Joslyn Museum, Chairman of the Clarkson Fashion Production, Chairman of the Ak-Sar-Ben Women’s Ball Committee and Chairman and founding member of the Nebraska Community Foundation which brought private financial resources to help rural Nebraska. It was her work with the Junior League of Omaha that helped start the General Crook House Museum and the Crisis Center Hotline. As a board member or director Kimball provided board service expertise to: Omaha Meyers Rehabilitation Institute, Clarkson Hospital, Friends of Brownell Talbot School, Joslyn Women’s Association, Opera Omaha Guild, Nebraskans for Public Television, Omaha Symphony Guild, Omaha Community Playhouse, Project Harmony, Camp Fire USA and trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation. Her early work with the Omaha Botanical Gardens brought a vision of a botanical center in Omaha now known as the Lauritzen Gardens. Kimball received the Sustainer Distinguished Service Award from the Junior League of Omaha, the Girl Scouts Women of Achievement Award, the Nebraska Medical Center Star of Courage Award, the Founder’s Day Award from the city of Omaha, the Arthritis Foundation “Woman of the Year” Award and in 2005 the Garden Club of America Civic Improvement Certificate in recognition of her contributions to Omaha’s beautification through Lauritzen Gardens and the park setting of the First National Tower. Kimball is survived by her husband Bruce and three children, Margaret, Blair and Clarkson, and six grandchildren. m ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Since the 1940’s, Ak-Sar-Ben, an organization of business and community leaders concerned with the growth and prosperity of Nebraska and Western Iowa, has been providing scholarships to students in the region who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, academic ability, character and financial need. Thanks in part to its partnership with the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, this year the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben was once more able to financially assist 50 graduating high school seniors with their college education.

AK-SAR-BEN CXII Tabetha L. Larson Elliott, IA

Deborah A. Anderson Loomis, NE

William E. Mausbach Inman, NE

Lisa M. Anderson Hazard, NE

Elizabeth T. McCance Chadron, NE

Samantha C. Bates Ogallala, NE

Desarae S. Messersmith Maywood, NE

Amanda R. Broxterman Fairbury, NE

Dani M. Michaelis Wymore, NE

Samantha R. Bryant Kilgore, NE

Cassandra M. Miller South Sioux City, NE

Chelsea N. Christensen Johnson, NE

Hoa H. Nguyen Lincoln, NE

Molly A. Clark Aurora, NE

Amber M. Nightingale Morrill, NE

Paige R. Connell Stapleton, NE

Ellen P. Norton Lincoln, NE

Ashley M. Cummings Humphrey, NE

Brittany M. Pengra Rushville, NE

Jennifer A. Duff Clearwater, NE

Katie M. Penner Arthur, NE

Jason M. Epp Plymouth, NE

Alexandra C. Penny Gretna, NE

Katherine R. Erickson Palisade, NE

Judy L. Radloff Omaha, NE

Virginia R. Fleer Hoskins, NE

Jonathan J. Reigenborn Gretna, NE

Paige E. Gehling Manning, IA

Laura D. Robbins Sumner, NE

Valyn N. Gipson Omaha, NE

Katiamari Roman York, NE

Allyn D. Gonsor Fremont, NE

Tanya J. Severn-Myrick Lincoln, NE

Tyler Q. Gooch Howells, NE

Cheyenne C. Shaw Harrison, NE

Molly R. Hinrichs Fairfield, NE

Shacoya D. Smith Omaha, NE

Steven E. Hisel Dunning, NE

William H. Smith Wayne, NE

Kelsey J. Kallhoff Neligh, NE

Zachery B. Tietz Bancroft, NE

Rebecca M. Kathman Lawrence, NE

Matthew J. Voichahoske Fullerton, NE

Amanda Keeling Omaha, NE

Amy L. Watson Alliance, NE

Hannah E. Kelsey Omaha, NE

Tiffany A. Zelinski Aurora, NE

Jessica L. Kuhr Platte Center, NE

Lisa M. Zilli Bellevue, NE

· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

The Horatio Alger Association grants more than $5 million in college scholarships annually and is the largest need-based scholarship program in the nation. Recipients of these scholarships are often faced with some of life’s harsher realities, such as homelessness, crime and disabling medical problems. The annual Coronation Ball raises money for the Ak-SarBen Youth Scholarship Fund. This year, Ak-Sar-Ben once again partnered with the Horatio Alger Scholarship Program to provide 50 scholarships to deserving students from Nebraska and Western Iowa. Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans continues to fulfill its mission of honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals in our society who have succeeded in spite of adversity and of encouraging young people to pursue their dreams through higher education. The Horatio Alger Association seeks to assist students who have: • Demonstrated integrity and perseverance in overcoming adversity • Strength of character • Financial need • A good academic record • A desire to contribute to society • Commitment to pursue a college education

The Association brings the “Horatio Alger Heroes” of today together with those of tomorrow by bestowing the Horatio Alger Award each year and by awarding more than $12 million annually in college scholarships to young people. Horatio Alger Scholars have faced challenges and realize that a college education is the avenue to a better future. The Association also provides its scholarship recipients with financial aid counseling, and internship and job placement assistance.



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Mickey V. Alder Henderson, NE


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ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008


· · · · · · · · · · · · · · · · ·

Talia, Gilbert and Nina Head

Carolyn Anderson, Dee Owen and Laurie Kay

Tom, Kristin and Kathleen Allan

THE BALL Ellen Wright, Jody and Gayle Carstens, Cindy and Jim Irvine with their son Rob

Michele and Bruce Grewcock and family

Randy and Lauren McAlpine, JJ and Emily Bartlett, Justin Ptacnik, Rita and Steve Bartlett

Earl Huffstutler, Carol Barstow, Brett Barstow, Holly Barstow and Kay Murphy

Patty and Dana Dillon

Kim Simon with her daughter Charlotte

Former Creighton President Michael J. Morrison, S.J. and Mike Harper Jake Slosburg and Dana Votava



Ruth Ann Keene with Dave Bushey

ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Congratulations to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page

THOMAS RAYMOND HALGREN Love, Mom, Dad and Madeline

Josie Willmes, Tracey LaPuzza, Claire Hofmann, Aaron John, Nate Hofmann

Congratulations to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page

ISABEL GERDES Love, Dad, Mom, Joci, Lexi and Aaron

Karen Duncan and Dianne Thomas with Betty Duncan and Anne Nelson

Congratulations to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page


ELIZABETH DOLL We love you! Mom, Dad, Emily and Rachel

Chuck and Mary Maxwell, Cathy and General Kevin Chilton

Congratulations to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page

MALLORY MARIE STAMM Love, Mom, Dad, and Dylan

Chelsea and Larinda Christensen, Mallory and Lori Shanks



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Mark and Mary Lou Brasee

Vince Hayes and Laura Schmadeke

Jack Diesing, Jr., with his daughter, Lisa Diesing

Anne and Mike Boyle

William Brookhouser, Lynne Rambour, Greg and Charlene Brookhouser, George and Brooke Rambour; Lindsey Manzeo, and Louie Rambour

Sam and Dave Hohman

Brig. General Frank and Kay Anderson, Melody and Gen. Mike Carey, Candy and Col. Rob Maness

THE BALL Anna, Kate, Jennifer, Blake, Russ and Mackenzie Petersen

Jennifer Harr, Cassie Neary and Christi Janssen

Annie and P.J. Morgan, Alyse Morgan, Julie Hockney and Rob Hockney

Matt and Jen Mosser, Sam and Mitch Mosser Liza Rafael, Linda Rafael and Tori Rafael



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Congratulations to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page


We love you Parker!!!! XOXOXO Grand-Papa, GiGi, Fabrice and Danielle

Mary Heider with Cindy, Grant and Courtney Heider

Congratulations to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page

RACHEL EDITH DOLL We love you! Mom, Dad, Emily and Sarah

Judy Pritza with Erin, Michael and Christopher Pritza

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page

IZAK ROBERT NIKUNEN Love, Mom, Dad and Maggie

Mindy Reed, Kelli Draper with Zach Draper, Abby Reed and Will Draper

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Page

ERIN ELIZABETH PRITZA Love, Mom, Dad, Christopher, Michael, and your loving Grandparents

Gail and Alexa Koch with Ashlee and Lilly Koch



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Karen McGinnis and Dr. Kevin Murphy

Paul and Mary Jessen


Jenny Meyerson and Heidi Schneiderman

Jim and Deb Suttle

Catherine Mahoney, Jennifer Zatechka, Kate Grabill, Anne Medlock and Victoria Halgrin

Front row: Jack, Will, and Sam Cohen, Ellie and Rebecca Hansen Back row: Elizabeth Cohen, Jim, Becky, Stephanie and Jeff Hansen

J.P. Raynor, Steve Olsen, Jono Bradford, David Styles, Bill Cutler, Bryan Harr, Andrew Wahl; Burke Harr, Brian Fahey and Mike Moylan

Lexi and Gibby Ryan with Cori and Lisa Johnson and Mary Jo and David Rater

Scott, Tim and Anne Carlson

Sally and Rick English with their children: Emme, Elle, Logan Connealy, Madison Connealy and Isabelle Madeline, John, Thomas and Victoria Halgren



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Princess


Libby and John Pryor, Barb Pryor, Jennie Jacobs, and Steve Pryor

CONGRATULATIONS to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Escort


WICKHAM BURKLEY Brazier Bryant, Robin Byrant, Madison Bryant, Paul Bryant and Evelyn Bryant –Jones

Love, Mom and Dad


to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Countess

JENNIFER GLOYSTEIN Love, Mom, Dad, Jason, Jesse & Ashley

Steve and Denise Krohn with Amy Panning, Nancy and Jim Panning and Andrew Ryba


to our 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Countess

ALEXANDRA RAE PAULEY Love, Mom, Dad, Dan, Brooke, Cortney and your Grandparents

Rick Russell with Sara Boyd, Carol Russell and Mark Russell



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Emily Shanks and Alex Matzke

Talia, John, and Carissa Mangiameli

Natalie Moravec

GETTING READY Front row: Abby Olson, Valerie Liston, Carolyn Hunt, Alexandra Pauley and Sarah Holdt Back Row: Alex Matzke, Emily Shanks, Jennifer Gloystein, Cathi Arnold - Countess Chairman, Katie Madsen,Laura Kusek, Victoria Liston and Amy Panning

Kristin Allan

Anne Duda Abby Olson



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

Sarah Stormberg, Hannah Langdon and Sara Kroeger

Talia Mangiamelia and Alyssa Grewcock with Sarah Brower

Kayla Hadden, Allyson Peetz and Alyse Morgan

Jennifer Gloystein and Emily Bartlett with Vicki Wampler, Katie Madsen and Laura Kusek

Steph Pohlman and Kim Ruud

Libby Schuring and Allison Conley

Emily Shanks with Valerie and Victoria Liston and Abby Olson

Creative Hair Design coronation team



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008



Following a morning rehearsal at the Quest Center Omaha, the Pages and Standard Bearers of the Royal Court, along with a family member, attended a luncheon in their honor. Women's Ball Committee Chairman, Ann Hergenrader, and the Page Luncheon Chairman, Patti Pryor, welcomed the children and their family member. Page Chairman, Shelley Homa introduced the Pages. Assistant Page Chairman, Amy Schmid, presented each child with an engraved silver frame with a photo of the Page in page costume. Approximately 140 people attended the luncheon. The tables were decorated with red camping lanterns, directional signs, Birds Nest Ferns and bears. Ladybugs held their placecards. Each Page left with a nylon backpack and a plush black bear wearing an ivory Page costume hat. The Pages also took home bug sunglasses.

Page Luncheon Chairs Jeannie Dudzinski and Patti Pryor with Page Chairs Shelly Homa and Amy Schmid

Ross Panteno and Erin Pritza with Abby Reed and Aaron and Leo Norton

Mallory Stamm and Charlotte Simon with Aidan Ryan and Josie Reed

Robin and Madison Bryant and Heather and Madigan Smith with Fran Osbon and Halle Brannon and Kim and Danny Brokke

Corine Johnson and Mitchell Kahre with Katie Jones and Evie Kay

Catherine and Kelly Mahoney and Kristin and Parker Lundgren with Julie and Cole Lyons

Paige Duncan, Maye Stokes, Janelle and Megan Sunderland, Robyn and Jack Terry, Cindy and Joel Tinley metroMAGAZINE SPECIAL EDITION

Jeanie and Katie Jones with Susan Cutler


Mary and Jacob Wilson with Jennifer and Brennan Zatechka

ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008



Thursday, October 9th began an exciting time for the 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben Princesses, Countesses, Omaha Escorts and Heartland Escorts. The Royal Court Luncheon was held at the Qwest Center for the Court participants on the final day of fittings and initial rehearsals. Hosts for the event were Tilly Chapman of Tilly and Bill Spire of Mr. Tuxedo. Ak-Sar-Ben Floor Committee members Lance Jones and Bill Honke served as chairmen. The featured event speaker was Joe Moglia, Chairman of the Board, TD AMERITRADE. Each Princess and Countess received earrings specially made to match her Designer Coronation Ball gown from Tilly. Each Escort was given a silver engraved picture frame from the Women's Ball Committee.

Joe Moglia and Darlene Mueller with Lance Jones and Bill Honke

Amy Panning, Carolyn Hunt and Emily Strawhecker with Natalie Moravec , Tilly Chapman and Cathi Arnold

Bill Cutler with Ann Hergenrader and Chris J Murphy

Jay Root, Tim Carlson and Ann Hoffman with Steve Slone , Andrew Parker and Tom Windle

Andrew Doll, Connor Boucher and Laura Doll with Leo Cruz Jr., Matt Werner and Greg Wieting

Vicki Wampler and Alyssa Grewcock with Ellen Stryker, Allison Conley and Kierstin Sensor



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008



His Majesty’s Council of the Knights of Ak-Sar-Ben hosted a special evening of dinner and dancing at the Holland Performing Arts Center. The festivities honored the Princesses, Countesses, Escorts, and Heartland Escorts of the 2008 Court of Quivira and their families for their contributions throughout our region. The Holland Performing Arts Center was transformed into “Cirque d'Omaha”. Tangerine and bright shades of teal were the color scheme. Acrobatic Cirque characters juggled big “O”s and street signs featuring some of Omaha’s prominent highlights were displayed. The entertainment was provided by Pam and the Pearls.

Nancy and Dr. Tom Osborne with Joni Lindquist

Deb, Laura and Greg Schmadeke

John and Debbie Mangiameli

Wayne and Cindy Sensor

Paige and Shelley Fastenau

Kim Ruud and Tyeler Godbout

Nancy Chitwood, John A. Thomas and John W. Thomas

Chris Murphy with Matt and Sid Dinsdale

Tim Carlson, Anne Marie Rye, Emily Shanks and Branson Koch


Colleen Pauley, Colleen Werner with Kathie Hranac


ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008




The annual Ak-Sar-Ben Board of Governors Wives luncheon, held the day before the Coronation Ball, is to honor the Mothers of the Princesses, Countesses, Escorts, Heartland Escorts and Standard Bearers of the Royal Court. The wives of the Board of Governors of Ak-Sar-Ben hosted this event. The Chairman of the Coronation Ball Committee’s wife traditionally serves as luncheon chairman. The featured speaker was Stephanie Anderson, 2008 Coronation Ball Production Director. Also in attendance was Queen Halley Ostergard and her mother, Holly; Nancy Osborne, wife of King Tom Osborne and Susan Cutler, wife of Bill Cutler who serves as this year’s Coronation Ball Vice Chairman.

Deb Grewcock and Mimi Gleason with Syl Holdt and Cindy Leiferman

Colleen Pauley and Pat Madsen with Colleen Werner

Amy Chisholm and Ann Blunk with Debbie Fisher

Event Chairs Susan Culter and Betsy Murphy

Shelley Homa with Debby Rye

Darlene Mueller and Mary Johnson with Holly Barstow

Jeannie Dudzinski and Patti Pryor with Betsy Schuring


Connie Lowndes with Leslie Slone and Diane Stormberg


ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008



by susan kuhlmann


You can characterize him as a teacher, a football coaching legend, a U.S. Representative, the founder, with his wife Nancy, of the mentoring program TeamMates, or the current athletic director of the UNL system. But when you get right down to what makes Tom Osborne tick – what motivates him – its all about the kids. That and his lifelong commitment to the community made him an ideal choice for the 111th king of Ak-Sar-Ben. Osborne said he was “surprised and honored” to be asked. After discussing it with his wife, he accepted. “I’ve always been interested in young people,” he said. He has great respect for Ak-SarBen and while he acknowledged that it is known as a social organization, he praised its efforts to reach out, bring the state together and help young people, especially through scholarships. “I saw this as an opportunity to talk to people about what we can do across Nebraska,” he said. Secrecy is an essential component of the coronation ball but Osborne joked that keeping his identity under wraps was not a problem. “I’m not a talkative person,” he said. “It’s not hard to keep me quiet.” Donning the traditional monarch ensemble was a different story. “That was the most uncomfortable part of it,” he said. “It’s a long walk down the aisle wearing tights.” However, he added, “people were very gracious. If you look at the people chosen before me, you see that they’ve done fairly significant things so it is a honor to be among them.”

Learning the queen’s identity was a pleasant surprise for him since he had known both her grandparents and her parents. Later in the fall, Osborne received a call from UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman, asking him to be the Athletic Director. “It came out of the blue,” he said. Fortunately it came after the ball, sparing him the challenge of trying to prepare for both simultaneously. Osborne said being king “brings people into your life you would not have otherwise met.” And while he knew people involved with Ak-Sar-Ben, it gave him a chance to strengthen their friendships. He knew something about its scholarship program and the couple was involved with mentoring so the added exposure gave him a greater chance to talk about helping young people. Osborne frequently spoke about the negative things happening in the culture, such as too many young people experiencing violence and drugs. “I tried to address that,” he said, because he has seen it everywhere from Washington to the Wyoming border.


Osborne said there was no watershed event during his year but he welcomed every chance to promote young people. “It gave me a greater appreciation for the work and effort that goes into Ak-Sar-Ben events,” he said. “There is a lot of energy and time expended by the board and Women’s Ball Committee to make it work.” It also gave him a platform to raise awareness about mentoring. He cited the efforts of Building Bright Futures and its many components, including early childhood development, after school care, tutoring and scholarships. TeamMates fits into that as does Mike Yanney’s All Our Kids, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs and other programs. He praised Dick Holland, Walter Scott, Yanney and others for their efforts directed at young people. “It’s very comprehensive,” he said He and Nancy started TeamMates in reaction to what he observed during his years of coaching. There was a marked cultural change from the time he started in 1962 to when he ended in 1997. “More and more kids were coming from dysfunctional situations or problems with gangs and drugs,” he said. In 1962, many of those problems were non-existent. “The unraveling of our culture is our biggest challenge,” he said, adding that Omaha has a very high drop out rate, with many kids coming from areas of violence and poverty. “I think a united commitment will make a difference,” he said. Osborne’s ongoing, tireless commitment to kids stems from his belief in their importance to the well being of the state and country. He focused on the issue during his six years in Congress and stated that “nothing is more challenging to the long term viability of our country than this.” “I don’t expect to get anything out of it,” he said, but he feels rewarded seeing young people graduate, who might not have without help. Programs such as TeamMates bring about multiple benefits including better school performance and decreases in discipline problems and teen pregnancy. “That’s my reward,” Osborne said. His best moment was the night of the coronation because, in his words, he enjoyed seeing so many involved youngsters from across the state and realizing that the scholarship program benefits so many students. He also felt a great sense of satisfaction and pride having his family there to share in his honor. Osborne does not regret seeing his reign end. “It’s been enjoyable but it is time for someone else to take over,” he said. m


ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008


by susan kuhlmann



While attending Middlebury College in Vermont, Halley Ostergard was not terribly surprised when her mother called saying she had been chosen as a countess for Ak-SarBen’s fall coronation ball. Saying yes was, in her words, a “no brainer,” since she’d been a page while in third grade. But a second call a few weeks later caught her off guard. Ostergard learned she’d be asked to be queen.

“It had never crossed my mind,” she said. “I said yes right away but I don’t think I fully understood or realized what that meant.” Summer preparations presented some unusual challenges. Ostergard was part of a seven-week language immersion program during which students are not allowed to speak English or leave campus. So she had to ask the program director for permission to go on a shopping trip to New York and, later attend the Royal Court Weekend, in Spanish. “People outside Nebraska don’t understand Ak-Sar-Ben,” she said. She got permission but her director wanted to learn more once the program was over. She described her trip to the Carmen Marc Valvo studio as amazing – “like being a little girl playing dress up.” Having couturier Tilly Chapman, Women’s Ball Committee chairman Joni Lindquist and her mother there was helpful because they explained the importance of choosing a gown with stage presence. After trying on several, some just for the fun of it, she chose what the designer described as an “origami” dress, because of its folds and criss-cross features. She ordered it made in an ivory white shade. After it arrived in Omaha, one of Chapman’s assistants spent weeks sewing on thousands of beads for added glamour. Making family preparations for the event was easy for Ostergard because she relied on her mother’s natural hostess skills. “From the moment she learned about the honor, she started making plans,” Ostergard said. Her parents and grandparents faced some uneasy situations running into friends who asked about the possibility of Ostergard being queen and having to lie. She told a few close friends at school, some from as far away as Singapore or the Caribbean, who traveled to Omaha for the event. The day of the coronation was overwhelming for the queen. After a late night royal court party, she got up early to go through a dress rehearsal with the king. The many demands of the day kept her from thinking a lot about the night to come.

“You don’t get to fully appreciate what it means,” she said. Early reflection left her with a sense of humility. “I’ve done volunteer work but not as much as my parents and grandparents,” she said. “It was very special for me to share the moments with them. I’m so appreciative of what they’ve done for me and for all of Nebraska. I feel lucky having them in my life and setting an example for me to aspire to.” Also emotional were the few moments after she changed into her queen’s gown. While waiting backstage, she enjoyed watching the pages’ excitement, then receiving congratulatory remarks from the princesses, countesses and escorts. “They are people I’ve known for a long time,” Ostergard said. She and her family knew the Osbornes prior to sharing the stage with them. “Who doesn’t know him in Nebraska,” she said. “He’s such an amazing guy and so accessible.” She appreciated his willingness to share his Washington experiences with her in light of her political science classes. Ostergard said the 2008 Ak-Sar-Ben theme captures what she learned during the past 12 months – that the people in Nebraska really are the Jewels of the Heartland. She realized the importance of taking advantage of what life here has to offer and the value of meeting a lot of people. “It helped solidify what I already knew,” she said. “Nebraska has amazing people.” An especially memorable event was the August Union Pacific party. UP hosts the annual dinner train trip from Omaha to Valley and back, using a restored 1914 train. UP dignitaries, Sen. Ben Nelson, Rep. Lee Terry and other Nebraska and Ak-Sar-Ben leaders are also invited. Ostergard particularly enjoyed the trip’s historical aspect. Ostergard, who will graduate in May, plans to gain some “real life experience” working on the East Coast. But this year’s renewed exposure to the state made her want to come back and settle in Nebraska. She was impressed working with the WBC members and seeing how much Ak-Sar-Ben helps college kids. “I met inspirational people and they remind me that Nebraska is a great place to live,” she said. She hopes to eventually go to grad school and have a career in public relations and marketing. Long term she aims to give back to the community by working in education or the nonprofit sector. Ostergard was sad seeing her year as queen end and knowing she will not be seeing a lot of the people she worked with again, although she is ready to hand over her crown. “It is a little bittersweet,” she said. m



ak-sar-benCORONATION BALL • 2008

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metroMAGAZINE's Ak-Sar-Ben 2008 Issue  

metroMAGAZINE celebrates Ak-Sar-Ben CXII

metroMAGAZINE's Ak-Sar-Ben 2008 Issue  

metroMAGAZINE celebrates Ak-Sar-Ben CXII