Daily, we see the impact that private gifts have on the University of Nebraska. We see it in the student who said "it wasn’t just a scholarship, it was the chance to pursue my dream." We see it in the patient, grateful for the medical research that saved her life. We see it in the farmer who has a better crop, and in the bottom line of Nebraska’s businesses. Read our stories, and you’ll see it too.
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Monty Nielsen vividly remembers being taught by his mother, Neva Nielsen, in a one room rural school in Nebraska. He witnessed firsthand her passion and enthusiasm for teaching, and now he hopes to pass it on to students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Conan O’Brien was a student of the late, great Johnny Carson.
But what exactly, he asked, made the man so great?
“Sometimes everybody’s talking about how amazing he was but they’re not telling you why,” Conan said in a clip from a documentary about Carson, the legendary comedian and host of The Tonight Show who graduated from UNL.
The clip, from a documentary UNL students made, was played the other day for guests in the campus theater named for Carson.
“He was the complete package,” O’Brien continued. “He’s a great physical comedian. There’s a lot of grace. Great at playing comedic moments the way any great improviser – like Will Ferrell or Steve Carrell – would. He could play those moments perfectly … Great with coming up with one-liners. A great ad-libber. But he was also an intellectual.”
(At UNL, he wrote a thesis on comedy, after studying and categorizing the jokes he heard on the radio. Carson once said in an interview that his college education helped him in his career – in the type of material he did and in the way he saw the world.)
Johnny Carson was one more thing, people who knew him say – generous. He promoted the rising young comedians who came out from behind his curtain and made him laugh. He tried to make all of his guests look good.
And he never forgot his friends back home, or his alma mater.
Learn about the most recent gift to UNL from the foundation that bears his great name.
He could run like the wind. He was fit.
He had a famous name: Buffett.
Fred “Fritz” Buffett grew up in Omaha and was a first cousin to billionaire Warren Buffett, the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.
He was kind, Fred’s wife, Pamela Buffett, told The Omaha World-Herald. He was a “glorious” person, she told the paper.
But none of that could cure the kidney cancer that hit him. Like many families, the Buffetts ended up losing a loved one to cancer. Fred died of cancer in 1997 at age 60.
His wife recently gave a gift in tribute to him and to his Nebraska roots.
Find out what she did – and what others are doing – to help other glorious people who have to face cancer.
A groundbreaking was held today by the University of Nebraska Medical Center and The Nebraska Medical Center for the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center. Major donors to the project were announced at the groundbreaking.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center and The Nebraska Medical Center announced today that their cancer center project in midtown Omaha has a name: the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center.
The phone call came at 3:30 a.m. with the shocking news: The storm blew the roof off the library.
That was Janet Stoeger Wilke’s first thought. She’s the dean of the library at UNK. Her second thought was to get herself and her staff there as soon as possible to help save the books.
The April storm and its 78-mph winds left a lot of damage to the library and fine arts building at UNK.
But it left some silver linings, too.
In the United States, the word “pitch” often is associated with America’s favorite pastime, baseball.
But in many other countries, “pitch” refers to the surface where soccer – the world’s most popular sport – is played.
Find out how such a "pitch" soon will help transform UNO's Caliglia Field into one of the best soccer complexes in the country.
Eileen Ryan loved helping people.
“Years ago, we started out doing small things,” she told us last year for a story about her and her husband, Wayne. “Now that we have more, we do more."
“I always tell Wayne, ‘Half of the fun of having money is giving it away.’”
She loved Omaha. Much of her generosity can be seen many places around her town including UNMC, where Wayne was a longtime professor.
She loved God. She told us this last year, too:
“One thing I think of very often, particularly when I go to funerals, is that line from Scripture: No eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has prepared for those who love him.”
Eileen Ryan passed away recently.
Learn more of her story.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney Department of Music and Performing Arts has received a $1.3 million gift from an anonymous donor to bolster student scholarships, faculty support and more.
Those who attend the more than 100 events held each year in the Johnny Carson Theater at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Lied Center for Performing Arts will notice several improvements to the 23-year-old venue when its renovation is completed next year.
The thousands of guests from around the world who each year visit Quilt House, home to the International Quilt Study Center & Museum at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, now look forward to seeing even more inside thanks to planned expansion of the museum.
The study of two innovative areas of journalism—mobile media and drone journalism—at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications have received backing from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation with grants totaling $250,000 to the University of Nebraska Foundation.
A $200,000 grant was awarded to help create a Mobile Media Lab at the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. Led by Professor Gary Kebbel, the center will involve cross-campus, multidisciplinary collaboration of students, faculty and research professors working to improve the communication of news and advertising on mobile devices.
Thank you for supporting UNK, as your gifts make a tremendous difference. More than $45 million has been given during the Campaign for Nebraska to support all areas of UNK, from student scholarship funds to campus improvements.
This level of support has a remarkable effect on the student experience at UNK. And there is much more we can do in the remaining months of the campaign.
Check out this short video to learn more about what this support means for UNK.
The German police officers of Battalion 101 were normal men, not monsters.
Most were middle-aged. Before the war they had been farmers and factory workers, truck drivers and teachers, husbands and fathers. … Not rabid Nazis.
Yet these normal men shot thousands of Jews point blank, including children, even though their Army leader had told them they didn’t have to.
Step away if you can’t stomach it.
Some did. But most didn’t.
“Why is this so important?” asks the professor standing at the front of the classroom, who looks around the same age as his students despite a bowtie and beard. “Why did I assign this reading?”
Welcome to a normal day in History 4720 at UNO – “History of the Holocaust.”
A University of Nebraska lecture series made possible with private contributions will bring Obama campaign manager Jim Messina and leading political news correspondent Jeff Zeleny to the Lincoln campus on April 5 for this year’s Hoagland Lecture.
As the main architect of President Obama’s re-election and one of the nation’s top political reporters, the two presenters will provide insight and retrospective on the historic 2012 presidential campaign.
Lincoln, Neb., March 19, 2013 — Plans for a new state-of-the-art College of Business Administration building at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln have taken another step forward with major gift support and selection of project architects.
The University of Nebraska Foundation has received gifts and commitments of gifts toward fundraising for the building, which is part of the Campaign for Nebraska, the university’s current comprehensive fundraising initiative.
On March 15, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents approved Robert A.M. Stern Architects of New York and Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture of Nebraska as architects for the new building.
Confused. Scared. Mortified.
UNMC medical student Kelley Keefe will never forget the look on that young woman’s face that day at a hospital in South Africa.
Or her story.
A beautiful English woman grew up in Henley, England, a beautiful English town on the River Thames.
One day in in the 1960s, on an elevator in London, she met a fascinating man from Lincoln, Neb.
They became friends and eventually fell in love. After getting married in Florida, they came to Lincoln for what she thought would be just a three-month visit. That was more than three decades ago.
And Lincoln became her hometown, too.
“I think Lincoln, Neb., is one of the best places to live,” Jean Shaw says. “And the university makes it more so.”
Learn about the gift she gave to the university in memory of her late husband, Norman.
What’s it like to be a Husker walk-on? To be a kid on the football team doing all the work but getting little of the glory?
What’s it like to be a Vietnam vet with PTSD, who finally finds some peace through yoga?
Faiz Siddiqui, a student in UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, asked these questions.
And he won two awards in a contest considered the Pulitzer Prize of college journalism.
Are you prepared for a zombie apocalypse?
Do you have enough water and food? Do you have a way to stay warm if it’s winter and zombies keep you from your home? Do you have a way to communicate that doesn’t rely on your iPhone (if they knock out the power grid)?
If you’re not prepared for a zombie apocalypse, says Shawn Gibbs, Ph.D., of UNMC’s College of Public Health, then you’re probably not prepared for other, much-more-likely disasters like a tornado or a flood or a terrorist attack.
Find out how the College of Public Health trains its students to help the world survive these scary times.
And find out, in the video, if Dr. Gibbs survives a zombie that’s holding a chain saw.
It’s a passionate dedication to achieving a goal.
Kids with grit are curious and confident. They control their emotions. They stay focused. Kids with grit are more likely to grow into great adults, no matter how they started out.
The new Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska hopes to become a national leader in early childhood education.
Find out how its new leader says we can create more kids with grit.
UNMC trains more health professionals practicing in Nebraska than any other institution.
These future physicians, nurses, dentists and pharmacists are learning from experts in medical research and patient care.
Private gifts have helped UNMC attract top scientists, faculty and students. Through the Campaign for Nebraska, donors have given more than $420 million to support people, programs and facilities.
Check out this video to see how that private support has transformed UNMC.
Passionate. Inspiring. Enthusiastic.
Those are just a few of the words Dr. Maha Younes’ students use to describe her.
Younes, who is chair of the social work department in UNK’s College of Natural and Social Sciences, has left a lasting impression on many students.
Years later, two students recall stories of Younes as if it were yesterday.
She tries to fit the world into a rectangle.
She has to be patient. Wait for the moment.
Photographer Anna Reed is a journalism student at UNL. She’s traveled to Kyrgyzstan, India, Costa Rica and Brazil on study abroad trips. None of those would have been possible without the scholarships she’s received.
Says Anna: “I don’t think I’d be in college if it weren’t for scholarships.”
And she wouldn’t have experienced these incredible moments.
Leading opera professionals from around the world will be invited to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln because of a newly funded visiting professorship.
A recent gift from the UNL Friends of Opera to the University of Nebraska Foundation has completed funding for the Ariel Bybee Visiting Professorship Endowed Fund. The endowed fund of more than $200,000 will provide annual resources to enable the School of Music to sponsor visiting opera composers, directors and coaches who will come to UNL from across the country and around the world.
Lacey Koch loves the Baltimore Ravens more than most fans do. And she’ll be cheering more loudly than most when the Ravens play this Sunday in the Super Bowl.
That’s because her big brother Sam Koch punts for the Ravens.
Lacey is a member of our foundation family.
Read more about how her family – and Sam – are feeling about this Sunday.
A granite mausoleum stands on a hill at Omaha’s Forest Lawn cemetery. Engraved above the door:
Beyond the glass are the names of a man and his wife and their child. The boy was just 4 years old when he died one March day in 1907. A few years after the boy’s death, the man and his wife – Clair and Mabel Criss – founded the company that grew into one of the biggest names in the insurance world, Mutual of Omaha.
Learn of their love for Omaha, and how it lives on – so many years after their deaths.
His blind date, a sorority girl from UNL, was adorable. They danced all night.
They lost track of time, and the fact that she was living all the way in Tecumseh with her folks that summer. The sun was rising as he finally drove her home.
Her mom stood waiting on the front porch in a nightgown.
“It wasn’t the warmest greeting I’ve ever had,” Bill March says, chuckling, all these years later.
Learn what happened next, and what Bill created in memory of his sorority girl.
Every so often, a guy who looked down on his luck would show up at Cash-Wa Distributing in Kearney, looking for a job.
A guy sent by Harvey Henning.
“I knew that was my cue to hire him,” says Tom Henning, one of Harvey and Betty Henning’s five sons, who’ve learned many lessons in life from their big-hearted parents.
Find out what the sons did in their honor.
They fell in love at UNL.
On graduation day, they kissed in caps and gowns in front of Love Library. His gown still had the wrinkles from the box. Her gown was neatly pressed. (She was a home-ec major.)
Fifty some years later, she still wishes she had taken an iron to his.
“What was I thinking?” she says, smiling as she looks at that old photo, which rests in a big red scrapbook with a white “N” on front.
Roy and Sharon owe a lot of their happiness to the university, and to the scholarships they received that made it all possible.
Find out what they did recently for UNL – and for students like the ones they used to be.
Right before the holidays, alumnus Tom Olson surprised his wife, Cynthia, by creating the Cynthia Olson Vocal Music Education Doctoral Fellowship at UNL.
The gift creates a permanent endowment to provide annual tuition assistance to outstanding students in the doctoral music education program who are interested in careers in vocal and choral education.
Tom Olson said he wanted to make this special gift to honor Cynthia’s lifelong accomplishments as a musician and teacher.
And he hit just the right note.
KEARNEY, Neb., Jan. 11, 2013—The University of Nebraska at Kearney has received a $1 million leadership gift from Good Samaritan Hospital and Catholic Health Initiatives to support building a new $19 million Health Science Education Complex on its campus.
Students studying broadcast journalism at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will soon use state-of-the-art equipment to help advance their future careers thanks to a gift commitment from the Nebraska Broadcasters Association (NBA).
“Everyone should have access to education to achieve their dreams, and this is my way of giving back.”
Dr. Swarts learned to save and live within her means. Her gift to the university through her IRA was part of that. She knew she wanted to make a gift and decided to make a direct transfer from her IRA in the hopes the IRA charitable rollover would be reinstated.
And it was. The recent fiscal cliff deal revived the IRA charitable rollover for 2013 and retroactively for 2012.
Students are singing praises for a new fellowship award recently gifted to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln School of Music to support grad students studying vocal music education.
Sam Fried was 15 when he was captured and sent to Auschwitz.
His parents were sent to the gas chambers right away. He was forced into labor in the high-voltage lines of the coal mines, and eventually escaped from a Nazi death march as the Allies approached to liberate everyone still alive.
She typed the words “leading lymphoma treatment center” into the Google search box and pressed enter.
It was September 2004 and Chris Pilcher-Huerter of Omaha, who just days before was living a happy and seemingly healthy life, was now seeking treatment advice for her newly diagnosed Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Thank you for your support of UNL during the Campaign for Nebraska. Your gifts continue to make a difference. More than $123 million has been given to UNL for scholarships during the campaign, and more than $200 million to support its academic programs. You can still help UNL fund some important campaign priorities.
Around 1870, a poor German boy stowed away on a ship bound for this country.
His name was Caspar Hoegemeyer.
The Prussians had grabbed his two older brothers and forced them to fight the French. They both died in the opening battle, and Caspar’s parents were afraid he’d be grabbed next. They gave him what they could for the journey: an extra shirt, a bag of apples and, most likely, their prayers in German to survive.
Confused. Scared. Mortified.
UNMC medical student Kelley Keefe will never forget the look on that young woman’s face.
Or her story.
A seedy-looking man sat down next to Alice Williamson’s dad on a bench.
The man’s hair fell halfway down his back. His clothes were scroungy. He smelled like he hadn’t bathed in a while.
Other people might have left the bench. But not Alice’s dad
Sometimes giving isn’t good.
Like when doctors give people too many meds.
This happened to an elderly Nebraska woman not long ago. It made her seem demented.
“Her family adored her, and they came to us,” says Claudia Chaperon, Ph.D., who’s head of the UNMC College of Nursing’s Mobile Nurse Managed Clinic – a medically equipped van that helps people like that woman.
“We discovered the reason she was having problems was because she was on about 25 medications.”
Memories flood her mind sometimes as she walks across campus.
They flood her mind when she teaches in certain classrooms.
Amber Gloystein Messersmith, a UNK assistant professor in the Department of Communication, was herself once a UNK student. She returned to teach in 2010.
The egg, thrown from a passing car, landed near his wife’s feet.
All over her legs.
“We were walking around downtown Lincoln,” says Ohio native Brian Hastings, the new president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation who moved here just over a month ago from The Ohio State University.
“We were on an advance trip to do some house hunting and meet the staff. We were walking back to our hotel – the Cornhusker – and literally having a conversation about just how nice everybody was.
“Then here comes the egg.”
Prince Amukamara and Jordan Larson have at least three things in common:
If you live in Nebraska, you probably know the Lied name – it hangs on buildings all over the state, all over the university.
You’ve probably benefited from the legacy of Ernst F. Lied. The list of his gifts is long.
But what’s the story behind the man, who loved his parents and Nebraska and animals and had a bit of Howard Hughes in him and left all of his money to the public good – to you?
What’s the story of his foundation, and the humble woman he trusted more than anyone else to run it after his death?
Doris Murray has an off-the-wall wish for Christmas this year:
To be on the wall.
“I told my children and my grandchildren, ‘This is what I want for Christmas, kids.’”
Julie Katt completed basic training just two days after hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center.
She was deployed with the first wave of soldiers into Baghdad. She slept under the stars for nearly a week until supplies arrived, including the tents she and the others in her unit slept in during their 10-month deployment.
After she returned home, she found the transition back to civilian life to be difficult.
Mary Mitchell’s recently published book, Drawn to Fashion, covers her 45 years as a fashion illustrator.
The Omaha woman is donating all the money she makes on the book to students at UNL, she says, because she was able to study fashion thanks to another’s generosity.
Alumni and friends gave $165 million to the University of Nebraska this year through the University of Nebraska Foundation, making it the foundation’s third best year for total gifts.
During the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012, the foundation transferred nearly $124 million to the university campuses. Funds transferred supported students ($18 million); faculty ($4.6 million); research ($7.3 million); academic programs ($38.4 million); museums, libraries and fine arts ($3.1 million); campus and capital improvements ($51.3 million); and the four alumni associations ($1 million).
One September morning in 1947, a dark-haired girl opened the door of a country school in Kearney County and looked around:
One desk for her at the front, facing the smaller desks for her students – little kids in front, big kids in back.
One dictionary. One flag. One pendulum clock on the wall that she’d need to wind. One pot-bellied stove in the middle of the room that she’d need to feed in the winter, to keep the kids from freezing.
One room. One teacher.
Miss Mary Lou Martin.
About 4,500 abused and neglected Nebraska children were helped in some way last year by the Nebraska Alliance of Child Advocacy Centers.
Children in every county.
And for each case of child abuse reported, another 10 go unreported and those kids suffer in silence.
Now, thanks to a group of women who care – a new group that’s investing in Nebraska and its people – those Advocacy Centers will be able to launch a statewide training initiative focused on preventing child abuse and neglect, identifying the signs of it and reporting it.
The Advocacy Centers were one of two groups to receive the first-ever grants from Women Investing in Nebraska (WIN), announced during its awards ceremony Sept. 27 in Lincoln.
WIN Grants Committee Co-Chairs Carey Hamilton and Kathy LeBaron announced the recipients of WIN’s first-ever grants during an awards ceremony on Sept. 27 in Lincoln. A total of $154,850 was awarded, an amount we will strive to increase each year.
She didn’t want to take freshman biology from that professor.
It would be too weird.
But that’s the way it worked out and Lisa Boohar found herself sitting in that UNL professor’s class one day in the fall of 1987. Luckily, it was a class with hundreds of kids. She felt somewhat anonymous.
The professor had an off-beat sense of humor. He was quirky.
It was weird. But it was fun, too.
“He was such a great teacher,” Lisa recalls by phone, from her California home.
Over the semester, she says, she marveled at how that professor could explain things in a way that forced her and all the other students to really learn biology, not just memorize it.
She misses that professor – her father, Richard Boohar, Ph.D.
He taught her much about science. And even more about life. He died four years ago after a long fight with cancer.
“I look back now and I think, ‘I would give my left arm to be able to sit in his classroom again.’”
Tiffany Jones is a senior at UNO.
She’s a dreamer, too.
“I dream of having a career that will allow me to give back to my community,” she says. “Throughout my coursework and experience at UNO, I’ve developed an even greater passion for volunteering and helping others.”
Since coming to UNO from Doniphan, Neb., she’s volunteered at the Hope Center for Kids in north Omaha for a year, doing whatever the staff needed her to do. One of her favorite things was teaching Bible study to a group of little girls there.
Last year, she joined UNO’s Habitat for Humanity chapter. She also took a work-study job that let her work with schoolkids.
Tiffany, a speech communication major, isn’t sure what her career will be. Maybe she’ll end up working for a nonprofit. But in her dreams of her dream job, she’s helping others to succeed.
Delmar “Del” Lienemann Sr. at age 92 is Nebraska’s oldest active certified public accountant. Through the Lienemann Charitable Foundation he has established a $1 million permanently endowed chair to help ensure future generations receive an outstanding accounting education at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
The company long known for helping young adults look their best is also helping them learn the best with a new scholarship and career development program created by The Buckle, Inc. (“Buckle”) at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
John Anderson is homesick.
Yes, he misses the big home he and Ruthie had in Eugene, Oregon.
“We had a magnificent backyard, with lots of beautiful flowers and a forest that was green with trees that were like Christmas trees. It was just a wonderful place.”
They sold their home last year after Ruthie – once a world-record setting runner – suffered a stroke. They moved to Eureka, Calif., to be near their daughter while Ruthie recovers. They gave their Oregon home to the University of Nebraska as a gift.
But that’s not why John is homesick.
He starts to sing the Nebraska fight song.
“There is no place like Nebraska …”
Giving is most meaningful when it’s personal, when it’s aligned with what matters most to us.
This is something our donors definitively value, as 99 percent of all gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation are directed by their giver to a specific cause on campus – whether it be a scholarship fund, college academic program, research program or a plethora of other options.
So, then, what about the one percent of gifts not designated to a specific campus cause?
UNL alum John Bruhn has written more than 20 books and 200 articles on sociology.
He’s written five books of poetry.
He feels none of that would have happened without the wonderful teachers who influenced him along the way, starting with his high school English teacher back in Norfolk, Neb.
From a conversation with John:
I still have that paper, and the words my English teacher wrote on it: “You must feel the satisfaction of a job well done.”
It was my senior year of high school. I’d written a 25-page term paper: “The Last Day of Abraham Lincoln’s Life.”
Lincoln was my hero. He’d persisted through all kinds of barriers to achieve equal opportunity in America. I’d spent hours in the public library researching it.
My teacher gave me an A+.
I’ve been overly blessed in my life. My whole career was profoundly influenced by teachers. But when I write a story now for publication, I still always hear the voice in the back of my mind – that gold standard I have to shoot for.
“You must feel the satisfaction …”
“Wo ist das?”
(Where is that?)
Fulbright Scholar Sarah Wagner of Trier, Germany, was asked this question a lot – in German – by family and friends when she told them where she was going for school.
They had heard of New York and Los Angeles because of the movies. But Omaha? Nebraska?
Sarah herself didn’t know what to expect as she left her homeland to study for a year at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
A company long known for helping young adults look their best is also helping them learn their best.
Nebraska fashion firm Buckle created a new scholarship and career development program for students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
The University of Nebraska Foundation awarded more than $760,000 in grants to the University of Nebraska to support global engagement opportunities for students and to purchase new medical research equipment.
The University of Nebraska Foundation welcomes Lori Armiger as director of development for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Arts and Sciences.
Students studying construction engineering or nursing at the University of Nebraska will benefit from the generosity of Jim and Faye Rasmussen of Ravenna, Neb., who have established four funds at the University of Nebraska Foundation.
Barclae has earned the right to wear those cool doggy shades.
He’s earned the words on his red doggy shirt:
The Scottish Terrier has stayed a trooper these past few years despite everything he’s had to endure. Skin cancer on his right front paw. Two surgeries to remove two toes. Bladder cancer, twice. Chemo. More surgery ...
“Barclae” is a Scottish name. (It’s pronounced “Bark-lee.”) Barclae Wagger. That’s his full name. He just turned 11.
“He’s just the most easygoing dog you’d ever like to meet,” says Doug Kozisek of Council Bluffs, Iowa. “We also have a female Scottish Terrier who’s 3 years old – his ‘sister,’ Nikki Nessa – and she’s a handful. She just does nothing but bug him all the time, which is probably not the best thing in the world for him right now. But he tolerates her.
“He just keeps plugging along.”
Two years ago, Doug and his wife, Deb, found that growth on Barclae’s paw. Their Omaha vet, Dr. Martin Ramm, suspected malignant melanoma, a serious form of skin cancer that can spread quickly. He took a tissue sample.
Then, as Barclae recovered from anesthesia, the three humans had a conversation that went something like this:
Dr. Ramm: We’re going to ship the tissue overnight to the Vet Diagnostic Center at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. There’s a vet down there, Dr. Bruce Brodersen, who’s one of the best in the area at diagnosing cancer.
Deb: If it gets there sooner, would it make any difference?
Dr. Ramm: It might.
Deb (turning to Doug): Well then let’s do a road trip.
Coming to Lincoln for college was traumatic at first for Jim Rasmussen.
“Oh, man,” I thought. “What a big city.”
From a conversation with Jim:
It was 1964. I roomed with a friend from Dannebrog, which was the same size of my hometown Elba – about 200 people. I don’t think we went anywhere for the first two weeks.
My folks were farmers. They struggled to make a living on ground that wasn’t very good. They didn’t want me to struggle. My dad always told me, “You’re going to college.” Back in those days you listened to your dad, and so I went to college – to Kearney for two years and then to Lincoln for the last three.
My folks helped when they could. But I didn’t like to take too much from them so I’d go home on weekends to work. I’d make enough money – a dollar an hour working for a farmer – to make it through the next week or two. I’d work all summer long and was able to pay for my tuition, books and most of my rent.
Mr. Jones is about to die.
Members of the rapid response team surround his hospital bed.
They’re young. They’re nervous.
They’re five UNMC medical students who will be graduating in just a few months.
“Mr., uh, Jones? Hello?”
This is their first time as a team in this critical situation. It’s not the first time for Mr. Jones, though. He’s been resuscitated at least 60 times by other UNMC students. The man – a high-tech mannequin – belongs to the Clinical Simulation Lab in the first floor of the Sorrell Center on campus.
He breathes. Or not.
Speaks. Bleeds. Urinates.
He makes lung and bowel sounds and shows symptoms of many diseases. His heart beats. Or not. He’s been programmed to die many times and in many ways.
This time, he’s had a heart attack.
“Is there a pulse?”
The teen looked scared.
He walked up to the director of UNO’s SummerWorks program and confessed.
I really didn’t mean to do it.
He’d been trying to make some rap music, he told her, and was tapping on a window at Elmwood Park’s old pavilion. Tapping out the beat.
He thought he was doing it gently, but the glass cracked.
The teen was one of the young participants last year in SummerWorks, an employment academy for Omaha-area kids who are 15 to 18 years old. Like all of the kids in the program, this job was his first. Like all of the kids, he was trying to learn how to be a good employee and to be part of a team and to be responsible.
He was making $7.25 an hour with his teammates, pulling weeds, planting trees, painting and fixing things in parks and other public places…
Making the city more beautiful.
He figured the money to replace the window would come out of his paycheck, but he was OK with that.
In last month’s Campaign E-Newsletter, one story went off the hook with readers:
The story was about UNK political science Professor Peter Longo and his love for his students. (He wanted the story to focus on the students, and how they’ve inspired him.)
He’s too humble to take credit for the story’s online success – 70 percent more visits to our site than usual, our web guy says, and 60 percent more page views.
A record 1,100 visits to the story on our site came through “shares” on Facebook. And there were a record number of comments in praise of Longo.
Like this one from a former student:
I think what makes him so special is what he does outside of the classroom. As I was in the process of applying for law school, I was incredibly anxious about every step of the process. I remember telling myself to just go talk to Dr. Longo and I’d feel better. Dr. Longo never tried to console me or feel sorry for me, instead he would always offer me some words of wisdom and instruct me to work hard and believe in myself…a lesson I will take much further than my graduation day. He is a professor that his students look up to with their highest regard, yet he still approaches them like he is their best friend and no better than they are.
It made some of us in the foundation’s Communications Department think about our own unforgettable professors who made all the difference. (Here’s a shout out to retired UNL journalism professor Bud Pagel, beloved “Uncle Buddy” to many of us J-school students back in the day!)
It made us want to share other great stories about mentors, advisers, professors … and friends … who made a difference in the lives of their students.
Do you have one we should write about?
Brian Hastings, a senior executive at The Ohio State University, has been named president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. The foundation’s board of directors met Friday afternoon to approve Hastings’ appointment.
Hastings brings more than two decades of experience in higher education fundraising, along with strong expertise in implementing universitywide advancement strategies. He most recently served as executive director of The Ohio State University’s $2.5 billion fundraising campaign, in addition to his duties as senior associate vice president at the university.
A UNK student recently sent a text message to four people.
He wanted them to be the first to know the big news – that he’d been accepted into the grad school at Notre Dame. He called his mom. He called his sisters.
Then he called Professor Peter Longo.
Learn more about this popular mentor and man, and why he’s feeling nervous.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney has announced establishment of the Coach Jerry Hueser Men’s Basketball Scholarship Fund in honor of Jerry Hueser, the winningest coach in UNK history.
The $25,000 permanently endowed fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation enables the athletic department to award annual scholarships to members of the UNK men’s basketball team.
Janice and Larry Stoney have loved each other almost since the day they met.
She was 15. He was going on 18. They both grew up in the Benson area of Omaha and went to Benson High.
They married young and had a son, and Larry watched with pride as Janice rose to the top of the business world at a time when many women didn’t.
“We’ve always been together,” he says. “We’ve always had a very close relationship.”
They’ve always been a team.
Janice was 42 when she found a lump in her breast. After she learned the results of the biopsy, her first phone call was to Larry.
This happened in 1982, a time when many women who got breast cancer didn’t survive. Janice, who went on to become president of Northwestern Bell a few years later and to run against Bob Kerrey for U.S. Senate in 1994, will never forget the words her husband told her that day.
They still give her tears.
“He said, ‘We’ll beat this.’”
And they did.
Learn how Janice and Larry are now helping other cancer survivors.
He was little when he saw his first tornado.
It was skinny. He saw it from the window of his home in Seward. He doesn’t remember if the tornado touched down or not.
“It kind of freaked me out,” UNL student Clint Aegerter says. “I kept asking my mom if we were going to die.” Though his mom tried to stay calm, he could tell it freaked her out, too. He could tell tornadoes seemed to freak everyone out. (His high school math teacher had her home taken out by one.)
“Growing up, my mom was deathly afraid of storms. Even if there’s just a little rainstorm, she was like, ‘We’ve got to go to the basement!’ That’s just the way she is.
“It just got me interested in storms – like, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t be so scared.’”
Clint became a meteorology and climatology major. He joined the Nebraska Storm Chase Team, a group made up mostly of meteorology students.
Now a senior, Clint has been chasing storms for a couple of years. It’s exciting, he says. It’s educational.
But it also can be boring at times – six, seven hours in a car each trip and, until earlier this summer, he hadn’t even caught one.
Learn what happened when Clint saw his second tornado.
Jeff Lehmkuhl’s workday can be dangerous.
The Air Force captain is executive officer of the 563rd Rescue Group at Davis-Monthan AFB in Arizona. He flies the HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter. He’s been deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq, rescuing special-ops forces deep behind enemy lines.
He’s proud of his job.
“Returning a son, father or husband home to their families is truly the best calling I could ask for.”
He’s also a proud UNO grad. In 2010, he graduated with a master’s degree in public administration from UNO’s nationally acclaimed School of Public Administration – a school devoted to training public servants like Lehmkuhl to be leaders. To make government more efficient. To balance that need for efficiency with the broader needs of people.
To serve others.
Lehmkuhl completed most of his coursework online while living in locations that often were without Internet access, or even running water. But the people in the School of Public Administration understood, he says, and went out of their way to help and serve him.
Learn the unusual – and patriotic – way the pilot found to thank them.
The doorbell rang.
The postman handed Jim Seacrest a box.
It was from Canada. It was addressed to him and his wife, Rhonda. Inside was a bottle of Canadian maple syrup and a letter from a young UNL opera singer who had traveled to an opera contest in Ireland, along with other UNL singers, on a trip the Seacrests had sponsored.
I had the time of my life going to Ireland. On the way home, I thought, “How can I thank you?” I hope you enjoy this bottle of syrup and think of me every time you use it.
Over the years, the Seacrests have helped many people across the state connect with the arts. It’s been a passion.
Helping young people, they say, has been especially sweet.
Find out why the postman still brings them letters with photos of smiling children on an old wooden carousel.
A new memorial scholarship provides support to baseball student-athletes at the University of Nebraska at Kearney while remembering the life of former baseball coach and UNK Athletic Hall of Fame Member, Guy Murray.
The Guy Murray Memorial Scholarship was established as a permanent endowment with a gift of $25,000 from an anonymous donor to the University of Nebraska Foundation.
Cleaning fish tanks.
Hours and hours of cleaning fish tanks.
That’s what UNO biology major Racine Rangel did when she first joined the school’s Aquatic Toxicology Lab.
“I knew I had to start at the bottom,” she told a crowd in April at the grand opening of UNO’s Elkhorn River Research Station, located in Omaha at 245th and Q streets.
“I somehow managed to climb my way up and now have a grant. And I’m really grateful to be one of the first students to be able to have research out here.
“I think that says a huge thing, because I never knew that that would be something I would be able to do as an undergrad at UNO.”
Find out more about the station, and how students from UNO and the region are already learning from using it.
Grant Wallace had been drinking a lot of hot tea to stay alert.
John Blecha had been downing can after can of pop.
The two UNMC medical students were tired and stressed. They were in the middle of studying for their first round of board exams, called “Step 1,” which everyone takes after the second year of med school. They also were about to take the last core exam for the year – one covering hematology and oncology.
But nothing was going to keep either of the scholarship recipients from taking the time to write a speech and deliver it to donors at the Burnett Society luncheon in Omaha on April 27.
Find out why.
This is an exciting time for UNK as it moves to the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association – maybe the best Division II conference in the country.
The Lopers, who are leaving the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, officially become part of the MIAA on July 1.
But as they enter this new era, continuing their tradition of excellence will require more resources and scholarships and even more donor support.
Because it’s never easy to stay at the top.
Find out how a new fund – The Loper Fund – will make it easier for people who love the Lopers to help them meet this new challenge.
UNL alums Bob and Myrna Krohn say their interest in helping the university first took root as farm kids growing up in Boone County.
We both grew up on farms near Albion, Neb., in communities where sharing was common and survival required good decisions. Farm families were very giving and kind and when one farmer needed help, the others pitched in and helped. There was no asking. People just knew their help was needed and appreciated.
Philanthropy, he says, was not talked about when they were growing up in Albion, Neb.
It was just something that everybody did – neighbors helping neighbors.
Though they grew up on farms no more than 10 miles apart, Bob and Myrna actually didn’t meet until they both were in Lincoln at the university.
Find out how they met, and how they now give back to UNL and UNMC and to Boone County.
In three hours, Maria Leipelt was to be executed.
The 19-year-old was to die because the Nazis considered her a Jewish “half-breed,” one guilty of high treason.
Nor did she know that her mother, who had been arrested at the same time, had swallowed cyanide to avoid deportation to a concentration camp, or that her grandmother had died in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp.
This was Germany, 1945, a horrible time to come of age. But Maria, who’d spent a year in solitary confinement, had a knack for staying alive.
Recognized as being among the best in the nation, the actuarial science program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration has received a $500,000 gift from Ameritas Life Insurance Corp. of Lincoln to support outstanding faculty members.
The University of Nebraska Foundation has received more than $1.2 billion in gifts for its fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, with about 30 months to go before the campaign officially ends Dec. 31, 2014.
As of April 30, the campaign had raised $1,212,896,578 since it began in 2005. More than 80,000 people and organizations have donated to the campaign; about half are first-time donors to the university. The gifts given support all four campuses of the University of Nebraska.
Weird science is on permanent display at the University of Nebraska State Museum in Lincoln.
On May 12, the museum opens “Bizarre Beasts,” a new permanent exhibit exploring some of the strangest creatures ever to inhabit the Earth, past and present.
“Bizarre Beasts” was previously displayed in leading museums, including the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, among others. It is now on permanent exhibit in Nebraska.
The thing on his face?
It’s pretty obvious most days – that dark, pink circle over the middle of his lips. But there’s not a lot Andrew Brown can do about it.
“I tried to grow the beard to cover it up,” the UNO senior says.
Find out what it is, and why Andrew is actually happy to have it.
Emily Bargell felt overwhelmed as she stepped off the plane in Lima, Peru.
The UNK education major from North Platte, Neb., knew she needed to go to Peru to improve her Spanish. But a big part of her didn’t want to go. And she didn’t know if she could last a whole semester there.
She even had considered backing out. (A few years before, she’d left UNL and Lincoln to move back to North Platte because she was such a homebody.)
At the airport, hundreds of Peruvians seemed to be shouting at her. They seemed loud and rude.
She thought she was going to cry.
That was four months ago.
Find out what happened to Emily in Peru.