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Article - First-generation UNO student grateful for Spire Scholarship

First-generation UNO student grateful for Spire Scholarship

Kyle Kinne has a history of helping others in the community. He also knows what it’s like to receive the help he needs to get through school.

Posted: Mon, Jun 8, 2015

Giving back already is a priority in Kyle Kinne’s young life.

“Helping others has always been important to me,” says Kyle, a first-generation college student at UNO and a dedicated community volunteer. “Knowing there are people that need help is a big part of why I have done it.” 

And he’s grateful for the people who are giving back to help students like him.

Kyle is one of 12 kids, including four adoptive siblings. He just finished his fourth year at UNO, where he is studying criminal justice and political science with a minor in philosophy and a concentration in American Sign Language.

He’s a recipient of the Louise Coe Spire Memorial Scholarship, named for a woman who received her master’s in social work from UNO and who believed in giving back, too.

The scholarship was created by her family. Louise’s father, former Nebraska Attorney General Robert Spire, was heavily involved in UNO’s transition to the University of Nebraska system. (The Spire family also has established the Robert Spire Support Fund and the Robert Spire Chair of Music at UNO.)

Recipients of the Louise Coe Spire Memorial Scholarship like Kyle have shown a commitment to community service.

“I’d like to express my gratitude toward the Spire Family for setting up the scholarship fund,” Kyle says. “It has helped me pay for my education and wouldn’t be possible without their support.”

He participates in the American Sign Language Club on campus. He first took an interest in sign language because his grandmother had lost her hearing, and that opened his eyes to wanting to study and learn that skill. The group works with the deaf community and looks after children while parents attend conferences or workshops on campus.

He is part of Project Achieve, which helps first-generation students gain opportunities and connects them with scholarships. Students in the group tutor other students and help them to build resumes.

Kyle also is very active throughout the community with volunteer work. He was a Boy Scout and worked with his church as well.

Kyle plans to use all of his knowledge to continue on to law school. He hopes to practice family law with an influence from his diverse family background. After practicing for a few years, he would like to get a sign-language interpreting degree and become a court interpreter, so he can continue helping others.

If you also would like to give back to promising UNO students like Kyle, please consider giving to the College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) Excellence Fund or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation’s Tessa Barney at 800-432-3216.

-- Story written by foundation intern Brooke Criswell, a UNO student. 

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