NU Foundation awards Yanneys with top volunteer award, Morin and Plowman with development service awards
Posted: Mon, Oct 24, 2016
The University of Nebraska Foundation has announced the 2016 recipients of its highest awards, the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service and the Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service. The recipients were recognized at the foundation’s annual meeting of trustees on Oct. 21, 2016.
Gail and Michael Yanney receive Perry W. Branch Award
Gail Yanney, M.D., and Michael Yanney of Omaha have been awarded the 2016 Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service in recognition of their years of volunteer leadership for the University of Nebraska.
The award is named for Perry W. Branch, the first director of the NU Foundation, and serves to commemorate the importance of volunteers to the organization. The foundation was founded in 1936 during the Great Depression and was an all-volunteer organization for the first several years of its operation.
“I’ve never seen a couple like Gail and Mike who care more deeply about a place and who really take to heart the belief that to whom much is given, much is expected, and they expect a great deal from themselves,” says Hank Bounds, president of the University of Nebraska.
The Yanneys served the University of Nebraska Medical Center as campus co-chairs during the Campaign for Nebraska, the University of Nebraska’s most recent comprehensive campaign that saw $1.9 billion in donations, including $593.3 million in gifts for UNMC.
“Gail and Mike are kind, warm, friendly, outgoing people who have a vision,” says Jeffrey Gold, M.D., chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “They know where we need to go and have a tremendous capacity for developing passion and energy in others.”
The Yanneys were instrumental in helping secure the support needed for the new cancer center project. The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is scheduled to open in spring 2017.
The Yanneys are also involved in helping generate support for UNMC’s cancer research and patient care programs, particularly opportunities to increase cancer research program funds, as well as initiatives for the Healing Arts Program and women’s cancer programs.
Mike Yanney has been instrumental in fundraising for the new iEXCEL (Interprofessional Experiential Center for Enduring Learning) project at UNMC, which will enable students and health care professionals to learn and practice medical skills before encountering real-life patient care situations. He has also been involved with fundraising for the Clayton K. Yeutter Institute of International Trade and Finance at UNL, development of the UNL East Campus Student Learning Commons and strategic planning for continued expansion of UNO’s Scott Campus. He counsels UNK on its campus initiatives as well.
“Gail and Mike are salt of the earth, good people who care about their community,” said Bounds.
Gail Yanney, an anesthesiologist, is a graduate of UNMC, where she also served as a clinical instructor. After retiring, she served as executive director of the Clarkson Foundation and on the board of directors of Nebraska Medicine, the clinical partner of UNMC.
Mike Yanney, an investment banker, is a graduate of UNK. He founded what is now Burlington Capital Group in 1984, a company that manages public investment funds.
Dan Morin receives Harlan J. Noddle Award
Dan Morin, a 30-year employee with the NU Foundation who served in key roles as treasurer and senior vice president for finance, was posthumously awarded the 2016 Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service. He died in 2011 after a battle with cancer.
The Noddle Award honors longtime University of Nebraska advocate Harlan Noddle of Omaha, who served as chair of the NU Foundation board of directors, among many other volunteer roles. Noddle died in 2005, and the award was created in his memory by his family and the university to recognize university or foundation employees who exemplify Noddle’s initiative, honesty, integrity, compassion, commitment, foresight, tolerance and diligence.
Morin was a graduate of UNL, where he also taught a finance course before joining the foundation in 1981 to lead its accounting and finance department.
“Dan represents the dedication, loyalty and commitment to our donors which we strive to emulate,” said Mark Chronister, chair of the NU Foundation board of directors, in presenting the award to Morin’s family members.
“He had the exceptional ability to look at financial matters really in black and white and not be emotional with it,” said Nancy Keegan, former chair of the NU Foundation board. “But he had such a big heart, and he certainly didn’t see people in black in white. He loved to get out and talk to students who benefited from scholarships, and he always had stories about them.”
Miki Schultz, managing director of investment accounting at the NU Foundation, enjoyed working with Dan.
“The time he dedicated to the foundation and the amount of effort and work — everything he gave to this organization — is a treasure as we look back on it now,” Schultz said. “He had a lot of pride in the University of Nebraska, and it was evident on his face and in the numbers he talked about daily. I don’t know a lot of people who put that much into a place of employment, but he did, and he didn’t expect anything back.”
Morin’s natural and effective teaching style was enjoyed by the foundation and its employees, especially as he helped orient many people over the years to the foundation’s accounting practices.
Terry Fairfield, former president and CEO of the NU Foundation, said Dan was an interesting person who was loved by many. “He was loved by almost anyone who ever met him and learned his wit and learned his passion for making friendships and for making a difference,” he said.
Donde Plowman receives Harlan J. Noddle Award
Donde Ashmos Plowman, Ph.D., dean of the UNL College of Business Administration, was awarded the 2016 Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service. The James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean was appointed the college’s leader in 2010, just as UNL joined the Big Ten Conference and its Big Ten Academic Alliance.
Mark Chronister, chair of the NU Foundation board, said that since Plowman assumed leadership of the college, alumni, friends and organizations have given nearly $150 million in private support to benefit students, faculty members, academic programs and facilities.
“Her goal has been to raise the stature of the college to that of our Big Ten peers,” he said.
UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green uses “rock star” in describing her achievements.
“No one exudes the energy, the enthusiasm and the excellence that Donde Plowman does,” Green said. “That reaching for the stars quality — we were already good — but there is a completely new level of excellence and prestige with the Big Ten, and Dean Plowman recognizes that in the faculty she’s hiring, in the programs that are being built in the college and in the size of the college, as we’ve expanded enrollment dramatically in the last six years.”
Plowman’s development efforts have included initiatives to fund the growth and improvement of the college. She’s been instrumental in encouraging gifts for the new $84 million college facility under construction and set to open in 2017. She was also vital in forming the Dr. Donald O. Clifton Strengths Institute made possible by a $30 million commitment from the Clifton family and Gallup organization.
Students also recognize Plowman’s passion for the university and for their education.
“She’s always asking, ‘How can this be better?’” said student Tanner McKerlie. “The College of Business Administration is on its way up, and it’s gaining attention, it’s rising among the ranks, and I think a lot of that can be attributed to Dean Plowman. She’s putting so much effort into not only soliciting funds but also to asking how we can make the college better in general.”
This year the college was named a Top 50 business school in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, advancing 13 spots to number 48.
“She emanates good humor and good taste, and she’s having fun in her job,” said University of Nebraska Regent Howard Hawks.