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Article - Werner Enterprises supports UNO programs

Werner Enterprises Supports UNO's Supply Chain, Logistics, and Technology Programs

Werner Enterprises Supports UNO's Supply Chain, Logistics, and Technology Programs

Posted: mié, sep 18, 2019

Students at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) pursuing careers in supply chain management, logistics, information technology and more will benefit from a gift from Werner Enterprises, Inc.

The philanthropic investment represents a strategic partnership with UNO’s College of Information Science and Technology and the supply chain management program in its College of Business Administration.

Werner Enterprises, headquartered in Omaha and one of the nation’s largest transportation and logistics companies, has made a monetary gift commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The gift establishes three funds to support a range of UNO student-focused programs, curriculum and events at both the collegiate and secondary education levels.

“We are proud to promote industry innovation through our partnership with a fellow Omaha-area organization with the common goal of strengthening Omaha as a premier employment destination,” said Werner Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer Derek Leathers. “There is a growing need for talent with technical specialization, and this investment reflects Werner’s commitment to becoming an employer of choice for supply chain management, logistics and information technology professionals.”

Here’s how the funds established by Werner Enterprises will help:

  • The Werner Enterprises Information Sciences and Technology Fund will provide support to the College of Information Sciences and Technology for its student organizations and women in IT group and to secure guest speakers. It will support the college’s Code Crush program, an annual series of iSTEM immersion workshops for 8th and 9th-grade girls and their teachers that uses an integrated approach to the study of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It will also support the UNO IT Innovation Cup, an annual competition that engages Nebraska and Iowa high school students in information technology.
     
  • The Werner Enterprises Supply Chain Management Fund will provide support to the College of Business Administration and its supply chain management program by helping student organizations and programs, securing guest speakers and more.
     
  • The Werner Enterprises Supply Chain Innovation Fund provides support for both the College of Business and College of Information Sciences and Technology for curriculum enhancements. The fund will also launch the new annual Werner Enterprises Lecture, which will host national experts to address the impact of emerging information technologies on companies’ supply chain and logistics and other key challenges facing organizations such as Werner Enterprises and others.

Lynn Harland, interim dean of the College of Business Administration, said the support from Werner Enterprises represents a collaboration designed to develop the IT-enabled supply chain management workforce.

“The Werner Supply Chain Innovation Fund will enhance the educational and career opportunities available to our students through increased support for collaborative efforts of the College of Business Administration and the College of Information Science and Technology,” Harland said. “Training and education focused on IT-enabled logistics and supply chain management will provide our graduates with the skills necessary to excel in the 21st-century workforce. In addition to supporting our students, training and professional development will be available for working professionals seeking to improve their skill sets and grow the economy of Nebraska.”

Hesham Ali, dean of the College of Information Science and Technology, said the university is extremely thankful for the continuous support of Werner Enterprises. 

“The investment Werner is making in support of CodeCrush and the Supply Chain Innovation Fund showcase their commitment to higher education and their dedication to ensuring more students have engaging opportunities to explore information technology careers,” Ali said. “We could not be more honored to have their partnership.”

We are proud to promote industry innovation through our partnership with a fellow Omaha-area organization with the common goal of strengthening Omaha as a premier employment destination.” Derek Leathers Werner Enterprises President and Chief Executive Officer
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Article - Kiewit partnership powers Nebraska Engineering forward

Kiewit partnership powers Nebraska Engineering forward

Kiewit partnership powers Nebraska Engineering forward

Posted: lun, sep 16, 2019

IMAGE ABOVE COURTESY OF CRAIG CHANDLER, UNIVERSITY COMMUNICATION

The chairman and chief executive officer of Peter Kiewit Sons’, Inc., joined with the chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Sept. 16 to announce the Omaha corporation’s support of a significant expansion of Nebraska engineering.

The company’s $20 million commitment is a substantial contribution to an estimated $85 million engineering facility planned for Lincoln. To be named Kiewit Hall, the building will serve as engineering’s academic hub and will house Lincoln-based construction management programs.

“As stewards of our community and the construction and engineering industry, Kiewit is happy to not only support the College of Engineering’s physical expansion, but also the strategic efforts to grow UNL’s engineering program into one of the best in the country,” said Bruce Grewcock, Kiewit’s chairman and chief executive officer.

Chancellor Ronnie Green said Kiewit’s support is emblematic of the partnership between Nebraska’s Big Ten College of Engineering and one of North America’s largest and most respected construction and engineering companies. Kiewit and its executives have had a long history of support for Nebraska engineering, which offers programs in both Omaha and Lincoln.

“The powerful combination of Kiewit and UNL will significantly grow the impact of Nebraska Engineering,” Green said. “That is a top priority for the University of Nebraska. We are making great strides under the strong leadership of Dean Pérez, and I am so excited about the trajectory of this program.”

The Big Ten has many of the best engineering programs in the country. Nebraska's partnership with Kiewit will boost its presence in that highly competitive field.

By 2026, Nebraska will need nearly 15,000 new workers in the engineering and computer science fields.

College of Engineering Dean Lance C. Pérez expects engineering enrollment at Nebraska to reach about 5,000 students within the decade, a 50 percent increase that would make it UNL’s second-largest college in terms of enrollment.

“The college is extremely grateful to Kiewit for this generous gift and continued partnership as we make critical investments to provide Nebraskans with world-class construction, computing and engineering education and research,” Pérez said. “We are truly gratified for the support from the state of Nebraska, the business community, and others.”

The Abel family of Lincoln is a second major contributor to the project. Jim Abel, chairman and CEO of NEBCO, and his wife, Mary, are longtime civic leaders and their family’s support for the university goes back three generations. Abel Residence Hall, located adjacent to the site, is named in honor of Abel’s grandfather, George P. Abel Sr. Jim Abel also spearheaded the development of Haymarket Park, where Husker softball and baseball teams play. Most recently, Abel was a lead donor for Hawks Hall, the College of Business building that opened in 2017.

Construction starts in October on the first phase of the expansion project, which was approved by the Nebraska Board of Regents in August 2018. Funded largely by a deferred maintenance package passed by the Legislature in 2016, the $75 million renovation of the Walter Scott Engineering Center and Nebraska Hall, plus a 91,000-square-foot addition replacing a 1984 facility known as the Link, is to be completed in 2022.

If approved by the Board of Regents in October, Kiewit Hall will be built on the east side of the university’s existing engineering complex, east of Othmer Hall and across 17th Street, which would be closed. The building site includes the 17th and Vine streets parcel, currently a parking lot.

Other major donors have also responded to the university’s plans for a major investment in the engineering complex, including Robert and Joell Brightfelt; Hausmann Construction; Rick and Carol McNeel; Dan and Angie Muhleisen; Olsson; Union Pacific Foundation; and Don Voelte and Nancy Keegan.

Fundraising is actively continuing with engineering alumni and other donors so that all funds can be raised and this new building can meet its tentative completion date of 2023.

“We are grateful to Kiewit, Jim and Mary Abel and all the donors who are making this philanthropic investment in engineering,” said Brian Hastings, CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. “The university’s plans and commitment to engineering will help Nebraska address a critical workforce issue and we are grateful to the donor community for their partnership in making this investment in engineering possible.”

The partnership between Kiewit and the university represents a 285-year combined commitment to the state of Nebraska, building the infrastructure, growing the economy and educating the people of this great state.

Kiewit’s roots trace back to 1884, when brothers Peter and Andrew Kiewit started a small masonry contracting business in Omaha. It rose to national prominence under the leadership of one of Peter Kiewit’s sons, also named Peter, and has since grown to one of the largest construction and design engineering firms in North America. Kiewit delivers some of the industry’s most complex and challenging projects across seven different markets including transportation, oil, gas and chemical, power, building, industrial, mining and water/wastewater. The employee-owned company is home to over 11,000 staff, of which about 45% are degreed engineers.

Celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2019, the University of Nebraska–Lincoln is home to the sole College of Engineering in the state of Nebraska, supplying engineering education and leadership in technology-based economic development for the state, the nation and the world.

Nebraska’s first civil engineering classes were taught in 1877, with its first engineering student graduating in 1882. The Legislature approved a bill creating the College of Engineering in 1909. Now 110 years old, the Nebraska College of Engineering offers 12 nationally accredited undergraduate degree programs, 13 master’s programs and 11 doctoral programs. Nebraska Engineering programs are offered on City Campus and East Campus in Lincoln and Scott Campus in Omaha.

Information courtesy of: https://news.unl.edu/newsrooms/today/article/kiewit-partnership-powers-nebraska-engineering-forward/.

We are grateful to Kiewit, Jim and Mary Abel and all the donors who are making this philanthropic investment in engineering. The university’s plans and commitment to engineering will help Nebraska address a critical workforce issue and we are grateful to the donor community for their partnership in making this investment in engineering possible.” Brian Hastings CEO, University of Nebraska Foundation
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Article - Leadership gift enables university to prepare even more needed teachers for Nebraska

Leadership gift enables university to prepare even more needed teachers for Nebraska

Leadership gift enables university to prepare even more needed teachers for Nebraska

University of Nebraska Teacher Scholars Academy to address critical workforce needs

Posted: lun, dic 17, 2018

Enrollment in Nebraska’s pre-K—12 schools is growing rapidly, from 334,000 in 2009-10 to more than 361,000 today.

The pipeline for preparing future generations of teachers, however, isn’t keeping pace: The number of college students in Nebraska majoring in education has fallen from 5,370 in 2009-10 to 3,600.

And the number of teaching positions left vacant or filled by someone other than a fully qualified teacher has more than tripled, to 232.

Thanks to a generous gift from the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation, the University of Nebraska – the state’s largest producer of teachers – will be in an even stronger position to meet one of Nebraska’s most critical workforce needs.

The Scott Foundation’s gift, announced today by President Hank Bounds, will allow the university to pilot one cohort of a new Teacher Scholars Academy at all three of its undergraduate campuses to recruit, retain and develop a larger, highly qualified and more diverse teaching workforce for Nebraska, from early childhood through high school.

The University of Nebraska at KearneyUniversity of Nebraska-Lincoln and University of Nebraska at Omaha will begin recruitment for the Teacher Scholars Academy immediately, with the inaugural class of more than 100 students expected to enroll next fall.

Bounds noted that while the academy is a university-wide effort to expand access and grow Nebraska’s workforce, it will be implemented at the campus level to reflect the unique roles, missions, student bodies and faculty expertise of each NU campus. Broad areas of focus will include preparing future educators to serve diverse populations, work in rural schools and teach English language learners.

“The Teacher Scholars Academy is about Nebraska’s future,” Bounds said. “Research and common sense tell us that the quality of care and education we receive starting at birth has enormous implications for our success and well-being later in life. It’s vital that we have enough highly qualified educators in Nebraska to carry out this important work.

“The Teacher Scholars Academy will keep the University of Nebraska at the forefront of meeting the needs of Nebraska’s children and our workforce. I couldn’t be more grateful to the education deans across our campuses for their vision and leadership in growing our state, and to the William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation for its generosity and commitment to our young people.”

In a joint statement, Ruth and Bill Scott said: “We are fortunate to have a wonderful education system in Nebraska staffed by teachers who are great at what they do. There just aren’t enough of them. We’re making this investment in the Teacher Scholars Academy because the future of our state demands we provide a quality education to our young people and families. We are proud to support the University of Nebraska’s work to meet the state’s most critical challenges.”

The Scott Foundation’s gift, made to the University of Nebraska Foundation, will provide full-tuition scholarships plus $8,000 annually for other educational costs for 104 students – 40 at UNK and UNL and 24 at UNO. Academy students will also have access to learning communities and peer networking opportunities to strengthen retention and maximize their professional development.

Other enrichment activities like guest lectures, volunteer work and mentorship may also be available to Academy students. Activities will be managed by a program coordinator on each campus who will lead recruitment and other efforts to foster community among the students, such as academy-only sections of some education courses, research, seminars and post-graduation networking.

With the pilot Teacher Scholars Academy established, the university and NU Foundation will now begin raising funds for future academy cohorts.

We are fortunate to have a wonderful education system in Nebraska staffed by teachers who are great at what they do. There just aren’t enough of them. We’re making this investment in the Teacher Scholars Academy because the future of our state demands we provide a quality education to our young people and families.” Ruth and Bill Scott Alumni and benefactors
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Article - Redevelopment starts on new MMI facility

Redevelopment starts on new facility to serve children, adults with disabilities

Redevelopment starts on new facility to serve children, adults with disabilities

With $90 million in private gifts, new facility will be first of its kind in nation

Posted: lun, ago 26, 2019

Children and adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities will benefit from a new facility and all new programs at the Munroe-Meyer Institute in Omaha.

Generous philanthropic support of $90 million is making it possible for the University of Nebraska Medical Center to begin redeveloping a former 220,078 square-foot office building in central Omaha into a state-of-the-art service and health care center.

The facility, located at 6902 Pine St., is adjacent to the University of Nebraska at Omaha Scott Campus and will be more than two times larger than the institute’s current facility located near South 44th and Farnam streets.

Patients, families, university representatives and others came together on Aug. 26, 2019, to celebrate the start of redevelopment. Completion of the new facility is scheduled for fall 2020, and the building will open and begin providing patient services later that year.

As Munroe-Meyer Institute begins its second century of providing services for patients with developmental and intellectual disabilities, its new home will be the first of its kind in the nation, MMI Director Karoly Mirnics, M.D., Ph.D., said.  It will be uniquely designed to facilitate integrated care for the individuals and families with these disabilities and complex health care needs that MMI serves across the lifespan, he explained.

“This new facility will not only allow us to provide state-of-the-art care, but it will enable us to recruit and retain top clinicians, educators and researchers to Nebraska,” Mirnics said. “Building on 100 years of service, our vision is for a center that will provide an intimate, convenient care center for our patients while providing us with the talent and facilities to have a global impact in the areas of education and research into intellectual and developmental disabilities.”

Architects consulted with clients and clinicians to create a plan for the building that enhances and simplifies the patient experience, as well as offering an array of services not available elsewhere in the state.

Existing programs will be expanded and enhanced, while new programs and collaborations will be offered. Among the new amenities:

  • a redesigned and integrated Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (iCASD), under the leadership of a newly recruited, nationally recognized expert in autism, where MMI professionals will provide interdisciplinary care, pulling together the various services to enhance the patient experience;
     
  • a one-bedroom, fully appointed apartment, where occupational therapists can help individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities learn and practice hands-on life skills;
     
  • the Caring For Champions Program, a collaboration with Special Olympics that will provide sustained vision, dental and weight management services; and
     
  • a new aquatic center and playground for clients and youth will enhance the experience for youngsters who attend Camp Munroe.

Several benefactors gave to the University of Nebraska Foundation to enable the university to acquire and redevelop the building in response to the exponential growth in the population that needs services.

“Once again, generous individuals and organizations have demonstrated what can be accomplished in Nebraska through giving,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. “It’s because they recognize the need for this vital project that the university is able to move forward. So many people throughout Nebraska and the region will benefit from the expanded facilities, programs and specialized care that will be available at the institute.”

The University of Nebraska Foundation continues to seek contributions to support the programmatic costs associated with the institute.

Lead benefactors to the project include:

  • William and Ruth Scott Family Foundation
  • Weitz Family Foundation
  • Suzanne & Walter Scott Foundation
  • Hattie B. Munroe Foundation

Principal benefactors to the project include:

  • Clarkson Regional Health Services
  • Holland Foundation
  • Robert B. Daugherty Foundation
  • The Lozier Foundation

MORE: See donor bios, renderings of the building and more

UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., called the new building a doorway into the institute’s second century.

“Since its beginnings, Munroe-Meyer Institute has worked to improve the lives of the people and families it serves,” Gold said. “This new home gives it a much larger space and increased versatility and flexibility, but the core of the MMI mission — helping those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to overcome challenges, to live fuller, richer lives — remains the same.

“All of UNMC is excited to see how our colleagues at MMI will continue to grow in their new home to provide even more effective clinical care, education and research, all in the name of enhancing the lives of the people and families they serve.”

This new facility will not only allow us to provide state-of-the-art care, but it will enable us to recruit and retain top clinicians, educators and researchers to Nebraska. Building on 100 years of service, our vision is for a center that will provide an intimate, convenient care center for our patients while providing us with the talent and facilities to have a global impact in the areas of education and research into intellectual and developmental disabilities.” Dr. Karoly Mirnics Director, Munroe-Meyer Institute
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NU Foundation receives highest award for employee wellness programs

NU Foundation receives state’s highest award for employee wellness programs

NU Foundation receives state’s highest award for employee wellness programs

Posted: vie, ago 16, 2019

About this photo: Jessica Sorensen (left), NU Foundation wellness program and human resources administrator, and Brian Hastings (right), NU Foundation president and CEO, attended the announcement of the Governor’s Wellness Award by Gov. Pete Ricketts (center left), and Dannette Smith (center right), CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, at the State Capitol.

The University of Nebraska Foundation has received the Governor’s Harvester Wellness Award in recognition its Health U employee wellness program. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts announced the award, the state's highest recogniton for workplace wellness programs, on Aug. 16, 2019.

“The award recognizes organizations that have made a great commitment to the people in their organization,” Ricketts said. “By meeting the standards for the award, the University of Nebraska Foundation has met the most rigorous requirements in worksite wellness and is among the elite companies in Nebraska and the United States.”

The foundation’s Healthy U program is nearly 10 years old, and 92% of foundation employees currently participate in it at some level. The program ties to one of the organization’s drivers: We balance a strong work ethic with a commitment to personal wellness.

“It is an honor for the University of Nebraska Foundation to receive the Governor’s Harvester Wellness Award,” said NU Foundation President and CEO Brian Hastings during the govenor's news conference. “Our mission is to grow relationships and resources that enable the University of Nebraska to change lives and save lives. To accomplish this, we realize the health and well-being of our team is paramount.”

The NU Foundation’s Healthy U employee wellness program offers a wide range of services, information and health-related challenges year-round. A few examples include:

  • annual health accessments screenings;
  • onsite exercise classes;
  • lunchtime seminars by various health experts;
  • incentives for increasing personal activity levels;
  • challenges to encourage the making of healthier choices; and
  • many other opportunities and programs.

Receiving the governor’s wellness award is a testament to our staff, as they keep wellness a priority in their lives, said Jessica Sorensen, wellness program and human resources administrator.

“The investment our organization has made in its wellness program represents such a special benefit we offer to employees,” Sorensen said. “We know that making small, healthy changes in our daily lives can lead to big results, which is significant to us, as our employees are our most important asset.”

The NU Foundation is one of two organizations in the state to receive this award at the Harvester level, the state’s highest recognition level.

The other Nebraska organization to receive the award at this level is Lincoln Industries, a company owned and operated by Marc and Kathy LeBaron, NU Foundation trustees and University of Nebraska alumni.

The NU Foundation is invited to officially accept the award at a ceremony in York, Nebraska, on Oct. 16, 2019.

“Congratulations on making a difference in the lives of the people who work at the University of Nebraska Foundation,” Ricketts said. “Your efforts help Nebraskans ‘live the good life.’”

See the Office of the Governor's news announcement.

Our mission is to grow relationships and resources that enable the University of Nebraska to change lives and save lives. To accomplish this, we realize the health and well-being of our team is paramount.” Brian F. Hastings President and CEO, University of Nebraska Foundation
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Article - Cancer survivor benefits UNMC and others who have helped him

‘It’s been one of my life’s greatest joys’

‘It’s been one of my life’s greatest joys’

Cancer survivor’s generosity benefits UNMC and others who’ve helped him

Posted: mié, jul 24, 2019

Steve Sears has been highly successful in his life.

After receiving his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Kansas, he went to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management to get his M.B.A. He was hired by PepsiCo shortly after graduating and spent two decades managing the world’s most well-known brands.

He was the chief marketing officer for Frito-Lay in Sidney, Australia, and head of marketing for the Pepsi beverage brands in New York, and he oversaw the acquisition of Stacy’s Pita Chips in Boston.

On his 50th birthday, Steve retired from his marketing career. One month later, he was diagnosed with cancer.

It was Hodgkin lymphoma, stage 4, the most advanced in the disease’s progression. Steve had experienced symptoms for months, but he hadn’t been accurately diagnosed, so the cancer had continued its steady march, coursing through his blood and, ultimately, his organs.

At the time, Steve and his husband were in the process of moving from Boston to Kansas City, where Steve had grown up and his parents still lived. But they decided to stay and seek treatment at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School, where Steve’s doctor was affiliated. Six months of grueling chemotherapy, and Steve was in full remission.

The move to Kansas City went forward, and Steve’s post-treatment care was set up with the University of Kansas Cancer Center. But at his six-month checkup, Steve was told the cancer was back. It was devastating news.

When cancer, specifically lymphoma or leukemia, returns so quickly, a stem cell transplant is often the best course, and that’s what Steve’s doctor recommended.

Steve quickly educated himself on the procedure and prepared for it. But a week before the transplant, Steve received a call from the cancer center’s finance department. His insurance was not affiliated with KU, and his treatment could not be authorized. It was a sinking feeling, but Steve was told a highly rated facility could take him: the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

The following day, Steve received a call from UNMC saying Julie Vose, M.D., the chief of the division of oncology/ hematology and an internationally known expert on lymphoma, could see him the next day. He drove to Omaha, and from the moment he stepped through the doors and into the waiting room, he felt the warmth of the people who would be his caregivers and life-savers over the next several weeks.

Steve spent five weeks in Omaha, and today, he is six years in remission. When he looks back at the experience, he believes it turned out for the best. Even the fact that the hospital was three hours from home turned out to be a blessing. “My husband and I just kind of sequestered ourselves in Omaha,” he said.

Most importantly, Steve received first-class care, a successful treatment — and kindness.

“You’re so stressed out when you have a life-threatening diagnosis,” he said, “and it’s just so comforting to turn your life over to people who not only do you trust for their technical skills but also who have empathy and just general kindness and humor.”

There were, of course, low points and stressful times during his treatment. But that’s not what Steve remembers. He remembers the people he met, a few in particular: Dr. Vose, his primary physician, Stacy Rooker, his case manager, and a nurse practitioner named Mark Brown.

Mark and Steve had only one interaction, but it came on a difficult day. Steve was feeling frustrated and downhearted, and Mark lifted his spirits. “He spent probably 10 minutes with me,” Steve said, but after Mark walked out, “I felt like a new person, and I never forgot that. It was like he was my angel that day.”

On the fifth anniversary of his transplant, Steve worked with the University of Nebraska Foundation to throw a surprise reception for the three people who had most impacted him during his treatment. He also announced a generous estate gift to support cancer research at UNMC.

UNMC is not the only beneficiary of Steve’s generosity. When planning his estate, he thought about everyone who helped him succeed in his career and find happiness in his personal life.

“It’s been one of my life’s great joys to get that plan together and then have the fun of going around and telling the organizations in the plan that they’re going to receive a gift someday — hopefully many, many years from now — and see the excitement and appreciation that they have.”

Steve has been highly successful in his life. And that has enabled him to give back to the causes that matter to him. But the people who enabled his success saved his life and showed him compassion — those are the ones who inspired him to do so.

You’re so stressed out when you have a life-threatening diagnosis, and it’s just so comforting to turn your life over to people who not only do you trust for their technical skills but also who have empathy and just general kindness and humor.” Steve Sears Nebraska Medicine patient and cancer survivor
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Article - Researches eliminate HIV from animals

For first time ever, researchers able to eliminate HIV from animals

For first time ever, researchers able to eliminate HIV from animals

University of Nebraska Medical Center collaborates on historic study

Posted: mar, jul 2, 2019

PHOTO: Members of the UNMC research team included: Back row (left-right) - James Hilaire, Brady Sillman, Ph.D., Larisa Poluektova, M.D., Ph.D., Santhi Gorantla, Ph.D., Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., and Hang Su; Front row -- R. Lee Mosley, Ph.D., JoEllyn McMillan, Ph.D., Howard Gendelman, M.D., Prasanta Dash, Ph.D., Saumi Mathews, Ph.D., Mary Banoub, and Zhiyi Lin. Missing from photo - Aditya Bade, Ph.D. and Nagsen Gautam, Ph.D.

In a major collaborative effort, researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and Temple University Lewis Katz School of Medicine have for the first time eliminated replication-competent HIV-1 DNA — the virus responsible for AIDS — from the genomes of living animals.

The study, reported today in Omaha and in the journal Nature Communications, marks a critical step toward the development of a possible cure for human HIV infection.
 
"This achievement could not have been possible without an extraordinary team effort that included virologists, immunologists, molecular biologists, pharmacologists, and pharmaceutical experts," said Howard Gendelman, M.D., Margaret R. Larson Professor of Infectious Diseases and Internal Medicine, chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience and director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases at UNMC. "Only by pooling our resources together were we able to make this groundbreaking discovery."
 
"Our study shows that treatment to suppress HIV replication and gene editing therapy, when given sequentially, can eliminate HIV from cells and organs of infected animals," said Kamel Khalili, Ph.D., Laura H. Carnell Professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience, director of the Center for Neurovirology, and director of the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at LKSOM.
 
Drs. Gendelman and Khalili were senior investigators on the new study.
 
Current HIV treatment centers on the use of antiretroviral therapy (ART). ART suppresses HIV replication but does not eliminate the virus from the body. Therefore, ART is not a cure for HIV, and it requires lifelong use. If it is stopped, HIV rebounds, renewing replication and fueling the development of AIDS. HIV rebound is directly attributed to the ability of the virus to integrate its DNA sequence into the genomes of cells in the immune system, where it lies dormant and beyond the reach of antiretroviral drugs.
 
In previous work, Dr. Gendelman’s team used a therapeutic strategy known as long-acting slow-effective release (LASER) ART co-developed by Benson Edagwa, Ph.D., assistant professor of pharmacology at UNMC.
 
Dr. Khalili's team used CRISPR-Cas9 technology to develop a novel gene editing and gene therapy delivery system aimed at removing HIV DNA from genomes harboring the virus. In rats and mice, they showed that the gene editing system could effectively excise large fragments of HIV DNA from infected cells, significantly impacting viral gene expression. Similar to ART, however, gene editing cannot completely eliminate HIV on its own.
 
For the present study, Dr. Gendelman and his team led by Prasanta Dash, Ph.D., instructor of pharmacology, combined its LASER ART strategy with the gene editing system.
 
LASER ART targets viral sanctuaries and maintains HIV replication at low levels for extended periods of time, reducing the frequency of ART administration. The long-lasting medications were made possible by pharmacological changes in the chemical structure of the antiretroviral drugs. The modified drug was packaged into nanocrystals, which readily distribute to tissues where HIV is likely to be lying dormant. From there, the nanocrystals, stored within cells for weeks, slowly release the drug.
 
Dr. Khalili said, "We wanted to see whether LASER ART could suppress HIV replication long enough for CRISPR-Cas9 to completely rid cells of viral DNA."
 
To test their idea, the researchers used mice engineered to produce human T cells susceptible to HIV infection, permitting long-term viral infection and ART-induced latency. Once infection was established, mice were treated with LASER ART and subsequently with CRISPR-Cas9. At the end of the treatment period, mice were examined for viral load. Analyses revealed complete elimination of HIV DNA in about one-third of HIV-infected mice.
 
"The big message of this work is that it takes both CRISPR-Cas9 and virus suppression through a method such as LASER ART, administered together, to produce a cure for HIV infection," Drs. Gendelman and Khalili said in a shared statement. "We now have a clear path to move ahead to trials in non-human primates and possibly clinical trials in human patients within the year."
 
"The ability to excise HIV-1 DNA from the genomes of infected animals depends on LASER ART’s abilities to maximally restrict ongoing infection. This concept of combining both modalities provides a pathway forward to future studies in humans," Dr. Gendelman said.  


How you may help

While research breakthroughs such as this rely on critical grant funding, private contributions of every amount also make these scientific discoveries possible. Gifts help provide research equipment and instruments, endowed support for faculty, support for fellowships for graduate researchers, program support and much more.

If you are interested in supporting the lifesaving HIV research underway at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, please consider a contribution to the Community Pride and Distinguished Science Research Fund (01087930). Your gift will enable the Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Neuroscience to continue this important work.

You may give online now or send a check made payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation to: University of Nebraska Foundation, PO Box 82555, Lincoln NE 68501-2555. Please include in the memo line of your check the fund number 01087930.

In my view, this is the most interesting and important therapy-related research advance I have seen in many, many years. Congratulations to the authors.” Robert Gallo, M.D. Co-discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS in 1984
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Article - When Research Becomes Reality

When Research Becomes Reality

When Research Becomes Reality

Can a UNK business professor practice what he preaches after his wife is diagnosed with cancer?

Posted: lun, jul 1, 2019

Kyle Luthans, B.S., M.A., and Ph.D., from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Becker Professor of Business at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, is a leading researcher in his area of positive psychology in the workplace and management education. 

He’s an expert in seeing the very real science and empirical evidence behind the concept of positive psychological capital, or PsyCap for short. Briefly, PsyCap is the recognition that a person’s key psychological resources can be leveraged for success for improved outcomes.

For example, PsyCap has been linked in prior research with positive workplace outcomes such as lower employee turnover, high-rated work performance, higher employee commitment and satisfaction, entrepreneurial success, and leadership effectiveness in a variety of industries such as banking, health care, transportation and manufacturing.

A growing body of PsyCap research, he says, suggests that workers perform better when they possess the psychological resources of the HERO within:

Hope. (The will and the way for reaching goals.)

Efficacy. (Self-confidence.)

Resilience. (The ability to bounce back, and beyond, from setbacks.)

Optimism. (An expectation of future success.)

“I’ve taken my research in another direction,” Luthans says, “and I’m looking at the impact of academic PsyCap on important educational outcomes like student engagement and academic performance.”

A fascinating thing about PsyCap, he says, is that the research also suggests it’s malleable. In other words, it can be changed and developed within individuals. That’s why he loves to teach this concept to his students. He knows PsyCap-boosting strategies could help them not only in the classroom, but also in their personal lives and future careers.

 Sometimes, Luthans shares a story from his own life with his students, a story that shows how PsyCap helped him cope, and find hope, about seven years ago, when a phone call shattered his life. The call came in 2012. It was the doctor for his wife, Dina.

Her biopsy results were in.

I’m sorry …

She had pancreatic cancer.

“It really was just a bolt out of the blue,” Luthans says. “She was just the picture of health. She had a healthy diet. She never smoked. She exercised. She did all the right things.”

They’d met over 20 years ago in study hall at Lincoln East High School. She was on the student council, Singers, and the Apollonaires dance team. Their first date was the prom: Enchantment Under the Sea. She was blond and beautiful in her black dress.

After receiving her B.A. and M.A. from UNL, she became an elementary teacher, then became a stay-at-home mom and substitute teacher while their two kids were little. She loved to watch Emma dance and Will play sports. She was their rock.

Their hero.

 “She taught me to have a little more compassion and a little more empathy for others,” Luthans says, “to realize that a lot of people go through difficult times.”

The diagnosis overwhelmed him at first. He was depressed and full of worry and doubt.

“I think I was even crying in my dreams,” he says. “And I’d wake up stressed and wondering: How am I going to take on this day?”

But it soon dawned on him that maybe he should practice what he preached and find strength in the strategies he knew worked so well in the workforce.

He knew, from his PsyCap research, that building good relationships on the job was important, so at home he tried to stay in the moment with Dina and their kids and maintain their close bond. He kept coaching Will’s basketball team, even though at first he’d wanted to quit. He kept up with friendships and fishing trips.

In a way, he faked it until he could make it.

“Traditionally, we think that if we work hard and are successful, we will feel positive,” he says. “But, we should turn it around and say that positivity — and having the right mindset — leads to success.”

He tried to keep Dina’s spirits high. One day, for example, when she was feeling low, he played a song for her with the volume high.

Pearl Jam’s “Alive.”

 Oh I, oh, I’m still alive

Hey, hey, I, oh, I’m still alive

Hey I, oh, I’m still alive, yeah oh

He knew, from his research, that healthy living was important, so he made sure the family kept eating right and exercising. He and Dina kept going on long nature walks in the park beyond their backyard gate.

He continued his normal load of classes and research at UNK. He earned the Becker professorship, which made Dina proud.

He knew that gratitude was important, so every night, as he lay in bed, he made himself think of three great things that had happened that day.

It all worked.

He felt alive again. And Dina lived longer than expected.

“I definitely think Dina beat the odds by battling the disease over three years,” he says. “A big part of that, I think, was the care she received at UNMC. But then again, I go back to PsyCap — she had such a positive attitude and the mindset that she was going to beat the disease or extend the fight as long as possible.

“And, interestingly, those PsyCap strategies helped me support her through this and also helped with my own psychological well-being.”

He’s grateful for his job at UNK. One of the things he likes the most about being a professor, he says, is the impact he can have on students.

“Probably the greatest satisfaction I have is when I see my students graduate and I see the successful careers they’re having,” he says. “A lot of our graduates go on to successful business careers, and we even have placement data to suggest that a lot of them stay right here in Nebraska and have a big impact on our region and in our state and within our local community in the central Nebraska area.”

And a lot of them, he says, are affecting the lives of the people around them in positive ways. At work. At home. …

Like heroes.

 

 

Probably the greatest satisfaction I have is when I see my students graduate and I see the successful careers they’re having. A lot of our graduates go on to successful business careers, and we even have placement data to suggest that a lot of them stay right here in Nebraska and have a big impact on our region and in our state and within our local community in the central Nebraska area.” Kyle Luthans Becker Professor of Business, University of Nebraska at Kearney
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Article - From Cuba to Columbus

From Cuba to Columbus

From Cuba to Columbus

UNMC graduate overcomes obstacles to embrace opportunities

Posted: lun, jul 1, 2019

His mom made him look at her hands.

They were swollen, again.

She reminded him how much they ached, day after day, from her job packaging meat at a factory in Columbus, Nebraska.

“She told me, ‘This is the reason you have to go to college. You should get an education. It’s going to help you in the future,’” Radiel Cardentey-Uranga, a recent graduate of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, says.

A few weeks before his graduation, Cardentey-Uranga turned 23. He dreams of a career in radiography, using his hands to help people. He sees that career within his reach now — and maybe, down the road, he’ll become an M.D. or Ph.D. or a physician’s assistant — and he sees himself giving back to the community one day. He knows it’s all thanks to his parents and teachers and all the people who extended their hands to him along the way, pulled him up to where he is today.

To who he is today:

A hardworking, recent college graduate, the first in his family to attend college …

A grateful recipient of two UNMC scholarships: the Charles R. O’Malley Scholarship and the Hermene K. Ferris Scholarship, generous gifts from people who don’t even know him …

A proud citizen of the United States, as of last summer …

And a proud narrator of a very unlikely story. One he can hardly believe himself, he says, as he tells it over the phone from his home in Columbus, Nebraska.

His story began in Cuba. It began even before he was born, when his hardworking dad was thrown in jail for two years for speaking out against the government.

“He just wasn’t in favor of the tyranny or the dictatorship they had,” Cardentey-Uranga says. “He was publicly speaking the truth that the government doesn’t want you to tell.”

When his dad got out of jail, he tried to go back to working in construction. He had a good reputation working with his hands, in masonry. But police were always giving him citations, harassing him, ticketing him. Cardentey-Uranga’s family eventually applied to come to the United States as refugees and was accepted.

Cardentey-Uranga was 16 when he came over with his parents and older brother. After some time in Washington state, his parents split up. Cardentey-Uranga and his mom came to Columbus, where his mom, who had used her hands doing hair and nails out of her home back in Cuba, took on that tough factory job.

Cardentey-Uranga could barely speak or understand English, so he wasn’t much of a student at first at Columbus High School. He’d dropped out of school in Cuba in ninth grade because of his family’s fears that if he kept going, he’d get taken away and thrown into military service, which in Cuba is mandatory.

He struggled because of those years of school he missed, especially in math and physics.

“Basically,” he says, “I had to learn it all from scratch.”

He joined the high school soccer team, which helped because some of the players spoke Spanish. He took a weekend job at an animal shelter, and that helped him learn English. He started to fit in.

A few teachers took him under their wings, encouraged him to try for higher education and pointed him in the direction of Central Community College.

But he didn’t think he was college material. He figured he’d just find a factory job, too, when he graduated.

That’s when his mom made him look at her swollen hands.

“She said, ‘This is the reason you have to go through school. I’m making the sacrifice for you. You should take a chance at the opportunity,’” Cardentey-Uranga says.

He did. He started asking questions about the path to higher education. He took the ACT but scored poorly at first. He started at the community college, way behind the other students. He took evening classes, summer classes. He got to know one of the Spanish instructors there, and she suggested he consider a career in radiography. She told him UNMC had a radiography program he could take right there in Columbus.

Radiography?

He researched it, loved what he saw and applied to the program at UNMC, which has a partnership with a hospital in Columbus. As part of the application process, he was required to do a three-day job-shadowing stint to make sure he really wanted to work in that field.

“I liked the job,” Cardentey-Uranga says. “I felt like it really fit me because I’m using my hands constantly, in different ways. You use the computer sometimes; you’re constantly running around and moving. I like to move. And you get to work with people from all different backgrounds and cultures.”

He applied for scholarships. Then he forgot he’d done so, until one day when he opened an email telling him he’d received the O’Malley and Ferris scholarships. The O’Malley Scholarship was created by the largest gift to benefit UNMC’s College of Allied Health Professions students to date. Besides allowing the college to endow funds for a cohort of “O’Malley Scholars,” the gift provides an additional $500,000 if matched by other allied health donors through 2022. The matching arrangement allows benefactors to endow their own named scholarships, with the benefit of doubling their gift.

“When I got it,” he says. “I got an email telling me and when I read it, I was like, OK, this can’t be real. They probably sent it to the wrong person!”

He laughs.

“But I guess someone realized that I was really working hard to achieve good academic performance. And I got the scholarships, and they truly make a difference. The money helps out with school. But what also really impacts me is the fact that it makes me know there are people out there who are actually invested in your future, who really care about you.

“That’s what impacted me the most — that there are people looking out for me, people who care.”

Cardentey-Uranga graduated from UNMC with a bachelor’s degree in medical imaging and therapeutic science this past May. He will go on to receive a post-baccalaureate certificate in cardiovascular interventional technology through UNMC.

He wrote a thank you letter last May to the people behind the Ferris Scholarship:

I am looking forward to achieving my career goal at UNMC and hopefully someday to be in your shoes and give back to the community in the same way you are doing with me.

He also created a video for the trustees of the O’Malley Trust, telling them his unlikely story and thanking them for their big hand in it.

And promising his story will continue.

 

 

That’s what impacted me the most — that there are people looking out for me, people who care.” Radiel Cardentey-Uranga Grateful scholarship recipient and recent graduate of UNMC
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Article - UNO students make advances in cancer research

Dreams, Failures and Breakthroughs

Dreams, Failures and Breakthroughs

UNO students make advances in cancer research, discover their career passions along the way

Posted: lun, jul 1, 2019

Jacob Robinson’s dream of being a major league pitcher didn’t pan out. Something better did:

He teamed up with fellow University of Nebraska at Omaha biology graduate student Nik Stevenson and together, this past year, made a breakthrough in cancer research — one that could make a major impact in the lives of people around the world who are fighting a rare type of lymphoma. And along the way, the two say, they discovered passions that could make a major impact in their own lives and careers.

They credit the supportive culture at UNO.

Says Robinson: “People here, especially the science faculty, are so willing to help students that I really felt like my education here was great. Because I was willing to put in the effort, people were always willing to provide opportunities for me to go as far as I wanted to go.”

Says Stevenson: “You can fail 10, 20, 100 times, and the faculty here will help you succeed. It’s an environment where you feel confident that even if you fail, you’re ultimately going to succeed, and that’s pretty important to help you flourish.”

The cancer they’re studying is called splenic marginal zone lymphoma, or SMZL. It’s a type of white blood cell cancer that hasn’t been studied a lot because it’s so rare. SMZL cases have an overall survival prognosis after diagnosis of eight to 11 years, so it’s a rather slow-progressing cancer.

But anywhere from 10% to 15% of those cases progress to a much more aggressive form in which the overall survival prognosis drops to three to five years. Their research has shown promise in predicting how aggressive a person’s cancer will be based on specific genetic markers, a breakthrough that could lead to a way to more easily diagnose this cancer.

Stevenson did the “wet bench” side of their research — the hands-on work with the cancer cells themselves. Robinson did the big-data side, studying the genetic profiles of patients with SMZL and looking for patterns for this specific blood cancer vs. other similar lymphomas.

“It’s not a terribly lethal (cancer), unless it transforms,” Robinson says. “What my research did is, I found a grouping of markers that is pretty highly predictive for the basis of diagnosis for this SMZL patient.

“Instead of having to go through a bunch of different tests, ideally you would be able to just have this panel of genetic markers from a biopsy, and you’d say yes or no, this is the lymphoma that they’re afflicted with.”

If patients have the slow-growing type, they wouldn’t have their lives disrupted as much with frequent biopsies, along with the waiting around for results, which can be scary. It also would provide more accurate diagnosis and information on the outcome of the disease’s progression.

Says Stevenson: “It would allow them to pretty much have a better quality of life for the time being.”

The two conducted their research in Allwine Hall in the lab of Christine Cutucache, Ph.D., a rock star professor who holds the Dr. George Haddix Community Chair in Science at UNO. They call her “Dr. C.”

Dr. C, they say, gave amazing guidance and support (and coffee and doughnuts and a box overflowing with healthy snacks, which sits in the corner of the lab’s small conference room).

She served as the liaison between them and physicians and other medical professionals at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as they tried to determine the real-world usefulness of their research.

“It’s been sort of the perfect mix to have UNO as a home base but still be able to access a world-renowned med center right down the street,” Robinson says.

UNO, they say, helped them make major breakthroughs in their own lives, too.

Back in high school at Omaha North, Robinson says, he was mainly just interested in baseball, not school work. He struggled in chemistry. His dad connected him with a friend who was a retired UNO chemistry professor, James Wood, who became his tutor.

“He basically showed me how cool chemistry could be,” Robinson says.

That ignited his love for learning. (It also helped, Robinson says, smiling, that he fell in love with a great student his senior year — a young woman who is now his wife.)

At a UNO chemistry department awards night a few years back, Dr. Wood was given an envelope with a name inside. He was asked to open it and announce the chemistry student who’d be named the latest recipient of the James K. and Kathleen Wood Scholarship.

Dr. Wood didn’t know who it’d be.

It was Robinson, then a UNO junior.

Stevenson’s original dream for his career – to be a brain surgeon — also didn’t pan out.

He was a military brat, he says, born in Germany. He lived in Texas and South Dakota. He was only 8 years old and his family was living in Papillion, Nebraska, when his young mother was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer.

“It was everywhere when they first saw it,” he says. “It just socks you in the gut when you find out something like that.”

The cancer eventually spread to her brain, and she had brain surgery. Stevenson spent a lot of time in the hospital with her until she died when he was 12. He’d wanted to go to medical school, he says, but not getting in his first try made him reflect on that path, and he realized it wasn’t actually his main interest or career aim.

“That was a blessing in disguise because, through a little reflection, I realized I didn’t want to do that,” Stevenson says.

He met with Dr. C a year before applying to UNO and came to the university for his master’s degree because of the opportunity to join her lab.

Dr. C also runs a community outreach program called NE STEM 4U in which UNO students work to inspire middle school students in the community to consider careers in STEM fields down the road. (STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics.)

Stevenson loves to coach soccer, too.

“Developing them as people, not just as athletes but just as people who can contribute to society, is a big thing I enjoy,” he says.

Dr. C noticed Stevenson’s strengths as a mentor and connected him to NE STEM 4U. He loved it.

He was its graduate adviser this past year and recently accepted a full-time job at UNO, where he will be doing science education research, continuing his role in the NE STEM 4U program and leading professional development opportunities for undergraduates and others.

“Developing people to excel in science so that one day they may pave the way for great development in the cancer research realm or in a plethora of other STEM fields,” Stevenson says, “is really my passion and my goal.”

He hopes to keep coaching soccer on the side.

This August, Robinson will start pharmacy school at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Stevenson thinks he’ll stay in Nebraska.

“My fiancée is a farm girl from southeast Nebraska,”

he says, “so I think we’re going to end up calling somewhere around Nebraska home.”

Stevenson smiles.

“Nebraska is pretty good.”

 

 

People here, especially the science faculty, are so willing to help students that I really felt like my education here was great. Because I was willing to put in the effort, people were always willing to provide opportunities for me to go as far as I wanted to go.” Jacob Robinson Researcher and UNO alumnus
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Article - Get Your Hands on Nebraska History

Get Your Hands on Nebraska’s History

Get Your Hands on Nebraska’s History

Cherish Nebraska explores the future of science by interacting with its past

Posted: lun, jul 1, 2019

Michela Wipf will always cherish the day in March when she chaperoned her fourth-grade daughter’s class field trip to Lincoln.

The highlight, Wipf says, was touring the newly renovated fourth-floor exhibit space at the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall — a state-of-the-art space called Cherish Nebraska — and watching her daughter Lilli, in her pink pants and pixie haircut, explore all the galleries with her young hands and brain.

Lilli studied rocks and fossils and feathers under microscopes. She learned about climate change from a story being told on a five-foot digital globe. She learned about little parasites that live inside the guts of fish and about animals of all kinds, from all eras of Nebraska’s fascinating natural history. She even got to observe a real scientist in action through the Visible Lab windows.

Lilli wants to be a scientist herself when she grows up. So it was a day, Wipf says, that her daughter will probably always cherish, too.

“I think I took about 100 photos,” says Wipf, who runs a photography studio in Weeping Water, Nebraska. “I loved seeing Lilli and her best friend in that tunnel where they could pop their heads out. Then I loved watching all the kids sticking their hands in the mouth of that — I think it was a mountain lion — and pretend to get eaten. That was cool. Their expressions were priceless. I just loved watching Lilli interact with all the computers that were everywhere.

“I just loved the entire thing. I had no idea what to expect. I had never been to Morrill Hall before. And then walking into the fourth floor, I just could not believe how many interactive projects there were. There was something for everybody.”

The privately funded Cherish Nebraska, which opened in February, celebrates the state’s natural heritage as it has been shaped over the millennia. Visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the exciting world of scientific discovery while learning about the university’s research on all of its campuses.

Susan Weller, Ph.D., the museum’s director, says a goal of Cherish Nebraska is to inspire kids like Lilli and her young classmates from Weeping Water Elementary School to consider careers someday in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“You can’t aspire to have a career you don’t know about or haven’t tried out,” Weller says. “Cherish Nebraska opens visitors’ eyes to the diverse kinds of STEM careers out there — in a fun, engaging way. Who knew there’s a career studying fish guts to discover parasites? Or that you could be paid to collect snow to predict spring melt runoff?

“We’ve heard many stories of how visits to the museum inspired careers in a variety of science professions. For those who didn’t become scientists, the museum still has been central to their appreciation of fossils and other wonders of the natural world. Our hands-on science exploration zone encourages children to be scientists themselves, ask questions and search for answers. Our visitors are encouraged to ‘do’ science — that’s the most fun part.”

Morrill Hall served more than 94,700 visitors in fiscal year 2018, Weller says, and about 23,000 of those were Nebraska students. Morrill Hall also served an additional 4,900 students with its virtual field trip science programs.

Lead donors for Cherish Nebraska are The Hubbard Foundations, the Donald F. and Mildred Topp Othmer Endowment, Nebraska Environmental Trust and Ruth and Bill Scott. Others supporting it include Karen Amen and Jim Goeke, The Dillon Foundation, Friends of the Museum, Kimmel Foundation, Dr. Mark B. and Diann S. Sorensen, Sunderland Foundation, Ron and Lynn Tanner, Larry and Sue Wood and Dr. Arthur and Christine Zygielbaum.

Until the opening of Cherish Nebraska, the fourth floor of Morrill Hall had been closed to the public for more than 50 years. 

Wipf says her daughter had been looking forward to going to Morrill Hall because her dad had been talking it up to her for months. He’d told Lilli how, when he was a kid, he and his father would send fossils they found exploring the creek beds around Weeping Water to the scientists at Morrill Hall.

After going to Morrill Hall that March day,

Wipf says, Lilli came home and talked it up to her little sisters.

“Lilli absolutely loved it,” she says. “She was so excited that she came home and told her dad and her twin sisters all about it. Of course, the fourth floor was the main topic. She even wanted me to buy a season’s pass.”

The family, she says, is now planning a return trip to Morrill Hall this summer.

“It’s just such an amazing museum,”  Wipf says. “Honestly, I think a lot of kids who go there will now consider more science careers because of how interactive it is — we probably could have spent three or four hours just on the fourth floor.

“We can’t wait to go back.”

 

 

We’ve heard many stories of how visits to the museum inspired careers in a variety of science professions. For those who didn’t become scientists, the museum still has been central to their appreciation of fossils and other wonders of the natural world. Our hands-on science exploration zone encourages children to be scientists themselves, ask questions and search for answers. Our visitors are encouraged to ‘do’ science — that’s the most fun part.” Susan Weller Director, University of Nebraska State Museum
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Article - Bringing attention to UNL students who face personal adversity

Professor, daughter bring attention to UNL students who face personal adversity

Professor, daughter bring attention to UNL students who face personal adversity

Posted: mar, dic 18, 2018

About this photo: Ritsa Giannakas (right) started an emergency fund in 2015 when she was 13 to help students in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources who face personal adversities. She is the daughter of Konstantinos Giannakas (left), the Harold W. Eberhard Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics at UNL.

A University of Nebraska–Lincoln professor's new book is primed to become a trusted resource for academics and policy analysts while providing the opportunity for students in need in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources to gain vital support.

When Konstantinos Giannakas, Harold W. Eberhard Distinguished Professor of Agricultural Economics, releases his book, “Accounting for Agent Heterogeneity in Market and Policy Analysis,” on Dec. 18, it will be available at no charge. Instead, he will request that readers consider donating to the Astir CASNR Emergency Student Aid Fund that supports students with emergency needs.

The fund was first established by Giannakas’ daughter, Ritsa, in 2015, when she was 13.

“Ritsa knew that there were students struggling financially in the pursuit of their educational dream, so she asked that her Christmas and birthday gifts be money instead of materialistic items that year,” Konstantinos said.

The result became the foundational gift for the CASNR Starfish Fund, now known as the Astir CASNR Emergency Student Aid Fund.

“Even if I don’t have the opportunity to positively impact the world just yet, for one person I could have changed everything — and for now, that’s good enough for me,” Ritsa said.

Ritsa is a junior at Lincoln East High School and still contributes to the fund.

Steve Waller, interim director of the Center for Grassland Studies, served as CASNR’s dean at the time the fund was established. He witnessed first-hand how Ritsa’s contribution helped students with medical and food expenses.

“Ritsa’s thoughtfulness and compassion for those that may struggle financially as they pursue a college education is remarkable,” Waller said. “She is truly mature beyond her years and a wonderful role model for people of all ages.”

The establishment of the fund came around the same time that a student finances survey found one in three Nebraska students regularly worry about not having enough food to eat.

The Astir CASNR Emergency Student Aid Fund enables the dean of the college to award stipends to students who are at risk of disruption to their education as the result of financial hardship such as the loss of a parent, job loss or medical crisis.

Moved by his daughter’s generosity, Konstantinos wanted to do something to support students in need.

“I made the decision to make my upcoming book available for free to not only raise money for the fund, but to also raise awareness of this very important issue,” he said.

Giannakas has spent the past two years writing his book, which is based off of 20 years of research. It focuses on consumer heterogeneity, or the differences in consumer preferences for different products, and producer heterogeneity, or the differences in producer returns from the production of different crops due to differences in factors such as education, experience, management skills, land and technology adopted. The book presents an integrated, multi-market framework of market and policy analysis that accounts for these differences.

According to Giannakas, the explicit consideration of consumer and producer heterogeneity enables the analysis to identify the effects of different market changes and policies on different consumers and producers.

“This is important as it better measures the economic impacts of changes in market conditions and policies that can lead to improved policy design, enhanced efficiency, increased effectiveness and reduced policy failures,” Giannakas said.

A free download of “Accounting for Agent Heterogeneity in Market and Policy Analysis” is available, where readers can also make a tax-deductible charitable contribution to the Astir CASNR Emergency Student Aid Fund, housed by the University of Nebraska Foundation. All donations will be immediately available to help students in need.

Even if I don’t have the opportunity to positively impact the world just yet, for one person I could have changed everything — and for now, that’s good enough for me.” Ritsa Ginnakas
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Article - UNMC breaks ground on Wigton Heritage Center

UNMC breaks ground on new welcome center

UNMC breaks ground on new welcome center

Posted: mar, jun 25, 2019

On June 24, 2019, the University of Nebraska Medical Center community gathered to ceremonially break ground on its new campus welcome center — the Wigton Heritage Center — as well as launch the renovation of Wittson Hall and the McGoogan Library.

“Today is a vibrant example of the public-private partnerships that really build the future,” Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D., said, noting the caring, generous and visionary philanthropists within Omaha, the state and beyond.

The 10,000-square-foot Wigton Heritage Center will celebrate and memorialize UNMC's history, while also serving as a campus welcome center.

In addition, the fully privately funded project will replace the existing walkways between Wittson Hall and University Tower and preserve the exterior columns of University Tower. The buildings will be connected through a multi-floor space.

“Beautiful spaces are important,” Dr. Gold said, “but at the end of the day it is always about the people and programs that fill the space.”

The $26 million project includes the $18 million renovation of Wittson Hall, which was supported by the Nebraska Legislature through LB 957 funds.

Private support for the new $8 million Wigton Heritage Center was provided with generous contributions from UNMC historian, alumnus and faculty member Robert Wigton, M.D., and the Leland J. and Dorothy H. Olson Charitable Foundation.

UNMC’s unofficial campus historian, Dr. Wigton is a 1969 alumnus of the College of Medicine who served as professor in internal medicine at UNMC and in several key administrative areas in the College of Medicine, including associate dean for graduate medical education. The Wigton legacy spans three generations with several physicians within the family serving UNMC. For the celebration, Dr. Wigton was joined by his wife, Deborah, and his brother, James Wigton, M.D., class of 1981, and his wife, Judith.

The Olson Foundation was represented at the groundbreaking by the children of the late Leland and Dorothy Olson, including David L. Olson, M.D, a UNMC alumnus and former internal medicine faculty member; Karen Olson, M.D., a UNMC alumna; and Nancy Olson, who holds graduate and undergraduate degrees from both UNL and UNO.

Dr. Gold also thanked the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, the Nebraska Legislature including Sen. Jim Scheer of Norfolk who attended the event, and the University of Nebraska Foundation.

“This is a great day for the McGoogan Library and for the campus,” said Emily McElroy, director of the McGoogan Library, which, next year, celebrates the 50th anniversary of being placed atop Wittson Hall.

The construction project, she said, will enable the library to display its extensive and renowned rare book collection, as well as the artifacts and photos that “tell the legacy of UNMC.” The library’s namesake, Leon S. McGoogan, past chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at UNMC, once dreamed of having 24/7 access and a museum-like archives, she said. “McGoogan would be thrilled with this project.”

Dele Davies, M.D., senior vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the transformational project would “provide a historical anchor.” Wittson Hall, he said, is the heart of the UNMC campus and a major arterial that connects the educational and clinical facets of campus.

The project will include a new faculty commons for collaboration, an interactive e-learning lab, a maker space for printing innovative 3D prototypes, two dozen quiet rooms for students to study and wellness spaces to meditate and de-stress.

The Wittson Hall project will be completed in the second half of 2020; the Wigton Heritage Center will open in 2021.

Beautiful spaces are important, but at the end of the day it is always about the people and programs that fill the space.” Jeffrey P. Gold, M.D. Chancellor
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Article - Dinsdale Family Learning Commons announced at UNL

Private gifts establish learning commons at UNL’s East Campus library

Private gifts establish learning commons at UNL’s East Campus library

Posted: jue, jun 20, 2019

Private donors with a desire to invest in the student learning experience have made it possible for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to move forward with a $22.5 million renovation and redevelopment of the C.Y. Thompson Library on East Campus.

Gifts to the University of Nebraska Foundation for this privately funded project include a leadership contribution from UNL alumni and philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott of Omaha. Their gift was provided as a challenge to encourage others to contribute and to offer the option for someone to name the new student learning commons.

The Dinsdale family of Nebraska, in response to the Scotts’ lead challenge gift, made a major gift commitment to the project. The gift was made by Sid Dinsdale, Chris Dinsdale and Jane Dinsdale Rogers in honor of their father, Roy G. Dinsdale; and by Lynn Dinsdale Marchese and Tom Dinsdale in honor of their father, the late John “Jack” A. Dinsdale.

The new learning space will be named the Dinsdale Family Learning Commons in honor of the Dinsdale brothers, pending approval by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.

Roy Dinsdale graduated from the University of Nebraska in 1948. Jack Dinsdale, who died in 2010, also attended the university, but his studies were interrupted by World War II and U.S. Army service from 1942 to 1946. As brothers and business partners, Roy and Jack Dinsdale grew the family agriculture and banking businesses into what is today Pinnacle Bancorp Inc., the holding company which includes Pinnacle Bank.

“Students are at the core of what we do, so we are especially grateful for the generosity of Ruth and Bill Scott and the Dinsdale family for recognizing and embracing the vision of a new student learning commons on our East Campus,” said UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green. “This reimagined space designed for 21st-century studying and learning will benefit thousands of students, and we foresee a busy and active area full of engaged students.”

Ruth and Bill Scott said they are pleased to help make attending UNL an even richer experience for students.

“We hope that this will be a place where students want to congregate to spend time together and that it will be a hub that encourages students, teachers and the broader community to explore, create, collaborate and have some fun,” Ruth Scott said. “We are delighted the Dinsdale family also understands the importance of this student initiative, and we certainly hope others choose to help now as well.”

About the Dinsdale family’s support for the project, Sid Dinsdale said, “With our family roots in agriculture, we think providing resources to upgrade the East Campus makes sense. We consider this a gift that will benefit our entire state, and it is a privilege to partner with the Scott family on this project.”

Few updates have been made to the C.Y. Thompson Library since it opened in 1966, but the way students study and learn has changed significantly. Increasingly, students are interactive learners who depend on having technology available at all times, communicate via social media and study collaboratively.

Construction will launch in August with completion in time for the 2021 spring semester. Renovation and redevelopment of the library will include the new student learning commons to incorporate academics, research and community into one central hub of resources there. Many fundamental concepts of the learning commons will be borrowed from the privately funded Adele Coryell Hall Learning Commons located on UNL’s City Campus at Love Library which opened in 2016 and is used by thousands of students each week for studying, peer collaboration and access to learning resources.

The Dinsdale Family Learning Commons will reflect students’ increasing use of online and digital information and research and will enhance interdisciplinary connections through spaces where students can gather to study and collaborate. Plans call for a technologically rich space that will facilitate both individual and group study with virtual access to thousands of e-books, e-journals and academic articles.

The printed word, however, will not go away. A power library will house a 25,000-volume collection of the most recent, unique and active parts of the print collection. Faculty and staff also will benefit from cutting-edge technologies and instruction resources.

The library division within the facility will continue to be named the C.Y. Thompson Library.

Additionally, the redeveloped space will provide a central location for the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program, the East Campus Visitors Center and the Student Testing Center.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is seeking additional contributions for the project.

About the lead donors

Ruth and Bill Scott

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bill and Ruth Scott

Ruth and Bill Scott are deeply rooted and invested in the community where they have lived most of their lives and the state they call home.

Over the years, the Scott family has made extraordinary and transformational private investments in the University of Nebraska. Examples of their philanthropy are found on each of the four main campuses of the University of Nebraska statewide system, and they have been instrumental leaders in making the University of Nebraska Medical Center a world-class academic health science center.

In 2009 the University of Nebraska Board of Regents presented Ruth and Bill Scott with its most prestigious award, the Regents Medal, for their extraordinary contributions to the university’s academic programs, scholarships and facilities.

Bill Scott is a 1953 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business. The Ashland, Nebraska, native joined Buffett Partnership in 1959 and Berkshire Hathaway in 1970 where he remained until the early 1990s.

Ruth Scott, also a native of Ashland, earned a bachelor’s degree in education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 1951. She went on to teach school and later founded the Omaha Bridge Studio where she teaches “the game everyone should play.”

Jack and Roy Dinsdale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roy Dinsdale (left) and Jack Dinsdale

Brothers John A. “Jack” and Roy G. Dinsdale were business partners for 63 years with primary interests in banking and agriculture. They were born in Palmer, Nebraska, to George and Rena Dinsdale and graduated from Palmer High School.

Jack Dinsdale attended the University of Nebraska for business administration when his college career was interrupted by World War II. He entered the U.S. Army in 1942 and was discharged in 1946. While in the Army, he met Gretchen Poggemeyer in Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, and they married and raised two children in Nebraska: Tom and Lynn. Jack Dinsdale died in 2010 at age 92.

Roy Dinsdale met Gloria Stephens, who grew up in McCook and Grand Island, while they were studying at the University of Nebraska, where Roy studied business administration, graduating in 1948, and Gloria studied education, graduating in 1949. They married after graduating and raised three children: Sid, Chris and Jane.

In 1948, Roy and Jack Dinsdale joined their father, George Dinsdale, and their uncle, Tom Dinsdale, in helping lead the family’s businesses, which were founded in the late 1800s. Roy and Jack started expanding their banking business from State Bank in Palmer by purchasing the National Bank of Neligh in 1958. This was the forerunner of Pinnacle Bancorp, Inc., the holding company which includes Pinnacle Bank in Nebraska. Using a community bank model still in use today, Pinnacle Bank has 67 locations across the state.

The entire Dinsdale family and their primary business, Pinnacle Bank, are known for their generous contributions of time and philanthropic support to the University of Nebraska and various other organizations and community endeavors.

About the University of Nebraska Foundation

The University of Nebraska Foundation grows relationships and resources that enable the University of Nebraska to change lives and save lives. Among U.S. public universities, total annual gifts in support of the University of Nebraska and its affiliates rank in the top 15, and its $1.7 billion total endowment is in the top 25. Donors restrict 99 percent of all gifts and assets to a specific use by the university. The foundation was named to America’s Favorite Charities in 2018 by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. More information is at nufoundation.org.

Students are at the core of what we do, so we are especially grateful for the generosity of Ruth and Bill Scott and the Dinsdale family for recognizing and embracing the vision of a new student learning commons on our East Campus. This reimagined space designed for 21st-century studying and learning will benefit thousands of students, and we foresee a busy and active area full of engaged students.” UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green
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Article - NCTA Gary Hansen memorial project

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture receives updates, redevelopments with Hansen memorial gift

Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture receives updates, redevelopments with Hansen memorial gift

Posted: vie, jun 14, 2019

About this photo: Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture Associate Dean Jennifer McConville, Claire Hansen, alumnus Byron Hansen, and Dean Ron Rosati tour the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in December 2018.   

Alumnus Gary W. Hansen had a positive experience at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis while attending there in the mid-1970s. As a result, his family is making certain future generations of students have the same opportunities for success in agriculture.

Improvements underway at the college are made possible with a significant memorial gift from Gary Hansen’s family which they made to the University of Nebraska Foundation.

The Hansen family, including Gary Hansen’s father, Claire Hansen, and brother, alumnus Byron Hansen, chose to make the gift in memory of Gary after learning about the college’s plans to increase student opportunities while preparing even more skilled graduates for the Nebraska workforce.

The family’s gift has funded the first phase of needed updates and redevelopment of a key classroom and the welding shop building, which is now better equipped for technical training resources.

The multi-level shop building, which has a stairway on the south side, will soon be made accessible when a wheelchair ramp on the east side of the building is completed. Interior upgrades have added more welding stalls and equipment in the lab, plus more electrical outlets and power supply.

The redeveloped classroom was modernized with all new desks, furniture, internet access, paint, storage units and wider doorway.

The Hansens also made a commitment to fund a phase two project with more improvements planned. In the next year or two, NCTA will add handicap parking on the east side of the welding shop along with a sculpted pavilion, additional sidewalks and esthetic exterior enhancements.

“Throughout his life, Gary considered the training he received at UNSTA as perhaps the most beneficial technical instruction of his lifetime,” said Byron Hanson, Gary’s brother and a longtime agricultural lender in Kearney. “Because of Gary’s experience at UNSTA-NCTA, it is appropriate to honor his college experience by seeking to ensure that the experience of NCTA students, both today and in the future, is as beneficial as was his.”

In October 1974, at the age of 18, Gary Hansen began his tenure as a student at the University of Nebraska School of Technical Agriculture. Studying agricultural mechanics was a natural pursuit for him, because he was raised around the family business, Hansen Implement Co., based in the far northeastern community of Coleridge, Nebraska.

Gary graduated in May 1976 with an associate degree in agricultural mechanics.

Gary’s brother, Byron Hansen, graduated there in 1978 and says there is little doubt that Gary regarded his time at UNSTA as among the most enjoyable years of his life.

In making the gift, Byron Hansen said the Gary W. Hansen memorial project “is in appreciation of the gift of knowledge received from educators at NCTA and, notably, the dedication of Jim Cerny, Wayne Stuckenhotz and Bill Witt.”

“Gary graduated as an honor student as a result of his academic success coupled with recognition by faculty as demonstrating the behavior and characteristics possessed by exceptional citizens,” Hansen said.

The Aggie Alumni Association will honor Gary W. Hansen posthumously at its banquet June 22, 2019, in Broken Bow with the 2019 Alumni Service Award. Gary died in 2006 at the age of 49 in Illinois.

After graduation in 1976, Gary returned to Coleridge and worked in the family business, managing its service division.

He returned to a classroom and laboratory, however, this time as a Husker at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1987.

Gary then moved to Illinois, joining Caterpillar, Inc., and was there nearly 20 years until his death in 2006.

Twelve years following Gary’s death, Byron and his father, Claire, returned to the place Gary loved in Curtis. In December 2018, they toured the agricultural mechanics program and saw first-hand how they could help through a memorial project.

Claire Hansen died earlier this year, knowing the family’s gift would aid future NCTA graduates in preparation for the workforce, said Pete  Kotsiopulos, senior director of development  with the University of Nebraska Foundation. He coordinated the gift with NCTA Dean Ron Rosati.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and is located in Curtis, Nebraska. It prepares students for careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, food and other influential industries.

Throughout his life, Gary considered the training he received ... as perhaps the most beneficial technical instruction of his lifetime.” Byron Hanson, brother of the late Gary Hansen
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Article - University of Nebraska Foundation a Top 100 Charity

University of Nebraska Foundation makes America’s Favorite Charities

University of Nebraska Foundation makes America’s Favorite Charities

Posted: dom, may 5, 2019

Contributors to the University of Nebraska are receiving the recognition they deserve.

The University of Nebraska Foundation, the charitable arm of the University of Nebraska and its affiliates, is named to America's Favorite Charities for 2018.

The top-100 ranking was released by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, a national publication that focuses on the U.S. nonprofit sector.

This places the University of Nebraska in the company with many of its peer universities and the likes of the Mayo Clinic, American Red Cross, American Heart Association, Make-a-Wish Foundation, Harvard University and others.

The Chronicle’s ranking is based on charitable organizations that received the most in contributions of cash and stock gifts in 2017. Its new report replaces its 30-year-old “Philanthropy 400” report.

Colleges and hospitals account for 49 of the groups on the debut list. Charitable support of these institutions climbed 44 percent from 2007 through 2017, even after adjusting for inflation. Among the list were Mayo Clinic, up 202 percent; the University of Notre Dame, up 100 percent; and the University of Nebraska, up 77 percent.

In an interview with the Chronicle about the rankings, Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation, cited the generosity of Nebraskans and that of the university’s alumni and friends around the world.

He also gave credit to the generosity of the many people and organizations who committed gifts during the University of Nebraska’s last comprehensive campaign, Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, between 2005 and 2014. The campaign set a goal of $1.2 billion and concluded with gifts and gift commitments of $1.9 billion.

“The impact of large comprehensive campaigns cannot be overstated,” said Hastings as quoted by the Chronicle for its series.

In discussing the recent rankings, Hastings added, “This tremendous growth period reflects the combination of a loyal and generous donor base, outstanding university leadership with big ideas and big projects to inspire philanthropy. …”

Significant university projects and programs around 2017 that benefited from generous private giving also helped the university increase in rank among charities. These include:

  • the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, located on the campus of Nebraska Medicine and the University of Nebraska Medical Center;

  • the Dr. Edwin Davis & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center for Advanced Interprofessional Learning at UNMC, home to health care education, training and research that incorporates a range of simulation and visualization technologies;

  • the College of Business — Howard L. Hawks Hall at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, which represents the largest privately funded academic facility in UNL’s history;

  • a major estate gift from Robert Sahling of Kearney for permanently endowed student scholarships at the University of Nebraska at Kearney and support from contributors early childhood education programs and facilities at UNK;

  • the addition to the Biomechanics Research Building and the addition to and renovation of the Willis S. and Janet A. Strauss Performing Arts Center at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

As the Chronicle of Philanthropy reports, the gift of stocks also helped move some organizations up in 2017 rankings, including the University of Nebraska. Nearly one in three dollars raised by the University of Nebraska that year came in the form of stock donations. Other institutions whose stock gifts made up a big share of contributions include the California Institute of Technology at 33 percent, Notre Dame at 21 percent and Stanford at 17 percent of total contributions.

The ranking shows giving soared to health care organizations such as the Mayo Clinic and to colleges like Harvard while falling off significantly at the United Way and other better-known charities.

The link provided to the full 2018 America's Favorite Charities article is used with permission of the Chronicle of Philanthropy. Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

This tremendous growth period reflects the combination of a loyal and generous donor base, outstanding university leadership with big ideas and big projects to inspire philanthropy. …” Brian F. Hastings President and CEO, University of Nebraska Foundation
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Article - Fremont group donates to support Alzheimers research at UNMC 2019

Fremont group donates $60,000 to support Alzheimer’s research at UNMC

Fremont group donates $60,000 to support Alzheimer’s research at UNMC

Group’s total contribution now exceeds $215,000 since 2014

Posted: vie, jun 7, 2019

The Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration (FAAC) has donated a $60,000 pilot grant to go toward Alzheimer’s disease research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The donation marks the sixth grant the FAAC has donated to UNMC since 2014 and brings the group’s total contribution to more than $215,000.

Marv Welstead, a 98-year-old Fremont man who lost his wife, Jean, in 2009 after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s, is honorary chairperson of the FAAC. On Feb. 21, the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce inducted Welstead into its Hall of Fame on his 98th birthday.

“Marv has been the driving force behind the FAAC’s success,” said Dan Murman, M.D., professor and vice chair of clinical and translational research in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences. “He’s been tremendously supportive. His commitment to the battle against Alzheimer’s disease is truly inspirational.”

The latest FAAC grant will support UNMC’s Alzheimer’s research in two areas – developing screening biomarkers and exploring novel treatment approaches.

Dr. Murman said the screening biomarkers include cerebrovascular measures, retinal measures, and blood and saliva samples. Each of these screening biomarkers is noninvasive and relatively inexpensive, he said. These novel biomarkers would be compared to more traditional biomarkers such as using an MRI scan to measure brain neurodegeneration or a PET scan to determine the amyloid plaque accumulation in the brain.

The grant will provide additional support for several clinical trials at UNMC, Dr. Murman said, including a study of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (r-TMS) as a treatment to improve memory in subjects with very mild Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the FAAC funding will allow UNMC to recruit subjects for several new clinical trials of promising new medications.

“We can’t thank the FAAC enough for its support,” Dr. Murman said. “The ongoing contributions from the FAAC allow us the flexibility to try new things and seek new advances. We are honored to use their funding to look for answers to this incredibly difficult disease.”

A progressive, degenerative disorder, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among people 65 years and older. It currently affects more than 35,000 Nebraskans and more than 5 million persons nationwide.

The money raised by the FAAC is donated to the University of Nebraska Foundation, which then distributes it to UNMC as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It is raised through a variety of channels, including a walk, a golf tournament, a bowling tournament, online gifts and memorials, Welstead said. The FAAC is a component fund of the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

“We’ve received tremendous support from the various groups in Fremont,” Welstead said. “It’s unbelievable. We’ve been getting some very generous memorials from families who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s.”

Welstead acknowledged Dan Kauble, a retired executive from Hormel who has been assisting him in raising money for Alzheimer’s disease. He also saluted Riley Faulkner, president of the FAAC, and Cathi Sampson, vice president of the FAAC.

“We love to raise money locally and then keep the money in Nebraska by giving it to UNMC and UNL,” Welstead said. “We know the University of Nebraska is doing some outstanding research with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Welstead noted that the FAAC will generate more funding through a charity golf tournament on June 23 at Fremont Country Club and a pancake feed sometime in September.

Research support

Funding from the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration (FAAC) has assisted numerous investigators in their research. They include:

UNMC:

Daniel Murman, M.D., neurological sciences
Sachin Kedar, M.B.B.S., neurological sciences
David Warren, Ph.D., neurological sciences
Tony Wilson, Ph.D., director of the Magnetoencephalography Laboratory at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine;
Alex Wiesman, Ph.D. candidate who works with Dr. Wilson

UNL:

Greg Bashford, Ph.D., biological systems engineering
Mohammed Alwatban, Ph.D. candidate who works with Dr. Bashford

We can’t thank the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration enough for its support. The ongoing contributions from them allow us the flexibility to try new things and seek new advances. We are honored to use their funding to look for answers to this incredibly difficult disease.” Dan Murman, M.D. Professor and vice chair of clinical and translational research in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences
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Article - Support Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry on Give to Lincoln Day 2019

Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ seeks support on Give to Lincoln Day May 30

Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ seeks support on Give to Lincoln Day May 30

Food and shelter insecurities are an unfortunate reality for students at Nebraska and nationwide.

Posted: lun, may 13, 2019

Those inspired to support the University of Nebraska–Lincoln during the communitywide Give to Lincoln Day on May 30 are encouraged to contribute to the the Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+.

One in three students at Nebraska worries about not having enough food to eat. Gifts will benefit the Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ and support its work in providing free food and hygiene supplies to students in need throughout the year.

Huskers Pantry has helped more than 800 students since it opened in 2017 with more than 5,500 people visiting the pantry. During the last semester alone, an average of more than 92 students visited Huskers Pantry each week.

Gifts can be made on May 30 or any time before then.

Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ is partnering with the University of Nebraska Foundation to promote the support on May 30 for university community members who are in need.

Give to Lincoln Day is an annual 24-hour event that encourages people to contribute to Lincoln and Lancaster County nonprofit organizations on May 30, 2019. Give to Lincoln Day at givetolincoln.com is coordinated by the Lincoln Community Foundation in partnership with local nonprofit organizations.

Every donation makes a bigger impact on Give to Lincoln Day, because nonprofits also get a proportional share of a $450,000 match fund made possible by LCF and generous sponsors.

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Article - Support UNO and UNMC causes during Omaha Gives 2019

Support UNO, UNMC causes during Omaha Gives on May 22

Support UNO, UNMC causes during Omaha Gives on May 22

Posted: lun, may 13, 2019

Omaha Gives, the seventh annual 24-hour charitable challenge in Omaha, is set for May 22, 2019. The giving begins at midnight, and hourly drawings and prizes make your donations go further.

Causes at the university's two campuses in Omaha stand to benefit from your support during this event. 

Maverick Food Pantry at the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Those interested in supporting the University of Nebraska at Omaha during Omaha Gives may contribute to help the UNO Maverick Food Pantry at omahagives.org.

Today, more than 200 U.S. colleges operate food pantries, as food insecurity is becoming more evident on campuses nationwide. UNO is no exception.

Since UNO opened the Maverick Food Pantry in 2013, it has distributed nearly 10,000 pounds of food to currently enrolled UNO students and members of the UNO community who are in need. This critical assistance includes nutritionally balanced food packages containing approximately two days’ worth of non-perishable food items.

Every gift through Omaha Gives increases the chances that UNO will also receive matching dollars made available by the event's sponors and benefactors.

You may make your gift on May 22 or schedule your gift now.

You may also find a list of other UNO organizations participating in Omaha Gives here.

SHARING Clinics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Those inspired to benefit the University of Nebraska Medical Center during Omaha Gives are encouraged to make a gift to help the UNMC SHARING Clinics.

SHARING Clinics is a longtime community health care services program operated by students. The faculty and students involved are volunteers at four clinics dedicated to primary health care, STI testing, primary care for Type 2 diabetes and vision care.

For every $1 donated, $8 in medical services is provided and enables UNMC to provide high-quality, low-cost health care and human services.

Gifts to the UNMC SHARING Clinics during Omaha Gives also help UNMC take advantage of available matching support made posible by the event's sponsors and benefactors.

You may make your gift on May 22 or schedule your gift now.

About Omaha Gives

Omaha Gives is a year-round online giving platform organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to grow philanthropy in Douglas, Sarpy, and Pottawattamie counties. Each year, there is a 24-hour online giving event in May to celebrate nonprofits.

This year's giving day will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The goal is to inspire the community to come together for 24-hours to give as much as possible to support the work of public 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the metro area.

The minimum donation is $10 and there is no maximum. Prizes, Challenge Funds, and Incentive Funds amplify charitable donations to make each dollar go further.

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Article - Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of support to UNMC

Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of Alzheimer’s disease research support, new faculty chair announced

Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of Alzheimer’s disease research support, new faculty chair announced

Posted: mar, abr 30, 2019

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Barney and Vada Oldfield met at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and enjoyed their life together. Their legacy continues with a number of funds that provide perpetual support to the univeristy, its faculty and students.

For two decades, a research fund has supported the efforts of leading research scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the pursuit of treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, devastating brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually prevents one’s ability to carry out simple tasks. Experts estimate that more than 5.5 million Americans may have the disease.

Col. A. Barney Oldfield started the fund with a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation in the 1990s by establishing the Vada Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Fund for the UNMC Division of Geriatrics. The permanently endowed fund forever honors his wife, Vada Kinman Oldfield, who suffered from Alzheimer’s for 11 years before her death in 1999.

Later contributions by family members, friends and the Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation, along with market investment, have increased the endowment to nearly $400,000, ensuring it will support Alzheimer’s research until a cure is found. With foresight typical of the Oldfields, once a cure is found for Alzheimer’s disease the fund will be redirected to battle other disorders associated with aging.

Jane Potter, M.D., professor of internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine at UNMC, said the first 20 years of the Kinman Oldfield Award have helped launch the careers of many successful research scientists. 

“For many, this was the first research award that they received,” Potter said. “The award provided support to collect pilot data that then was the seed for applications to other foundations and government funders. It has done what Col. Oldfield intended. He was a great believer in kick-starting careers and setting people in the right direction.”

2019 Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Award recipient announced

The Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer's Research Award is conferred annually as a $10,000 stipend to an individual with promising new ideas in Alzheimer’s disease research.

David E. Warren, Ph.D., assistant professor in UNMC’s Department of Neurological Sciences, is the 2019 recipient of the Kinman Oldfield Award and was recognized during an event on April 22. He researches potential treatment for memory loss in healthy and nonhealthy older adults by combining neuroimaging, neurostimulation and neuropsychology.

A moderate decline in the memory of facts and events is a normal part of aging, Warren said, but amnestic mild cognitive impairment is a severe, clinically relevant type of memory loss that frequently precedes Alzheimer’s disease.

“Loss of memory abilities is devastating for people, but the few treatments available for memory loss provide very limited relief,” said Warren, whose research team includes medical students interested in the field of memory loss treatment.

“We are applying a type of noninvasive brain stimulation that we believe has potential to improve memory abilities among people with mild cognitive impairment who do not yet have Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “By testing whether this type of stimulation improves their memory abilities more than a placebo, we will determine if it will reliably improve memory. So this study is a key first step that will support our long-term goal of applying the same approach to people with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.”

2019 Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship recipients announced

The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation also established the Nancy and Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship Fund Award at UNMC to honor Ronald Regan, the late U.S. president who battled Alzheimer’s disease.

The 2019 recipients of the Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship are doctor of medicine students Carly Faller, Claire Ferguson and Ran Jing. They each serve on the leadership team for the UNMC Purposes of Aging Interprofessional Group and were honored at an April 22 event.

Faller is a third-year medical student from Lincoln, Nebraska, who’s mentored by Warren. Her research focus is on the effects of targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation on hippocampal-dependent declarative memory in older adults.

Ferguson is a third-year medical student from Omaha, Nebraska, who’s mentored by Natalie Manley, M.D. Her research is focused on a feasibility study regarding virtual reality and dementia in patients.

Jing is a third-year medical student from Shandong, China, who’s also mentored by Warren. Jing’s research focus is on the effects of targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation on memory performance in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

New faculty support chair in Alzheimer’s disease announced

The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation recently announced its commitment to establish the Kinman Oldfield Chair in Geriatrics at UNMC. Once fully funded, this permanently endowed fund will provide annual support to a renowned faculty member dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease research and teaching.

“The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation is pleased to carry on Col. Oldfield’s vision of a cure for, and the eradication of, Alzheimer’s disease,” said Warren Odgers, Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation trustee. “This commitment to the Kinman Oldfield Chair in Geriatrics also furthers a goal of the foundation to support educational opportunities for Nebraska students.”

The Oldfields, including the family foundation they established to carry on their charitable objectives, have provided philanthropic support to the University of Nebraska since the 1950s. In addition to their support for students and faculty at UNMC, the foundation contributed to the new Home Instead Center for Successful Aging, home to UNMC’s geriatrics division and geriatric patient care.

In addition to support of UNMC, the Oldfields also established funds that benefit students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, including scholarships for students in the Hixson–Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and students in the Army ROTC program.

Beginning a life together in Nebraska

Col. A. Barney Oldfield and Vada Kinman met in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they were both studying at the University of Nebraska. The 1933 graduates would go on to be generous supporters of their alma mater through various scholarship funds and programs across the university system.

A native of Tecumseh, Nebraska, Barney Oldfield had a career in the U.S. Air Force as a communications officer and then became a public relations executive for Litton Industries in Woodland Hills, California. Founder of the Nebraska Dollars for Scholars program, he is a legend in the public relations field and counted many celebrities on his list of close, personal friends, including President Ronald Reagan and boxer George Foreman. Oldfield died in 2003, leaving a legacy in educational philanthropy that includes the University of Nebraska and other higher education institutions.

Vada Kinman Oldfield was from Grand Forks, North Dakota. During World War II she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, becoming a pioneer in what would become the Women’s Army Corps in 1943. She served in the 12th Air Force Communications Section in Africa and Italy.

In both military and civilian life, the Oldfields made philanthropy their passion, giving generously of their resources and inspiring others to do the same. The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation continues their philanthropic legacy today.

 

He [Barney Oldfield] was a great believer in kick-starting careers and setting people in the right direction.” Jane Potter, M.D. Professor of internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine
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