Former student-athlete’s gift provides Omaha men’s basketball team special opportunities
Omaha, Neb. – The Omaha Athletic Department is celebrating the largest private gift ever to its men’s basketball program by a former student-athlete this week.
The gift was made through the estate of UNO alumnus and benefactor, the late Robert Stedman, to the University of Nebraska Foundation. The amount of the gift is not being disclosed.
UNO will pay tribute to Stedman prior to the men’s basketball game against the University of Denver on Thursday, Jan. 23 at 7:07 p.m. at Ralston Arena.
Stedman’s gift provides support for the men’s basketball team to participate in an overseas basketball competition. UNO is currently making plans for the team’s trip the summer of 2015.
His gift also supports the basketball program’s student-athlete recruitment efforts and creates additional scholarship opportunities.
Stedman, who passed away in 2011, played basketball for Omaha University (OU), now known as UNO, from 1947 until 1951. He graduated from OU with a degree in business.
“Bob Stedman was a true supporter and fan of our program and of UNO,” said Derrin Hansen, UNO’s men’s basketball coach. “Even though he lived in Florida he visited often, and we’d frequently talk about UNO basketball. Bob loved to reminisce about his days playing here. He had many special memories of UNO and many aspirations for the basketball program.
“We are extremely grateful for his generous support during his life and now for his latest gift which will help make some of our dreams reality. In particular, the overseas playing opportunity will be a tremendous benefit for our student-athletes and help promote UNO.”
Jalen Bradley, a freshman member of the UNO men’s basketball team agrees, saying he and his teammates are excited about the opportunity to play overseas.
“What better way to build team chemistry and play additional exhibition games just prior to the opening of our new arena in 2015,” he added.
Stedman, a graduate of Omaha’s Central High School in 1945, served as part of the Military Police in the U.S. Army in Germany until 1947. That same year he enrolled at OU and was a member of the football and basketball teams. After graduating from OU in 1951, he joined the Equitable Life Insurance Company. He retired to Florida in 1985.
Stedman was a longtime supporter of his alma mater, giving both of his time and resources to the UNO athletic department and the College of Business Administration (CBA). His support benefited CBA in numerous ways, including scholarships for students. In 2010, the college named its statistics laboratory in his honor.
Those who knew Stedman described him as a proponent of lifelong learning and an avid sports fan who was proud of his education at OU and his accomplishments on the basketball court and the football field. His recent gift is a natural extension of his affection for UNO and its student- athletes.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 77 years. In 2013, donors to the foundation provided the university with $236.7 million for scholarships, medical and other research, academic programs, faculty support and facilities. The foundation’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska, has raised more than $1.5 billion for the university and concludes Dec. 31, 2014. For more information, visit campaignfornebraska.org.