Generous donor picks Lincoln over London

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From a conversation with Jean Shaw

A beautiful English woman grew up in Henley, England, a beautiful English town on the River Thames.

One day in in the 1960s, on an elevator in London, she met a fascinating man from Lincoln, Neb.

They became friends and eventually fell in love. After getting married in Florida, they came to Lincoln for what she thought would be just a three-month visit. That was more than three decades ago.

And Lincoln became her hometown, too.

“I think Lincoln, Neb., is one of the best places to live,” Jean Shaw says. “And the university makes it more so.”

From a conversation with Jean Shaw:

I met Norman J. Shaw in London in the 1960s. He was in an import-export business. We soon became great friends and in 1964 I came for a visit to Florida, where we continued our friendship.

I had not visited the United States before, and after a few months I returned to the U.K., thinking it had been a good experience.

As time went by, we both realized that our lives were happier sharing our time together, so I returned and we were married in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Christmas was around the corner, so he wanted to go home to Nebraska to be with his four children and his parents, O.J. and Edith Shaw. I must say, when I got here to Lincoln, I wondered about living here and thought three months would be long enough. It was so very different from London.

But that was more than 30 years ago, and now I do not wish to live anywhere else. After O.J.’s death, Norman and his sister, Joanne Waterbury, honored him by giving a scholarship to engineering students at UNL. O.J. had been a student in the engineering department at UNL, which stood him in good stead for his successful life in business. Norman attended the university, too, in the business department, and went on to Harvard Business School. He was in the Army during World War II, and then returned to Lincoln and joined his father in running the Lincoln Oil Co., which eventually they sold.

When Norman and I came here, we bought the Kay Dee Company, and we ran this together with the help of many workers. We sold it after a few years, and spent our time traveling, mostly during the winter months.

I want the Shaw name to be remembered in Lincoln, and what better way than by donating a chair to the business department for Norman J. Shaw?

Norman’s four children are in different parts of the world and the United States. But who knows? One day they may return, or maybe the grandchildren may return.

I think Lincoln, Neb., is one of the best places to live, and the university makes it more so.

Support for students and support for faculty are two top priorities of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you, like Jean Shaw, would like to help students and faculty in UNL’s College of Business Administration – which is raising money to build a new 240,000-square-foot home on campus – please consider giving online to the College of Business Administration Building Fund or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.

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