Hennings increase access to education with forever scholarship fund

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The donors hope to help make a college education within reach for more Nebraskans.

The children of Harvey J. and Betty L. Henning of Kearney have established a student scholarship in their parents’ honor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney to help make a college education within reach for more Nebraskans.

They established the Henning Family Scholarship Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation as a permanent endowment to provide annual financial aid forever to undergraduate students at UNK.

“We believe the best way to support the priority of increasing access to higher education and encouraging more of our high school graduates to go on to college is by providing resources to make student scholarships possible,” said Tom Henning of Kearney, one of Harvey and Betty Henning’s sons.

Awarded annually by UNK’s scholarship committee and financial aid office, qualifying students will include graduates of Nebraska high schools who have a 3.0 GPA or greater and are enrolled in the college of business and technology, education or fine and performing arts. These academic areas also represent the areas where members of the Henning family studied through the years at the university.

Although the amount of the gift is undisclosed, the interest income from the permanent endowment is estimated to provide approximately 15 annual scholarships of $2,000 each.

The gift supports the University of Nebraska’s current fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, and its priority to increase support for student scholarships at UNK.

“Our family recognizes the value of an education and how its cost has accelerated over the past number of years,” Tom Henning said. “We believe the value of support from the private sector needs to increase.”

One newer academic field the Hennings hope students may consider studying at UNK is supply chain management, a business program which is the first of its kind in Nebraska for undergraduate students. The program aligns closely with the family’s business, Cash-Wa Distributing Company, a foodservice distribution company relying on logistics and supply chain management.

“The supply chain management industry has grown very fast over the past 10 years, and there are very few institutions of higher learning that specialize in this type of coursework,” Henning said. We believe this area is absolutely a growth area for UNK and can be an attraction for private funding for the university.”

The Henning family is proud of its ties to university and is eager to help students succeed.

“We take a great amount of pride in the university, and we look forward to the impact this gift can make on the deserving recipients, along with the growth of the departments chosen for scholarships,” Henning said.

While not alumni themselves, many of Harvey and Betty Henning’s children, including sons Tom, Gary, Greg and Steve, and their own families, are proud graduates of the University of Nebraska.

Tom Henning, attended UNK and graduated from UNL in 1971, and his wife, Mary, studied education at UNK and graduated in 1969. Their son, Chad, graduated from UNL with a business administration major.

Gary Henning, graduated from UNK in 1973 with a business administration major, and his wife, Judy, studied journalism and graduated with bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Their daughter, Nicole, graduated in 2000 from UNK with a communication disorders major, and daughter, Stacy, graduated from UNL in 2006 with a math education major.

Greg Henning graduated from UNL with a business administration major, and his daughter, Kaleena, studied sociology at UNL and graduated in 2009.

Steve Henning graduated from UNL and studied business and law; his wife, Stacey, graduated from UNL with a journalism major.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has connected the dreams and passions of donors to the mission of the university for more than 75 years. In 2011, donors gave a record $172 million in gifts for scholarships, academic programs, medical research and other priorities at the university. The foundation’s $1.2 billion fundraising initiative, the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, concludes in 2014. For more information, visit nufoundation.org.

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