Indianapolis couple continuing their parents’ legacies

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UNL alumni feel proud of their deep roots in Nebraska – and proud to be giving back to help students.

Generosity runs in the family for Sue and Dick Tempero.

The Temperos of Indianapolis, who are both Nebraska natives and UNL alumni, are dedicated to continuing their parents’ legacies through scholarships at their alma mater.

Sue’s father, Chester (Chet) Carkoski, was a high school football star in Ord, Neb., a player so good he was recruited by both UNL and Notre Dame. During high school, he paid his way by working after school in the local grocery store. His parents expected him to stay home on the farm after high school. But after much consideration, and an offer from the store owner to assist with his college expenses, he decided to become the first college student in his family and play football for UNL.

That fall, he put a trunk containing all his earthly belongings on the train and went off to Lincoln. He played successfully his freshman year. But the physical prior to his sophomore year disclosed a previously unknown heart murmur. That ended his playing days.

Not to be deterred, he then jump-started his coaching career coaching the “Aggies,” the football team made up students attending UNL on the East Campus.

A year after graduation, he was hired to coach and teach at Hartington High in northeast Nebraska. He later became principal and then superintendent. Hartington is where he fell in love with his future wife, Sue’s mother, Helen, and the town fell in love with him. Some 25 years after he left Hartington in 1961, during the Hartington Centennial, the athletic field in front of the school where he taught was named “Carkoski Field” in his honor.

“He was very honest, humble, giving and generous,” Sue says.  “As a daughter, I stood in awe of him.”

In 1984, Sue’s parents set up a scholarship to be given each year to an outstanding Hartington High School graduate who chose to attend UNL. Both of her parents died in 1994.  Since then, Sue and Dick have been committed to continuing the scholarship, which the recipients can now renew for a second year.

“Dad felt this was a chance to give back,” says Sue, who has great memories of her hometown. “We are happy to help insure this scholarship continues.”

Like Sue, Dick is also continuing his parents’ legacy.

His dad, Howard, was a first-generation college student from a single-parent home. After graduation from Kansas State, he taught for several years before attending the University of Chicago, where he earned his Ph.D. in education.

He moved to Nebraska in 1946 as dean of faculty at Wayne State Teachers College and then, in 1955, he began teaching at UNL.

“During his career at UNL, Dad was most interested in helping his students achieve their goals in education,” Dick says. “It was incredible, to see the time and energy he spent doing this. To him, that was the most important part of being a professor.”

Dicks mother, Lucile, received both her master’s and doctorate in education from UNL and spent many years in the Lincoln Public Schools. After her husband’s death, she set up a scholarship in his name. The scholarship now honors both parents and assists returning students working on their degrees in the speech-language pathology field.

“Sue and I have continued to build that scholarship to support these young people,”  Dick says, “because we believe it is an important part of getting education to those who need it.”

Sue and Dick are both active alumni.

Sue graduated from UNL in 1961. She went on to become the top human resource executive at major newspapers in Des Moines and Indianapolis. She served as the second chair of the Nebraska Alumni Association’s Cather Circle (now Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network) and was one of its founding officers.

In 2003, she received the NAA’s Distinguished Service Award and, in 2006, was named the Cather Circle Alumna of the Year.

Dick graduated from the UNL College of Law in 1962 and spent his career working as an attorney and managing non-profit, professional, governmental and other organizations in the private and public sectors.  Early in his career he served as president of the UNL Washington, D.C., alumni chapter, during which time it was named the NAA Chapter of the Year.

He recently was honored with the 2015 NAA’s Distinguished Service Award.

Both Dick and Sue are involved in “Hoosiers for Huskers,” the Indiana chapter of the Nebraska Alumni Association. Each year, they host their annual kickoff event, “Taste of Nebraska.”

Both Sue and Dick graduated from small Nebraska high schools.

Says Sue:  “We felt it was a real privilege and a wonderful opportunity to go to the University of Nebraska. We hope to assist more people from small Nebraska towns to have the same opportunity.”

If you, like the Temperos, also would like to leave a legacy at UNL, please consider giving online or contact the University of Nebraska at 800-432-3216.

This story was written by University of Nebraska Foundation intern Madison Wurtele, who is studying journalism, English and political science at UNL.

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