Menke Family Establishes Scholarship for Omaha Hockey Captain

The family of Brandon M. Menke, M.D., has established the Menke Family Captain’s Scholarship for the captain of the Omaha Hockey program. This is the first position-specific scholarship for any sport within Omaha Athletics.

The investment in the Maverick Hockey program will assist Omaha Hockey head coach Mike Gabinet in recruiting and retaining prospective student-athletes who excel on the rink and demonstrate excellent leadership qualities. The scholarship will be in place for five years.

“I’m grateful to the Menke family for their investment in our program and our student-athletes,” Gabinet said. “Their gift demonstrates to our players just how much Maverick fans care about the success of this team and its players, on and off the ice. The team captain is a difference-maker for our hockey program, and I’m pleased to have this as a named position.”

Dr. Menke made a generous gift commitment through the University of Nebraska Foundation to establish the full scholarship. The amount of the gift is not being disclosed at the donor’s request.

He is a partner and ophthalmologist at Ilumin Eye Center in Omaha and a lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve. His wife, Dr. Kristen Menke, is a psychologist at Omaha Integrative Care. The couple has two daughters, Sloane and Blaire.

“To me, a great captain is not someone who scores the most goals or most assists but rather helps others achieve their goals to help the team as a whole,” Dr. Menke said. “A captain does not care who scores the winning goal as long as the team wins. A captain is a leader.”

He said he grew up playing hockey and loves the sport. He brought older daughter Sloane to her first hockey game when she was just 2 years old, and now younger daughter Blaire attends games, too. Maverick Hockey has become a family affair.

Dr. Menke said he hopes the family’s gift will inspire others to support the Maverick Hockey program.

“The close community and small college feel that UNO has, coupled with great hockey, made for the perfect match for my family to connect to,” he said. “My wife’s parents and my parents also instilled a mindset of giving back and philanthropy. Whether it be time, money or simply caring, giving back is what helps anything succeed.”

The inaugural recipient of the Menke Family Captain’s Scholarship will be announced by fall 2024. The scholarship can be renewed if the recipient continues to serve as team captain and is in good academic standing. The gift was made as part of Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future. The campaign is a historic effort to engage 150,000 benefactors to give $3 billion to support University of Nebraska students, faculty, academic and clinical programs and research to address the needs of the state. Scholarships are a top priority of the campaign.

“We are so grateful to the Menke family for their incredible generosity in support of Maverick Hockey student-athletes,” Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Adrian Dowell said. “The momentum of our hockey program is exciting and made possible by an incredible fanbase and donors like the Menke family.”

During the 2023-24 season, the Mavericks secured the program’s second winningest season in school history with an overall record of 23-13-4. Omaha captured its first-ever trip to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff along with a Frozen Faceoff title game appearance. The season culminated with the program’s fifth NCAA Tournament berth at the NCAA Sioux Falls Regional, where they also played host for the first time ever.

About the University of Nebraska at Omaha

The University of Nebraska at Omaha is a premier metropolitan university that offers a broad range of academic programs and is dedicated to providing innovative and learning-centric initiatives. With a strong commitment to digital education and student success, UNO continues to lead the way in creating impactful educational experiences.

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. During the most recent fiscal year, 58,072 donors supported the University of Nebraska, and a record $354.5 million in new funds was committed to aid UNK, UNL, UNO, NCTA and UNMC and its clinical partner, Nebraska Medicine. The foundation raises more than $7 for every $1 spent. Only in Nebraska: A Campaign for Our University’s Future is its current campaign with a goal to raise $3 billion from 150,000 unique benefactors to support the University of Nebraska. More information is at OnlyinNebraska.org.

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