New center helping UNO athletes to play smart

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The center’s 5,000 square feet includes computer docks, study space and separate rooms where the athletes can meet with tutors.

UNO athletes set a record last semester.

For brains. The Mavs earned a grade-point average of 3.34 – the highest in UNO history.

And now they may get even smarter, thanks to the Hamilton Academic Excellence Center, which officially opened earlier this year inside Sapp Fieldhouse.

The center’s 5,000 square feet includes computer docks, study space and separate rooms where the athletes can meet with tutors. The center also has offices for UNO’s director of academic success and other support staff.

University of Nebraska graduates Brian and Carey Hamilton of Omaha gave the lead gift to make it happen. What drove them to do that, as well as give to other worthy causes around the state?

From a conversation with Carey Hamilton:

My dad, Moe Beardmore, believed in giving back to the community. He died in 1992. Brian and I returned to the Omaha area in 1995 to run Beardmore Chevrolet-Subaru. What a pleasure it was hearing from people around town who’d tell me of the charitable things my dad had done – things I didn’t even know about, things he didn’t talk about. I don’t remember him ever talking about philanthropy. That’s just how he lived his life. He was a great role model.

My dad taught us that it’s important to lead by example and to be ethical. Brian and I feel that way, too. It’s in the daily decisions that you make. It’s in treating people just the same way you would want to be treated. My family started in the car business back in 1919. We couldn’t have been here that long if people thought we were taking advantage of them.

That’s why we gave funds to help UNL’s College of Business Administration integrate ethics into the curriculum.

Brian and I both are University of Nebraska grads. It seems our lives and our businesses have always been surrounded by the university. We had a dealership in Grand Island. We still have Midway in Kearney. My mom grew up in Kearney. So those communities have been important to us, too.

UNK has been growing by leaps and bounds. We feel grateful when we see letters from our scholarship recipients there and also at UNO. But we feel we need to groom kids not just for the university, but for community colleges and technical schools, too.

Through Carriage House, the charitable arm of the Nebraska New Car and Truck Dealers Association, we’ve helped provide scholarships and tools to people who want to become technicians. Our industry really needs those people.

Brian and I are fans of the student-athletes. We feel UNO’s new Academic Excellence Center will help with recruiting these great students, who learn such leadership skills through sports. The center is going to be super, just the finest of its kind in the conference. You would want to go back to school if you saw this!

We feel fortunate to have our business in Bellevue, so close to Offutt Air Force Base. My dad did a lot to help Offutt and the SAC museum. So we help, too, as much as we can. We refurbished the airmen’s quarters. We helped unveil a statue right before Memorial Day. The statue was in memory of the fallen soldiers. We’re proud of our military people. They work so hard and make such unbelievable sacrifices. And they support us, so Brian and I always want to support them.

People helped us get started. We feel fortunate that we are now in the position where we can help others. We feel that we are all connected and that if everybody helps, a lot can get done.

Student support is a top priority of the Campaign for Nebraska. If you, like the Hamiltons, would like to help students succeed, please give online or contact the University of Nebraska Foundation at 800-432-3216.

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