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Article - Fremont group donates to support Alzheimer’s research at UNMC 2019

Fremont group donates $60,000 to support Alzheimer’s research at UNMC

Fremont group donates $60,000 to support Alzheimer’s research at UNMC

Group’s total contribution now exceeds $215,000 since 2014

Posted: Thu, May 16, 2019

The Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration (FAAC) has donated a $60,000 pilot grant to go toward Alzheimer’s disease research at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The donation marks the sixth grant the FAAC has donated to UNMC since 2014 and brings the group’s total contribution to more than $215,000.

Marv Welstead, a 98-year-old Fremont man who lost his wife, Jean, in 2009 after an eight-year battle with Alzheimer’s, is honorary chairperson of the FAAC. On Feb. 21, the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce inducted Welstead into its Hall of Fame on his 98th birthday.

“Marv has been the driving force behind the FAAC’s success,” said Dan Murman, M.D., professor and vice chair of clinical and translational research in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences. “He’s been tremendously supportive. His commitment to the battle against Alzheimer’s disease is truly inspirational.”

The latest FAAC grant will support UNMC’s Alzheimer’s research in two areas – developing screening biomarkers and exploring novel treatment approaches.

Dr. Murman said the screening biomarkers include cerebrovascular measures, retinal measures, and blood and saliva samples. Each of these screening biomarkers is noninvasive and relatively inexpensive, he said. These novel biomarkers would be compared to more traditional biomarkers such as using an MRI scan to measure brain neurodegeneration or a PET scan to determine the amyloid plaque accumulation in the brain.

The grant will provide additional support for several clinical trials at UNMC, Dr. Murman said, including a study of repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (r-TMS) as a treatment to improve memory in subjects with very mild Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the FAAC funding will allow UNMC to recruit subjects for several new clinical trials of promising new medications.

“We can’t thank the FAAC enough for its support,” Dr. Murman said. “The ongoing contributions from the FAAC allow us the flexibility to try new things and seek new advances. We are honored to use their funding to look for answers to this incredibly difficult disease.”

A progressive, degenerative disorder, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among people 65 years and older. It currently affects more than 35,000 Nebraskans and more than 5 million persons nationwide.

The money raised by the FAAC is donated to the University of Nebraska Foundation, which then distributes it to UNMC as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. It is raised through a variety of channels, including a walk, a golf tournament, a bowling tournament, online gifts and memorials, Welstead said. The FAAC is a component fund of the Fremont Area Community Foundation.

“We’ve received tremendous support from the various groups in Fremont,” Welstead said. “It’s unbelievable. We’ve been getting some very generous memorials from families who have been impacted by Alzheimer’s.”

Welstead acknowledged Dan Kauble, a retired executive from Hormel who has been assisting him in raising money for Alzheimer’s disease. He also saluted Riley Faulkner, president of the FAAC, and Cathi Sampson, vice president of the FAAC.

“We love to raise money locally and then keep the money in Nebraska by giving it to UNMC and UNL,” Welstead said. “We know the University of Nebraska is doing some outstanding research with Alzheimer’s disease.”

Welstead noted that the FAAC will generate more funding through a charity golf tournament on June 23 at Fremont Country Club and a pancake feed sometime in September.

Research support

Funding from the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration (FAAC) has assisted numerous investigators in their research. They include:


Daniel Murman, M.D., neurological sciences
Sachin Kedar, M.B.B.S., neurological sciences
David Warren, Ph.D., neurological sciences
Tony Wilson, Ph.D., director of the Magnetoencephalography Laboratory at UNMC/Nebraska Medicine;
Alex Wiesman, Ph.D. candidate who works with Dr. Wilson


Greg Bashford, Ph.D., biological systems engineering
Mohammed Alwatban, Ph.D. candidate who works with Dr. Bashford

We can’t thank the Fremont Area Alzheimer’s Collaboration enough for its support. The ongoing contributions from them allow us the flexibility to try new things and seek new advances. We are honored to use their funding to look for answers to this incredibly difficult disease.” Dan Murman, M.D. Professor and vice chair of clinical and translational research in the UNMC Department of Neurological Sciences

Article - Support Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry on Give to Lincoln Day 2019

Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ seeks support on Give to Lincoln Day May 30

Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ seeks support on Give to Lincoln Day May 30

Food and shelter insecurities are an unfortunate reality for students at Nebraska and nationwide.

Posted: Mon, May 13, 2019

Those inspired to support the University of Nebraska–Lincoln during the communitywide Give to Lincoln Day on May 30 are encouraged to contribute to the the Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+.

One in three students at Nebraska worries about not having enough food to eat. Gifts will benefit the Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ and support its work in providing free food and hygiene supplies to students in need throughout the year.

Huskers Pantry has helped more than 800 students since it opened in 2017 with more than 5,500 people visiting the pantry. During the last semester alone, an average of more than 92 students visited Huskers Pantry each week.

Gifts can be made on May 30 or any time before then.

Huskers Helping Huskers Pantry+ is partnering with the University of Nebraska Foundation to promote the support on May 30 for university community members who are in need.

Give to Lincoln Day is an annual 24-hour event that encourages people to contribute to Lincoln and Lancaster County nonprofit organizations on May 30, 2019. Give to Lincoln Day at is coordinated by the Lincoln Community Foundation in partnership with local nonprofit organizations.

Every donation makes a bigger impact on Give to Lincoln Day, because nonprofits also get a proportional share of a $450,000 match fund made possible by LCF and generous sponsors.


Article - Support UNO and UNMC causes during Omaha Gives 2019

Support UNO, UNMC causes during Omaha Gives on May 22

Support UNO, UNMC causes during Omaha Gives on May 22

Posted: Mon, May 13, 2019

Omaha Gives, the seventh annual 24-hour charitable challenge in Omaha, is set for May 22, 2019. The giving begins at midnight, and hourly drawings and prizes make your donations go further.

Causes at the university's two campuses in Omaha stand to benefit from your support during this event. 

Maverick Food Pantry at the University of Nebraska at Omaha

Those interested in supporting the University of Nebraska at Omaha during Omaha Gives may contribute to help the UNO Maverick Food Pantry at

Today, more than 200 U.S. colleges operate food pantries, as food insecurity is becoming more evident on campuses nationwide. UNO is no exception.

Since UNO opened the Maverick Food Pantry in 2013, it has distributed nearly 10,000 pounds of food to currently enrolled UNO students and members of the UNO community who are in need. This critical assistance includes nutritionally balanced food packages containing approximately two days’ worth of non-perishable food items.

Every gift through Omaha Gives increases the chances that UNO will also receive matching dollars made available by the event's sponors and benefactors.

You may make your gift on May 22 or schedule your gift now.

You may also find a list of other UNO organizations participating in Omaha Gives here.

SHARING Clinics at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Those inspired to benefit the University of Nebraska Medical Center during Omaha Gives are encouraged to make a gift to help the UNMC SHARING Clinics.

SHARING Clinics is a longtime community health care services program operated by students. The faculty and students involved are volunteers at four clinics dedicated to primary health care, STI testing, primary care for Type 2 diabetes and vision care.

For every $1 donated, $8 in medical services is provided and enables UNMC to provide high-quality, low-cost health care and human services.

Gifts to the UNMC SHARING Clinics during Omaha Gives also help UNMC take advantage of available matching support made posible by the event's sponsors and benefactors.

You may make your gift on May 22 or schedule your gift now.

About Omaha Gives

Omaha Gives is a year-round online giving platform organized by the Omaha Community Foundation to grow philanthropy in Douglas, Sarpy, and Pottawattamie counties. Each year, there is a 24-hour online giving event in May to celebrate nonprofits.

This year's giving day will take place on Wednesday, May 22, 2019. The goal is to inspire the community to come together for 24-hours to give as much as possible to support the work of public 501(c)(3) nonprofits in the metro area.

The minimum donation is $10 and there is no maximum. Prizes, Challenge Funds, and Incentive Funds amplify charitable donations to make each dollar go further.


Article - Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of support to UNMC

Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of Alzheimer’s disease research support, new faculty chair announced

Kinman Oldfield Award provides two decades of Alzheimer’s disease research support, new faculty chair announced

Posted: Tue, Apr 30, 2019

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Barney and Vada Oldfield met at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln and enjoyed their life together. Their legacy continues with a number of funds that provide perpetual support to the univeristy, its faculty and students.

For two decades, a research fund has supported the efforts of leading research scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in the pursuit of treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, devastating brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and eventually prevents one’s ability to carry out simple tasks. Experts estimate that more than 5.5 million Americans may have the disease.

Col. A. Barney Oldfield started the fund with a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation in the 1990s by establishing the Vada Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Fund for the UNMC Division of Geriatrics. The permanently endowed fund forever honors his wife, Vada Kinman Oldfield, who suffered from Alzheimer’s for 11 years before her death in 1999.

Later contributions by family members, friends and the Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation, along with market investment, have increased the endowment to nearly $400,000, ensuring it will support Alzheimer’s research until a cure is found. With foresight typical of the Oldfields, once a cure is found for Alzheimer’s disease the fund will be redirected to battle other disorders associated with aging.

Jane Potter, M.D., professor of internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine at UNMC, said the first 20 years of the Kinman Oldfield Award have helped launch the careers of many successful research scientists. 

“For many, this was the first research award that they received,” Potter said. “The award provided support to collect pilot data that then was the seed for applications to other foundations and government funders. It has done what Col. Oldfield intended. He was a great believer in kick-starting careers and setting people in the right direction.”

2019 Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer’s Research Award recipient announced

The Kinman Oldfield Alzheimer's Research Award is conferred annually as a $10,000 stipend to an individual with promising new ideas in Alzheimer’s disease research.

David E. Warren, Ph.D., assistant professor in UNMC’s Department of Neurological Sciences, is the 2019 recipient of the Kinman Oldfield Award and was recognized during an event on April 22. He researches potential treatment for memory loss in healthy and nonhealthy older adults by combining neuroimaging, neurostimulation and neuropsychology.

A moderate decline in the memory of facts and events is a normal part of aging, Warren said, but amnestic mild cognitive impairment is a severe, clinically relevant type of memory loss that frequently precedes Alzheimer’s disease.

“Loss of memory abilities is devastating for people, but the few treatments available for memory loss provide very limited relief,” said Warren, whose research team includes medical students interested in the field of memory loss treatment.

“We are applying a type of noninvasive brain stimulation that we believe has potential to improve memory abilities among people with mild cognitive impairment who do not yet have Alzheimer’s disease,” he said. “By testing whether this type of stimulation improves their memory abilities more than a placebo, we will determine if it will reliably improve memory. So this study is a key first step that will support our long-term goal of applying the same approach to people with memory loss due to Alzheimer’s disease.”

2019 Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship recipients announced

The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation also established the Nancy and Ronald Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship Fund Award at UNMC to honor Ronald Regan, the late U.S. president who battled Alzheimer’s disease.

The 2019 recipients of the Reagan Alzheimer’s Scholarship are doctor of medicine students Carly Faller, Claire Ferguson and Ran Jing. They each serve on the leadership team for the UNMC Purposes of Aging Interprofessional Group and were honored at an April 22 event.

Faller is a third-year medical student from Lincoln, Nebraska, who’s mentored by Warren. Her research focus is on the effects of targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation on hippocampal-dependent declarative memory in older adults.

Ferguson is a third-year medical student from Omaha, Nebraska, who’s mentored by Natalie Manley, M.D. Her research is focused on a feasibility study regarding virtual reality and dementia in patients.

Jing is a third-year medical student from Shandong, China, who’s also mentored by Warren. Jing’s research focus is on the effects of targeted transcranial magnetic stimulation on memory performance in older adults with amnestic mild cognitive impairment.

New faculty support chair in Alzheimer’s disease announced

The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation recently announced its commitment to establish the Kinman Oldfield Chair in Geriatrics at UNMC. Once fully funded, this permanently endowed fund will provide annual support to a renowned faculty member dedicated to Alzheimer’s disease research and teaching.

“The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation is pleased to carry on Col. Oldfield’s vision of a cure for, and the eradication of, Alzheimer’s disease,” said Warren Odgers, Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation trustee. “This commitment to the Kinman Oldfield Chair in Geriatrics also furthers a goal of the foundation to support educational opportunities for Nebraska students.”

The Oldfields, including the family foundation they established to carry on their charitable objectives, have provided philanthropic support to the University of Nebraska since the 1950s. In addition to their support for students and faculty at UNMC, the foundation contributed to the new Home Instead Center for Successful Aging, home to UNMC’s geriatrics division and geriatric patient care.

In addition to support of UNMC, the Oldfields also established funds that benefit students at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, including scholarships for students in the Hixson–Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications and students in the Army ROTC program.

Beginning a life together in Nebraska

Col. A. Barney Oldfield and Vada Kinman met in Lincoln, Nebraska, where they were both studying at the University of Nebraska. The 1933 graduates would go on to be generous supporters of their alma mater through various scholarship funds and programs across the university system.

A native of Tecumseh, Nebraska, Barney Oldfield had a career in the U.S. Air Force as a communications officer and then became a public relations executive for Litton Industries in Woodland Hills, California. Founder of the Nebraska Dollars for Scholars program, he is a legend in the public relations field and counted many celebrities on his list of close, personal friends, including President Ronald Reagan and boxer George Foreman. Oldfield died in 2003, leaving a legacy in educational philanthropy that includes the University of Nebraska and other higher education institutions.

Vada Kinman Oldfield was from Grand Forks, North Dakota. During World War II she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Army Corps, becoming a pioneer in what would become the Women’s Army Corps in 1943. She served in the 12th Air Force Communications Section in Africa and Italy.

In both military and civilian life, the Oldfields made philanthropy their passion, giving generously of their resources and inspiring others to do the same. The Kinman-Oldfield Family Foundation continues their philanthropic legacy today.


He [Barney Oldfield] was a great believer in kick-starting careers and setting people in the right direction.” Jane Potter, M.D. Professor of internal medicine, geriatrics and palliative medicine

Article - Engelmann awarded first Hubbard STEM learning instructorship at UNO

Engelmann awarded first Hubbard STEM learning instructorship at UNO

Engelmann awarded first Hubbard STEM learning instructorship at UNO

Posted: Thu, Mar 24, 2016

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Carol Engelmann, a biology instructor at UNO, enjoys teaching outdoors at the Glacier Creek Preserve in Omaha. She’s the first recipient of the Hubbard STEM Learning Instructorship.

To help prepare K-12 educators in the teaching of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, the University of Nebraska at Omaha announces a donation to support a new STEM learning instructorship. The appointment has been awarded to longtime science teacher Carol A. Engelmann, an instructor in the Department of Biology.

The instructorship was made possible with a gift of nearly $200,000 from the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation of Omaha to create the Hubbard STEM Learning Instructor Fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation. The expendable fund will provide an annual stipend for four years to help support UNO’s salary for the new instructor position.

“This innovative, new position based at the Glacier Creek Preserve will help us to design and deliver new inquiry-based content courses for teachers at both the undergraduate and graduate levels,” said Professor Neal Grandgenett, the Dr. George and Sally Haddix Community Chair of STEM Education. “These teachers will in turn be better able to teach these important STEM topics associated with the Nebraska Prairie to the students in their own classes.”  

The instructorship supports the university’s efforts to expand STEM education programs with particular focus on using the Glacier Creek Preserve as an instructional venue while also providing support for the development and delivery of innovative STEM education undergraduate and graduate coursework. Managed by UNO’s Department of Biology, the preserve is designed to restore and preserve some of eastern Nebraska’s natural prairie and woodland heritage while serving as an area for education, research and public enjoyment.

Engelmann, who holds a doctorate in geology and geoscience education, was appointed by UNO to focus on educating future teachers in STEM topics, including environmental studies, geology, geography and biology. She is also tasked with designing a graduate-level course on prairie ecosystems for educators and forming even stronger STEM partnerships with public schools in the Omaha area.

Professor Thomas Bragg, who serves as director of UNO Nature Preserves, said the Hubbard instructorship will substantially expand the ongoing central role the preserve plays in educating others about historic prairie heritage.

“The instructorship specifically focuses on future K-12 educators and comes at an important time in the preserve’s development, when the boundaries of the preserve are expanding as are the opportunities for education,” he said. “We look forward to working jointly with the instructorship to prepare future educators for teaching their students about the environment using the preserve as a model.”

Glacier Creek Preserve, 14810 State St., consists of remnant and restored tallgrass prairie, oak woodland, prairie-wetland and stream habitats which serve to protect the biological diversity of these disappearing natural resources. It also serves as an outdoor classroom for students and faculty at UNO as well as regional educational institutions for all grade levels.

About Carol A. Engelmann, Ph.D.

Carol A. Engelmann served as a science teacher for 35 years, teaching middle and high school students in Michigan, Texas, California and Nebraska, and was awarded the Albert Einstein Distinguished Education Fellow from the National Science Foundation in 2004.

Engelmann’s affiliation with UNO began in 2011 while serving as an external evaluator for various science and science grant programs before her appointment as a graduate instructor for the Earth System Science Education Alliance program in the Department of Teacher Education in 2013. She later became an instructor with the Department of Geography and Geology before joining the Department of Biology as a STEM learning instructor in 2015. 

Her academic and professional activities have included serving as a national representative for K-12 education on the EarthScope Education and Outreach Committee and serving on a variety of National Science Foundation review panels for science education, geology, computer science and the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She was awarded the Nebraska Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science Teaching in 2002 and was awarded the Toyota Tapestry Award in 2001.

Engelmann’s science education works have been published through various abstracts, conference posters and journals, and her doctoral dissertation is titled “Investigation of Strategies to Promote Effective Professional Development Experiences in Earth Science.”

Engelmann received a doctorate degree in geology and geoscience education from Michigan Technological University, a master’s degree in geology and secondary education from the University of Houston at Clear Lake and a bachelor’s degree in elementary math and science education from Michigan State University.


Article - UNK scholarship supports first-generation college students, honors Peterson familys legacy

UNK scholarship supports first-generation college students, honors Peterson family’s legacy

UNK scholarship supports first-generation college students, honors Peterson family’s legacy

Kearney native Pete Peterson has established a new scholarship for students who, like him, are the first in their family to ever attend college.

Posted: Thu, Dec 7, 2017

PHOTO: George and Venetia Peterson (center) made Kearney their new home in the early 1900s and raised sons Peter (left) and John. Peter Peterson has created a scholarship at UNK for students who are first in their family to attend college.

George and Venetia Peterson immigrated to Kearney in the early 1900s with nothing but a third-grade education and the desire to work hard so their children would have a better life – and the opportunity for education.

Their son, Kearney native Peter G. Peterson, has honored his family’s tenacity and Nebraska roots by establishing a new scholarship for students at the University of Nebraska Kearney who, like him, are the first in their family to ever attend college.

“I was lucky enough to live the American dream, and my story began in Kearney,” Peterson said. “This scholarship will help make it possible for more first-generation students to realize their own American dream by accessing the world-class education offered by the University of Nebraska at Kearney.” 

The Peter G. Peterson Scholarship Fund was created as a permanently endowed scholarship with a $50,000 gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation. Annual net income from the fund will be awarded by the UNK office of financial aid as scholarships to first-generation students from Nebraska who are studying any major and maintain at least a 3.0 GPA.

“Throughout its history, UNK has been a welcoming school where many first-generation college students completed an education that was both affordable and of the highest quality,” said Charles Bicak, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at UNK. “This remains true today, and because of Pete’s generosity, many more generations of students who otherwise would not be able to afford college will have an opportunity to realize their dreams at UNK.”

Having grown up in Kearney, Pete Peterson graduated from Kearney High School in 1942 and then graduated summa cum laude from Northwestern University in 1947 before earning an MBA at the University of Chicago.

Peterson’s distinguished career includes contributions and accomplishments in public service, business and philanthropy. He has served in government roles including as U.S. Secretary of Commerce in the early 1970s and as chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York from 2000 - 2004. His highly successful business career includes serving as chairman and CEO of Lehman Brothers and founding The Blackstone Group in 1985.  

In 2008, Peterson founded the Peter G. Peterson Foundation as a non-partisan organization dedicated to addressing America’s long-term fiscal challenges. In addition to his current work with the foundation, he is chairman emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations, founding chairman of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., and founding president of the Concord Coalition. 

The University of Nebraska at Kearney conferred on Peterson an honorary doctorate degree in 2006. 

Peterson has five children and nine grandchildren. He lives in New York City with his wife, Joan Ganz Cooney, a director and co-founder of the Children’s Television Workshop.


Article - Great Plains Art Museum celebrates opening of new artist studio and public education lab

Great Plains Art Museum celebrates opening of new artist studio and public education lab

Great Plains Art Museum celebrates opening of new artist studio and public education lab

Posted: Wed, Apr 10, 2019

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Casey Seger, museum registrar (left), Fred Hoppe, museum benefactor; Erin Jones Graf, museum artists-in-residence; Julie Hoppe, museum benefactor; and Ashley Hussman, museum administrator and curator, celebrate “Among the Purple Lupine,” a painting by Jones Graf that joined the museum’s collection. The Hoppes’ provided a donation that enabled the museum to develop a permanent space for its Elizabeth Rubendall Artist-in-Residence program. Jones Graff is the first visiting artists to use the new space designed as an art studio and public education lab.

The Great Plains Art Museum at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln held a grand opening for the new Elizabeth Rubendall Artist-in-Residence Studio and Education Lab on April 5, 2019.

Fred and Julie Hoppe of Lincoln provided a gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation which made the development of the studio and public education lab possible. The space is named in honor of Fred Hoppe’s aunt, Elizabeth Rubendall, and is located on the lower level of the museum.

Since its inception in 2006, the Elizabeth Rubendall Foundation has funded the artist-in-residence program, which allows museum visitors and school groups to see an artist in action. The program brings an artist to Lincoln each year to create a piece of artwork at the museum that will become part of its permanent collection.

Erin Jones Graf, a fine art oil and pastel painter from Bozeman, Montana, is the 2019 Elizabeth Rubendall Artist-in-Residence and is the inaugural artist-in-residence for the opening of the new studio and education lab.

“I was beyond surprised at the enormity and functionality of the space when I walked in,” said Jones Graf, whose work largely depicts the landscapes in which she grew up surrounded by where she lives currently. “The opportunities of what can happen in the studio are vast.”     

Over the past two weeks, museum visitors including community members, students and faculty had the opportunity to experience Jones Graf’s exhibition “Montana: Prairies to Peaks.” They also had the opportunity to talk to her about her work and see her new painting titled “Among the Purple Lupine” which is the newest addition to the permanent collection of the Great Plains Art Museum.

“Julie and I are proud to have donated the Rubendall Artist-in-Residence Studio and Education Lab which will give the Great Plains Art Museum dedicated space for educational activities,” Fred Hoppe said. “The purpose of an artist-in-residence is to share talent, technique and inspiration. It is hoped that this new space will make interactivity between artist and onlooker simple, direct and comfortable; thus, enhancing the experience.”

Ashley Hussman, Great Plains Art Museum administrator and curator, said the new space will positively impact the community.

“This new studio not only provides a beautiful and functional space for our annual artist-in-residence, but it also allows the museum to expand its educational programming and collaborations with campus and the local community,” Hussman said. “We are so thankful for the Hoppes’ generosity and their continued support of the museum.”

The Great Plains Art Museum, 1155 Q St., is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free. For information call 402-472-6220.

This article was written by Jessica Moore, public relations intern at the University of Nebraska, who studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

The purpose of an artist-in-residence is to share talent, technique and inspiration. It is hoped that this new space will make interactivity between artist and onlooker simple, direct and comfortable; thus, enhancing the experience.” Fred Hoppe Benefactor

Article - University of Nebraska Emergency Assistance Fund

New emergency assistance fund to support NU students, employees facing sudden hardship

New emergency assistance fund to support NU students, employees facing sudden hardship

Posted: Mon, Mar 25, 2019

A new fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation will support NU students and employees on all campuses facing sudden financial hardship from emergency situations like the recent flooding that has impacted people and communities across the state.

Contributions to the University of Nebraska Emergency Assistance Fund are being accepted now. Gifts from individuals, companies and organizations will help currently enrolled students and current employees who are in crisis because of natural disasters, home displacement, food insecurity or other emergencies. Aid from the fund will be awarded by the university president based on need, for example, for scholarships or other assistance.

“It’s inspiring to see Nebraskans pull together during times of need,” President Hank Bounds said. “We know many members of the extended University of Nebraska family are interested in how they can help students, faculty and staff whose lives have been impacted by the recent devastating floods. The NU Emergency Assistance Fund is one option for providing support. Every gift helps when members of our community are facing the unexpected.”

Gifts may be made securely online at Gifts may also be mailed to University of Nebraska Foundation, P.O. Box 82555, Lincoln NE 68501-2555. Make checks payable to the University of Nebraska Foundation and include “NU Emergency Assistance Fund” on the memo line or enclosed with the gift.

Students and employees interested in requesting aid from the fund may contact the university at or (402) 472-2111.

It’s inspiring to see Nebraskans pull together during times of need. We know many members of the extended University of Nebraska family are interested in how they can help students, faculty and staff whose lives have been impacted by the recent devastating floods. The NU Emergency Assistance Fund is one option for providing support. Every gift helps when members of our community are facing the unexpected.” Hank Bounds President, University of Nebraska

Article - Students benefit from Cornish Scholarship

Students still benefit from first endowed scholarship created in 1930s

Students still benefit from first endowed scholarship created in 1930s

Posted: Wed, Mar 20, 2019

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Chloe Christensen (left) and Justin Tran are 2018-19 recipients of the Edward J. Cornish Scholarship, which is the oldest endowed scholarship at the University of Nebraska Foundation.

For many students, a scholarship award means much more than life-changing financial support.

These students hear about luncheons and award ceremonies where student recipients are able to thank the donors who generously established scholarship funds. They picture themselves at these events in their most respectable clothes, shaking hands with the person who will impact their education.

When University of Nebraska–Lincoln junior Justin Tran found out he received the Edward J. Cornish scholarship, he had that type of moment.

The food science and technology major said that if he could, he would sit down with Mr. Cornish, tell him how appreciative he is for the scholarship he received and talk about his journey as a college student and how he has been progressing throughout the years. 

The late Edward Cornish graduated from the University of Nebraska and became chairman of the National Lead Company in New York. In 1937, a year after the University of Nebraska Foundation was founded, he made a gift to establish the first permanently endowed scholarship fund there to forever support the education of Nebraska students.

At the time, his gift was valued at $14,400 and was comprised of cash, stocks and some Jersey cattle. Today, his investment has a market value of about $90,000. Annual income from the endowment provides one or two scholarships a year to students studying in the UNL College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.

As a first-generation college student, Tran didn’t always plan on attending UNL. He started out in culinary school and graduated, but he was seeking something more. After some research, he chose to enroll in the food science program at UNL where he is learning the science behind food.

“I’m extremely grateful for it, because it does help me stay more focused on school rather than focusing on going into work,” Tran said about receiving a Cornish Scholarship. “It helps pay for many things around school: tuition, books — anything a student would need money for. You can imagine how tough it might be without a scholarship.”

In contrast to Tran’s experience, many of Chloe Christensen’s family members are University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumni. As a Lincoln native, Christensen knew she wanted to follow in the footsteps of her mother and older sister and join the sea of red.

A junior studying food science technology, Christensen said her passion for food science came from watching her mother deal with food intolerances.

“When she first started getting sick, I became interested in what goes into food and what kind of regulations they put on food,” she said.

Christensen was relieved when she found out she received the Cornish Scholarship. She said going into debt as a 20-year-old isn’t something she wanted to face and wishes she could thank the donor for impacting students throughout the years.

“I think it’s really amazing that it’s still around and something that’s really relevant today,” Christensen said. “Someone who has donated to this school really sets a precedence for what we do here at the university. It’s just a really big part of my life, and I feel really thankful for anyone who donates.”

In the future, Christensen hopes to pursue food product development or quality.

Tran wants to be involved with food research and development.

Both of them share gratitude for a fellow Nebraska graduate they will never meet who had the desire and foresight to invest in their education back in 1937.

If you’re interested in establishing your own named scholarship fund, please contact us at or call 800-432-3216.

This article was written by Jessica Moore, public relations intern at the University of Nebraska Foundation. She hails from Kansas and is a senior at the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

You can imagine how tough it might be without a scholarship.” Justin Tran Food science and technology major

Article - New scholarship helps students experience Ireland

New scholarship helps students experience Ireland

New scholarship helps students experience Ireland

Posted: Thu, Mar 7, 2019

In this video, proud Irish-American siblings Tim Burke and Barb Burke Brockley – who also are both proud graduates of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln – talk about why they started the Cluricaun Irish Society of Lincoln a few years back.

Members of the society recently decided to establish a scholarship fund at the University of Nebraska Foundation to help UNL students study in Ireland.

If you also wish to support the Cluricaun Irish Society Fund, start here on this website or contact Joanna Nordhues at 402-458-1178.



Article - NU Leads the Field in Developing 3D-Printed Prostheses

‘We’re No. 1’: NU leads the field in developing 3D-printed prostheses

‘We’re No. 1’: NU leads the field in developing 3D-printed prostheses

'We’re the No. 1. It’s not Harvard. It’s not MIT. It’s not even Johns Hopkins or any of those other big medical institutions. It’s our University of Nebraska'

Posted: Thu, Feb 28, 2019

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Adam Gray of Nebraska (right) was born without a right hand and was among the first to receive this prosthetic, called the Cyborg Beast, that was designed at UNO by Jorge Zuniga (left), associate professor at UNO, and his colleagues. The university is No. 1 in developing 3D-printed prostheses.


Going to bed hungry, he says, isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s seeing your two little brothers go to bed hungry. And not being able to help. 

“Let me tell you, that is a life-changing situation,” says Jorge Zuniga, an assistant professor of biomechanics at the University of Nebraska at Omaha who grew up in Chile with little chance of changing the world. 

Yet he did. In a superhero way. 

“When you see other people suffering, all of a sudden you’re not the center of the universe,” Zuniga said. “And when you have that deep into your bones, the only thing you want to do when you reverse your own situation is to give it back.”

Zuniga has become a hero to thousands of kids around the world who need prosthetic hands and upper limbs — and to their families, who often can’t afford the super-expensive standard models — and in the process, he’s helped the University of Nebraska become the strongest force in the world within this sub-area of biomechanics.

“I’m not ashamed to tell you that we’re No. 1 in the development and testing of 3D-printed prosthetics,” he said one morning in his office in the cutting-edge Biomedical Research Center at UNO. “Most people don’t know that the state of Nebraska is leading in this 3D printing of prostheses. We’re the No. 1. It’s not Harvard. It’s not MIT. It’s not even Johns Hopkins or any of those other big medical institutions. It’s our University of Nebraska.”

A few years back, when Zuniga was director of Creighton University’s 3D Research and Innovation Lab, he became a pioneer in the printing of 3D mechanical hands when he created the Cyborg Beast, a design that people around the world can download for free. The Beast hand costs just $50 to make. Because of that, families now can afford new ones over the years to match how fast their children grow.

And the Beast looks super cool. Like something a superhero would wear while saving the world.

Kids pick their own colors and create their own look — a pink hand for a kid who loves pink, an Iron Man hand for a kid who loves Iron Man.

In 2014, named the Cyborg Beast one of the top inventions of the year. As of October, Zuniga’s Beast design has been downloaded nearly 60,000 times. 

In 2016, not long after coming to UNO, his alma mater, Zuniga and his team created a shoulder for a 6-year-old boy from south Omaha who was born without one. The engineering was very complicated, he said, because it’s hard to build a shoulder that little. 

“It was the first 3D-printed shoulder in the world,” he said. “But we didn’t really know at the time that was so special. We just did it for him. Now he gets a shoulder every year, for free, and it basically costs us $200 in materials.”

The colors the boy chose? UNO’s colors, Maverick red and black.

Zuniga is now working on the next-generation devices — electronic limbs. He’s the lead investigator for a two-year, $150,000 grant through the University of Nebraska’s Collaboration Initiative, an effort started by NU President Hank Bounds to invest in cross-campus and cross-discipline research in areas where the university has the potential to become a world leader, as it is in 3D prosthesis printing. 

Last year, in the first year of the grant, Zuniga and his team designed and made electronic prototypes. This year, they’re testing the devices on area kids. He thinks his team has connected with at least 90 percent of Nebraska families with kids who are missing limbs.

 “My goal is to be able to give these to everybody in Nebraska who’s missing limbs,” he said.

He’s happy to live in Nebraska. He’s loyal to the University of Nebraska, he said, because he received his master’s degree in exercise science at UNO and his doctorate in exercise physiology from UNL. His mentors and colleagues at NU, he said, are some of the best and smartest people in the world. He can’t believe how far he’s come from his childhood in Chile.

Or how happy he’s become. His story, he said, is almost too hard for him to believe, even now.

His life changed forever back in 2002, when he was a college kid in Chile working as a lifeguard. Few wanted that job. But it paid well, and he could save enough money each summer to stay in school. He saved swimmers, too. One day on the beach, a tall, blond young woman asked to take his photo. They fell in love at first sight, even though he couldn’t speak any English.

Her name was Jessica. She was vacationing from Nebraska. He stayed awake the whole night before their first date, studying English. Six months later, they married. They now have two super little boys.

She is his No. 1 hero. He smiles. 

“She married a real fixer-upper,” Zuniga said.

Now, Zuniga gets out of bed every morning excited for the day. He arrives at UNO around 5:30 a.m. He loves this Biomechanical Research Building, which was built in 2013 through the generosity of private donors. The building will more than double in size soon, thanks to an $11.6 million addition, which will also be built through private gifts and include a much bigger 3D printing lab.

The university’s donors, he said, are his heroes, too.

 “They are the ones who make it happen,” he said. “They make us No. 1.

“My team — we have the wisdom and knowledge. But without donors, you can’t take it too far. We have to have the equipment and we have to have the resources that can make you No. 1.”

In front of him on his desk is a mechanical hand, one he made for a teenage boy from Lincoln. The hand is black, super cool. It looks like something left there by Batman.

He lifts it up.

“You see children come in here, hiding their hand,” Zuniga said. “But then you give them a hand like this, and there you go — they’re showing their hand to people instead of hiding it.”

And being able to help them, he said, is the best thing in the world.



When you see other people suffering, all of a sudden you’re not the center of the universe. And when you have that deep into your bones, the only thing you want to do when you reverse your own situation is to give it back.” Jorge Zuniga Assistant professor of biomechanics, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Article - Glow Big Red 2019 Recap

Inaugural Glow Big Red a success with more than 1,500 contributors

Inaugural Glow Big Red a success with more than 1,500 contributors

Posted: Fri, Feb 15, 2019

Glow Big Red—24 Hours of Husker Giving is in the history books as the newest Husker tradition.

More than 1,500 alumni and friends of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln united on Feb. 14 and 15 to make the first-ever Husker crowdfunding event a success.

Contributors from all 50 states of the county and representing three continents generously gave more than $164,000 during the 24-hour event to support all areas of UNL.

Glow Big Red provided a great rallying point for Husker alumni, friends, and fans to gather together to not only help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the university but to also enrich the experience of our students and faculty, helping them achieve their dreams and improve the world around them, said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation.  Our benefactors validated, once again, that there truly is no place like Nebraska.” 

Here’s a short video highlight of the event's activities:

The event garnered tremendous social media activity with most of it captured using #GlowBigRed and #HuskersGive. An archive of much of this online communication is at

The launch of Glow Big Red coincided with weeklong events celebrating the 150th anniversary of the University of Nebraska.

Light it. Fly it. Wear it. Give it.

The event featured the theme: Light it. Fly it. Wear it. Give it.

LIGHT IT — Some 20 buildings on the UNL campus and downtown were lit in red, including the State Capitol, Memorial Stadium, Love Library and other iconic buildings. See some photos of these scenes. People were also encouraged to light up their homes in red, too.

FLY IT — Huskers flew their Nebraska flags as if it were game day.

WEAR IT — Husker fans near and far wore their favorite gear.

GIVE IT — More than 1,500 people made a gift during the event to help build on the university’s next 150 years of excellence at the dedicated site

Watch for upcoming information about the date for the 2020 Glow Big Red—24 Hours of Husker Giving event.

Most of the University of Nebraska's peer institutions already have annual spirit and giving days or are planning them now. They have become an important tradition on many campuses across the country. Eventually, each campus of the University of Nebraska system will have its own, designated celebration day, too.

Glow Big Red provided a great rallying point for Husker alumni, friends, and fans to gather together to not only help commemorate the 150th anniversary of the university but to also enrich the experience of our students and faculty, helping them achieve their dreams and improve the world around them. Our benefactors validated, once again, that there truly is no place like Nebraska.” Brian Hastings President and CEO, University of Nebraska Foundation

Article - Nursing student plans for career critical to her hometown

Nursing student plans for career critical to her hometown

Nursing student plans for career critical to her hometown

‘This new building will prepare us even more’

Posted: Thu, Feb 7, 2019

She’s proud she grew up in Ogallala, a town of about 5,000 people in western Nebraska with a high school, a movie theater, a bowling alley, a water tower that’s been painted to look like a UFO (with extraterrestrial beings peeking out of the windows) … And a quality of life that’s out of this world. 

“Everybody just knows everybody,” said Jenna Paloucek, a student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Nursing Lincoln Division. “It’s such a welcoming community.”

Everybody in Ogallala is proud when they hear she’s studying to become a nurse, Jenna said, but everybody immediately asks this question:

Are you coming back to the area?


She plans to live there for the rest of her life and become a nurse and a mom. After graduating next May, she hopes to enroll in UNMC’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program. After that, she hopes to work as a nurse practitioner in women’s health in Ogallala. 

The whole birth process — bringing human beings into this world — has always fascinated her. But to get specialized care, women in her hometown have to drive about an hour.

“There isn’t a women’s health facility in Ogallala,” she said, “so I would love to provide that for Ogallala and all those surrounding towns.”

Paloucek lives in Lincoln for now. She loves the college’s new state-of-the-art building that opened in July on the University of Nebraska–Lincoln campus. The outside is beautiful. She loves how the big windows seemed to welcome her that first day. She loves the new technology and big spaces inside and all the places she and the other students can study and relax and practice their hands-on skills.

“Everybody was so excited to start the school year because of our new building,” she said. “Everybody was taking pictures outside the building and posting them all over social media because we’re so proud of this building and so excited to be here. It’s just amazing. And all the little touches that they put in for us will really allow us to get the best education possible and will allow us to be the best nurses, too, someday.”

Paloucek especially loves the high-tech simulation labs.

“They have so many cool features,” she said. “Our labor and delivery mannequin — she can speak nine different languages. We actually did the feeling of a uterus after birth. We got to feel a boggy one and then a tight one — what it should feel like. 

“These simulations are going to prepare us for more than what we would be without them.”

The new building includes: 

  • World-class, technology-enriched learning spaces that immerse the students in real-world scenarios. Simulation laboratories, including an operating room, neonatal intensive care and other realistic health care settings, feature high-fidelity mannequins to create real-life patient care situations for instructing students. Instructors use a control center to manipulate the care requirements of each simulation room.
  • A bigger space that provides the college with room for future program growth in learning and research. Its new research suite can house up to four major research projects, which is more space than in the past. 
  • A perfect opportunity for enhanced collaboration with the University Health Center (UHC). The health center is also housed in the new building.

Half of the space in the new building belongs to the College of Nursing Lincoln Division, the other half to the University Health Center. Nebraska Medicine, UNMC’s primary clinical partner, operates the UHC clinic and employs its physicians, nurse practitioners and other staff. The clinic has 26 examination rooms with space for triage, procedures, casting and other services. The clinic also includes a wellness kitchen to promote healthy nutrition; dental, optometry, radiology and laboratory services; and an area dedicated to helping students manage stress and anxiety.

Juliann Sebastian, Ph.D., dean of the College of Nursing, said faculty and students are thrilled about collaborating with UNL’s health center.

“We see that as going a long way toward creating efficiencies by being together in the same building,” Sebastian said. “But, we can actually do some things differently, like students now have opportunities to participate in health promotion and outreach activities with the UHC. 

“This is part of a major focus in health care these days — embedding academic learning in the real clinical and community environment.”

The College of Nursing is conducting research that’s related to rural health, the dean said. Much of the college’s faculty research relates to the needs of rural populations, such as cardiovascular issues, care of people managing cancer diagnoses and prevention of osteoporosis.

All of UNMC’s nursing students work with a variety of patients, some referred from rural areas, so understanding rural culture and the needs of rural families is important, she said.

“Our faculty is quite tuned-in to the needs of rural populations, and because we now have more space for research, hopefully we’ll have more research programs that address rural health care needs,” Sebastian said. “Some of our students will return home to work in rural areas, and we’re very proud of that.

“We encourage the students to give back to their home communities, and we’re grateful we are able to admit students around the state and beyond, as they bring a whole variety of new perspectives on health care and what nursing care should look like in the future.” 

The College of Nursing portion of the building was paid for by state funds and private contributions. Paloucek said she’d love to thank the generous people who’ve given to the new building. It’s making a world of difference to her, she said, as well as to all the other future nurses who get to experience it.

And it’ll help them to better serve other human beings someday.

“I take a lot of pride in knowing that I am in the UNMC nursing program, so this building makes me feel even more excited and honored to be here,” she said. “I also know that this new building will help deepen our knowledge and prepare us even more for when we are out in our communities as nurses.”



There isn’t a women’s health facility in Ogallala, so I would love to provide that for Ogallala and all those surrounding towns.” Jenna Paloucek Nursing student from Ogallala

Article - Engler Scholars helping rural Nebraska thrive

Field of dreams

Field of dreams

Engler Scholars helping rural Nebraska thrive

Posted: Fri, Feb 8, 2019

The road to success looks the same for these two.

It’s an old dirt road on the edge of the Sandhills. Along either side are cattle and crops and green vines of hops, climbing up a web of wires attached to high metal poles. The road leads to an old white farmhouse with flowers out front, a windmill, a dog named Hazel, three red barns.

It leads to their dream. 

Upstream Farms.

Identical twins Joe and Matt Brugger are seniors in the Paul Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. They co-founded Upstream Farms a few years ago on the old family homestead near Albion, Nebraska. Their dream is to find new ways to make money off the land and to share what they learn with other young ag entrepreneurs, connecting with them face to face as well as through Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.

Their dream is to keep rural Nebraska alive.

Said Joe: “Driving down the road growing up, I just remember seeing FOR SALE signs on people’s land — farm sale after farm sale, smaller farms being pushed out by larger farms. That’s ultimately why we started Upstream. We wanted to fix the problem of rural communities vanishing from our landscape.”

Said Matt: “We really want to become the face of what we believe agriculture can be.”

Here’s their pitch: 

Farmers raise feed. Ranchers raise cattle. Grocers sell beef. We do all three. We know every part of the process. Feel better about the beef you buy, by buying from Upstream.

Joe handles the crops and feed side of the business. Matt handles the cattle side. You can see their smiling faces in photos and footage on their social media sites. They post real moments from their lives, from raising their crops and hops and cattle to standing under a canopy at the Taste of Omaha event, which they did this past summer as they cut chunks of their dry-aged beef for people to try. (It sold out.)

In one video, you see them walk in slow motion near their poles of hops. Joe throws a shovel to Matt. Dirt flies in the air. Matt catches the shovel.

They say if you love what you do you'll never work a day in your life. We say that's bull****. We think if you do what you love, you'll work twice as hard ... but it's totally worth it.

In another video, Joe stands in a field and crushes a clod of dirt.

The background music is cool. The brothers love music. They’re both on the drum line of the Cornhusker Marching Band. They have their own band. They’ve made music a part of their business plan for Upstream and even fixed up an old barn as a venue for local artists. They call it Upstream Barn Sessions. Soon, they see the farm becoming a perfect site for rustic weddings and parties and other events that bring people together.

Farming, they say, is hard work. But it’s also romantic.

So is their own DNA: 

The story goes that when their great-grandpa Sam Brugger came here from Switzerland in 1916, he had to leave his love behind. Her name was Elizabeth. For a year, he had no way to contact her, and she had no idea where he was or even if he was still alive. Finally, he was able to send her a letter with a ticket to Nebraska. They married. They moved into that old white farmhouse. They struggled. Sam tried his hand at many things. Farming. Ranching. Fixing shoes. He even made wine from grapes he grew on the hill behind the farmhouse. (Inspired by that, the twins soon will start a vineyard there, too.)

Sam and Elizabeth found a way — many ways — to survive. Their old farmhouse is now Upstream headquarters. It’s where Joe and Matt sleep when they’re back home.

And where they dream. 

Said Joe: “Farming is romantic. It is. Something that always sticks in my mind is that if you ever think that you’re going in the wrong direction, you know that there’s four generations that came before us that made mistakes and four generations before us that also had done really great things.”

They’re passionate about Albion. They dream of turning some of the old buildings downtown into cool new businesses someday, in much the same way HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines have transformed Waco, Texas.

“I’m Chip,” said Matt, “and he’s Joanna.”

They laugh.  

Growing hops is their latest venture. They just harvested their first crop.

“With all the microbreweries popping up around Nebraska, we felt there’s a lot of opportunities for farmers and people in agriculture to be involved in that space,” Matt said. “One of those ways is by growing hops. The people in the community are rooting us on, very much so, saying, ‘Hey, we would like to see these guys be successful with that.’”

They hosted a conference for local farmers to learn about hops and how growing hops could help them diversify their operations. They created a Facebook page for the event. They thought maybe a dozen people would join them, but about 50 showed up.  

“That was really cool for us,” Matt said. “Our goal is not to make this just a successful business for us, but to make a model for other people to replicate as well.”

They’re thankful — and surprised — that their road even led them to Lincoln and to the Engler Program. They’d planned on playing football at a small school. They love football. But once they visited UNL and learned about the program, they immediately tore up their letters of intent. (You could say they still are involved in collegiate sports though — they’re now a beef provider for University of Nebraska Athletics.) 

“Coming to the Engler Program was truly one of those life-changing experiences that everyone talks about,” Matt said. “It changed the direction of our life.”

Nebraska native and Hall of Fame cattleman Paul Engler inspires them to take risks, Matt and Joe said. Engler advises them wisely, based on his own struggles and successes. It’s fine to fall, he tells Engler Scholars — just fall forward.

Besides their Engler Scholarships, Joe and Matt also have Susan Thompson Buffett Scholarships. All of that support, they said, has made it so they don’t have to find extra jobs or worry about paying off college debt down the road. 

They can focus on growing Upstream.

This past April, Joe and Matt stood before judges in the New Venture Competition at UNL and pitched their business plan. They were one of about 40 teams of students competing. They talked about their great-grandparents, Sam and Elizabeth. They talked about that old farmhouse, the beef and the barns. They talked about the new ideas they hope to plant in the old dirt.

And they talked about helping other people find success, too, along the way.

They won. 


Want to follow along with the Brugger twins? Here’s how:



Our goal is not to make this just a successful business for us, but to make a model for other people to replicate as well.” Matt Brugger UNL Engler Scholar

Article - If these walls could talk - UNK Frank House

If these walls could talk

If these walls could talk

Posted: Fri, Feb 8, 2019

The heart of this home beats happily because its walls can now tell the whole story.

The story of all its lives. The story of all its people, who lived here and loved here and (sometimes) died here in this red sandstone mansion on the prairie.

Thanks to a head-to-toe restoration — along with a head-to-toe restoration of its story — this home, now called the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, can tell its more complex and compelling story. It’s a story that’s no longer just about the wealthy Frank family who built the house in 1890, but one that also talks about all the people whose hearts once beat within these walls.

The servants, who kept the fires burning and cooked and cleaned and quietly turned in at night to their quarters, up a narrow stairway to the third floor.

The patients, who lived here after the Franks had moved on, when the house became part of the Nebraska State Hospital for Tuberculosis. 

The kids with sick lungs. The adults. The fear.

The families who’d visit.

The blood, coughed up into paper bags.

The brave local workers, who took those bags to the incinerator and changed bedpans and rubbed backs and pushed bodies to the morgue, workers who risked their own lives in a time when TB was the nation’s No.1 killer.

The resilience.

Those stories and more are now being told in depth, said William Stoutamire, Ph.D., the director of the G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture at UNK who oversaw the restoration.

And the museum is now, at its heart, he said, the bigger story of Kearney itself.

“This place tells an important story,” he said. “But the impact of the story is much broader than the home and its grounds. We’re always trying to think, as a museum, how we can reach beyond the walls, to the reverberations, the ripples in the pond, of the impact that the actions and decisions of the people in this house had on the broader community.

“And I think these walls now speak, among other things, of the diversity of the history of this part of the country — a much more vibrant and dynamic history.”


Kearney had never seen anything like this house when George and Phoebe Frank built it. Kearney had never seen anything like the gilded Franks, who came from the East with the hope in their hearts to develop Kearney’s industry, complete its canal and turn Kearney into a hydroelectric-powered city, one to rival Minneapolis. 

This home was their stage, in a way, a place to throw lavish parties to show potential investors that this part of world was civilized. It was the first home around with indoor plumbing and electricity and radiator heat. One of the Franks’ sons, an architect, designed it. It has hand-carved woodwork and hand-stenciled walls. A grand stained-glass window at the top of the grand staircase depicts a woman, a bird eating from her hand. (Phoebe? No one knows for sure.)

This home became the heart of Kearney’s high society.

But the Frank family’s fortunes wilted. The Panic of 1893 hit them hard, and so did a drought, which dried up the local economy. They went bankrupt. The architect son died young. The oldest, a banker, probably killed himself. After Phoebe died in 1900, George lived his last few years in Lincoln with their daughter.

This home moved on. 

By the early 1900s, the Franks were all but forgotten. The Frank House name is a modern anachronism. The home, for most of its life, was simply called the Stone House.

Most of the Franks’ servants were immigrants from Sweden, Germany and Czechoslovakia who barely spoke English, Stoutamire said. They moved on, too, but often they moved into the community. 

The next owners of the house were married doctors who turned it into a hospital. After they divorced, the wife kept it going for a few years before selling it to the state of Nebraska, which turned it into the TB hospital for the next six decades. 

Most of the patients weren’t from the community. They came from Lincoln or Omaha and beyond. They were the poor who couldn’t afford a sanatorium, people of all colors, living and dying alongside one another in their hospital beds. 

Kearney, its economy still recovering from the crash, was happy to have the hospital here in 1912, even if people feared the disease its walls were trying to contain.

As the epidemic grew across the state, the Stone House grew too small. A big brick hospital was eventually built nearby and connected to the Stone House by an underground tunnel (that building is now the home of the UNK College of Business and Technology). The hospital treated up to 300 patients at times. The Stone House became living quarters for the workers and some of the patients’ families.

“Kearney had a mixed relationship with the hospital,” Stoutamire said. “Some people were very happy. Some were afraid of having a hospital here and the potential of an epidemic breaking out in the community.”

The new story here now talks a lot about those local workers, how even though the hospital became a place of fear, it also became a place for opportunity, a way for those workers, often young farm women, to gain financial freedom. Many formed bonds with this place and with one another.

In what could have been such a sad setting, its old photos seem to show happy stories, too.

The new story also talks about how the workers built a sense of normalcy for their patients, especially the children. There were picnics along the Kearney Canal, holiday concerts, big bows in combed hair and smiles that don’t look staged for the camera.

“As far as the people who actually came and spent time out here,” Stoutamire said, “I think it speaks to their humanity — of wanting to do great things for others.”

Eliza Galloway’s story has been restored, too.

She was a servant in the Franks’ household, one of the few African-Americans in Kearney at the time. According to the old story, Galloway was practically a member of the family, a former slave whom the Franks had rescued from homelessness after she had been freed. (Not true.) 

Galloway didn’t talk much about herself, so her story has been told through oral histories. To a white woman in Kearney she’d befriend, Galloway told one version — that her slave owners were benevolent, tried to teach her to read and write, but she just hid under the table, too afraid. But on her deathbed, Galloway told a nun a different story — that her life as a slave had been horrific, far worse than anything in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.”

The new story shows her in context with her times and the limited opportunities she had to advance in life, unlike the Franks.

 “With historic house museums,” Stoutamire said, “it’s been so, so, so common, still, today, to basically try to restore the place to the way it would have looked at the time of the first family and erase everything else that happened.

“We’re trying to do something different. We’re trying to show how the history of this place has evolved, how so much has happened since 1890.”



If these walls could talk, what would they say about this renovation?

“Hopefully, they’re happy,” Stoutamire said. “Hopefully, they like what we’ve done.”

He credits all of the generous people who’ve donated to the museum for making this renovation and rebranding possible. The vast majority of this work, he said, has been done with that support.

“We have received some external grants,” he said, “but by and large, it’s been done through the support of people through the University of Nebraska Foundation.”

If these walls could talk, what would they say to those donors?

“I think the walls would say, ‘Thank you,’ and that this place probably wouldn’t be here without them,” Stoutamire said. “And I think these walls would say, ‘Come see what good can be done with your donations.’”



We’re trying to do something different. We’re trying to show how the history of this place has evolved, how so much has happened since 1890.” William Stoutamire, Ph.D. Director, G.W. Frank Museum of History and Culture

Remembering Gerald Christensen MD

Remembering - Gerald Christensen, M.D.

Remembering - Gerald Christensen, M.D.

Posted: Thu, Jan 31, 2019

A longtime UNMC faculty member in the Department of Ophthalmology, Gerald Christensen, M.D., died at his home in Omaha Saturday after a four-year battle with bladder cancer. He was 83.

Dr. Christensen began his association with UNMC in 1976 and completely retired this past July. He was director of the Eye Pathology Laboratory throughout his UNMC career and held the academic title of associate professor for many years. Since 2005, he had served as director of eye pathology and adjunct professor.

His interests were in teaching ocular pathology to students and residents, with a special emphasis on the relationship between pathological changes and the clinical presentation of disease processes. He read ophthalmic surgical tissue specimens and provided microscopic diagnoses back to ophthalmologists.

"Dr. Christensen was a model clinical pathologist and educator," said James Gigantelli, M.D., acting chair of the UNMC Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and director of the Stanley E. Truhlsen Eye Institute. "His professional career was dedicated to service -- service to his patients, his colleagues, his nation, and those he was entrusted to teach."

In 2008, Dr. Christensen was one of the lead donors on the Weigel Williamson Center for Visual Rehabilitation on the UNMC campus at 38th Avenue and Jones Street. The center provides low-vision services to the region, with a goal of assisting people with low vision problems such as macular degeneration to gain -- or regain -- their independence and quality of life.

In 2000, he married Mary Haven, who served as associate dean of the School of Allied Health Professions for the final 12 years of her 38-year career at UNMC. It is now the College of Allied Health Professions.

"It was a good match," Haven said. "He was a devoted father and husband. We had wonderful times together. He was always very supportive of all his families' endeavors."

The couple traveled extensively throughout their marriage, going to every continent except Antarctica.

Haven was always impressed by Dr. Christensen's long list of friends. "Every friend he ever had, he kept his whole life," she said. "He had friends going back to kindergarten."

Dr. Christensen served as an ophthalmologist in the U.S. Navy for 35 years, reaching the rank of captain. His tours of duty took him around the world including the Persian Gulf, Yokosuka, Japan, the Naval Hospital in San Diego, and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

He was on the faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston from 1969-1975. He also was a clinical associate professor for Creighton University School of Medicine from 1977-1990 and for the VA Medical Center in Omaha from 1976-1990.

Memorials in honor of Jerry may be directed to:


Article - Meet the Millers and more

Meet the Millers and more

Meet the Millers and more

Posted: Mon, Oct 7, 2013

Tom and Janet Miller have more than a hundred children.

Masato, Renato, Luis Carlos, Salim, Kwon-ho …

Children with names from all over the globe. Children who came from all over the globe over the years to study at UNO, and then found a warm home with the Millers.

"A lot of them refer to themselves as a ‘Miller' – as ‘Miller children,'" Janet says, smiling. "And we consider each one of them our children."

Since greeting their first one at the airport in 1987, Tom and Janet have hosted 115 foreign exchange students – often, three or four at a time. Together they'd carve pumpkins for Halloween. They'd decorate Easter eggs. They'd go on vacations to Colorado to visit Tom's parents.

Every Friday night, Tom would grocery shop for the family. He'd take along whoever wanted to go.

"I'd pick up a pineapple and say, ‘What's this?' I'd pick up a green pepper and say, ‘What's this?'"

They'd talk and laugh around the dinner table. One night, Tom and Janet asked them to demonstrate the sounds that animals make back home. It was fun to hear the differences. (In Japan, for example, dogs don't go "woof" or "arf arf," they go "wan wan.")

They'd talk about cultural differences. No subject was off limits.

Whenever the kids had a conflict, Tom and Janet would hold a family meeting to resolve it. Whenever Tom and Janet wanted to add another child, they'd hold a family vote.

Says Tom: "That was the environment we were trying to set up – This is your family. Feel comfortable. If you have any questions or problems, just let us know. They were a long way from home, they were young and they were encountering many things for the first time."

Tom and Janet both graduated from UNO. Tom works with the TeamMates mentoring program. Janet is a program coordinator for Ollie Webb Center, Inc., which works with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

The Millers have been all over the globe visiting their large family. Last year, one of their children from Colombia got married. He invited them to the wedding and asked them to sit in the front row with his real parents.

"We actually got to attend as ‘godparents,'" Tom says. "We even got to sign papers saying that we've got to help keep this couple together."

In June, they traveled to Japan for the first time and visited some of their children who live there.

Items from around the globe decorate their Omaha condo. They recently downsized from a house. The move to smaller condo means they no longer will be able to host students.


A few years from retirement, Tom and Janet recently started thinking about the legacy they wanted to leave. They decided to leave enough money in their will to create a scholarship fund for international students at UNO. The Millers had noticed that many foreign students wanted to continue their education at UNO but couldn't because they couldn't afford the nonresident tuition. The recipients of their scholarships will pay what Nebraska residents do.

"We both really believe in education," Janet says. "And we decided that is how we wanted to leave some of our money."

Their bequest makes them feel like they're doing something good in the world.

And that feels good.

"We're all basically one world, and we all affect each other," Tom says. "And we feel that understanding each other's cultures and beliefs is very important.

"We all have to work together to make this a better world."

The Millers are members of the Burnett Society, which is open to people who've made plans to leave a gift to the University of Nebraska in their estate. For more information, contact the foundation at 800-432-3216.


Article - Gettinos creates scholarship for aspiring communicators at UNL

Gettinos creates scholarship for aspiring communicators at UNL

Gettinos creates scholarship for aspiring communicators at UNL

Posted: Tue, Mar 14, 2017

ABOUT THIS PHOTO: Sarah Gettino Owens (ʼ06), left, and her father, Mike Gettino (ʼ73), attend a Husker football game. They teamed up to establish a new annual scholarship to help current students at their alma mater.

Students pursuing a career in the advertising or public relations field at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln will be aided by a new scholarship established by Michael Gettino and his daughter, Sarah Gettino Owens, who are both alumni of the university.

They created the Michael Gettino and Sarah Owens Scholarship as an expendable fund with a $5,000 annual gift commitment to the University of Nebraska Foundation. Each year, the fund will enable the College of Journalism and Mass Communications to award one or more scholarships to a junior enrolled in the advertising and public relations major who have a minimum GPA of 3.0.

After graduating from UNL, Gettino and Owens have each enjoyed careers in marketing communications and advertising. They attribute a good part of their career success and enjoyment to the education they received at UNL and hope their scholarship will help others achieve similar professional success.

“Nebraska prepared us to be successful in the business world,” Mike Gettino said. “We feel we should give back to the school that gave us so much. This scholarship is a way for us to do just that.”

Gettino and Owens say they hope the scholarship will encourage students to achieve their career goals. They also intend for it to provide support especially to those who are ready to take action and responsibility for their professional development and who are creative and passionate about being a part of the next generation of business communicators.

Maria Marron, dean of the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications, said, “This scholarship will have an immediate impact on the lives of students, perhaps even making it possible for some to attend UNL. We are very grateful to Mike and Sarah for establishing the scholarship, which is a meaningful contribution to our support for advertising and public relations students.”

Mike Gettino lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and is a Vietnam-era military veteran having served with the U.S. Air Force Special Services. While stationed in Omaha during the Cold War, his plane was nearly shot down while flying over the North Pacific Ocean. He went on to graduate from UNL in 1973 with a journalism major and advertising focus. He has enjoyed a 50-year career in the advertising and marketing field and has worked for client companies including Walmart, UMB Bank, Phillips Petroleum and others.

Sarah Owens also lives in Kansas City, Missouri, and is the commercial division marketing manager at Sedgwick LLP, an international trial law firm. She graduated from UNL in 2006 with an advertising major before earning a master’s degree at the University of Kansas. Before joining Sedgwick, she implemented an integrated marketing communications program for an agriculture-based company. She also has a passion for photojournalism and enjoyed her internship at National Geographic while attending UNL.


Article - Here is a noteworthy alumna you probably do not know Ruth Wilcox MD

Here’s a noteworthy alumna you probably don’t know: Ruth E. Wilcox, M.D.

Here’s a noteworthy alumna you probably don’t know: Ruth E. Wilcox, M.D.

The 89-year-old recalls her career and her life – and her med school ‘fellows’ who made all the difference.

Posted: Fri, Aug 21, 2015

First off, she apologizes for sending the letter so late. 

This is a belated thank you to the Foundation for the scholarship and loans they made to me when I was a med student. 

The return address says that one Ruth E. Wilcox, M.D., sent the letter from Fort Worth, Texas.

… As a student I was Ruth Wright ’51. …

She wrote her note on a Hallmark card, one decorated with butterfly art. She wrote that she had graduated from UNMC’s med school in 1951 and hadn’t been back to Omaha for years.  

… I went on to 40 years of practice and something I’m equally proud of – raising 3 fine sons. And I’m still a healthy 89-year-old. …

She wrote about how she’s mentoring a 7-year-old who wants to become a doctor. Or an FBI agent. She told him he could become both. 

a forensic pathologist. …

And she made $100 donation on her credit card to the College of Medicine Alumni Scholarship.

It seemed that between the lines of her note there would be a lot more to her story. A phone call to Texas confirmed that was true.

After graduating from Kearney High in 1942 – at 16 years old – she attended a college in Idaho for a year and then went to California to join the home-front war effort, making airplanes for McDonnell Douglas. She was good at math and science, so she was placed in a good job in research and development. Later, she inventoried parts for the planes. She did the math in her head.

“I was the only girl in that department, which kind of got me used to being the minority, you see.”

After the war, she enrolled at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. She had a Regents Scholarship and later earned a Mortar Board Scholarship. She had good grades.

One day in Comparative Anatomy, some classmates approached her.

“They said, ‘Why don’t you apply for med school? They said they’d like for me to be in their class – they were all fellows, you know. And that encouraged me that they’d be so welcoming to me. So I went ahead and applied.”

Those fellows became her classmates at med school. They were older students who’d enrolled after the war, wiser guys who’d seen what women could do.

She used to return for med-school reunions and see them. They’d laugh together and catch up. She owes her long career, she says, to the encouragement they gave her long ago.

They made all the difference.

… I have no idea how many survivors there are from my class of ’51. …

It wasn’t easy. Most of the boys lived in fraternity houses just across the street from the medical campus, she says. They had meals and mentoring. But the few girls in med school had to find their own places to live. It was lonely.

She lived with a family in west Omaha and took care of the family’s kids. To reach campus, she had to ride a streetcar and then walked a long way.

“That was really something – you had to carry a microscope, a whole set of slides and those huge medical books – especially if there was ice on the sidewalks.”

One professor didn’t think girls belonged in med school.

“He thought I was a ‘flash in the pan,’” she says. “I’ll never forget that. I felt so embarrassed when he put it like that. I was only six weeks into med school.

“It was kind of testy back then, that’s true, because there were only about four of us (females). We were definitely in the minority. But we got through.”   

The polio epidemic hit hard during her first year of med school. She worked on a polio ward at Children’s Hospital. As a part of her training, she was enclosed in an iron lung, and that iron lung breathed for her.

She became a pediatrician. After a stint in Kansas, she spent most of her career in Joplin, Mo. She took on many young patients with chronic disabilities. One child had been born blind and was never was able to walk or feed herself. Several of her babies had been damaged by Agent Orange.

Public health became a passion. (Back in med school, she’d written her senior thesis on public health in Nebraska.) In Joplin, she spent more than three decades working in well-baby clinics and vaccine clinics.  

Maybe that’s why, she says, she’s a bit hard of hearing now.

She laughs.

“I should have worn ear plugs, you know. A lot of kids would come in just scared to death to get their shot, and they’d shriek.”

She learned Spanish in her 60s and volunteered for a medical mission trip to Chile.

She retired in 2002 when she was 77 and now lives in Fort Worth with one of her three fine sons.

Her husband, Jon, died last year.  

Everybody loved Jon. He worked as a territory supervisor in marketing for an oil company. She loved him. They had a four-week courtship and were married for 61 years.

“He had lots and lots of friends,” she says. “He was the best man at many, many weddings. They all said he was a man who had good ethics, and good principles. And we got along real well because he was just a good person.”

He slipped into dementia in his later years, after heart surgery and a stroke. She felt helpless and inadequate, especially since she was a doctor. She joined support groups and became an advocate for people with dementia. 

After the awful tornado ripped through Joplin in 2011, assisted-living housing options for Jon became scarce. That’s when they moved to Fort Worth.

She says she’s had an amazing life.

She knows she owes a lot to UNMC and to her classmates – those “fellows” who’d encouraged to go to med school.  

… I have no idea of how many survivors there are from my class of ’51. I was unable to attend reunions after Jon’s dementia. …

She keeps up with her alma mater through magazines and e-newsletters she receives. She’s amazed how far it’s come.

 “I’ll tell you what, people lucky enough to go there now, they can be very proud of the University of Nebraska. It’s on the map now because of their public health, and their Ebola experience, you know.”

She’s amazed at how far she’s come.

“I had faith in God and medicine – I knew that medicine was what I wanted to do and that I wanted to make a difference somehow.”

Respectfully yours,

Ruth E. (Wright) Wilcox, M.D.


Article - Nebraskan who was not able to go to college is making certain others do

Nebraskan who wasn't able to go to college is making certain others do

Nebraskan who wasn't able to go to college is making certain others do

UNK receives $1.2 million endowed gift to help generations of students

Posted: Fri, Oct 25, 2013

KEARNEY — Oct. 25, 2013 — Robert Sahling of Kearney wasn't able to go to college in the 1940s but is doing what he can today to help generations of young Nebraskans have access to an education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. 

He made a $1.2 million gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to create a permanently endowed fund to provide full-tuition scholarships each year.

The Robert P. Sahling Scholarship will provide five or more annual scholarships of about $6,500 each to undergraduate students from Nebraska who study any major at UNK, and the Robert P. Sahling Football Scholarship will provide three or more annual scholarships of about $6,500 each to students who are members of the Loper football team.

"Bob Sahling has been a loyal and enthusiastic supporter of UNK for many years," UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said. "This generous gift benefits the entire campus as a model for how to improve the lives of young people. This gift will touch the lives of many people forever. I'm proud to have the chance to work with Bob Sahling."

Paul Plinske, UNK athletic director, called Sahling a "pillar of Loper Athletics' success."

"We are grateful to him for passing on his legacy to our student-athletes," he said. "He wants to see us successfully transition to the MIAA, and we hope this scholarship gift will encourage others to help us build our success in football."

The Sahling Scholarships will be awarded by the UNK financial aid office and the athletics department. Award recipients must maintain academic requirements to remain eligible.

"Bob has been a wonderful friend to our football program for many years," said UNK head football coach Darrell Morris. "Our players enjoy spending time with him, and I know he enjoys them as well. His numerous gifts, which we have used for many scholarship awards, have been instrumental in helping us start the process of becoming a competitive team in the powerful MIAA."   

This is not the first time Sahling has demonstrated his support for UNK students. Longtime university benefactors, Sahling and his late wife, Dode, enjoyed supporting students over the years, providing scholarships for student-athletes and non-athletes on campus. Sahling has also established a planned gift at the University of Nebraska Foundation to provide additional support for students through his estate.

"I experience real joy in getting to know the students and seeing their many accomplishments," Sahling said. "What has also motivated me to give is witnessing the dedication of university leadership to the important mission of UNK, including Chancellor Doug Kristensen, Coach Darrell Morris, former Athletics Director Jon McBride, University of Nebraska Foundation's Pete Kotsiopulos and others."

Robert Sahling grew up in the Dust Bowl days on a farm near Kenesaw, Neb., and is a childhood survivor of scarlet fever, which took his sister's life when she was 8. His mother worked tirelessly to care for her family, making their own clothes and maintaining their home, while his father operated trucks to support his family.

Robert and Dode Sahling married in 1955 in Kearney and raised four children: John, Sherry, Ron and Holly. Robert operated trucks and sold used ones before starting his own Kenworth franchise in 1972, which grew to include operations in Kearney, York and Columbus. The company is now owned and operated by his son, John.

Reflecting back on his life, Sahling said, "Dode and I experienced some wonderful times through the years until her unfortunate passing in 1997. She would be delighted to know we have continued to support outstanding education in Kearney."

In 2007 Robert and Dode Sahling were awarded the Ron and Carol Cope Cornerstone of Excellence Award, the highest campus honor.

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 77 years. In 2013, donors provided the university with $236.7 million for scholarships, medical and other research, academic programs, faculty support and facilities. The foundation's comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska, concludes in 2014. For more information, visit

This generous gift benefits the entire campus as a model for how to improve the lives of young people.” Doug Kristensen UNK Chancellor