SKIP navigation SKIP to headlines

the big picture.


Employee of the Month

photo by Tim Fitzgerald

Nita Armendariz has been named the March Employee of the Month at UNO. Armendariz is an administrative technician I in the UNO College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media. Look for details in a future edition of eNotes. For more information on how to nominate individuals for Employee of the Month honors, visit the Web at

history photo

Pictured above, Alpha Sigma Lambda's "In War and Peace" float at the University of Omaha's 1946 May Day Parade.

This Week in Campus History

A four-day "charm school" was organized and presented by the Women's Athletic Association March 17-20 on campus. For 1936 University of Omaha coeds only, a series of lectures and question-and-answer sessions dominated the first three days. Topics discussed included the history and proper usage of makeup and hairstyling, proper poise and posture, the art of hostessing and women in the field of business. On the fourth day, a style show was presented to the university community for an admission fee of 10 cents. This presentation included clothing modeling, talent demonstrations and musical selections.

Date: March 17, 1936
Source: The Gateway
Compiled by University Library Archives

Les Sigman

Going for Four

by Tim Fitzgerald

You'd never know that Les Sigman is going after his fourth national wrestling championship March 10-11. He is as calm and soft-spoken as ever and seems to wonder why he's getting so much attention.

Sigman could set University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) records and become the first Maverick to win four national titles (wrestler Roy Washington had three and his brother, Mel, had two). In doing so, ...continue

University of Nebraska Top Teaching, Research Awards

University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken announced March 10 the 2006 winners of the university's most prestigious awards for research and teaching.

The research awards and this year's winners are:

Outstanding Research and Creativity Award (ORCA): The ORCA recognizes individual faculty members for research and creative activity of international or national significance.

- Ruma Banerjee, George Holmes University professor of biochemistry and director of the Center for Redox Biology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL)

- Wheeler Dixon, professor of English at UNL

"By creating new knowledge, our faculty contribute to the university, the state and the world," Milliken said. "The research interests represented by this year's ORCA recipients demonstrate the richness and diversity of work among our faculty."

Dr. Banerjee directs the Redox Biology Center, an internationally known research center that was established with a $10 million National Institutes of Health grant. She and her team are conducting enzyme chemistry research that holds great promise in the study of heart disease, cancer and metabolic disorders.

Dr. Dixon is an artist, film critic and historian who created the film studies department at UNL. He has made significant contributions to the scholarly analysis of film in society, and the department has provided students with a wide range of opportunities including internships and other learning experiences.

The teaching awards and this year's winners are:

Outstanding Teaching and Instructional Creativity Award (OTICA): The OTICA recognizes individual faculty members for sustained records of excellence in teaching.

- Karen Dwyer, associate professor, communications and basic speech course director, UNO

- Ruth Heaton, associate professor of teaching, learning and teacher education at UNL

University-wide Departmental Teaching Award (UDTA): The UDTA recognizes a department within the university that has made a unique and significant contribution to teaching.

- Division of Physical Therapy Education, University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC)

"Excellent faculty are the heart of any university," Milliken said. "These recipients of our highest awards for teaching exemplify the university's commitment to building educational programs of high quality with an emphasis on excellent teaching."

Dr. Dwyer was nominated for her teaching and mentoring skills, curriculum development, assessment and community engagement. The American Society of Training and Development has recognized her for her mentoring skills. Dr. Dwyer developed UNO's graduate certificate program in resources and training and coordinates the public speaking fundamentals program.

Dr. Heaton will be honored for her work in mathematics education and collaboration with faculty colleagues and master teachers at Roper Elementary School in Lincoln. The focus of her work is strengthening the skills of future elementary school teachers in teaching math.

The Division of Physical Therapy Education at UNMC, part of the School of Allied Health Professions, offers a three-year program that leads to a clinical doctorate in physical therapy. Approximately 120 students are currently enrolled. The program, which was established in 1970, has an emphasis on placing clinicians in underserved, rural areas of Nebraska. The division has had exceptional success in faculty recruitment and retention and in student placement and employer satisfaction.

Award recipients, who will be honored at an April 6 luncheon in Omaha, are selected by a committee of outstanding peers. The ORCA originated in 1978, the OTICA in 1992 and the UDTA in 1993.

UNO Wrestling Team Earns Third Consecutive Title

UNO became the first team since 1995 to win three straight national titles March 11, crowning three individual champions. Cody Garcia, J.D. Naig and Les Sigman all went to the winner's circle, with Sigman gathering his fourth straight heavyweight title to earn the meet's outstanding wrestler award. 

MavericksThe win gives UNO NCAA Division II wrestling titles in 1991, 2004, 2005 and 2006. UNO also won the 1970 NAIA tournament championship.

The Mavericks finished with 117 points, their highest total ever. The University of Nebraska at Kearney (UNK), with two champions, was second with 98.5, followed by Shippensburg at 66.5, Central Oklahoma at 64.5 and Minnesota State, Mankato with 63.5.

Sigman edged UNK's Tervel Dlagnev, capping an undefeated season and an amazing career. He scored an escape to open the third period in a conservative championship bout. It was the third win for Sigman over Dlagnev this season.

Garcia dominated his finals match, scoring a 5-1 decision over Jamie Thomas of Shippensburg to improve to 39-3 on the season. 

Shane Unger gave up back points midway through the match, then came back with a reversal, but fell short March 10 to No. 3 ranked Antonio Guerra, 5-4, in a battle of sophomores. Unger, ranked No. 6, finished the season at 21-9.

No. 1 ranked Naig, now 32-3, delivered his second straight fall to win his second straight title, pinning Indianapolis junior Michael Jackson in 6:53. Naig also had a fall in his semifinal match and opened the tournament with a major decision, giving him five bonus points. He has now had six pins in nine tournament victories over the past three years. He had two falls last year in winning the 165-pound crown. 

The only other wrestlers to win four consecutive national titles were Tim Wright, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville from 1984-87; Dan Russell, Portland State, 1988-91; and Cole Province, Central Oklahoma, 2001-04.

Central Oklahoma was the last team to win as many as three straight team titles. The Bronchos won four in succession from 1992-95.

SAC to Meet Today

The Staff Advisory Council (SAC) will meet today, March 14, at 9 a.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Council Room.

Dean Hayes, Information Technology Services (ITS) customer services supervisor, will address the group. All staff and faculty are invited to attend.

For more information, contact Mary Sweaney, SAC president, at 554.3668 or

Discounted Tickets Available to Madama Butterfly

UNO students, faculty and staff can purchase discounted tickets to Opera Omaha's spring production of Madama Butterfly at the Orpheum Theater.

Performances of the new production by renowned Omaha artist Jun Kaneko are set for March 17, 19, 22 and 25. Kaneko's well-known and widely-collected large ceramic pieces (called "dangos") can be seen prominently at the Hilton Omaha Hotel and the Holland Performing Arts Center.

The eyes of the visual arts and opera worlds will be focused on Omaha for this new Butterfly production. Because of the broad interest in this opera, a Saturday performance has been added to Opera Omaha's typical schedule.

The run of Madama Butterfly is as follows. There is limited or no availability for some seating selections for certain performances. As of March 9, the following seating availability was current.

Friday, March 17 – 7:30 p.m.
Orchestra B, Grand Tier B, Balcony and Gallery

Sunday, March 19 – 2 p.m.
President's Circle, Balcony and Gallery

Wednesday, March 22 – 7:30 p.m.
President's Circle, Orchestra A - Loge A - Grand Tier A, Orchestra B - Loge B - Grand Tier B, Balcony and Gallery

Saturday, March 25 – 7:30 p.m.
Balcony and Gallery

ConAgra Foods is the production sponsor of Madama Butterfly.

Tickets must be purchased by March 15 in order to receive the discount. To purchase tickets, click on the following link:

For more information, contact Steve Grupe at 402.346.4398, x109, or

Author Kevin McMahon to Present Lecture March 20

Distinguished author, political scientist and educator Kevin McMahon will be on campus Monday, March 20, to give a lecture on his nationally acclaimed book - Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown. The event will begin at 10 a.m. in 316 Allwine Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Dr. McMahon is an assistant professor of political science at Trinity College. His book, Reconsidering Roosevelt on Race: How the Presidency Paved the Road to Brown (University of Chicago Press, 2004), won the American Political Science Association's Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best book published on the American presidency in 2004. His other publications include articles in Studies in American Political Development and The Forum, as well as several book chapters. He is currently working on a book titled Nixon's Court: William H. Rehnquist and the Conservative Counterrevolution That Was.

This event is sponsored by the UNO Department of Political Science, the Program for Comparative American Studies, and the American Democracy Project.

For more information, contact Randall Adkins at 554.3617 or

SHS to Host Men's Health Day March 21

Student Health Services (SHS) will host a Men's Health Day Tuesday, March 21, at UNO.

In conjunction with the event, cholesterol and blood sugar tests will be available for $15. Also available will be PSA testing for an additional $15. Free information on healthy eating, cardiovascular disease, hair loss, testicular cancer and depression also will be on hand. Attendees can also earn points for Mav Tracks and enter for free giveaways.

SHS is located on the first floor of the Milo Bail Student Center. For more information, call SHS at 554.2374.

HR Workshop on FMLA Act March 23

Human Resources will present an overview of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) Thursday, March 23, at UNO. The event, which is designed for non-supervisory staff, will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Omaha Room.

The FMLA Act obligates certain employers, such as the University of Nebraska, to provide family and medical leave to their employees.

The trainer is Esther Scarpello, fringe benefits manager in the UNO Office of Human Resources. Scarpello has more than 20 years of experience in the area of benefits and human resources. She is certified in Benefits and Compensation from World at Work.

The workshop will help employees understand the provisions of the FMLA Act and highlight the university's leave policies, procedures and forms used.

To register, contact Human Resources at 554.3665.

Tickets on Sale for Cesar Chavez Celebration

The 2006 Cesar Chavez celebration at UNO is set for Friday, March 24, at noon in the Milo Bail Student Center (MBSC) Ballroom.

Tickets are currently on sale in the MBSC Business Office. The cost is $10 for faculty and staff, $5 for students and $15 for the general public. Watch future editions of eNotes for more details as the event nears.

For more information, call 554.2711.

Male Participants Sought for Free Biomechanics Analysis

Healthy subjects are needed to participate in a study taking place in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Building Biomechanics Laboratory March 20-24.

The study is investigating the effects of vascular disease on gait, and healthy controls are needed to compare to the disease population. In exchange for their participation, individuals will receive a free gait analysis from the HPER Biomechanics lab personnel. The free analysis provides a prescription for ideal sports shoes based on the person's individual gait pattern. This service is typically offered for a fee of $60.

Ideal participants should be male, 55 years of age and above, and free from any lower limb orthopedic pathologies such as joint replacement or ACL injuries. Subjects will take part in a one-time data collection lasting approximately two hours that would involve a variety of walking tasks. Data will be collected using a state-of–the-art motion capture system identical to the equipment used for motion picture special effects and video games. Collections will take place at a scheduled time during the week of March 20-24.

Additional details will be provided to those interested in participating in the study. For more information, contact Jessie Huisinga at 554.3225 or

Pathways to Harmony Program is April 13

The next Pathways to Harmony program is scheduled for Thursday, April 13. It is a new three and one-half hour format, and will be held in the Milo Bail Student Center Dodge Room from 8:30 a.m. to noon.

"This professional development program about diversity represents part of the strategic planning objectives set for the UNO community," said Sharon Ulmar, assistant to the chancellor for diversity and equal opportunity. "It will help to enhance respectful relationships and create an open and constructive dialogue about diversity on the UNO campus."

All faculty, staff and students are encouraged to attend.

To register, call 554.2896 or send an e-mail to Seating is limited.

Henry Doorly Zoo Membership Drive Under Way

The annual Henry Doorly Zoo membership drive is under way at UNO. The zoo is offering memberships to university employees and students at the annual rate of $65 per household. This includes unlimited admission for two adults and dependent children or grandchildren under age 21, discounted admission to the Wildlife Safari and Lozier IMAX Theater, discounts on children's classes and more.

Memberships are $65 until April 2 and $73 after that date. To access an order form, click on the following link:

Zoo Membership Form

For membership inquiries, contact John Christensen or Kris Bell at 554.2262.


On Feb. 25 and 26, the team traveled to Manhattan, Kan., to compete in the Spencer Cohorst Invitational, two tournaments in one weekend hosted by Kansas State University and Hastings College. UNO brought home a third-place sweepstakes trophy at the second tournament and placed first in two events.

Individual results are below.

Feb. 25
Teresa Oberdorfer placed fifth in program oral interpretation and fourth in duo interpretation with partner Matt Eledge. Eledge also was third in duo interpretation with partner Channa Rench.

Feb. 26
The duo team of Rench and Eledge finished in second place. Eledge and Oberdorfer were tournament champions. In prose interpretation, Eledge was second and Oberdorfer was the tournament champion. Becky Boyer was fifth in after-dinner speaking.

These rankings, when combined with those earned by team members at other tournaments throughout the year, qualify Oberdorfer for national competition in prose interpretation and, together with partner Eledge, duo interpretation. The national forensics tournament will be held in April in Gainesville, Fla.

Have you done something noteworthy in your profession? E-mail "People" items to "People" appears in the Tuesday edition of eNotes.