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MVHC honoree

MVHC Honored

photo by Tim Fitzgerald

The Douglas County Historical Society honored Omaha's First National Bank and the Missouri Valley History Conference (MVHC) Feb. 28 at ceremonies held at the First National Bank headquarters.  Left to right are Dennis O'Neal of First National Bank, Betty Davis of the Douglas County Historical Society, Bruce Garver - chairman of the UNO history department - and Moshe Gershovich, MVHC program coordinator and an associate professor of history at UNO.  The UNO-hosted MVHC celebrated its 50th anniversary with this year's conference.

Alexander Williams

At Your Service

by Beverly Newsam

While some of his fellow students are still snug in their beds, Alexander Williams is on campus preparing for the day. It is just one of many changes he has faced during his transition to student body president/regent at UNO. ...continue

CCSW to Host 21st Annual Awards Luncheon

The Chancellor's Commission on the Status of Women (CCSW) at UNO will host its 21st annual awards luncheon Thursday, April 5. The awards recognize individuals and organizations for their outstanding service to women.

The honoree categories will include:
- Student Scholarship
- Community Service Award
- Outstanding Achievement Award

The event will be held from 11:30 to 12:30 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center (MBSC) Ballroom. A reception for the award recipients will be held prior to the luncheon from 11to 11:30 p.m. in the MBSC Chancellor's Room.

Tickets, which will go on sale Monday, March 5, cost $12 for staff, faculty and the general public and $9 for students. Tickets are available to purchase at the MBSC Business Office or by contacting Gina Hotaling at 554.2979 or

For more information about the luncheon, contact Marvel Maring (554.2992 or or Emily Muckerheide (554.4830 or

Campus Recreation to Host Slam Dunk Contest

Do you have skills? If so, show them off Monday, March 5, at a basketball competition day hosted by Campus Recreation Intramurals. The event, which will include a slam dunk contest, is set for 7 p.m. in the Health, Physical Education and Recreation (HPER) Building.

Prizes will be awarded, and participants are asked to register prior to the event in 205 HPER.

"If you don't want to participate in the event, just come and cheer on the participants," said Jodie Rasmussen, project assistant with intramurals.

Intramural registration for the following teams is under way in 205 HPER. The deadline is Thursday, March 8.
- 4x4 flag football;
- Softball;
- Ultimate Frisbee; and
- Tennis doubles.

For more information, contact Campus Recreation at 554.2634.

Nancy Lopez to Keynote at Women's Walk Luncheon

World Golf Hall of Fame member Nancy Lopez, who won 48 tournaments during her LPGA career, will be the keynote speaker at this year's Diet Pepsi/Women's Walk Kick-off Luncheon. The Tuesday, March 6, event at the DoubleTree Hotel is open to the public.

"We are very fortunate and excited to have Nancy Lopez join us for this year's event," said Rose Shires, UNO senior woman administrator. "She is known as a fierce and focused competitor who is a great role model for all athletes."

The Diet Pepsi Women's Walk, now entering its 22nd year, has raised nearly $3 million for scholarships for female student-athletes. This year's event will also feature a Nebraska Medical Center women's health fair.

Lopez will speak at the 11:30 a.m. luncheon and will conduct clinics at the Chili Greens Dome that afternoon.

The First National Bank luncheon will feature the induction of Linda Aust, Nancy Witted and Virginia Klug into the Women's Walk Hall of Honor.

Tickets for the luncheon cost $55 per person or $500 for a table of 10. The demonstration clinic, set from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Chili Greens Dome, costs $25 and requires advanced registration. Reservations for the events can be made by calling the UNO Athletic Office at 554.2533.

Lopez sprung onto the women's golf scene as a 21-year-old rookie in 1978 and won nine events - including a record five in a row - and captured the tour's rookie of the year, player of the year and Vare Trophy honors. She went on to record 48 tournament titles, including three LPGA championships, with career earnings of $5.3 million.

She retired from tournament golf in 2002 but, in 2005, captained the U.S. Solheim Cup team to a three-point victory over the European team.

Women of Color to Be Honored at March 7 Luncheon

Two physicians, a drama director, a banker, a community relations ambassador and a student are the 2007 recipients of the UNO Women of Color (WOC) Awards.

The group will be honored at a luncheon Wednesday, March 7, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the DC Centre, 11830 Stonegate Circle.

Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey and University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken will be in attendance at the fifth annual luncheon to congratulate the nominees and winners. This year's theme is "Healthy Women." The guest speaker will be Alabama physician Dr. Regina Benjamin.

"This year is the fifth anniversary event, and we are proud to recognize the achievements of this diverse group of women," said Sharon Ulmar, WOC committee co-chair and assistant to the chancellor in the UNO Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity. "The honorees' insights, diverse perspectives and experiences are being highlighted and celebrated during Women's History Month in an effort to encourage continued and future involvement of women of color in our community."

The awards acknowledge outstanding contributions and leadership by women of color in the Omaha area. Organizations and individuals were asked to nominate women of color for the awards in six categories: arts/humanities, business/entrepreneurship, education, community service, science and technology, and youth leadership.

The 2007 award winners are as follows:

- Llana M. Smith, drama ministry director at Salem Baptist Church, is the recipient of the Arts and Humanities Award.

- Cynthia R. Swoopes, regional emerging markets manager at Wells Fargo Bank, is the recipient of the Business/Entrepreneurship Award.

- Maria Valentin, community relations manager at ConAgra Foods, is the recipient of the Community Service Award.

- Cristina Fernandez, M.D., assistant professor at Creighton University, Creighton University Pediatric Clinic and the University of Nebraska Medical Center Pediatric Residency Program, is the recipient of the Education Award.

- Huiling Pang, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of anesthesiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, is the recipient of the Science and Technology Award.

- Francesca Hannah, a student at Central High School, is the recipient of the Youth Leadership Award.

The event's keynote speaker - Dr. Benjamin - is the founder and CEO of Bayou Clinic in Bayou La Batre, Ala. She is the first African-American woman, and the first person under 40, to be elected to the American Medical Association (AMA) Board of Trustees. Time magazine named her one of the "Nation's 50 Future Leaders Age 40 and Under." Dr. Benjamin also serves on the Board of Physicians for Human Rights. She is a 1998 Mandela Award Winner, a former Kellogg National Fellow, has been featured as ABC Television's "Person of the Week" and, in 1996, was chosen by "CBS This Morning" as "Woman of the Year."

Jamie Gutierrez, president and owner of Midwest Maintenance Company Inc., will serve as the mistress of ceremonies. She was a 2005 recipient of the UNO WOC Business/Entrepreneurship Award.

The luncheon is open to the public, and tickets cost $25 per person. Organizations can reserve tables of eight for $300. The event is sponsored by UNO, State Farm Insurance and a grant by the Nebraska Humanities Council.

To access luncheon registration forms or for more information about the event, visit the Web at A limited number of seats will be available for purchase at the door.

For more information, call 554.2779.

Nominations Sought for CCMA Diversity Awards

The UNO Chancellor's Commission on Multicultural Affairs (CCMA) Awards Committee is seeking nominations for its 2007 Diversity Awards. The deadline is Wednesday, March 7.

The CCMA Diversity Awards will recognize (in each of three categories: students, faculty and staff) those who have demonstrated a commitment to diversity on the university campus or in the community through mentoring, outreach initiatives or other activities that advance the institution's goal of inclusion.

Award guidelines and nomination forms are available by clicking on the link below:

CCMA Diversity Awards

For more information, contact Karen Hayes at 554.3240.

Difficult Dialogues to Host Discussion March 8

Talking about race can be difficult, but a UNO discussion planned for early March aims to conduct an open and honest dialogue about the topic of race on the UNO campus and in the metropolitan area.

"What Omaha Do You Live In?: Talking Openly About Identity and Race," organized by the UNO Difficult Dialogues Project, will be held Thursday, March 8, at 2:30 p.m. in the Milo Bail Student Center Ballroom. Faculty, students and staff are invited to attend the free event.

The Difficult Dialogues project is directed by Nora Bacon, UNO associate professor of English; Shereen Bingham, UNO professor of communication; and Cynthia Robinson-Moore, UNO assistant professor of communication. It is funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.

"The event and the Difficult Dialogues Project are unique," Dr. Bingham said. "We're hoping to get 100 people to talk honestly about identity and race in our city."

A short opening presentation will be followed by smaller, guided group discussion led by members of the Difficult Dialogues core group. Robinson-Moore said the topic of race is often avoided in the campus community because of fear. "It's fear of saying something ignorant or offensive, or saying something that might hurt someone else's feelings," she said. "Our facilitators have received training that should make our discussion productive, open and safe."

The Difficult Dialogues core group at UNO includes 20 faculty, 10 staff and three administrators. They represent diverse departments, disciplines and programs whose work is particularly important to creating an inclusive campus.

The Ford Foundation launched the national Difficult Dialogues project in 2005 by inviting proposals from all accredited, degree granting, non-profit institutions with general undergraduate programs. UNO was one of just 27 institutions to receive funding. "What Omaha Do You Live In?" is the largest event the UNO Difficult Dialogues group has organized.

"People will truly be listening to each other when we get together. It should be an informative, eye-opening afternoon," Dr. Bingham said. "Race has been a divisive issue everywhere, including Omaha. In part, we are asking what kind of city you want Omaha to be five years, 10 years, 20 years from now."

Participation is limited. Register by sending an email to For more information, call 554.4857.

Library Friends to Hold Discussion on Founding Brothers March 8

The Friends of the UNO Criss Library Book Club will host a discussion of Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis Thursday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in Room 100 of Criss Library. The discussion leader will be Kent Kirwan, UNO emeritus professor of political science.

In his book, Ellis explores how a group of greatly gifted, but deeply flawed, individuals - Hamilton, Burr, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, Adams and Madison - confronted the overwhelming challenges before them to set the course of a nation.

For more information, call 554.3205.

Seven Days of Service Set for Spring Break

More than 500 UNO students will trade sandy beaches for hammers and paint brushes during spring break to refurbish six homes in north and south Omaha.

The project, "Seven Days of Service," gives students the opportunity to volunteer their services to improve Omaha neighborhoods. The event will be held Saturday, March 10, and March 12-17.

"This will be the fifth and most ambitious year for this project," said Kathe Oleson, program assistant in the UNO Service-Learning Academy (SLA). "We did four homes last year, but we've never attempted to refurbish six homes in one week."

The Wells Fargo Foundation will contribute more than $70,000 in grants to the project. The Omaha Housing Authority, Family Housing Advisory Services (FHAS) and the SLA are sponsoring Seven Days of Service. The project will make first-time home ownership possible for six new buyers.

UNO construction management students are estimating, preparing and designing makeovers for each of the six homes. They will coordinate the volunteers in repairing and refurbishing the homes.

The construction management students will also be working with other students from the School of Communication, the School of Social Work and the SLA to recruit and assign volunteers.

"The gift of Seven Days is having the different classes of students come together to facilitate the growing and strengthening of the community, and the extraordinary learning for all of our students in the process," Oleson said. "Everyone is better for this experience."

Upon completion of the Seven Days of Service, the six homes will be sold by Omaha 100 - a component of FHAS - to low-income families who qualify. Education classes will be offered by FHAS to prepare the first-time buyers for financial management of home ownership.

The Seven Days of Service hours run from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Those interested in volunteering can sign up at the information desk in the Eppley Administration Building or in 220 Arts and Sciences Hall.

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 $68 per household. The cost includes unlimited admission for two adults and dependent children or grandchildren under age 21, discounted admission to more than 100 zoos throughout North America and the Lozier IMAX Theater, discounts on children's classes and more.

Memberships cost $68 until April 1 and $75 after that date. To access an order form, click on the following link:

Zoo Membership Form

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

Participants Sought for ADA Tour de Cure

Looking for an opportunity to get involved in the UNO and Omaha communities?

This June, the American Diabetes Association's (ADA) Tour de Cure is coming (for the first year) to the Sarpy County Fairgrounds in Springfield, Neb. The event will feature a 20-mile ride for novice riders and a 50-mile ride for experienced riders.

"Most of us have family and/or friends (or maybe even yourself) who are suffering with diabetes," said Suzanne Sollars, the UNO team organizer and an associate professor of psychology at UNO. "There are 20.8 million Americans with diabetes - approximately 97,000 in Nebraska. Diabetes is the largest healthcare expense in the U.S.A. On average, every 21 seconds, someone is diagnosed with diabetes."

To register for the bike ride, visit and sign up as an individual or register a team. Each rider must raise $150 and will receive a complimentary breakfast from Gandolfo's Deli, lunch from Carabba's and wine at Soaring Wings Vineyard at the after-event party. There will be prizes and rest stops with snacks and beverages along both rides.

"I hope you will consider riding in this event. Together, we can help increase the progress toward finding the cause and a cure for diabetes, and have a great time meeting fellow UNO students, faculty and staff!" Dr. Sollars said.

Monies raised will go to ADA research, education and advocacy programs.

For more information, contact Dr. Sollars at 554.3981 or

Maverick Watch

Go Mavs! Support your Mavericks by attending their home events.

Faculty, staff and students are admitted free to all home athletic games with a valid MavCard ID and game-day ticket, excluding hockey for faculty and staff. The spouses, significant others and children of faculty, staff and students also are admitted free, excluding hockey. At the game, faculty, staff and students must present a valid MavCard ID to receive a ticket. Tickets will be available the day of the game at each home event. For more information, call 554.MAVS (6287).

At home this week…

Wednesday, March 7
- Baseball vs. Northwest Missouri State
The Ballpark at Boys Town, 137th and West Dodge Rd.
1 p.m.

Friday, March 9
- Tennis vs. Minnesota State, Mankato
Hanscom Park, 3200 Ed Creighton Ave.
6 p.m.

Sunday, March 11
- Baseball vs. Fort Hays State
The Ballpark at Boys Town, 137th and West Dodge Rd.
Noon and 2 p.m. (double header)

For more information about UNO Athletics, visit the Web at