American History, World Civilizations
The History Department faculty were saddened by the death of their colleague Pat Kennedy, who died August 15, 2013, at the age of 71. Pat earned his M.A. in history from UNO in 2004, and served as an adjunct instructor of history from 2005 until health problems forced him out of the classroom in the fall of 2012. Popular with his students and colleagues, he received the College’s Excellence in Teaching Award for adjuncts in 2009. A nominating letter observed: “Around the department, Mr. Kennedy is well-known for his long office hours, open door, and abundant patience and good humor. He genuinely enjoys working with students one-on-one, and they beat a path to his door.” Prior to coming to UNO, he had had a distinguished career in the Omaha public schools, winning numerous awards, including a prestigious Alice Buffett Outstanding Teaching Award.
Pat had taught at a number of schools in the OPS system, and involved his Benson High students in an archaeological project about African Americans in Brownville, Nebraska. Said one of his students: “It was an experience of a lifetime.” He was an authority on the African American experience in southeast Nebraska and in 1999 received the Nebraska State Historical Society’s Asa T. Hill Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to Nebraska archaeology. Much of his research was summed up in his 2001 Nebraska History article, ”Nemaha County’s African- American Community.” Commenting on his experience of working with high school students on the archaeological dig, the World-Herald quoted him as saying: “It warms my heart for students to realize history isn’t just a bunch of books.”
Pat was a trustee of the Nebraska State Historical Society from 2000 to 2005, serving as its president in 2004 and 2005. He also served as a member of the City of Omaha’s Landmarks Commission.
Pat was a dedicated teacher, a thoughtful colleague and a good friend to those who had the privilege of knowing him. He will be sorely missed by his former colleagues in the UNO Department of History.