news releases

2005.02.17 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Black Executive Exchange Program Set for Feb. 28 – March 3 at UNO

Omaha - The Urban League of Nebraska, Inc., the University of Nebraska Foundation and the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Business Administration are again joining together to hold the Black Executive Exchange Program (BEEP) in Omaha. The four-day long series of seminars, meetings and receptions is set for Feb 28-March 3. Title sponsors for the series are ConAgra Foods and Union Pacific.

"BEEP has become an event that the Urban League, the university and—most importantly—the community all look forward to," said Marilyn McGary president and chief executive officer for the Urban League of Nebraska Inc.  "The vision of BEEP is to be the instrument through which African-American college students reach their full potential."

Developed by the National Urban League in 1969, BEEP addresses the need for quality education for African-American students interested in both the public and private sectors. Since its inception, the program has:

• Augmented the curricula at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with more industry and government-related courses;

• Supplemented college faculty with rotating teams of African-American executives and professionals for business and government;

• Enlightened students and faculty about job opportunities, current and future business trends, policies and patterns; and

• Established and maintained a free-flowing exchange between public and private sector employers to attract support for faculty and student development, educational programs and financial endeavors.

Today, African-American executives and professionals from more than 600 corporations, government agencies and professional organizations participate in BEEP at a national level.  In Omaha, expectations are that more than 500 students will hear at least one BEEP presenter this year.  More than 30 local professionals have volunteered to speak at the various BEEP events.  (A list of presenters will be sent out at a future date.)

This is the third year for BEEP at UNO. UNO remains the first predominantly white institution in the nation to participate in the BEEP program.

"The role of a metropolitan university is to actively engage the community," said Nancy Belck, UNO chancellor.  "BEEP connects students and local business people in a positive and unique way that benefits everyone.  It has been a model event for UNO."

Union Pacific will host the kickoff BEEP event Feb. 28 at its downtown headquarters, 1400 Douglas St., starting at 6 p.m.  BEEP presenters, known as "BEEPers," will hear from Charles Richardson, past BEEP national director for the Urban League, at the reception.  Sessions on March 1-3 will include résumé reviews, discussions about the transition to life beyond college and a special session for high school students and their parents on higher education issues and concerns.

"All of what we're doing is providing an avenue for the exchange of information for students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to engage in or experience this sort of dialogue with African-American leaders or mentors," McGary said.

Louis Pol, dean of the UNO College of Business Administration, said the program will allow the university to:

• Provide all students with positive African-American role models who have achieved measurable success in a variety of careers;

• Present primarily under-represented students with a realistic view of life, including expected participation and behavior, after graduation;

• Supplement college curricula with additional practitioner-oriented lecture presentations and career-oriented subject matter;

• Augment faculty teaching strengths with visits from local African-American executives and professionals from the public/private sectors;

• Provide opportunities for all college students to bridge the career planning gap and prepare them for diversity in the workplace; and

• Foster and establish new lines of communication and partnership among the College of Business Administration and local businesses, industry and government to better prepare students for a new wave of careers and professions.

"BEEP continues to be a program that provides a great deal of insight and meaning to students," Pol said. "We're excited to be part of this important and innovative program."

Corporate sponsors for BEEP include Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Nebraska, First Data, First National Bank, The Gallup Organization, Mutual of Omaha and Wells Fargo.

 For more information on events or to volunteer as a "BEEPer," call (402) 554-3502.

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