news releases

2005.04.28 > For Immediate Release
contact: Beverly Newsam - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.2358 - email: bnewsam@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Spring Commencement May 6 at the Civic

Omaha - More than 1,250 students will graduate Friday, May 6, during the spring commencement ceremony at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO).  The event will be held at the Omaha Civic Auditorium, 1804 Capitol Ave., beginning at 2 p.m.

John Gottschalk will be the commencement speaker and also will receive the Order of the Tower.  He is publisher of the Omaha World-Herald and chairman and CEO of the Omaha World-Herald Company.  A key figure in the growth of the city of Omaha, Gottschalk has provided leadership in the $2 billion downtown redevelopment and worked for K-12 education reform.  He is consistently a major force in setting public policy agenda and often is sought for counsel by elected and appointed officials from national, state and local institutions.

Scott V. Ptacnik, a Blair, Neb., native, will give the student commencement address.  He will graduate with a bachelor of science degree in management information systems.  After graduating from UNO, he plans to begin his career at Cerner Corporation, a health care information technology company in Kansas City, Mo.

The spring commencement ceremony also will feature the following:

Maggie Lehning will receive the Order of the Tower, UNO's highest non-academic award.   She continues to contribute countless hours to the development of UNO, be it serving on the Maverick Executive Council or as chairwoman of the Diet Pepsi/UNO Women's Walk.  The annual event, now in its 20th year, has raised more than $2.6 million in scholarships for female student-athletes at UNO.  Lehning's passion and dedication to helping student athletes is evident, as she has chaired the Women's Walk for the last five years.  It is the largest fundraiser at UNO and the most successful of its kind in the nation.

Shelton Hendricks, dean of the UNO College of Arts and Sciences, will be presented with the Chancellor's Medal.  At UNO, he has been an associate and full professor of psychology, as well as a university ombudsman, chair of the Department of Psychology and dean of UNO Graduate Studies.  In addition, he has served four terms with the Faculty Senate (including one term as president) and held membership in numerous campus and professional organizations.  Hendricks has administered and/or participated in research projects receiving funding support from 10 university research grants, six federal government research grants and 70 pharmaceutical industry contracts.

Ann Mactier will receive an honorary doctorate of education.  Her compassion and commitment to championing learning for all children have been tireless, as she has traveled the nation and abroad in her quest for the advancement of literacy.  Mactier earned a bachelor of science degree from Northwestern University and her bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees from UNO.  She was a coordinator in the UNO College of Fine Arts and has provided extensive community service on the Council of Urban Education, United Community Services and the Riverfront Development Foundation.

Thomas Warren, police chief of the Omaha Police Department, will receive the UNO Alumni Association's Citation for Alumnus Achievement.  He earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice and sociology from Morningside College and a master's degree in criminal justice from UNO.  In 2002, Warren was promoted to precinct commander.  A year later, he replaced Don Carey as police chief, becoming the first African American to hold that post.  Warren has received community or volunteer service awards from several organizations, including the Malcolm X Foundation, Omaha Bar Association, NAACP and the Boys and Girls Club of Omaha.

For more information about the May 6 commencement, call (402) 554-2358 or (402) 554-2762.

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