news releases

2006.04.18 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Affairs
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Alvin Goodwin Honored With Locke Award; Eight CPACS Alumni Recognized

Omaha - Eight alumni from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) and Alvin M. Goodwin, the former president of the Omaha Economic Development Corporation (OEDC), were recognized for their achievements in a variety of fields during a ceremony Wednesday, April 12, at the W.H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center.  U.S. Sen. Chuck Hagel was one of the alumni honored.

The annual Alumni Awards for Excellence in Public Service and the Hubert Locke Award for Distinguished Service recognize the best in integrity, stewardship, volunteerism, leadership and commitment to social justice in the public and community service arena.

B.J. Reed, dean of CPACS, presented the Locke Award–which honors a person who has demonstrated exemplary commitment to the ideals of public service--to Goodwin.  Goodwin has been a key architect in creating and channeling opportunities for investments to promote economic growth and community revitalization in Omaha.

Through Goodwin's leadership, OEDC implemented the Kellom Heights Redevelopment Program.  This program was developed in seven phases and includes the Kellom Heights Shopping Center, affordable housing for senior citizens and six affordable housing developments in the Kellom Heights community.   Not only has the development created jobs, but it has also provided needed goods and services in the area.

In all, OEDC leveraged its $5.6 million equity contribution in 19 program areas into nearly $37 million of capital invested in Northeast Omaha.  OEDC ventures created over 100 jobs and generated $1.6 million in annual taxes through property, payroll, and personal income and sales tax revenues.  Goodwin also serves on numerous local and national boards involved in housing, economic and business development programs.

The Locke Award was established four years ago and is named for Hubert Locke, who served as the first permanent dean of CPACS from 1972 to 1976.

The following briefs outline the eight Alumni Award winners and note their degrees and year of graduation from UNO.  "We are proud to recognize the unique accomplishments of these individuals. On a national, state, local, and individual level, each has made substantial and positive contributions to society and to our overall quality of life," Reed said.

The Alumni Award winners are:

Carlos Barrientos graduated from the Goodrich Scholarship Program with a bachelor of general studies degree in 1977.  While a student, Barrientos began working at WOWT-TV.  Following graduation, he became a WOWT full-time photographer and covered various news making events, including fires, papal and presidential visits and numerous natural disasters.  He retired in 2004.  He now contributes his skills and talents to Ixim, a Catholic-based organization which operates bi-yearly missions to Guatemala to assist with rural medical needs, children's educational needs and causes of women.

Connie Benjamin earned a bachelor of social work degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a gerontology specialization from UNO in 1975.  She has served as the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Nebraska State Director since November 2000.  Prior to that, she served as executive director of the YWCA of Lincoln, deputy director of the Nebraska Department on Aging and as an adult protective services specialist for the Nebraska Department of Social Services.                         

Chuck Hagel earned a bachelor of general studies degree from UNO in 1971.  Elected to the U.S. Senate for the first time in 1996, Hagel is now serving his second term and is the senior U.S. Senator for Nebraska.  His substantial participation in civic, educational and charitable organizations has included serving on the board of directors of the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce; serving as chairman of the 10th Anniversary Vietnam Veterans' Memorial; and serving as a member of the board of directors and national advisory committee of the Friends of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Terri S. Harder earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice degree from UNO in 1981 and graduated summa cum laude.  She received her law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1985.   She joined the law firm of Jacobsen, Orr, Nelson, Wright, Harder and Lindstrom in Kearney, Neb., in 1985 and had a general practice of law with that firm for 14 years.  In 1999, Gov. Mike Johanns appointed her to the District Bench for the Tenth Judicial District, which includes Adams, Franklin, Harlan, Kearney, Phelps and Webster Counties in Nebraska. 

Kim Kern earned a bachelor's degree from Midland Lutheran College in 1984 and a master of social work degree from UNO in 1986.  The assistant director for social work at Mary Lanning Behavioral Services since 2003, she is responsible for assisting in the management of three outpatient psychiatric clinics, a 26-bed adult inpatient unit, an emergency community support program, on-call crisis services and the geriatric outreach program.

Pat Kern earned a bachelor of social work degree from St. John's University in Collegeville, Minn., in 1983 and a master of social work degree from UNO in 1985.  The director of social services at Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital in Hastings, Neb., since 1987, he is responsible for staff supervision, hospital-wide discharge planning and case management.  In this role, he provides social work services to acute care medical units, the emergency room, and the rehabilitation, hospice and dialysis units of the hospital.

Ann O'Connor earned a master of public administration degree from UNO in 1994.  She is currently the vice president for Nebraska community services at Heartland Family Service.  She is responsible for the operation of many of the agency's centers and programs, including two children's emergency centers, the Solomon Girls Center, neighborhood emergency services in North Omaha and Sarpy County, the North Omaha Resource Center, the Career Clothing Closet, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, domestic abuse services in Sarpy and Cass County, Intensive Family Preservation, and school and family enrichment programs.

Douglas Russell, M.D., graduated from the Goodrich Scholarship Program with a bachelor of science degree in chemistry in 1987.  He found his vocation and his wife, Anne, at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) College of Medicine.  He and partner, Steve Freeman, M.D., founded Oakview Internal Medicine, where they enjoy a successful medical practice.  Russell also is a teaching faculty volunteer at UNMC, Clarkson College, and Creighton University Medical Center, for medical students, nurse practitioners and other students, and is also a volunteer practitioner at Creighton.

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