2007.11.14 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
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Lucas Society Induction Ceremony Welcomes New Members
Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Business Administration (CBA) honored two individuals and one couple – Samuel G. Leftwich, Stephen K. Wild, and Charles E. and Gloria Billingsley - with induction into the Lucas Society Nov. 8.
Established in 1998, the society was founded in honor of John Lucas, the founding dean of CBA at UNO. Induction into the Lucas Society is the highest honor bestowed on supporters of the college. Membership in the society recognizes friends of the college who have made significant financial contributions to the college, its students, faculty and programs. Funds secured through the Lucas Society enable the college to provide scholarships, leadership outreach, faculty education and other programs.
All of the honorees are recognized through the installation of a plaque bearing their names and photographs on the Lucas Society Wall of Honor. The wall is located on the second floor of Roskens Hall. Inductees also receive a ceramic candlehouse, a replica of the UNO Henningson Memorial Campanile, individually handcrafted by artists in Lithuania, one of Omaha’s sister cities.
Below are biographies of those honored.
Samuel G. Leftwich
Leftwich, a native of Homer, Neb., began his career with K-Mart in 1949, then known as S.S. Kresge Company, while a UNO senior. He served as a part-time stockman. During his 37 years with the corporation, he worked his way through the management system as store manager, district manager and at various executive positions at the regional office level.
In January 1974, Leftwich was transferred to the corporation’s executive offices in Troy, Mich. He served as director of food operations and as senior vice president of personnel and employee relations until his promotion to president in 1981. He was elevated to vice chairman of the board in 1985.
During his career, he witnessed a chain of 700 Kresge stores grow into the nation’s second largest mass merchandiser with 2,200 K-Mart stores employing more than 325,000 people.
Leftwich retired as president and chief operating officer and vice chairman of the board of K-Mart Corporation in 1987.
Stephen K. Wild
Wild is chairman and founder of QA3, a national financial services and professional education firm. Wild also founded Securities America, Inc., one of the nation’s fastest growing privately held companies in the U.S. until its sale to American Express in 1998. QA3 and Securities America have both been named by the Chamber of Commerce on multiple occasions as Omaha’s fastest growing company.
Prior to forming Securities America, he founded Financial Dynamics, Inc. in 1979. This company was the nation’s largest life insurance marketing company with over 10,000 insurance agents.
Previous awards for Wild at UNO include the Student Achievement Award (1971), Alumnus Achievement Award (1994) and the Order of the Tower Award (2006). He also served on the University of Nebraska’s President’s Search Committee in 1970 and 2004.
Charles E. and Gloria Billingsley
Charles E. Billingsley was born in DeQueen, Ark., and later moved to Oklahoma, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Oklahoma.
He began his career with Union Pacific in 1969 to develop a staff to audit all its subsidiaries: Union Pacific Railroad, Champlin Oil, Rocky Mountain Energy, Upland Industries and Upland Land Resources. He was named controller of Union Pacific Corp. in Bethlehem, Penn., in 1988, and promoted to vice president in 1989.
Billingsley was involved with many professional organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the Institute of Internal Auditors and the American Accounting Association. In 1993, Beta Alpha Psi, a national honors fraternity for financial professionals, named him accountant of the year. In 1995, Union Pacific Corp. dedicated the Charles E. Billingsley boardroom in the UNO College of Business Administration.
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