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2008.07.25 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

Nebraska First Lady Sally Ganem to Receive UNO Alumni Citation

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Alumni Association will bestow its Citation for Alumnus Achievement upon First Lady of Nebraska Sally Ganem during the university’s summer commencement Friday, Aug. 15, at the Omaha Civic Auditorium.

The Citation, inaugurated in 1949, is presented at each UNO commencement. The association’s highest honor, it encompasses career achievement, community service, involvement in business and professional associations, and fidelity to UNO. UNO Alumni Association President Lee Denker will present the award to Ganem, the 147th Citation recipient.

Ganem earned a UNO bachelor’s degree in elementary education (1971) and a master’s degree in education administration (1975).

“First Lady Ganem’s life and career embodies UNO’s mission of student focus, academic excellence and community engagement,” said Denker. “She is a longtime champion of education and of service to others, leading by example ever since her undergraduate studies at UNO.”

Married to Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman, Ganem is the former principal of Howard Elementary School in Fremont, Neb. She is active in the Fremont community as a member of the Low Income Ministry Board and the Social Sciences Advisory Board of Metropolitan Community College. She is a past president of the Fremont Area United Way and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She has been a volunteer for the American Heart Association and John C. Fremont Days, for which she initiated the children’s activities portion of that event.

Ganem is involved in several educational organizations, including service as an officer and on committees in the Nebraska Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) and the Nebraska Council of School Administrators (NCSA). She also is a member of the Read Aloud Nebraska Board of Directors and regularly travels the state to read to school groups.

The First Lady serves as honorary chair of the Nebraska Volunteer Service Commission (NVSC), which provides volunteers with resources to get involved. The First Lady’s Outstanding Community Service Awards recognize the outstanding work of individuals and groups who through volunteer efforts make Nebraska a better place to live, work and raise families.

Ganem received the Lifetime Membership Award from the Fremont Noon Optimists.

Born and raised in Omaha, Ganem graduated from Omaha South High School. At UNO she was extensively involved in numerous organizations. In 1970 she was crowned the university’s homecoming queen. She also served as president of Sigma Kappa. Other UNO groups she served included: Greek Housing Association; League of Women Voters; International Students Organization; Kappa Delta Pi; Manpower for Urban Progress; Minority Cultures Committee; Student Education Association; Student Senate Projects Committee (secretary); UNO Achievement Awards Committee; Wayokia; Women’s Recreation Association (vice president); and, Young Republicans. She is serving as one of eight Centennial Hosts throughout the university’s Centennial Anniversary year beginning Oct. 8.

Ganem and Gov. Heineman have been married for 30 years. They have one son, Sam. .

* * *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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