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2009.04.09 > For Immediate Release
contact: Sarah Casey - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email:

College of Public Affairs and Community Service to Honor Twelve Alumni, Mayor Mike Fahey

Omaha - Twelve alumni from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) College of Public Affairs and Community Service (CPACS) will be recognized at the 2009 CPACS Alumni Awards Luncheon Monday, April 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the W.H. and Dorothy Thompson Alumni Center.

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, CPACS dean, will present the Locke Award – which honors an individual who has demonstrated exemplary commitment to the ideals of public service through their professional activities, community service, and philanthropy – to Omaha Mayor Mike Fahey.

Throughout his administration, Mayor Fahey has worked to improve Omaha neighborhoods, strengthen the city’s public safety teams, facilitate economic development, support after school initiatives, restore civility to City Hall and create an efficient city government. Fahey has established a proud record working to improve the quality of life for all Omahans and he looks forward to continuing that work over his final months in office. Fahey's second term in office ends on June 8.

Fahey was first elected to office in 2001 and was sworn in as Omaha's 49th mayor. He was overwhelmingly reelected to the office in 2005. After graduating from Creighton University in 1973 and following a successful career as an entrepreneur and businessman, Fahey viewed public service as an opportunity to give back to the City of Omaha. On November 12, 2007, Fahey became the longest serving mayor under Omaha's current City Charter.

The alumni award winners are:

Scot L. Adams graduated with a bachelor of arts in sociology and philosophy from Creighton University, a master of social work degree from UNO. He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln in community and human resources in 1990 under the supervision of the late Dr. Shirley Waskel from the UNO department of gerontology. Adams is currently the director of the Division of Behavioral Health in the State of Nebraska’s Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to this appointment, Adams had served as the executive director of Catholic Charities in Omaha since 1994.

Blake Edwards graduated from UNO in 1999 with a bachelor of general studies degree. Edwards, a sales representative for Cox Business, enjoys giving back to his community through volunteerism. He is an active supporter of Cox Communication's charitable giving program which supports nearly 100 local community groups every year and is currently serving as the vision champion for Cox's strategic partnership with UNO and the UNO Alumni Association. Edwards has three beautiful children and future UNO Alumni: Tiffany, Brittany and Jadon.

Janine Emmons graduated from the Goodrich Scholarship Program and received a bachelor of science degree in organizational communication from UNO in 1994. A Notary Public, she serves as a committee chairperson for the Human Resources Association of the Midlands (HRAM). She has earned a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification through the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI), and a Certificate in OSHA Compliance (COC) through the National Safety Council. Emmons has been employed at Central Life Sciences (a leading manufacturer and distributor of animal care products in Council Bluffs, Iowa) since December, 1996. As Human resources manager, Emmon’s primary responsibilities encompass personnel, benefits administration, budgeting, policy composition, and employee relations.

Viv Ewing, a graduate of the Goodrich Scholarship program, received her bachelor of science in public administration and master of urban studies degrees from UNO and a Ph.D. in community and human resources from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. She is currently the Business Leader for Compensation & Benefits at Alegent Health. Dr. Ewing was previously the assistant director for the Salvation Army Kroc Center, senior director of human resources and family services for Omaha Housing Authority, and human resources manager at ConAgra Foods. She also worked at OPPD in human resources and training and the Nebraska Medical Center.

Dr. Mark Foxall holds a Ph.D. in Criminal Justice, a Master of Public Administration degree, and a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree, all from UNO. Dr. Foxall is also a Certified Jail Manager as recognized by the American Jail Association. Dr. Foxall began his law enforcement career as an Omaha Police Officer. Currently he is the deputy director for the Douglas County Department of Corrections and an adjunct faculty member for the UNO School of Criminology and Criminal Justice. Dr. Foxall has been with the Douglas County Department of Corrections since July 2000. Previous positions held include: special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and director of Project Impact with the United States Attorney's Office, District of Nebraska. Dr. Foxall is the father of a son, Mark Joseph Foxall, who is a student at UNL. In accepting this award, Dr. Foxall would like to acknowledge his mother, Dr. Martha Foxall, Professor Emeritus at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Susan Hale received a master of social work degree from UNO in 1981. She has long worked with or on behalf of disadvantaged populations. She currently contracts with the Center for People in Need as the advocacy educator, focusing on legislative issues and encouraging public involvement in the development of social policy. Her public policy associations in the past include Planned Parenthood and the Family Planning Council, the Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, the Nebraska Coalition for Women, the Women's Legislative Caucus, the Lincoln Lancaster Commission on Women and the Nebraska Commission on Women. Susan's micro social work has included serving as a volunteer probation officer and tutor through the Juvenile Court and sponsorship of a refugee family. In accepting this award, Susan would like to acknowledge her "dear supportive friends including Carol Stitt, Gail Linderholm and Nancy Bidrowski, and the children in my life who are my greatest delight...I acknowledge and honor my deceased husband who always was my greatest source of strength and my center of joy. Any and all recognitions of my work and accomplishments are equally his."

Dr. Rebecca Lutte was the first UNO student to earn a minor in aviation while completing a master of public administration degree in 1994 as well as the first to earn a Ph.D. in public administration with a minor in aviation at UNO in 1999. She earned a bachelor of science degree in professional aeronautics from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in January,1990. A former commuter airline pilot, Dr. Lutte is now a part-time faculty member for CPACS. She teaches courses for both the UNO School of Public Administration as well as the UNO Aviation Institute from her home in Montgomery, Texas. With over 17 years with UNO, Dr. Lutte has served in many roles but her current focus is on teaching and working with the students within the school’s distance education environment. Dr. Lutte, a certified commercial, multi-engine pilot and multi-engine instructor, has authored several publications and serves on the editorial board for several journals. Her primary research interests are in the area of aviation safety policy.

Dr. Jun Ma earned a bachelor of politics degree from Wuhan University (China) in 1990, a master of public administration from Renmin University (China) in 1995, and a Ph.D. in public administration from UNO in 2002. Currently a professor and associate dean in the School of Government at Sun Yat-sen University (China), he is also the director of the university's Center for Public Administration Research, the sole research center in Chinese public administration designated and funded by the Ministry of Education of China. Ma is one of the eight members of the Committee of Public Administration Academic Degree of the State Council of China. He is the chief editor of the The Journal of Public Administration (Chinese) and a member of the editorial boards for Public Administration & Development and The Journal of Chinese Public Administration (Chinese). Also an adjunct professor at the City University of Hong Kong, he is the author of numerous publications focusing on public budgeting and finance. Dr. Ma authored the book Chinese Public Budgeting Reform (2005) and co-authored A Reader of Public Budgeting (2008) with Meili Niu and Jinglun Yue. He has co-edited three books: State Governance and Public Budgeting (2007), A Call for Public Budgeting: Voices From Politics and Public Administration (2008), and A Reflection of Chinese Public Administration Research (2009).

Susan Tast graduated with a bachelor of science in criminal justice degree from UNO in 1983. In 1986, she earned a juris doctorate from the University of Nebraska College of Law. While a criminal justice student, Tast was an intern with the Lancaster County Public Defender's office from 1982-1983, and served there as a law clerk from 1984-1986 while in law school. After earning her law degree, Tast was in private practice and worked at the University of Nebraska Student Legal Services from 1986 to 1989. She then went to work for the Lancaster County Public Defender's Office in 1989 as a staff attorney. Currently, Tast is responsible for the city’s misdemeanor docket and is a member of the Lancaster County District Court Drug Court Team. Tast is president of the Lancaster County Mental Health Foundation.

General Johnnie Edward Wilson earned a bachelor of general studies degree with a specialization in business in 1973 and also holds a master of science degree in logistics management from the Florida Institute of Technology. A native of Lorain, Ohio, he enlisted in the Army in 1961 and completed Officer Candidate School (OCS) 1967. General Wilson had a long and successful history of service in the United States Army, and served with distinction at every level of command. His career highlights include serving as the Deputy Commanding General, 21st TAACOM, commanding the Army Ordnance Center and School, and serving as the Chief of Stafff, Army Materiels Center. From 1994 to 1996, General Wilson served as the Deputy Chief of Staff for Logistics, Department of Army, where he was responsible for worldwide logistics. He retired as a four-star general in 1999. His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Legion of Merit (with Oak Leaf Cluster), Bronze Star Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), Meritorious Service Medal (with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters), and Army Commendation Medal. General Wilson now resides in Virginia, where he is the president and chief operating officer of Dimensions International, Inc., an information technology company specializing in information integration.

Sara Woods graduated with a bachelor of arts degree from UNO in 1981 and a master of public administration degree from UNO in 1997. Celebrating her 25th year of service at UNO, Woods is an assistant dean in CPACS. In this role, she oversees the college’s funded research, program development and outreach efforts. Woods teaches a graduate course in grant writing and management for the UNO School of Public Administration. She leads non-credit seminars in grant writing and management throughout the state.

Active in the community, Woods serves on a number of local nonprofit and foundation boards including the Neighborhood Center for Greater Omaha, Alegent Health’s Institutional Review Board, the Metropolitan Area Continuum of Care for the Homeless, Social Settlement, and the Kiwanis Club of Omaha. A past president of the Nonprofit Association of the Midlands, she is currently the president of the board of directors of the Women’s Fund of Greater Omaha. In 2000, she was named volunteer of the year by Edmonson Youth Outreach/YMCA and in 2005 received the Order of the Tower Award from UNO.

* *

UNO is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The celebration recognizes 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


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