Bill Wakefield, Ph.D., Honored with Founders Award
William Wakefield, Ph.D., was recently presented with a Founders Award for his invaluable contribution in creating the London Study Abroad program at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. The award, presented to him by Gaylene Armstrong, Ph.D. at SCCJs Annual Scholarship and Awards Luncheon, recognizes the outstanding effort Dr. Wakefield has devoted to the program over the past 45 years. Offered annually since its inception in 1972, the London Study Abroad trip gives students studying criminology and criminal justice a first-hand experience of how the criminal justice system in England compares and contrasts to the criminal justice system employed in the United States. While in England, students visit with constables and other officials from the London Metropolitan Police Force and hear lectures at New Scotland Yard. Students also tour maximum-security prisons and observe trials in both the Magistrates Court and in the Old Bailey Crown Court. The program is one of the longest standing of its kind in the United States and it is estimated that more than 3,500 students have participated in the program throughout the years.
Former student Scott Sasse, Ph.D., noted that Dr. Wakefield made this trip possible for so many people. “He prepared people for it and then took people out of their comfort zone. Ready or not, off we all went. He guided us through the world, through the cities of Europe and through different criminal justice systems giving us an education and a new way of looking at the world that changed every one of us. Whether you went once or many times, you always came back a better person- more appreciative of your life, your family and friends and the world. He gave us a gift we can never repay but we can say thank you. Thank you Bill for everything. You’ve improved the lives and the world more than you will ever know."
In presenting Dr. Wakefield with his award, Dr. Armstrong noted that “not all education happens in our classrooms, and the harder we can work as a school to create extracurricular opportunities, the more lasting memories our students will have.”