OMAHA – It was a celebration years in the making for more than 1,100 University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) students as friends and family packed Baxter Arena for 2015's December Commencement ceremonies on Friday, Dec. 18.
The semester's commencement, the first to be held at the city's newest venue, honored students from each of UNO's six colleges as well as the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Engineering.
At this year's ceremony, there were two students speakers; one representing the undergraduate class and one representing the graduate class.
Undergraduate Speaker: Jordan Koch
This year’s undergraduate speaker was Jordan Koch, who received a Bachelor of Science in Education with an emphasis on elementary education. Koch served as student body president during the 2014-2015 school year and recently accepted a spring semester internship at the National Association of State Boards of Education in Washington D.C.
Graduate Speaker: Gerard Forbes
This year’s graduate speaker was Gerard Forbes, who received a Master of Business Administration. Forbes received his bachelor’s in psychology from Creighton University. He will join the UNO team as a part-time professor in August 2016.
The 2015 December Commencement ceremony also included the presentation of three awards: An Honorary Doctorate, the Citation for Alumni Achievement and the Chancellor's Medal.
Honorary Degree Recipient: Aldo Tesi
The Honorary Degree is the highest honor conferred by the University. Aldo Tesi was presented with a Doctorate of Humane Letters at this Commencement Ceremony.
Tesi began a 20-year career with First Data Corporation in 1979. He joined the company’s largest division, First Data Resources, where his path took him from sales and service to chief operating officer to president in 1990. Tesi joined the Omaha-based Election Systems & Software (ES&S) as president in 1999 and became chief executive officer in 2000.
Since April 2013, he has served as chairman and CEO. He maintains an active involvement in Omaha, supporting charities such as the United Way of the Midlands, Mid-America Council/Boy Scouts of America and Marian High School.
Citation for Alumni Achievement: LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck
This year’s recipient of the UNO Citation for Alumni Achievement was LaVonne Kopecky Plambeck.
Graduating from UNO in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in fine arts before continuing with her master’s and doctorate degrees in education at UNL. Plambeck founded the Montessori Educational Centers in Nebraska and has also worked extensively on early childhood education with UNO’s College of Education, the University of Nebraska at Kearney and Omaha’s College of Saint Mary.
Plambeck has served on an advisory committee on early childhood education for the State of Nebraska and was appointed to a White House conference on families.
Chancellor’s Medal: Trev Alberts
The Chancellor’s Medal is given annually to the UNO employee who best reflects extraordinary service and commitment to the university and has performed with excellence in their profession. This year’s recipient was Trev Alberts, Vice Chancellor for Athletic Leadership and Management.
Alberts graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he was an All-American linebacker. He went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts from 1994-1996, then to serve as an analyst for college and professional football games for major national networks before joining UNO as Athletic Director in 2009.
Included in this list are the names of graduates who applied for December 2015 graduation and approved their names for release to hometown media outlets.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Sam Petto | UNO Media Relations Coordinator
Charley Reed | UNO Associate Director of Media Relations
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.