OMAHA – The UNO Alumni Association hosted the third Alumni Night of Honor Thursday, Nov. 3., at the Thompson Alumni Center, offering campus another event during the midst of UNO Homecoming week.
Sponsored by First Data Resources, Alumni Night of Honor highlighted achievements by members of the worldwide UNO alumni network, now numbering more than 100,000 living graduates. Among the individuals honored were Young Alumni Achievement Award recipients Andres Torres and Wendy Townley; 2016 UNO Athletics Hall of Fame inductees Fred Abboud (multi-sport), Justin Kammrad (football) and Scott Parse (hockey); and, Outstanding Service Award recipient David Craft.
Past Alumni Achievement Award recipients and other distinguished graduates who have earned special recognition for service or professional accomplishments also were recognized during the ceremony.
“Tonight we lift up members of the alumni network who have been successful in athletics, in the workplace, in their communities and through their service to others,” said UNO Alumni President Lee Denker. “We honor you for your successes, but in doing so, we celebrate the university that ties us all together. A UNO education is life-changing, allowing our graduates to go out and change the world for the better. You — our honored alumni tonight — are shining examples of that.”
YOUNG ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Established in 2014, Young Alumni Achievement Awards recognize outstanding career achievement, active community involvement or exceptional service to the university by graduates 40 or younger.
Torres is business director for the Global Utility Division at Valmont Industries. He is responsible for sales, project management and engineering of tubular steel structures used to support transmission lines, highway lighting and traffic lights for customers in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, he earned an MBA from UNO in 2013. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, including stints as president of the Nebraska Section and co-chair of the Younger Members Group. He also is a council member for the Greater Omaha Young Professionals and one of the founders of the Valmont Professional Network.
Since 2015, Torres has served as a member of the UNO Alumni Scholarship Swing Committee. He also volunteers his time at St. Andrew’s United Methodist Church.
Torres received the Greater Omaha 40 under 40 Award in 2012 from the Midlands Business Journal and was named one of Ten Outstanding Young Omahans in 2016 by the Omaha Jaycees. He is married with two sons.
Townley is development director of the Omaha Public Library Foundation. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism (2002) and a master’s in communication (2011), both from UNO.
Townley previously worked as a campaign manager for the Steier Group and was assistant director of media relations at UNO. She also has worked for Cox Communications, Leslie Kline Lukas & Associates, and elsewhere. Since 2008 she has been an adjunct faculty member in UNO’s School of Communication.
Townley also has written for numerous publications, including UNO Magazine, and in 2010 authored “Nerdy Thirty,” a collection of 13 humorous essays. Her professional affiliations include membership with the Greater Omaha Young Professionals Council (chair in 2016), Leadership Omaha, Women’s Fund Circles, Optimist Club of Omaha and the Omaha Press Club.
UNO’s School of Communication presented her its Rising Star Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 and the Nebraska chapter of the Public Relations Society of America named her Newcomer of the Year in 2005. She is married to fellow UNO alum Matt Tompkins (2007).
HALL OF FAME
With the induction of Abboud, Kammrad and Parse, the UNO Athletics Hall of Fame grows to 114 members.
“These three gentlemen represented Omaha University and UNO with great distinction during their time on campus,” said Trev Alberts, vice chancellor of athletics. “Their athletic endeavors place them among some of the finest student-athletes to have played their respective sports, both regionally and nationally, and all are deserving of a place in our Hall of Fame.”
A three-sport letterman at Omaha Central High School, Abboud served in the U.S. Army before coming to Omaha University, where he was the starting fullback for four years and leading scorer for three seasons. He also played defensive back, returned kicks and was second in total offense on the team for two years. He also played baseball and had a career batting average topping .300.
Abboud also was a member of the Omaha University club hockey team, played on the freshman basketball team and briefly ran track. He also was the school's light heavyweight boxing champion. He graduated in 1951 and is a member of the Nebraska Football Hall of Fame.
A first-team All-American in 2003 and UNO’s first-ever Harlon Hill Award finalist top 3 after leading the nation in rushing, Kammrad set several school rushing records during his 2000-03 career. He set the single-game and season records, running for 308 yards in his final game to give him 1,866 yards in 2003.
Kammrad is No. 6 in career rushing among Mavericks with 2,353 yards. The Council Bluffs, Iowa, native set the single-game record in his first collegiate start and broke it in his final game. He was hampered by knee injuries, which held him to just one game in 2001 and nine games in 2002.
Parse is Omaha’s all-time career points leader for hockey, amassing 197 between 2003 and 2007. He also owns the school record for goals (79) and assists (118). A two-time AHCA All-American, including a first-team selection in 2006, the native of Portage, Michigan, set the school record for points (61) and assists (41) in a season as a junior.
That year, he became the first Maverick nominated for the Hobey Baker Award, and he was nominated again the following year. A model of durability, he is one of three players to hold the school record for games played (159).
OUTSTANDING SERVICE AWARD & OTHER HONOREES
Night of Honor also included presentation of an Outstanding Service Award to David Craft.
Established in 1974, Outstanding Service Awards honor faculty, staff, alumni or friends who have shown long, outstanding service to the Alumni Association and/or University. Since then, 110 individuals have received the award.
Craft served the UNO Alumni Association Board of Directors from 2008 until 2016. He was chairman of the board in 2014-15. During his tenure he was instrumental in getting Maverick Monument installed on UNO’s campus. He also served on the association’s Scholarship Swing Committee for six years, including four years as co-chair. He also speaks to and mentors CBA students.
Craft is senior investment strategist and vice president at Wells Fargo Private Bank in Omaha. He earned a BA from UNO in 1990 and an MBA in 1992. He was the 91st graduate to chair the board.
The Night of Honor also featured recognition of the 15th anniversary of the UNO softball team’s 2001 national championship. Former head coach Jeanne Scarpello and many of her former players attended.Alumni who have been honored in the past year by UNO colleges, schools and departments also were recognized at the ceremony.