UNO College of Business Administration - December 2020 Commencement
SVCAA SACHA KOPP, PH.D. Welcome! Thank you all for joining us for this monumental online commencement ceremony at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. We here at UNO have been eager for this moment to recognize and celebrate the achievements of our graduates. We salute your talents and your perseverance, signs of your true Maverick spirit. Now, as members of our UNO family, we all gather, under extraordinary circumstance, to celebrate with you. We first begin our ceremony with the presentation of the colors and the singing of the National Anthem by UNO Music Education Major, Kiara Walker.
THE NATIONAL ANTHEM Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave? SVCAA SACHA KOPP, PH.D. Greetings. My name is Sacha Kopp, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UNO.
I am pleased to welcome you to the University of Nebraska at Omaha’s December 2020 Commencement. Thank you for joining us, albeit virtually, today. For 112 years, UNO has served as a point of access for excellence in higher education. We are proud to be a premier metropolitan university; relentlessly dedicated to our mission of being student-centered, academically excellent, and engaged with our community and our world. We are Mavericks – independent thinkers, explorers, risk takers – and today we congratulate you, our graduating students, who embody this spirit. We are confident you will continue to innovate, push the boundaries,
and strive for success in whatever you do. At this time, I would like to thank our administration, the vice chancellors who oversee business and finance operations, student success programs, athletics, and community relations, our staff who help UNO operate on campus and online, and our faculty, whose scholarship, teaching, and mentorship provide a world of opportunities for our students. You have all worked tirelessly to ensure our students have been able to continue their academic pursuits during this uncertain time. We would not be here today for these graduates without your unwavering dedication.
Now, it is my pleasure to introduce UNO's Chancellor, Dr. Jeffrey P. Gold. Dr. Gold took on leadership of our university in May 2017, in addition to his responsibilities while serving as chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and chairing the board of UNMC’s principal clinical care system partner, Nebraska Medicine. With both deep knowledge and broad experience in higher education and health care, Dr. Gold is a tireless advocate for advancing UNO’s metropolitan
university mission of access, excellence in education, and service to our community. Please help me welcome Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold. CHANCELLOR JEFFREY P. GOLD, M.D. Thank you for joining us in this celebration of the Class of 2020’s hard work, dedication, and perseverance. Graduates – we are honored to recognize your achievements today, and to share this transformational moment with you. In doing so, we also recognize that these milestones are shared by the family, friends and the loved ones who have been alongside you throughout this journey.
Please take this opportunity to extend a special thanks to those mentors, supporters, and role models – both present with you today and in your hearts – who have helped make today a reality. We are going to take a pause in the ceremony, for just two minutes, for you to hug someone in the room or send a message of thanks to these individuals. Feel free to share these messages on social media and please use the hashtag (#) MavSPIRIT. The University of Nebraska at Omaha’s mission is to transform and to improve lives locally, nationally and globally. Today, we also wish to recognize the professionals whose daily work translates that mission into action and into impact. To the UNO faculty, whose talent and dedication fosters a culture of scholarship reflecting the highest standards of quality and rigor; and to our remarkable UNO staff, whose spirit of service creates the supportive and caring environment in which all of our students thrive – We thank you, so much.
We thank you for sharing your commitment, for sharing your passion and your talent with each and every student each and every day, particularly during these challenging times. Today’s graduating class is composed of more than 1,101 Mavericks. More than one thousand newly minted UNO alumni who enter the community with new knowledge and skills and equally and maybe even more importantly the Maverick spirit of a “can do” high energy approach and a strong set of community values. Of those graduating today, 281 are master’s degrees and 18 are doctoral students. Some of you are native Nebraskans. Some of you come to UNO from across our great country and some of you from around the world. This class, your class, represents 28
states and 36 countries -- with 85 international students completing their degrees here today. We are proud to have each of our International candidates join the Maverick family. One reason that we are so proud to lead the institution is UNO’s commitment to our military, veteran, and dependent students, both on-campus, online, and overseas. For 9 consecutive years in a row, The Military Times has joined and named our university
as one of the top 10 universities in the nation for military-affiliated students. Today, we want to recognize all of the veterans and service members among our graduating class and to recognize your commitment to our freedom. I thank you so much for your service. At UNO, we embrace our role as well as an anchor institution in our community, and we welcome you – all alumni, future Mavericks, and visitors alike – to our campuses for athletic events, concerts, lectures, and community meetings that will hopefully return in the very near future. I also hope that you will return as lifelong learners, exploring the rich educational opportunities that our university has to offer. We are your University of Nebraska here in Omaha, and we look forward to being part of your lives for many generations to come. Class of 2020, thank you for sharing this day with us. Thank you for partnering with
us on your educational journey. I can’t wait to see what you will do next. Congratulations! HONORARY DEGREE The Honorary Degree is the most prestigious honor that is bestowed by the University of Nebraska at Omaha. This honor is reserved for those who have rendered extraordinary service to the university as well as the regional and global community.
Our recipient today, Mr. Mort Crim is being honored with a Doctorate of Humane Letters for his numerous contributions made in the field of journalism. Mr. Crim has worked as a professional speaker, announcer, broadcaster, news reporter, and a national correspondent. He also started his own communications company called Mort Crim Communications Incorporated and has authored several books. Many of you today would recognize his work or reference to his work as well. If you remember Neil Armstrong’s
landing on the moon, it was his voice on ABC that was describing the experience. Mr. Crim also covered President Lyndon B. Johnson’s tours of Australia, Vietnam, and Korea. The popular culture reference to Mr. Crim would be Will Ferrell’s Anchorman. It’s widely known that he is the inspiration for the main character. Mr. Crim began his college studies first at Anderson College before transferring here to UNO to earn a Bachelor of General Education in Journalism. He then went to Northwestern University for his Master’s degree in Journalism.
Mr. Crim’s work history included creating and hosting three daily radio programs, which centered around his belief that the world needs a break from the violent and bizarre stories that tend to dominate news media today, instead he focused on profiling real Americans who make a difference every day. He was an anchor for news stations in Louisville, Philadelphia, and Chicago, as well as ABC’s World News Tonight. He last worked at the station in Detroit, where he stayed for almost 20 years.
Mr. Crim’s work earned him over a dozen Emmy awards, a Gold World Medal for best radio personality, and several Distinguished Achievement Awards from universities across the nation and around the world. For his devotion to giving a voice to the unheard, and highlighting stories of courage and of triumph, and for his dedication to using his platform to update and educate the world, and for his embodiment of what we like to call the Maverick Spirit, the University of Nebraska at Omaha so proudly bestows upon Mr. Mort Crim, the degree Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa, this eighteenth day of December, two thousand and twenty, with all of the rights and privileges thereto. Thank you and congratulations. Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure and privilege to introduce to you the most recent alum of our university, Mr. Crim will now make
our commencement address. MORT CRIM Thank you, Chancellor Gold. I’m deeply appreciative of this honor and for UNO’s courage in selecting a journalist for this recognition. I mean the media is just slightly less popular these days than the coronavirus, as some have even called us, “the enemy of the people.” So in bestowing this degree you also honor a profession for which for all of its flaws remains a cornerstone of democracy.
Thomas Jefferson said if he had to choose between newspapers or government, he would choose the press. Well the need for a vigilant press safeguarding our freedoms against misuse and abuse of power has never been greater, so thank you for acknowledging journalism’s importance. It was 60 years ago this month that I graduated from this campus. I came here for my senior year under the Air Force Operation Bootstrap Program. And although my time at UNO was short, my memories are vivid: Mrs. Dunlap who taught speech; Mr. Borgue in television production, lot of fun in his classes; Paul Peterson who taught critical writing and editing. I’m certain that the high
academic quality that I experienced in 1961 has, like the campus itself, only improved over time. Now I’ve been asked to share some of what I’ve learned during my 85 years. You know, there’s a myth - probably first created by some old geezer about my age - a myth that with age comes wisdom. I’m not sure that’s true. But I am old enough and wise enough to know that commencement
speeches should be short. Socrates once made a long speech and his friends poisoned him. So let me take just a few minutes to talk about something very near and dear to me: truth. My memoir is going to be published in February, and I’ve titled it, “Anchored: A Journalist’s Search for Truth.” This is not an easy search. A Martian lands on
earth and he sees a man holding an iPhone. “What’s that?” he asks. “Why, my friend,” the man says, “I’m holding in my hand the device that gives me instant access to all the accumulated knowledge of mankind since the beginning of time.” And the Martian replies, “What do you use it for?” And the man says, “Oh, we send silly messages and we exchange photos of our grandkids.” Well, here’s the conundrum. Never in history have we ever had such
easy access to so much information. And never in history has it been so difficult to find truth. Our internet today is saturated with partisan propaganda, extremists of various sorts posting along with conspiracy theories, white supremacists and other purposefully fake news. Anyone with a Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter account has potential access to millions of people, no matter how bizarre, dangerous, distorted or false their opinions. Sadly, assaults on the mainline press are also at historic levels.
And my profession has to bear some of the blame for this skepticism because television has blurred the distinction between the opinionators who dominate news channels and honest, objective reporters who go about the business of uncovering and presenting facts. Such reporters still exist. But because news channels have fuzzied the lines between news and commentary, the public has become distrustful of all media. There are still solid professional reporters and writers who respect facts, who try to tell the truth – I know many of these journalists personally.
So despite the media noise, don’t ever give up seeking truth. Today’s hodgepodge of competing voices, we have to be our own editors, sifting and sorting fact from fiction. Search out the good newspapers, the fair-minded reporters, the authentic television news programs, the reliable bloggers. It’s worth the effort. Because both the soul and the survival of our democracy depend upon our commitment to facts. We read in the Bible that truth makes us free. That principle works for individuals and for societies. But in addition to seeking truth, I would urge you to make another commitment.
Let’s just call it the Golden Rule. It means always considering the other guy, living as though you owed something to society for the space you’re taking up on this planet. Albert Einstein was asked by a student, “Why are we here?” And he famously replied, “Why, we are here to serve others.” When a Sunday school teacher quoted that in class a little boy said,
“I want to know what the others are here for.” But Einstein had it right. It’s an old principle dominant in every major religion and absolutely essential to a good life. Selfishness is bad civic policy, but it’s even worse as a personal philosophy. In all the interviews I’ve conducted over my career, and there have been thousands of them, I never met one truly happy person who was selfish or self-centered. So graduates, go out from this wonderful campus and live a full, rewarding life by always seeking the truth, and living and working for something bigger than yourself. Thank you. ORDER OF THE TOWER The Order of the Tower is awarded to individuals whose exemplary service and support have advanced the mission of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Today, we are honored to recognize both
Mr. Paul and Mrs. Djel Ann Brown for the contributions and support that they have made in advancing UNO through the support of the UNO Marion Marsh Brown Writer’s Lecture Series. The Browns have generously donated the funds to create the Marion Marsh Brown Writers Lecture Series, which is an event that is hosted annually by the UNO and by the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media. The Browns’ mission with this series is to celebrate the joy of reading by bringing well-known favorite writers to UNO. During the event, best-selling authors deliver a free lecture to the Omaha community and also host a forum for UNO students, which enables our students to directly learn from these authors, to hear their best practices, their recommendations, and of course to have an opportunity for questions and answers. Past best-selling authors have included John Grisham, Cheryl Strayed, Lee Child, and Nicholas Sparks, all of whom spoke to fully packed audiences at UNO's Baxter Arena.
Our next author that we’ll bring to UNO will be Mr. David Baldacci. The Marion Marsh Brown Writers Lecture Series was created for Mr. Brown’s mom, Marion Marsh Brown, who was a long-time teacher of English here at UNO. Additionally, she wrote and published 19 books, which earned her numerous honors including the Sower Award and the Literary Guild Award. Mr. and Mrs. Brown felt that this event was the best way to honor Marion’s memory and to highlight UNO in our community. Mr. Paul Brown is an attorney and a real estate
developer. Mrs. Djel Ann Brown received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree here from UNO. She taught at OPS for seven years and then at Metropolitan Community College for 13 years. The Browns have made many contributions to the Omaha community including the Omaha Home for Boys, Lauritzen Gardens, and the Museum of Nebraska Art just to name a few. For these commitments and for their super generous contributions to UNO, the Marion Marsh Brown Writers Lecture Series, and to the Omaha community, the University of Nebraska at Omaha bestows upon Mr. Paul and Mrs. Djel Ann Brown the Order of the Tower award, this eighteenth day of December, two thousand and twenty, with all of the rights and privileges thereto.
Thank you and Congratulations on this honor. CHANCELLOR’S MEDAL The Chancellor's Medal is awarded to individuals whose outstanding service to the University of Nebraska at Omaha has shaped the institution’s course. Their dedication, commitment, and exemplary performance fuels UNO’s incredible momentum.
Dr. Dale T. Eesley joined UNO as a faculty member of the College of Business Administration in the Department of Marketing & Entrepreneurship in 2008. As a professor, Dr. Eesley has provided exceptional entrepreneurial education and opportunities, which have delivered strong results inside and outside of the classroom while at the same time leading to high evaluation marks from all of his students. But this is simply just one part of this work. Dr. Eesley also saw a need to help students build their entrepreneurial skills and opportunities outside of the classroom, so he created the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising within our College of Business Administration. This center not only provides education and collaboration for students, but also provides all-important hands-on learning experiences, faculty research, conferences, mentorships, and advisory services to start-ups and small business entities throughout the region. In order to make this center successful, Dr. Eesley worked with
the University of Nebraska Foundation and was able to raise more than one point five million dollars. This demonstrates that the Center for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Franchising has deepened the connections between UNO students and the Omaha business community. Other entrepreneurship programs that he has led here at UNO include Stedman’s Café at Mammel Hall, the Maverick Venture Fund, and UNO-CEO Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization, one of the largest student organizations on campus. Again, this is just a small snapshot of Dr. Eesley’s work. Outside of the classroom and the programs that he runs, Dr. Eesley has made quite
a contribution to UNO, and of course to our local community, and the nation that we serve. He has received numerous honors on campus such as the Alumni Outstanding Teaching Award, Honors Program Faculty of the Year, and recipient of the John Morgan Community Chair in Entrepreneurship. He also served on Faculty Senate, for two of the years serving as treasurer. Dr. Eesley is an avid researcher and has been featured in the Wall Street Journal
and on MSNBC for his dedicated expertise. His nominators state that his exemplary service and his dedication both in and outside of the classroom are deserving factors for the 2020 UNO Chancellor’s Medal. In recognition and in deep appreciation of his leadership to our organization, and for contributions, expertise, and long-standing service to UNO, we bestow upon Dr. Dale T. Eesley the Chancellor’s Medal this eightieth day of December,
two thousand and twenty, with all of the rights and the privileges, thereto. CITATION FOR ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT, LEE DENKER: Hey there, Mavericks. My name is Lee Denker and I serve as the President of the UNO Alumni Association. On behalf of your Alumni Association, congratulations to the Class of 2020.
You’ve worked very hard to get to this moment as you shift from UNO student to UNO alumni. UNO’s first 11 graduates started the alumni network more than a century ago. It now numbers 115,000 alumni all around the world. Some of the special folks watching with you today may be alumni of UNO. If so, you now have that special connection in common.
If you are a member of the alumni network — meaning you attended or graduated from UNO — I’d encourage you to hop on social media to offer congratulations to the UNO Class of 2020. Welcome them to the network. Whether Facebook, Twitter or Instragam, make sure to include the hashtag #unoalumni. I know they’d love to hear from you. The alumni association offers many programs and activities to keep you engaged with UNO. I hope you will stay connected and be a proud Maverick for life. One of my favorite programs is our alumni awards program where we lift up and recognize those graduates who have been difference makers.
Let’s celebrate one such Maverick right now with the Citation for Alumni Achievement Award. This is the university’s oldest award. It has been presented to 181 graduates since 1949. Today, we recognize alumnus Tom Hagel. And I think you’ll be inspired by his story.
A 1972 UNO graduate, Tom is Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Dayton School of Law and among the nation’s foremost experts on the criminal justice system. He is an example of the transformative spirit of service that characterizes Mavericks. Tom has served his country. He has served students. He has served the indigent and the injured. He has served those whose rights have been trampled, and those who have no one else to defend them. And he has done so always with honor. During the Vietnam War Tom fought alongside his brother, former United States Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, as a rifleman for the U.S. Army. Tom was awarded the Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts, the Army Commendation Medal for Valor, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry.
When he returned from the war, he earned his UNO degree, then a law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law, and then a master of laws from the Temple University. He began a longtime practice as an attorney as a deputy public defender in Lincoln, Nebraska. The majority of his career, though, has been spent at the University of Dayton, whose faculty he joined in 1982. He has served that university faithfully for nearly 40 years, teaching and mentoring students while becoming an expert who is regularly sought out for media interviews. At the university, he was named Dayton’s Professor of the Year and he received the Dayton Alumni Association President’s Award. Tom is a true community servant. He maintains a mostly pro bono private practice
while serving as an acting judge for the Dayton Municipal Court. He has supported many Dayton nonprofits including serving as commander of Dayton’s Disabled American Veterans chapter. So today, for his outstanding professional accomplishments, for his extensive service to others, and for his unwavering loyalty to UNO, I am so proud to celebrate Tom Hagel for receiving the Citation for Alumni Achievement award.
You are a good Maverick, Tom. Congratulations – and congratulations, again, to the Class of 2020! CBA DEAN MICHELLE TRAWICK, PH.D. Hi, I’m Michelle Trawick, the Dean of the College of Business Administration. On behalf of the incredible faculty and staff of our College, congratulations graduates - you did it. You have been looking forward to this day for many years. It is a moment to celebrate, a moment to cherish. It’s a true milestone.
And though the ways in which you are celebrating are unlike any we ever predicted, please know that your faculty, staff, and classmates in the College of Business Administration are celebrating with you. During this time of year, we are encouraged to thank those around us. So, graduates, do me a favor, thank your professors, your advisors, parents or grandparents, your siblings, maybe your spouse, your partner, your kids. It’s important to thank the people who helped you achieve your goals. And, for those of you who have made it to commencement without the support of others, I hope you are feeling a bit of extra pride today. Our College also wants to thank you, graduates. We want to thank you for spending the last several years with us. Whether you have been
on campus or online, we are a better because we’ve had you with us. Admittedly, the last few semesters have been difficult for all of us. But I want you to know that the way you’ve performed, the way you have progressed, is exactly what I would have expected. For you to have gotten to this point, during a pandemic, here is what I know about you: You are hard workers. You are innovative. You are nimble. You are resilient. You are achievers. I want you to remember all of those things about yourself. Everything you’ve learned
and experienced over the time it took you to complete your degree here at UNO - those are the things that are going to help you achieve your next goal. Whether it’s your first career job, your next big promotion, or maybe even graduate school, all of the things you’ve learned will help you. And, as you work to progress and achieve those next goals, remember the faculty and staff in the College of Business Administration.
We’re watching. Because we can’t wait to see what you accomplish next! It is my pleasure to introduce Paige Faber to speak on behalf of the College of Business Administration, Class of 2020. Paige, from Aurora, Nebraska, is the daughter of Stacie and Brett Faber. She has completed her Business concentration in Marketing along with a second major in Spanish.
PAIGE FABER Members of the Board of Regents, Chancellor Gold, Distinguished Faculty, Esteemed Fellow Graduates, and Honored Family, Friends, and Guests. Wow. We’re finally at the end of what has been the longest, weirdest, and most tumultuous year. For example, who was terrified of their bathroom experiences because of the toilet paper scare? How many of you have regularly said, “Oh shoot, I forgot my mask!?” Does anyone else feel triggered when they see an email notification or hear the word “Zoom”? It feels like so much has happened in 2020, and at the same time like nothing has. You make plans, cancel them, make new plans, then move them, and every time we do this, the excitement and significance of these events seem to diminish. They dwindle to the point that they almost seem
unimportant and insignificant, that they’re somehow not worth celebrating anymore. We cannot let today be one of those days. This is one of those monumental moments in your life that you envision when you’re a kid and then once again when you’re in high school, and let’s be honest with ourselves, something that we think about every single day in college. So we cannot let this day pass as any other day that you simply check off on your calendar. We need to take the time to really make a day out of it and find the enjoyment in it. The best way to do this is through making the most out of your situation with your closest friends and family.
One of my favorite holidays to celebrate and go absolutely all-out for is Halloween. This year, Halloween wasn’t going to look like a big party with tons of friends or going out, or even greeting trick-or-treaters. But I couldn’t let this holiday pass by. On Halloween night, my roommates and I got all dressed up as Scooby Doo and the Mystery Gang and set up an entire photo studio using three lamps and propping up a phone on a table to capture the perfect group picture. After our photo session, we shared a fun Halloween-themed dinner, quickly changed into sweatpants to be freed from our uncomfortable costumes, and finished the night with board games. Even though Halloween wasn’t what we hoped for or expected, we still found a way to make it special and turn it into a memory that we’ll be able to look back on for years to come.
Without a doubt, our graduation day is tremendously more significant than Halloween, so it’s even more important that we make the most of this historic event in our lives. And so, I encourage you to hold a mini ceremony in your living room. Ask your roommate, friend, spouse, parent, or sibling to act as the Dean and hand you your diploma.
Create your very own acceptance speech and present it to your roommates or family members. Make that walk across your living room playing the iconic Pomp and Circumstance March. Take every cheesy picture you can with your cap and gown. And I know that Zoom is kind of the public enemy right now, but consider having a Zoom meeting or FaceTime with your friends and family that couldn’t share this day with you and help you celebrate and make this day special.
I know our graduation ceremony being held virtually isn’t what we expected or hoped for and doesn’t necessarily seem as special as sitting in Baxter Arena, surrounded by our friends, family, and classmates. But not everyone has the opportunity to attend college or even finish it. And not everyone persevered through this global pandemic to complete their degree, so we are extremely fortunate to be sitting in our homes today receiving our diplomas that we have worked so tirelessly for amid such chaos. So, don’t let this day be any other day. Make this day the most memorable day to be a Maverick. DEAN TRAWICK Now we come to that part of the program you have eagerly awaited – the Conferral of Degrees. Before proceeding with the presentation of candidates, I call your attention to one item of interest: Students graduating with honors are so indicated in your commencement program. In recognition of their outstanding academic achievements, a uniquely designed medallion will be delivered to each student graduating with honors with their diploma.
Chancellor, these candidates have completed the requirements set forth by the College of Business Administration, the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. The faculty of the College takes pleasure in recommending them to you for the conferral of degrees. CONFERRAL OF UNDERGRADUATE DEGREES, CHANCELLOR GOLD: Wherever you may be today in celebration with your families, please know that by the authority vested in me by the Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska, I hereby confer upon each of you the bachelor's degree for which you have been recommended, with all of the rights, the privileges and the responsibilities pertaining thereto. On behalf of the entire University of Nebraska at Omaha community, our faculty, our staff, and of course our administration, congratulations to all of you. We hope that you have had your cap and tassel, or maybe even made your own. But this is your time to have your family and friends record this magic moment of you moving your tassel.
Please share this moment using the hashtag (#) MavSPIRIT. Now, in keeping with a time-honored academic tradition, you may move your tassels from the right side to the left. Ladies and gentlemen, I now present to you the UNO Class of 2020. Congratulations and God speed on your journey. At this time, we will recognize each individual degree recipient. Please watch and listen for your name, and when it is read alphabetically by last name, and then celebrate your many accomplishments with your family members, your friends at home. Thank you so much! SVCAA KOPP We thank you for joining us today in this celebration. Though our nation is in the midst of
an unprecedented period, we wanted so very much to recognize you today and confer your degrees. Copies of your degrees will be delivered to you in due course. Thank you and congratulations, class of 2020 and remember to always do all the good you can, for everyone you can, whenever you can and wherever you can. Once a Maverick, always a Maverick!