The 2021-2022 academic year came to a festive end on Friday as the University of Nebraska at Omaha celebrated the new class of Maverick graduates at Baxter Arena during August commencement ceremonies.
“Wherever your path takes after today, remember to uplift others along the way,” UN Chancellor Joanne Li, Ph.D., CFA, said in her keynote address. ‘opening. “Be the person who makes a difference in the life of someone following a path like yours. Lead by example in all aspects of your life.
Of the more than 550 Mavericks graduating on Friday, 332 earned their undergraduate degrees, 256 earned master’s degrees, three earned doctorates and 14 were recognized with certificates. The Class of 2022 graduates also represented 27 U.S. states and eight countries, and included 132 students who became the first member of their family to graduate from college.
Six University of Nebraska System Regents and NU System President Ted Carter participated in the celebration of new Maverick alumni.
Chancellor Li took a moment during the ceremony to recognize graduates who have gone the extra mile in their academic journey.
“Many of our graduates have had to wear many hats while studying at the UN. You have found work through on-campus jobs, internships and part-time jobs outside of the university or maybe even did you work full time and take care of your family while completing your course,” Li said. “It takes a lot of dedication and it’s no small feat. However, you did and it made you stronger.
Student speaker Maria Mendes Pinto — a graduate with a master’s degree in political science who immigrated from Lisbon, Portugal, to Omaha in 2013 — shared her journey with other graduates and encouraged them to be a force for good in their communities after graduation.
“I am deeply grateful for the warm welcome I have encountered on this campus and challenge you to go out into the world with the same mindset,” Pinto said. “Look around and choose to act with love: spread kindness, navigate your mistakes with grace and patience, listen to the experiences of others, and stand up for those who are voiceless and need your ally the most.”
There is no single definition of a “Maverick,” but there is a unifying Maverick spirit that guides every member of the Class of 2022.
During the ceremony, Chancellor Li honored those whose achievements and contributions have moved the university forward.
Howard and Rhonda Hawks received the Order of the Tower for their philanthropic support of the university and were thanked via video. Julie Dierberger received the Chancellor’s Medal for her leadership of the UN Service-Learning Academy.
“Even in the face of the unprecedented challenges of the pandemic, Dr. Dierberger has worked with faculty, staff, and students to embrace new ways of connecting with the community,” Li told the Baxter Arena audience. “Because of this maverick thinking, UNO has not only maintained its ability to serve the community, but has actually been able to grow its offerings and serve more partners than ever before.”
The Order of the Tower
Howard and Rhonda Hawks
Howard and Rhonda Hawks work through the Hawks Foundation to provide philanthropic support for education and socio-economic issues such as mental health, addiction and homelessness support, as well as ministry support. Christian and the arts.
Howard Hawks is president of the Hawks Foundation and co-founded Tenaska in 1987. He served as president and CEO of Tenaska until 2010 and continued as president. Under his leadership, Tenaska grew from a small operation in Omaha to one of the largest private companies in the United States. Since 1987, the company has raised more than $18 billion for its projects through various combinations of commercial banks, capital markets and companies. partnership equity.
Hawks has served on a number of boards, including Creighton University, University of Nebraska, Joslyn Art Museum, Heritage Services, Boys and Girls Clubs, and the Omaha Zoo Foundation.
Rhonda Hawks is President of The Hawks Foundation and responsible for the day-to-day management of The Hawks Foundation. She is a co-founder of the Behavioral Health Support Foundation, which later created a public/private partnership to advocate for the implementation of behavioral health reform and provided funds for the renovation of the Lasting Hope Recovery Center. .
She has served on several boards, including Project Harmony and Omaha Performing Arts.
The Chancellor’s Medal
Julie Dierberger, Ph.D., Paul Sather Distinguished Director of UNO’s Service Learning Academy
Dierberger has provided leadership in service learning, community engagement and development, and student leadership development in public and private higher education institutions for the past 20 years. She created training for P-12 teachers and UN faculty members to learn and apply best practices in teaching service learning. Dierberger serves on the EDU SXSW (South by Southwest) advisory board, is president of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, and vice president of the Aksarben-Elmwood Park Neighborhood Association.