Honors Program Alumni Newsletter Fall 2015

Message from the Director

By Patrice Berger

Dear alumni and friends of the Honors Program,

It is a pleasure to renew our contact with graduates and friends.  A decade ago we agreed that the time had come to communicate with our alumni who numbered well over a thousand.  Good intentions were thwarted by challenges in locating email or street addresses of former students, many of whom even the Nebraska Alumni Association could not track.  Recently, thanks to the efforts of a dedicated group of graduates who formed an alumni board intent on seeing this project through and the guidance of Katie Bodie Cervantes in the Honors office, we are well on our way to forming a genuine Honors Alumni group including over 3,000 graduates.

I am happy to report that the Honors Program at UNL is doing very well.  We continue to recruit talented high ability students.  Each year approximately 500 students form our entering class.  The vast majority have graduated from high school in the top 10% of their senior class and consistently present ACT composite scores in the 30s.  While continuing to focus recruitment efforts on Nebraska students, we have also worked closely with the Admissions Office to reach out to prospective students in major Midwestern metropolitan areas.  Our entering class will consist of approximately 25% out-of-state students, many from Kansas City and Illinois.  And many of our incoming students–and their parents--were pleased to know that 85% of HP students graduated in four years.

Each year the University of Nebraska – Lincoln has the opportunity to nominate students with outstanding records of academic and service achievements as candidates for national scholarship competitions, such as the Fulbright, the Truman and the Goldwater.  These awards are prestigious, recognized as signs of distinction within the international academic community, and provide substantial financial benefits for baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate study and research. The Honors Program has a process in place to identify high ability students who will be competitive for many of these awards.  Dr. Laura Damuth, Director of National and International Fellowships, coaches the students through the entire application process by helping them select an appropriate scholarship and write competitive application essays for it. Click here for a list of our most recent successful applicants.  
Honors students continue to lead in the Program and on-campus.  For the fall 2015 we have 84 students who have volunteered to be a Peer Mentor and 13 Peer Mentor Leaders who coordinate, advise and facilitate the Peer Mentor Program.  The Student Advisory Board has 21 returning members, these students act as liaisons with faculty, and plan and orchestrate Honors Week.  The Honors Ambassadors boast a group of 40; these students host prospective students during Red Letter Days and other recruitment events. For all of you attending the Homecoming game this fall, 10 of the 20 students selected to Homecoming Court are current students in the Honors Program. The two students who won UNL’s Outstanding Junior Student Leader are current Honors Program students. Ann Koopmann, Director of Advising and Student Services of the Honors Program, advises these student leaders. We are very proud of the leadership demonstrated by the Honors Program students across campus.

I am sure that many of you remember the Program’s associate director, Dr. Karen Lyons.  In the past 16 years, Karen has taught hundreds of students either in the 189H freshman seminar or the UHON 395H class.  In addition, Karen has mentored a large number of theses and creative projects while also providing guidance to innumerable students seeking help identifying thesis mentors and topics.  Dr. Lyons has taken retirement as of May, 2015, and I am sure you join me in thanking her for years of service to the Program and our students.  Happily, Karen will teach one UHON 395H course in fall and spring, before relocating to her home on the Maine coast in the summer of 2016.  Many thanks and very best wishes!

I am delighted to introduce the newest member of the Honors team.  Dr. Tamy Burnett has joined honors as a full time assistant director.  Tamy brings to the Honors Program a wealth of experience at UNL.  She earned her Ph.D. in English at the University, and has taught a wide range of courses for the English department as well as the program in Women’s and Gender Studies.  She served as the Academic Coordinator for the campus learning communities and programs for several years.  Tamy will work with students seeking research experiences and on curriculum development in an effort to expand departments’ contributions to Honors courses.

Very best wishes to all.  And to quote Garrison Keillor: “Keep in touch.”

Patrice Berger
Director, University Honors Program
Professor of History

Message from the HP Alumni Board President


By Joyce Yen

Greetings from your new Honors Program Alumni Board! We are excited to welcome seven new members to the board and seven returning members. You can read all about us on the new Honors Program Alumni Board website.  The inaugural board, formed in 2013, did a tremendous job establishing a foundation for connecting with Honors Program alumni. The new board is eager to expand on this work.  The board will continue to offer alumni opportunities to reconnect with each other and the Honors Program. For example, we hosted our first regional alumni event in DC in July (see Washington DC Happy Hour story below) and will continue the tradition of an annual alumni reunion. The board is also looking forward to a more active advisory and collaborative role with the Honors Program staff. This newsletter featuring both Alumni news and Honors Program news is a product of this expanded role. We look forward to continuing this great work together. If you have any suggestions for how the board can better serve our alumni or the current honors program students, staff, and faculty, please contact us at HonorsProgramAlumni@unl.edu or send us a note on social media. We hope to hear from you or see you at a future Honors Program or Alumni Board event!

REUNION - Mark Your Calendar!


By Greg Walklin

On September 26, Honors Program Alumni will once again be coming together for a reunion. From 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., free brunch and free cocktails will be served, so please join us before the Huskers take on Southern Miss for Homecoming. All former Honors students—whether you graduated from the program or not—plus a guest, are welcome. Honors Program staff will also be there, giving alumni the chance to see Dr. Berger again, and meet some of the new program leadership. It's a great opportunity to reconnect with old friends and start your gameday off right. Did we say free brunch and free cocktails?

Nebraska Honors Program Alumni Reunion
Saturday, September 26, 2015
9:00 – 11:00 am
Complimentary brunch and cocktails before the Homecoming football game

University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Jackie Gaughan Multicultural Center
Room 202
1505 “S” Street, Lincoln, NE 68588

RSVP here

Spotlight on You

Calling all Honors Alumni!  Please submit a Spotlight profile to showcase some of the amazing things you are doing today. In just 5-10 minutes, you may upload your photo and a short blurb about your professional or personal life, fondest memory of the Honors Program, or how the program contributed to your success. To view rotating Spotlights on your fellow alums, please visit http://honors.unl.edu/alumni.

Washington D.C. Happy Hour

By Jessie Cleveland Brady

Husker Nation is alive and well in our nation's capital! On Wednesday, July 15, UNL Honors Program alumni and current students gathered for a happy hour at the Science Club in Washington, DC. The Periodic Table of Elements wasn't part of the discussion, but you couldn't miss the element of fun! (Excuse the pun.) Huskers enjoyed the opportunity to share DC experiences and catch up with fellow alumni in the area. The UNL Honors Program alumni in DC are looking forward to gathering again soon!

Honors Events Calendar

Honors Week:  September 13-17. For a full listing of events, contact Ann Koopmann at akoopmann1@unl.edu

Quiz Bowl:  September 16 at 7:00 pm, Blue TV Lounge. If you would like to compete on an alumni team, email HonorsProgramAlumni@unl.edu

HP Alumni Reunion & Homecoming:  September 26, 9-11am, Gaughan Multicultural Center, Room 202, 1505 “S” Street, Lincoln, NE 68588


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Office:  402-472-5425

Email:  HonorsProgramAlumni@unl.edu

Website:  http://honors.unl.edu/alumni