Nebraska to grant about 1,400 degrees in December

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln's winter commencement exercises are Dec. 20 and 21. | Craig Chandler, University Communications
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln's winter commencement exercises are Dec. 20 and 21. | Craig Chandler, University Communications

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will confer about 1,400 degrees during commencement exercises Dec. 20 and 21.

Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, will host a ceremony for students earning graduate and professional degrees at 3 p.m. Dec. 20 and one for those earning bachelor's degrees at 9 a.m. Dec. 21. The College of Law will award eight Juris Doctor degrees during a ceremony at 1 p.m. Dec. 20 at Hamann Auditorium in McCollum Hall, 1875 N. 42nd St.

Kwame Dawes, award-winning poet and writer, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner, will deliver the undergraduate commencement address. L.J. McElravy, associate professor of leadership in the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication and associate dean of graduate student professional development, will give the address at the graduate and professional degrees ceremony. Riko Bishop, a judge of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, will speak to the law graduates.

The university will present Mike Johanns, former U.S. senator for Nebraska, former U.S. secretary of agriculture and former Nebraska governor, with an honorary Doctor of Laws during the undergraduate ceremony.

Born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, Dawes is the author of more than 35 books and the editor of numerous others. His most recent poetry collection, “Nebraska,” was published this year by the University of Nebraska Press. Elected as a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, Dawes is also an honorary fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He is the co-founder and programming director of the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica, founding director of the African Poetry Book Fund and teaches in the Pacific Master of Fine Arts Program in Oregon. His awards include an Emmy, Musgrave Medal, Barnes and Noble Writers for Writers Award, and the prestigious Windham/Campbell Literary Prize. Dawes joined the Husker faculty in 2011 and received the university’s Outstanding Research and Creative Activity award in 2019. He holds a doctoral degree from the University of New Brunswick.

McElravy has served as the graduate program chair since 2016 and was recently appointed associate dean of graduate student professional development within the Office of Graduate Studies. He has earned several awards for his teaching and programming. His research and extension efforts focus on leader and leadership assessment, and leadership training and development, based on positive psychology. McElravy earned an undergraduate degree in biochemistry and French, master’s degree in leadership education and doctoral degree in leadership studies, all from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He also served four years in the U.S. Army, which shaped his beliefs of leadership being a developmental process that can greatly impact the success of teams, organizations and communities.

Bishop has been a judge with the Nebraska Court of Appeals since 2013. She was previously a shareholder with Perry, Guthery, Haase and Gessford, where she was a litigation attorney for 20 years. Before that, she was a school teacher and worked in private business management. Bishop chairs the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Committee on Practice and Procedure and Nebraska’s Judicial Branch Education Advisory Committee. She is a member of the Parenting Act Subcommittee, and she co-chairs a Temporary Hearings in District Court Subcommittee. She serves on the Nebraska State Bar Foundation’s Law Related Education Committee and is a member of the Appellate Practice Section of the Nebraska State Bar Association. Bishop received the 2017 Outstanding Contributor to Women in the Law Award from the NSBA Women and the Law Section, and was recognized as a 2017 Outstanding Civic Health Partner by Nebraskans for Civic Reform (now Civic Nebraska). She recently received the 2018 Warren K. Urbom Mentor Award from the Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court. She is a 1992 graduate of the College of Law.

Johanns is an attorney and politician who served as a U.S. senator for Nebraska from 2009 to 2015. He was also the U.S. secretary of agriculture from 2005 to 2007 and Nebraska governor from 1999 to 2005. Before that, Johanns was a two-term Lincoln mayor, Lincoln City Council member and Lancaster County Board member. He began his career as a private-practice attorney in O’Neill and Lincoln after being a Nebraska Supreme Court clerk. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota and a Juris Doctor from Creighton University’s School of Law.

Chancellor Ronnie Green will preside over the commencement ceremonies.

To maintain a secure environment, Pinnacle Bank Arena enforces a clear-bag policy that limits the size and type of bag that may be brought into the venue. To avoid inconveniences, guests are encouraged to arrive early and travel light.

No tickets are required for the ceremonies. The public may sit in any non-reserved seats other than on the main floor, which is set for graduates, faculty and dignitaries. Handicap seating is available on the concourse level in Sections 106, 107, 112, 114, 117 and 118. Beverage stands will be open. Open captioning for people with hearing impairment will be provided through the ribbon screens at the corners of the arena concourse level. For Pinnacle Bank Arena seating charts, click here.

Guest services and first aid will be on Level 3 at Gate 112.

Paid parking, including handicap spaces, is available in Haymarket area garages and on the street. Parking in the Red 1 Garage, 555 R St. at $3 per vehicle, can be reserved and paid in advance here. Pinnacle Bank Arena's north lobby entrance will not be open for commencement.

A drop-off area for mobility-restricted guests will be available on the south side of the U.S. Post Office building, 700 R St., directly east of Pinnacle Bank Arena, although the area is expected to be highly congested.

Parking maps are available here.

Graduating students are to check in by 12:40 p.m. for the College of Law ceremony, 2:30 p.m. for the graduate and professional degrees ceremony and 8:30 a.m. for the undergraduate commencement ceremony. Graduates and their guests are asked to stay for the entire ceremony.

The ceremonies will be streamed here and broadcast live on Spectrum channel 1303, Allo channel 23 and Kinetic channel 1080.

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