Nebraska to grant about 3,200 degrees in May ceremonies

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will confer about 3,200 degrees during commencement exercise May 4 and 5. | Craig Chandler, University Communications
The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will confer about 3,200 degrees during commencement exercise May 4 and 5. | Craig Chandler, University Communications

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will confer about 3,200 degrees during commencement exercises May 4 and 5 at Pinnacle Bank Arena and the Lied Center for Performing Arts.

The arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, will host a ceremony for students earning graduate and professional degrees at 3 p.m. May 4 and one for those earning bachelor's degrees at 9:30 a.m. May 5.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne will deliver the address at the undergraduate commencement and receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the university. John W. Maag, professor of special education and communication disorders at Nebraska, will speak at the graduate and professional degrees ceremony.

The College of Law will conduct a separate commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. May 5 at the Lied Center, 301 N. 12th St. Nebraska Supreme Court Justice Jeffrey Funke will address the law graduates. Earl and Patricia Scudder, alumni and longtime supporters of the university, will receive the Builder Award during the ceremony.

To maintain a secure environment at Pinnacle Bank Arena, a new clear-bag policy has been implemented that limits the size and type of bag that may be brought into the venue. Find out details here. To avoid inconveniences, guests are encouraged to arrive early and travel light.

Payne is a director, producer and screenwriter known for such acclaimed films as "Citizen Ruth," "Election," "About Schmidt," "Sideways," "The Descendants" and "Nebraska." His movies have been nominated for 18 Academy Awards, and he has won two Oscars for best adapted screenplay ("Sideways" and "The Descendants"). "Sideways" also won the Golden Globe for best motion picture-musical or comedy of 2004. An Omaha native, Payne graduated from Creighton Preparatory School and earned a bachelor's degree from Stanford University and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has also done coursework at the University of Salamanca, Spain, and Nebraska. He is on the boards of The Film Foundation, the Telluride Film Festival, and Film Streams in Omaha.

Maag has taught at the university for 29 years and specializes in the education and treatment of children with emotional and behavioral disorders. He teaches courses in behavior management, cognitive therapy and the use of strategic interventions. A certified professional counselor and licensed mental health practitioner, his research interests include functional assessment, treatment of depression and teaching self-management skills. Maag has published more than 100 journal articles and four books. His 1996 book, "Parenting Without Punishment," won a Parents' Choice Award. He has also received the university's Distinguished Teaching Award and the Donald R. and Mary Lee Swanson Award for Teaching Excellence. He earned his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in special education from Arizona State University.

Funke was appointed to the Nebraska Supreme Court in June 2016. He began his career as an attorney in Otoe County before becoming a county and district court judge. He is a Nebraska State Bar Foundation Fellow and member of the Second Judicial District Bar Association. Funke has also been an executive committee member of the Nebraska County Judges Association and a county court representative for the Case Management Committee for Nebraska Trial Courts. He has served on the boards of the Friends of Arbor Lodge Foundation, Morton James Public Library Foundation, Nebraska City Airport Authority and St. Mary's Community Hospital in Nebraska City. He earned a bachelor's degree from Nebraska in 1991 and his Juris Doctor from the university in 1994.

Earl Scudder is a 1964 graduate of the College of Business and 1966 graduate of the College of Law. He co-founded the Scudder Law Firm in 1990 and is the firm's chairman. He has served on numerous state and national boards, including the Nebraska Investment Council, Nebraska State Racing Commission and Nebraska State Education Task Force. Scudder has also been a trustee of the University of Nebraska Foundation and has served on many university committees. He was instrumental in the funding of the Clayton K. Yeutter Institute for International Trade and Finance.

Patricia Scudder has earned three degrees from Nebraska: a Bachelor of Fine and Performing Arts in 1964, a Masters of Arts in 1989 and a Doctor of Philosophy in English in 1996. She supports the Dr. Patricia Heumann Scudder Fund for the College of Arts and Sciences, helped establish the university's Parents Association and has been a docent for the Sheldon Museum of Art. The Scudders have donated to the university for more than 50 years.

No tickets are required for the commencement 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 through the City of Lincoln website. 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 post office building, 700 R St., directly east of Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Parking maps are available here. Street closures in the Haymarket area will be in effect May 5 due to the Farmer's Market. Street congestion may occur.

Graduating students are to check in at 2 p.m. for the graduate and professional degrees ceremony, 8 a.m. for the undergraduate ceremony and 2 p.m. for the College of Law 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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