Nebraska Alumni Association award winners to be recognized May 2

Alumni Awards Banquet Program2012(ModRed).jpeg

The Nebraska Alumni Association will recognize 21 accomplished UNL alumni, seven promising students and an outstanding family at the annual Alumni Awards Banquet, An All-University Celebration, May 2 at the Nebraska Champions Club.

The 2013 award winners represent all nine UNL colleges and have achieved successes in their careers and communities.

A selection committee comprising UNL alumni from across the country chose the winners. A list of the 2013 award winners and complete biographies can be found at


Early Achiever Awards

Trent Claus, 2006, Santa Monica, Calif., is an award-winning visual effects artist who has worked on more than 60 feature films, including four that have won Academy Awards for best visual effects.

Danielle Conrad, 2000, 2002, 2003, Lincoln, was elected to the Nebraska Legislature in 2006 and 2010, representing Lincoln’s 46th District. Her legislative accomplishments include ensuring adequate funding for Nebraska’s educational system, particularly higher education.

Jenna Johnson, 2007, Washington D.C., is a higher education reporter at The Washington Post. In January, Johnson traveled to southern Turkey to report on the Syrian revolution and its resulting humanitarian crisis.

Katherine Johnson, 2000, 2004, 2007, Lincoln, is director of research and analytics at National Research Corp. where she engages in research and thought leadership in healthcare.

Nathan Preheim, 2009, Omaha, is chief operations officer and co-founder of, a public engagement firm specializing in interactive applications that extract useful ideas from community residents.

Heather Ramsey, 2009, Bruning, Neb., is a grain merchandiser for Flint Hill Resources’ Fairmont, Neb., facility, where she is the primary grain buyer for the 100 million-plus gallon per year ethanol processor.

Jess Sweley, 1999, 2012, Chicago, is senior director of research, quality and innovation at ConAgra Foods, where he leads a team of more than 30 scientists, engineers and culinologists responsible for new product and technology development.

Misty Thomas, 2001, 2006, Bloomfield, Neb., a member of the Santee Sioux Nation of Nebraska and a descendant of the Tingit of Alaska, is director of the Dakota Tiwahe Service Unit, the Social Services Department for the Santee Sioux Nation.


Alumni Achievement Awards

Lyle Denniston, 1955, Fort Washington, Md., is in his 65th year as a journalist, and his 55th year of covering the U.S. Supreme Court, now for He previously reported for the Boston Globe, the Baltimore Sun and the Washington Star.

Kristin Whitted Fasbender, 1997, Indianapolis, is associate director of championships and alliances for the NCAA in Indianapolis. Fasbender serves as the lead administrator for the Division I championships in women’s volleyball, men’s ice hockey and men’s tennis.

Stephanie Isaacson, 1999, Kansas City, Mo., is owner and president of New Horizons Enterprises LLC, recently named one of the top 500 woman-owned businesses in the country by

Dean Kratz, 1949, Omaha, is senior partner in the law firm of McGrath North Mullen & Kratz. He served as judge and chief judge on the Nebraska Court of Industrial Relations and recently was president of the Nebraska State Bar Foundation.

Jane Schuchardt, 1974, Washington D.C., is executive director of the Extension Committee on Organization and Policy, the representative leadership and governing body of Cooperative Extension nationwide.

John Skretta, 1991, 1994, 2000, 2008, Lincoln, is superintendent of the Norris School District and Region, a member of the Midwest Dairy Health & Wellness Advisory Council, and a 2010 national Healthy Schools Champion.

Cecil L. Walker, 1959, Newnan, Ga., is the retired chairman and CEO of Gannett Broadcasting. Walker and his wife, Jeanette, have established family endowments to make annual awards of Walker Family Scholarships at several universities, including Nebraska.

Matt Williams, 1971, 1974, Gothenburg, Neb., is chairman and president of Gothenburg State Bank and currently is chairman of the American Bankers Association.


Additional alumni award winners

Outstanding International Alumnus Award: Noel Stonehouse, 1988, Victoria, Australia

Family Tree Award: Ralph Eickhoff, Sr. Family, 1950, 1970, Columbus, Neb.

Cather Circle Alumna of the Year: Marty Liggett,1972, Washington, D.C.

Doc Elliott Award: Allen Blezek, 1966, 1969, 1973, Lincoln

Distinguished Service: Mark Dreiling, 2005, Denver; Bill Glaser, 1971, 1977, Minden, Nev.


Student award winners

Charlotte Kramer Foreign Study Scholarship: Lyndee Talbitzer

Jack Miller Scholarships: Emily Hubl, Lincoln; Mark Carney, Castle Rock, Colo.

Roy and Catherine Yaley Award: Alexandria Cerveny, Aurora, Neb.

Vann Student Leadership Award: Kenneth Herron, Kansas City, Mo.

Shane Osborn Award: Jonathan Larson, Saint Charles, Mo.

Cather Circle Collegian of the Year: Abbie Gabel, Lincoln

More details at: