The Donald and Lorena Meier Foundation of Chicago is making a major gift to the University of Nebraska Foundation to create four endowed student scholarship funds and to expand and permanently endow 14 existing scholarship funds. The scholarships will benefit students across the University of Nebraska system who meet the criteria of each.

This article originally appeared on Nebraska Today.

To contribute to any of these Universities and specifically CoJMC at UNL, see the links below:

An additional gift of $755,000 from the Meier Foundation will support the construction of a new television studio and newsroom at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications. It replaces an existing studio and will include a newsroom, television control area and three separate news sets. It will incorporate cutting-edge technology that supports live broadcasts or one-person productions.

A 1941 Husker alumnus, the late Donald “Don” Meier used estate planning to direct assets from his charitable foundation to provide significant support for the University of Nebraska. During their lives, Meier and his late wife, Lorena, gave regularly to the university and established 14 student scholarship funds, the first one being created in 1999.

“The generous support from Donald and Lorena Meier — during their lives and through planned giving — will help make the university even more accessible and affordable for thousands of students,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “Support for a new, state-of-the-art TV studio and newsroom will also offer a truly professional experience for journalism students.

“The philanthropic mark made by Don and Lorena on our students and the entire University of Nebraska system will continue for generations.”

The Donald and Lorena Meier Foundation has committed to transfer assets to the University of Nebraska Foundation over the next several years to fulfill the Meiers’ wishes of helping young people achieve their educational goals.

“Don and Lorena Meier cared deeply about Don’s alma mater and assisting students in achieving their own career success and enjoyment,” said David Shoub, president of the Donald and Lorena Meier Foundation. “Over the next 25 years, the foundation plans to provide an estimated $10 million in support of student scholarships to fulfill the charitable wishes of Don and Lorena. We’re pleased to be carrying forth their aspirations in making a University of Nebraska education possible for more promising students for generations to come.”

Don and Lorena Meier had distinguished media careers that included the production of award-winning national network television shows, the most popular and long running being Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” and “Zoo Parade.”

“Wild Kingdom” was an Emmy-winning wildlife documentary program starring Marlin Perkins that aired from 1963 to 1971 on NBC, after which it entered syndication. Episodes of the program air on RFD-TV, with new and updated content across many of its digital properties.

Meier also produced “Zoo Parade,” a 1950s NBC program featuring animals from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago. Prior to producing these programs, Meier served as an NBC producer for several local programs and events, including television broadcasts of Chicago Cubs and White Sox baseball games.

Don Meier’s interest in supporting student scholarships was influenced by his own experience at the University of Nebraska. During his lifetime, he considered different ways to support the university but was especially drawn to opportunities for scholarships or other projects that directly benefit students.

“I had no other dream than to go to the University of Nebraska,” he told the university in 2008 in announcing his plans for significant support of student scholarships.

Don Meier’s dream did not come easy. He worked off and on during college, sometimes taking up to a year off to work or to return home to Oshkosh, Nebraska, where he had a job as a high school librarian. He completed his college education in six years.

“I remember my own struggles to complete my college education,” he once said. “In those days, back in the 1930s, they didn’t have a lot of scholarships. I just remember how tough it was for me to make it. It became apparent to me as I pursued my own career that the main thing is not only the support, but it’s important to get kids into college, and I agree with my wife who says that all students should seek to expand their potential by seeking full development of their talent.”

Lorena Meier died June 22, 2018, at age 100, and Don Meier died July 13, 2019, at age 104.

The Donald and Lorena Meier Foundation has committed over several years to support new and existing scholarship funds that were established by Don and Lorena Meier. Students enrolled in the following colleges and areas of the University of Nebraska who meet certain scholarship criteria are eligible:

University of Nebraska–Lincoln:

University of Nebraska at Kearney:

Any University of Nebraska campus:


This post originally appears on IANR News.

Want to support the Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program directly? Then follow this link to make a gift today!

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced the recipients of scholarships for the 2022-23 academic year. The one-time scholarships will be awarded to 90 students totaling $194,000 for the ensuing academic year.

The Engler Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program was established in 2010 by a gift from the Paul and Virginia Engler Foundation. The mission of the program is to embolden people on the courageous pursuit of their purpose through the art and practice of entrepreneurship. The program offers an academic minor while serving as an intersection in which students from a diverse array of majors and business interests can come together in pursuit of the American Dream.

Incoming Freshman Scholarship Winners:

Ainsworth: Tom Ortner, Libby Wilkins

Albion: Braden Benes, Carson Maricle, Cody Maricle

Arapahoe: Grant Taylor

Avoca: Jenna Knake

Colon: Teresa Quinn

Eddyville: Adilyn McFarland

Fremont: Adelaide Witte

Friend: Christian Weber

Kearney: Logan Greeno

Lincoln: Evan Boesen, Allison Walbrecht

Nelson: Kylie Beard

Oakland: Anna Karnopp

St Paul: Madison Hirschman

Sumner: Mattison Beattie

Wray, CO: Jaden Dodsworth

Continuing Student Scholarship Winners:

Ainsworth: Sam Wilkins, senior

Albion: Samantha Weeder, sophomore

Alliance: Madison Adam, junior

Ashland: Cinch Beetison, sophomore

Aurora: Blaine Bonifas, junior; Ellie Wanek, sophomore

Axtell: Jacob Wendell, junior

Ayr: Hunter Collins, sophomore

Bassett: Jillian Buell, sophomore; Jaya Nelson, sophomore

Berthoud, CO: Kace Thoren, sophomore

Bridgman, MI: Emma Schmidt, junior

Burwell: Emma Hoffschneider, senior

Clay Center: Sam VonSpreckelsen, sophomore

Columbus: Este Lesiak, sophomore; Carsten Loseke, junior

David City: Valerie Bohuslavsky, senior

Emmet: Chandra Spangler, senior

Firth: Daniel Oldemeyer, junior

Fordyce: Chase Lammers, junior

Fremont: Caitlyn Vyhlidal, senior

Franklin: Kristen Herrick, sophomore

Ft Lupton, CO: Dominic Gittlein, sophomore

Fullerton: James Wetovick, junior

Gilbert, AZ: Rachel Clarkson, junior

Gooding, ID: Charlotte Brockman, sophomore

Gothenburg: Heath Keiser, junior; Presley Wendelin, senior

Gresham: Chaylee Tonniges, junior

Gretna: Alexis Jansen, sophomore

Harvard: Dusty Stone, senior

Herman: Luke Mathiesen, junior

Hickman: Carter Rohrer, junior

Hooper: Taylor Ruwe, junior; Rebecca Wulf, junior

Lemoyne: Sheridan Wilson, sophomore

Lincoln: Marco Cuaran, senior

Lindsay: Preston Sueper, junior

Long Pine: Jacy Hafer, senior; Logan Hafer, sophomore

Malta, IL: Sawyer Willrett, junior

Mead: Abby Miller, junior

Minden: Kaleb Senff, sophomore

Morse Bluff: Hannah Williams, sophomore

North Platte: Celie Childears, junior; Katrina Webster, senior

Ogallala: Miah Hoppens, sophomore

Ord: Vickie Ference, sophomore; Amber Staab, junior

Osmond: Landon Stelling, junior

Otoe: Dalton Leefers, sophomore

Petersburg: Seth Wright, sophomore

Pierce: Dalton Freeman, junior

Ravenna: Kacey Dethlefs, sophomore

Saint Edward: Zane Niemann, sophomore

Sammamish, WA: Grave Weaver, senior

Seward: Emma Kuss, sophomore; Garrett Kuss, senior

Shenandoah, IA: Ty Lantz, sophomore

Stockton, KS: Caleigh Iwanski, junior

Sunbury, OH: Caleb Durheim, junior

Syracuse: Madison Kreifels, sophomore

Valentine: Dillion Muirhead, junior

Virginia: Logan Anderson, senior

Waco: Kailey Ziegler, sophomore

Wayne: Josie Thompson, senior

Wymore: Ashtyn Humphreys, junior

York: Keeley Conrad, sophomore; Cooper Koch, sophomore; Sam Otte, sophomore

Yutan: Miranda Mueller, senior

For more information, contact program director Tom Field at 402-472-5643 or

This story originally appeared on the UNL website. 

“The department’s faculty and staff share a passion for positively impacting the lives of others, and they are a model of excellence and collaboration in preparing students to become engaged citizens and leaders.”

University of Nebraska System President Ted Carter announced today that the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is the recipient of the 2022 University-wide Departmental Teaching Award.

The UDTA, one of the President’s Excellence Awards, is the NU system’s most prestigious honor for departmental excellence in teaching. Since 1993, the UDTA has recognized departments or units within the university system that have made unique and significant contributions to NU’s teaching efforts and demonstrated outstanding commitment to the education of students at the undergraduate, graduate or professional levels.

Honored departments, selected by a committee of faculty members from across the university system, receive $25,000. The Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies will be celebrated at an event hosted by Carter this spring.

“Our fundamental responsibility at the University of Nebraska is to provide outstanding education to our students. The UNL Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies brings that commitment to life every day,” Carter said. “The department’s faculty and staff share a passion for positively impacting the lives of others, and they are a model of excellence and collaboration in preparing students to become engaged citizens and leaders.

“Our university, our communities and our state are stronger thanks to the extraordinary work of the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies.”

Chaired by Michael Merten, G.A. Newkirk Professor of Leadership, the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies works to enhance the well-being of children, youth, adults and families in the state, nation and world and improve the environments in which people live and learn. The department is home to 430 undergraduate majors, almost 100 graduate majors and 33 faculty members. Through faculty outreach and Nebraska Extension, the department’s programs reach all 93 Nebraska counties.

Its achievements include:

Want to learn how to support CYAF and the rest of the College of Education and Human Sciences? Then follow this link to make an impact. 

This article was originally written by Kerry McCullough-Vondrak | Architecture

College of Architecture pursuing a whole new look by 2023

Busting at the seams with record enrollment and design studios over capacity for years, the College of Architecture has finally begun its long-awaited building renovation and expansion project.

Phase one of this project will add 12 new design studios, a wellness room, spray booth and work areas, critique spaces, new Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms and a new 2,490 square-foot library with student common and collaboration areas — all by spring of 2023. Renovations will be done in both Architecture Hall East and Architecture Hall West.

Phase two, yet to be approved by the Board of Regents, will involve an expansion project that will add 14 new studios and a renovation of eight studios in the Architecture Hall West building among other changes.

Phase one includes moving the Architecture Hall Library from the north wing of Architecture Hall East and relocating it to the first floor of Architecture Hall West, providing ground floor access for the newly remodeled library. All three floors of Architecture Hall East’s north wing, where the library once stood, will now be renovated into needed studio space.

“We are excited about the start of this highly anticipated remodel project,” said Sharon Kuska, interim dean of the College of Architecture. “With a 17% enrollment growth over the last 10 years, it has pushed us over building capacity. This project is essential for accommodating our enrollment goals, creating a contemporary learning environment to attract potential students and providing our students with the best learning environment possible.”

Architecture Hall, Fall on City Campus. October 18, 2018. Photo by Justin Mohling / University Communication.

The university’s historic exterior of Architecture Hall will remain the same, however the interior will have a complete transformation.
In order to meet capacity needs, the college has had to use space in Brace Hall, Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, Old City Hall and locations in the Haymarket. The college also had to transform non-traditional learning spaces into design studios to meet enrollment needs.

The project is being led by Alley Poyner Macchietto Architecture, the Whiting-Turner Contracting Company and Nebraska University Facilities, Planning and Capital Programs.

If approved, the second phase of the project will begin in the fall with the demolition of the “stacks,” a 1957 addition, and replaced with the addition of 14 new studios. Other phase two changes include the remodel of student studios, additional student collaboration areas, classrooms, a materials library, a virtual reality lab, a spray booth, maker spaces, more faculty offices and the relocation of the Geographic Information System (GIS) Lab to the first floor. If the phase two proposal is accepted, the project will be completed a year later in the fall of 2023.

The last time the College of Architecture underwent a major remodel or construction project was in 1987 with the creation of the glass atrium Link building which connected two existing buildings: Architecture Hall East and Architecture Hall West (which served as the university’s original College of Law).

The college complex houses two of the oldest buildings at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Architecture Hall East was put into service in 1895 as the old university library with 10,000 volumes and is the oldest building in the university system. This building was also placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Special accommodations are being made to ensure the building’s historical integrity. Architecture Hall West was built in 1912. It is the fifth oldest building on City Campus.

Want to support the College of Architecture during this renovation? Then follow this link to learn more about how to give.

Hannah, originally from South Dakota, started out her college career like most college students by starting in one college then finishing in another. But her first exposure with NHRI was on her New Student Enrollment day, when her mother was with a guide who was in NHRI and told her all about it. She did receive a lot of encouragement from people within her circle on campus to officially pursue it (shocker … she did). From there she was with the program for three years, while her studies transitioned to the psychology discipline with minors in education and English. It seems she was primed for a career with NHRI with credentials like that. That experience she had with the program and the impact she saw it could have on students were driving factors for why she wanted to continue with NHRI in a leadership role while also continuing her education to fine-tune the skills she had as an amazing mentor. With her position as the program director, she works hands-on with the mentors to provide training and guidance for how they can be effective mentors to the students they work with.

NHRI, which stands for the Nebraska Human Resources Institute, was first established in 1988 (and became NHRI Leadership Mentoring in 2019). It was predated, though, by the Nebraska Human Resources Research Foundation that was founded by Dr. William Hall and Dr. Donald Clifton. Yes, that Clifton of Clifton Strengths. Pretty cool that a mentorship program has the history of being started by the guy who pioneered psychology within the world of professionalism and business. But what exactly is NHRI and what do they do? NHRI is a leadership development program in which outstanding college leaders are paired with outstanding young leaders in the Lincoln Public Schools system. The objective is to discover individuals with exceptional capacity to positively influence others and develop their leadership capacity through one-to-one investment relationships. Sounds pretty cool, right? Well, after talking with the NRHI program director, Hannah Sunderman, and NHRI staff adviser for Lincoln High, Victor Mpore, it was clear that there was something very special happening within this program.

On the other side of the table is Victor Mpore. Victor, who currently is a staff adviser for NHRI at Lincoln High, works directly on the relationships between the mentors and the mentees. Victor, like Hannah, had a path toward being with NHRI postgraduation due to the impact he saw he could have on students’ lives and through gaining multiple leadership positions through his collegiate career with NHRI. And also like Hannah, he found encouragement from people around him and noticed that his personal attributes lined up perfectly with what NHRI looks for in mentors. What he has seen, especially this year due to the pandemic, is the growth that mentees go through when they are faced with difficult situations and conversations that are encompassing the national spotlight and ones that directly affect them on a daily basis, considering how diverse the student population is at Lincoln High. Also, the relationships that he has seen the mentors develop with their mentees during this period of time has been amazing to watch, because it can be hard for the mentees to open up and be vulnerable with people who aren’t within their tight circle. But with some proper coaching from NHRI, the dialog between mentors and mentees has been extremely healthy for coming to common ground on differences of opinion. That is something that can’t be said everywhere else.

What can certainly be discerned from these two perspectives of NHRI is that the organization has a lasting impact on the people who become involved with it, whether that be as a mentee or a mentor. The relationships and the values that are instilled in the participants are something that can’t be taught in a classroom (even though mentors do take classes to prepare them for their interactions with mentees). That is why NHRI came to Nebraska Grow, to set up a crowdfunding campaign that would help support and fund the staff advisers and the yearly stipend they receive through the generous donations from the people that choose to support NHRI.

But what is Nebraska Grow? Well, you’ve more than likely heard of the University of Nebraska Foundation, but you might not have heard of our crowdfunding initiative that is Nebraska Grow. Basically, Nebraska Grow provides opportunities and tools to passionate supporters of the University of Nebraska, whether that be for UNL, UNK, UNO or UNMC. Are you a champion for a new scholarship fund? Are you looking to drum up support for a student group? Then Nebraska Grow and our crowdfunding platform might be a great option for you as it was certainly a great option for NHRI and their goals.

Want to learn more about Nebraska Grow and how you can get your organization involved? Then follow the link here!

Donor Impact Spotlight: Steve and Lisa Todd

Josh Planos

Assistant Director of Communications

There’s a treasured folder in Steve and Lisa Todd’s Portland home.

It contains letters written by sons and daughters, telling of ambitions sparked and dreams fulfilled, of passion and gratitude.

“I wouldn’t have been able to go to school without you,” some say.

They are the stories of the numerous lives changed, due in large part to the couple’s philanthropy.

The Todds fund two scholarships. One is for members of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln gymnastics team, of which Steve was a member. The other is for Huskers pursuing a career in special education.

The Todds had discussed giving back to UNL, where they both attended and where Steve received a diploma. But the prospect of becoming benefactors felt daunting, like an opportunity one needed to qualify for.

“We really didn’t know how to go about things,” Steve said. “And then Bill (Reece, Senior Director of Gift Planning at the University of Nebraska Foundation) came to us.”

The ease and accessibility of the process took them aback.

“It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve got,” Steve said. “Depending on what resources you’ve got available, you can do things on a very small scale or a large scale.”

The Todds opted to do both. They have involved the University of Nebraska Foundation in their estate plan. “We can actually see our scholarships being put to use, and then the rest will be going into our estate. We wanted both of those concepts in our scholarships,” Lisa said. “Impacting someone’s life is an incredible feeling.”


When it came time for college, Steve and Lisa weren’t interested in leaving Lincoln.

The city had raised them and, as sophomores at Lincoln High School, had brought them together.

Going to UNL “was a natural thing,” they agreed.

Steve tried out for the gymnastics team and made the roster. Following their sophomore year, they got married, and Lisa entered the professional world, and Steve continued his coursework.

After graduation, they moved around — from Nebraska to Utah to California to Washington to Oregon — and settled in the Pacific Northwest. They’ve lived in Portland for nearly three decades, longer than anywhere else.

“But this is home too,” Lisa said of Lincoln.

When the Todds lived near Seattle, Lisa was running a recreation program for handicapped students. One day, a boy with Down syndrome walked in, interested in getting involved with the Special Olympics. Eight years later, the Todds became backup guardians for the boy. Decades later, he’s an integral part of their family and played a major role in the Todds’ decision to fund their first scholarship.

“To see that that’s where this whole thing transpired from is probably what touches our heart the most,” Lisa said. “We weren’t aware that the university had a program in special education, so when we checked into it, we were pretty ecstatic. We are helping students that will eventually help that population that we love so much.”

Speaking of private funding, Steve said, “When you’re a student, you don’t think about that. You’re thinking about how you’re going to pay for groceries. But it was just so simple. It took us a very short amount of time, and the first check we wrote, it just made us feel so good. It really did. The process was so smooth and easy. And again, it didn’t matter what funding you had available. Every little bit helps.”

They’re also active members of their alumni chapter in Oregon.

“That’s kind of like our family and our connection to home,” Lisa said. “We feel closer to Nebraska by doing that, so we feel like we need to be involved and take part in community service projects. So it’s not just Nebraska football, volleyball and basketball.”

New members of the Burnett Society, the couple say they enjoy reading stories about their peers.

Steve said, “Just seeing where people have come from and why they’ve donated and where their passions are, it’s quite interesting.”

“It’s a certain pride, having gone to the university and to be affiliated with it. We talk proudly about how great of an experience it was and what a great school it is.”

And now, Lisa said, “we are actually a part of Nebraska. We have given back, and we’ve done what we could do. And even though we live in Oregon and we’re separated by thousands of miles, we have this true connection with the university.”


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The novel, “One of Ours,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.

Willa Cather: A Pandemic, a Novel and a Pulitzer Prize

Jennifer Overkamp

Assistant Director of Development Communications

UNL alumna Willa Cather survived a pandemic from 1918-1920

University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumna Willa Cather was not only a famous writer, she also survived a pandemic. The so-called Spanish flu ripped across the globe from 1918 to 1920, its spread accelerated by the troop movements and combat conditions of World War I. At that time, Cather was in her 40s and living in New York City, having left teaching and magazine editing behind to be a full-time writer.

Cather’s letters describe some things that sound familiar today. She wrote to her mother that she needed to spend some time in the hospital, but her doctors suggested waiting until the flu had died down (Letter No. 2414). In the same letter, she added that her friend Ethel Litchfield was exhausted from caring for her sick children, so Cather had her over for a respite, complete with a good meal and a little time to rest by the fire. In a note to her Aunt Frances Smith Cather in November 1919, Cather said that she couldn’t write too much, as she had so many letters of condolence to write “to friends who have been bereaved by this terrible scourge of Influenza” (Letter No. 440).

Cather knew how brutal the flu could be — she caught it herself in September 1919 and had a bad time of it. She wrote to a friend, “I have been in bed with Influenza for two weeks, and it has ended in a stubborn bronchitis which refuses to quit me and keeps hovering on the edge of pneumonia. … I am simply unable to make any plans at present — I’ve had to call off ever so many engagements on account of this stupid illness” (Letter No. 474).

In an odd twist of literary fate, Cather’s bout with the flu ended up strongly influencing the novel she was writing at the time, the story of a Nebraska farm boy serving in what was then called the Great War. The doctor who treated her during her illness had previously been a physician on a troop transport ship that was struck with influenza. Cather borrowed the doctor’s journal and used it extensively when writing her novel.

That novel, “One of Ours,” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1923.

Please visit the Willa Cather Archive at to explore more of Cather’s life and letters.  Thanks to the support of donors and UNL’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities and University Libraries, this free online archive shares a vast collection of Cather material with the world. The collection includes not only Cather’s writing but also photos, letters, interviews and biographies.


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A UNL business professor studies pandemics, applying the science of data and supply chain management to difficult questions like school closings and the availability of ventilators. 

When Theory Becomes Reality

Jennifer Overkamp

Assistant Director of Development Communications

UNL Professor At the Center Of COVID-19 And Supply Chain Management

Most researchers love to see their work impact the real world. They are thrilled when their theories are tested or their papers widely read.

Özgür Araz, Ph.D., is not so thrilled. He is a business professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and he studies pandemics, applying the science of data and supply chain management to difficult questions like school closings and the availability of ventilators. While he is glad his research is useful, he never wanted to see it in action.

Araz’s background is in industrial engineering. However, he said he “finds the social side of technical problems very interesting,” an interest which led him to supply chain management. He first studied pandemics as a dissertation topic for his Ph.D. and taught complex systems thinking at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s College of Public Health before being recruited to UNL’s College of Business to teach supply chain management and analytics.

Supply chain management education is a strength at the university, with programs at UNL, UNK and UNO. Supply Chain Management and Analytics is the newest department in the UNL College of Business. Araz describes the ultimate goal of SCM as creating systems which produce “the right quantity of items, in the right place, at the right time.” Students study logistics, production, procurement and distribution, leading to jobs in fields as diverse as manufacturing, health care, global sourcing and inventory control. Currently, around 140 students major or minor in SCM at UNL, in addition to about 45 graduate students in the department’s online master’s degree in business analytics.

The battle against COVID-19 rages on many fronts: hospitals, labs and even private homes as people carefully wash their hands and practice social distancing. But Araz argues that, in many ways, fighting the virus is fundamentally a supply chain and capacity management problem. Are there enough masks, ventilators, test kits, hospital beds and other supplies? Are there sufficient health care personnel? SCM is also about timing. It’s not only a question of whether the needed ventilators are available; they are needed at a certain time and in a certain place. Next week may mean they are too late to save lives. If they are in a warehouse three states away, that’s not much good either.

Araz’s most recent article, published in Decision Sciences in November, studies capacity optimization under resource shortages. Previously, he looked at the challenges of stockpiling ventilators for influenza pandemics and school closure policies for cost-effective pandemic decision-making.

A pandemic is also a living math problem, and Araz is a numbers guy. How many people does one infected person generally infect? How quickly does the disease spread? What are the fatality rates? Araz explained that economic impacts are taken into consideration when modeling effective decision-making.

“We want to answer whether school closings and social distancing policies are cost-effective,” Araz said. “Both questions, of when to close schools and when to reopen, are equally important. We take information about how fast the virus is spreading, using a basic reproductive number, and estimate the number of secondary cases generated in a completely susceptible population. In the case of the coronavirus, it’s spreading fast.”


We can solve complex systems problems using complex models, but it doesn't have to always be profit maximization. We also solve problems and design systems to improve the quality of life for everyone.

The data also shows a high fatality rate among older population groups, according to Araz. He sees health officials using predictive analytics to ensure that public safety is optimized through modeling tools developed through research like his own.

“People say closing schools costs a lot, but if we save more lives, it makes it cost-effective,” Araz said. “Optimizing social distancing intervention depends on this research modeling. We take a societal perspective regarding life lost, parents staying home with children impacting the workforce and all the other factors we are dealing with today. In severe cases, we might need prolonged closures, and even 24 weeks of closings can be still a cost-effective result.” 

Jennifer Ryan, Ph.D., chair and Ron and Carol Cope Professor of Supply Chain Management and Analytics at UNL, explained that in addition to informing the social distancing response, Araz’s research helps Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials prepare for situations in which hospitals and clinics are overwhelmed.

“We’ve all heard the discussions of ‘flattening the curve,’” Ryan said. “The modeling tools Özgür developed can provide critical insights into how we best allocate scarce resources during a pandemic. If we don’t control the rate of infection, experts expect our hospitals and clinics to be overwhelmed and to lack the necessary beds and equipment to treat the influx of patients.”

This aspect of benefiting society is a key part of why Araz continues his research at the intersection of SCM and pandemics.

“We can solve complex systems problems using complex models, but it doesn’t have to always be profit maximization,” Araz said. “We also solve problems and design systems to improve the quality of life for everyone.”


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Husker fans and supporters from across the United States and three continents demonstrated their pride for the University of Nebraska‒Lincoln during the second annual Glow Big Red – 24 Hours of Husker Giving on Feb.13-14.

The event concluded at noon on Feb. 14 with more than 2,300 gifts made and more than $175,000 in charitable support for all areas of the university.

With its theme Light It, Fly It, Wear It, Give It, Glow Big Red – 24 Hours of Husker Giving enables alumni, friends and fans to show their university pride however they choose. It was launched last year in recognition of the 150th anniversary of the university’s founding.

Huskers helped blow past the original goal to receive 1,869 gifts in recognition of the year the university was chartered in 1869. Last year, more than 1,500 contributions were made during the event.

The event focused on a wide range of opportunities to support students. More than 70 campus-based student organizations and groups participated. There were also opportunities to support students in each of the college’s as well as to support the museums, arts organizations and many other university organizations and affiliates.

Murtaza Nalwala, president of the UNL Indian Students Association, which helps provide a home away from home for students from India, said Glow Big Red was a great event and that his organization enjoyed participating.

“You have no idea how much happiness you all have spread across the world,” said Nalwala, about the more than 100 people who gave to the association during the event. “My office is celebrating!”

Largely driven by social media engagement around the world, Glow Big Red experienced more than 100,000 mentions and posts. Using the hashtag #GlowBigRed, people and organizations painted the social media landscape in Husker red, with posts that included campus buildings glowing in red, people wearing Husker apparel on top of snowy mountains, pets sporting Husker gear and much more.

For more information about results, including a leaderboard of information about the support provided to various areas of the university, go to

Cynthia Highland, co-founder and past president of the UNL Disability Club, said they were happy with the support their campus organization received during Glow Big Red to support students with disabilities.

“Our little club is so happy,” Highland said. “Thank you so much.”

A replica of Barbourofelis fricki, an ambush predator that stalked camels, horses and other prey across Nebraska roughly 7 million years ago, is a centerpiece of Cherish Nebraska. The privately funded exhibition is located on the fourth floor of the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall on UNL’s campus.

Get your hands on Nebraska’s history

Cherish Nebraska explores the future of science by interacting with its past.

Michela Wipf will always cherish the day this past March when she chaperoned her fourth-grade daughter’s class field trip to Lincoln.

The highlight, Wipf said, was touring the newly renovated fourth-floor exhibit space at the University of Nebraska State Museum at Morrill Hall – a state-of-the-art space called Cherish Nebraska – and watching her daughter Lilli, in her pink pants and pixie haircut, explore all the galleries with her young hands and brain. …

Lilli studied rocks and fossils and feathers under magnifying machines. … She learned about climate change from a story being told on a huge digital globe … she learned about little parasites that live inside the guts of fish and about animals of all kinds, from all eras of Nebraska’s fascinating natural history. … She even got to observe a real scientist in action in a real lab behind glass walls.

Lilli wants to be a scientist herself when she grows up. So it was a day, Wipf said, that her daughter will probably always cherish, too.

 “I think I took about 100 photos,” said Wipf, who runs a photography studio in Weeping Water, Nebraska. “I loved seeing Lilli and her best friend in that tunnel where they could pop their heads out. Then I loved watching all the kids sticking their hands in the mouth of that – I think it was a mountain lion – and pretend to get eaten. That was cool. Their expressions were priceless. I just loved watching Lilli interact with all the computers that where everywhere. 

“I just loved the entire thing. I had no idea what to expect. I had never been to Morrill Hall before. And then walking into the fourth floor, I just could not believe how many interactive projects there were. There was something for everybody.” 

The privately funded Cherish Nebraska, which opened this past February, celebrates the state’s natural heritage as it has been shaped over the millennia. Visitors of all ages can immerse themselves in the exciting world of scientific discovery while learning about the university’s research on all of its campuses.

Susan Weller, the museum’s director, says a goal of Cherish Nebraska is to inspire kids like Lilli and her young classmates from Weeping Water Elementary to consider careers someday in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).

“Honestly, I think a lot of kids who go there will now consider more science careers because of how interactive it is — we probably could have spent three or four hours just on the fourth floor. We can't wait to go back.

After being closed to the public for more than 50 years, the fourth level of the historic 1920s-era Morrill Hall has been transformed into state-of-the-art exhibits using modern technology. Cherish Nebraska celebrates the state’s natural and cultural history.

“You can’t aspire to have a career you don’t know about or haven’t tried out,” Weller said. “Cherish Nebraska opens visitors’ eyes to the diverse kinds of STEM careers already out there – typically in a fun, engaging way. Who knew there’s a career studying fish guts to discover parasites? Or that you could be paid to collect snow to predict spring melt run-off?

 “We’ve heard many stories of how visits to the museum inspired careers in a variety of science professions. For those who didn’t become scientists, the museum still has been central to their appreciation of fossils and other wonders of the natural world. Our hands-on science exploration zone encourages children to be scientists themselves, ask questions, and search for answers. Our visitors are encouraged to ‘do’ science – that’s the most fun part.” 

Morrill Hall served over 94,700 visitors in fiscal year 2018, Weller said, and about 22,000 of those were Nebraska students. Morrill Hall also served an additional 1,800 students with its virtual field trip science programs. 

Lead donors for Cherish Nebraska are the Hubbard Family Foundation, the Claire M. Hubbard Foundation and Ruth and Bill Scott. Others supporting it include the Don Dillon Family Foundation, the Sunderland Foundation, Mark and Diann Sorensen and Nebraska Environmental Trust and the Friends of the State Museum. 

Until the opening of Cherish Nebraska, the fourth floor of Morrill Hall had been closed off to the public for more than 50 years.  

Wipf said her daughter had been looking forward to going to Morrill Hall because her dad had been talking it up to her for months. He’d told Lilli how, when he was a kid, he and his father would send fossils they found exploring the creek beds around Weeping Water to the scientists at Morrill Hall.

After going to Morrill Hall that March day, Wipf said, Lilli came home and talked it up to her little sisters.

“Lilli absolutely loved it,” she said. “She was so excited that she came home and told her dad and her twin sisters all about it. Of course, the fourth floor was the main topic. She even wanted me to buy a season’s pass.”

The family, she said, is now  planning a return trip to Morrill Hall this summer.

 “It’s just such an amazing museum,”  Wipf said. “Honestly, I think a lot of kids who go there will now consider more science careers because of how interactive it is – we probably could have spent three or four hours just on the fourth floor. 

“We can’t wait to go back.”


Morrill Hall Fund

A gift to this fund provides much needed support for the general benefit and support of the museum’s programs and exhibits. This fund is expendable, rather than endowed, meaning it is made available immediately to the museum for its priority needs.