The University of Nebraska is proud to announce the full endowment of the Dr. Barbara Hibner Memorial Scholarship. Exactly one year after her death, the scholarship has reached the full endowment level of $250,000, thanks to donations from friends and family of Dr. Hibner, Husker fans and a generous gift from Dr. Hibner’s estate.
The Dr. Barbara Hibner Memorial Scholarship will be presented annually to a women’s varsity sport at Nebraska in honor of a female student-athlete who meets specific criteria established with input from Dr. Hibner’s family and Nebraska’s Senior Woman Administrator. The scholarship will be presented to the sport at the beginning of the fall semester to cover the needs of the honored student-athlete. In that way, Dr. Hibner’s lasting impression upon Nebraska and women’s athletics will continue to be felt for generations to come.
The scholarship is named for Dr. Barbara Hibner, a 28-year member of the NU Athletic Department who passed away on March 7, 2007, after a fight with bone cancer. Dr. Hibner, who was fondly known as “Dr. H” to her friends and student-athletes, was a tireless promoter of women’s athletics whose efforts resulted in Nebraska being among the conference and national leaders in the advancement of women’s sports.
Hibner began her career at Nebraska in 1978 as the Assistant Women’s Athletic Director, before being promoted in 1985 to the position of Women’s Athletic Director, a position she held for 10 years. In 1994, she was named Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator, a position she held until her retirement in December of 2005. During her tenure, Nebraska added three women’s sports – soccer, bowling and rifle – to become the conference leader in women’s athletics with 13 sports and 117 scholarship opportunities.
“Barb is responsible for much of the rise of women’s athletics at Nebraska,” Athletic Director Tom Osborne said, upon Dr. Hibner’s passing. “She was a women’s athletic administrator during a time of tremendous growth in women’s athletics. During her tenure, women’s athletics emerged as a very important part of the athletic scene at the University of Nebraska.
Hibner’s dedication to women’s athletics was recognized beyond the reach of the NU Athletic Department. She established events in Lincoln for women’s gymnastics, women’s basketball and volleyball, all in addition to her efforts within collegiate athletics. In 1994, she was honored with the YWCA Tribute to Women award, and in 2004, she received the lifetime achievement award from the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office for her work in the Lincoln community. Her passion was to provide athletic opportunities for women of all ages.
“She was always there,” former NU volleyball coach Terry Pettit said. “And for those of us who have a daughter in micro-soccer, a sister in med school or a mother with high self-esteem, she still is.”
In 2000, Hibner was honored with the first annual Trailblazer Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in the promotion of women’s athletics. The award was renamed in her honor upon her death in March of 2007, and was presented to Rhonda Revelle, NU’s head softball coach and longtime friend and mentee of Dr. Hibner who succeeded Hibner as Senior Woman Administrator.
“Dr. Hibner taught us all to lead by word and example,” Revelle said. “She will be greatly missed, but her presence will forever be evident in each of our women’s athletic programs here at Nebraska.”