"We make a living by what we get, and we make a life by what we give."
How true those words spoken by Winston Churchill are, and I am so proud that our student-athletes have a full understanding of just what Churchill meant. In the hustle of the holiday season, when our student-athletes are competing, training, studying for finals and making arrangements to see their families, they still find time to give.
In its 26th year as a student organization at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) reinforces the importance of giving back to our student-athletes. SAAC has led a month-long campaign targeting 600-plus student-athletes and 300-plus Athletic Department employees, encouraging them to donate winter apparel for the People’s City Mission in downtown Lincoln. Additionally, SAAC supports UNL’s OpeN Shelf program, which accepts personal hygiene products to donate to students in need.
We thank SAAC President Sunny Russell (rifle) and three other officers – Vice President Ryan Grassel (men’s golf), Big Ten Representative Mattie Fowler (softball) and Community Outreach Officer Jake Griess (track and field) – for their leadership and inspiration. With their guidance, our student-athletes, coaches and staff are able to appreciate the experience and the joy of giving.
I am equally proud of our Athletic Department’s coaches and staff for increasing their individual participation in UNL’s Combined Campaign for Health and Human Services. We set a record for athletic staff participation and support and we are all proud to support the campaign’s mission to make a “Big Impact!” in our community.
Giving is a big part of our Nebraska culture, whether we’re visiting kids in schools, people in hospitals or taking the time to brighten the days of the less fortunate. Giving is also an important part of the holiday season and it is most certainly an important part of who we are and what we represent every day of the year.
Last week, while attending the National Football Foundation’s Annual Awards Banquet in New York City, I was struck by Tommie Frazier’s recent comments about the late Brook Berringer, his teammate and fellow quarterback. Brook was a selfless giver and in his memory, members of our football team – who give freely in the manner that Brook did – are named to the Brook Berringer Citizenship Team.
“Brook made time for everyone, and now that I look back on his leadership, I wish I hadn’t been so selfish,” Tommie shared. “To me, that’s one of the biggest legacies Brook left for all of us – to take the time to help someone else. Look at Nebraska now. Everyone wants to do things like Brook did because that’s part of our culture.”
Tommie is likely being overly critical of himself, but he is absolutely correct that our student-athletes have created a culture of giving. This year alone, our student-athletes have participated in more than 300 outreach activities, collectively volunteered more than 3,000 hours of their time and impacted more than 40,000 individuals throughout Lincoln and beyond.
In the spirit of giving, I hope you enjoy our Husker Holiday greeting as a thank you for all that you do for our student-athletes. A special thank you to Ethan Rowley, Stacey Burling, Jordan Wilson, Kiley Eaton, Kirk Hartman and his outstanding HuskerVision staff and all the student-athletes who produced and participated in our “12 Days of Christmas” video.
From our athletics family to yours, have a blessed holiday season.
Until next time, stay positive and Go Big Red!
I had the honor to work for Barry Alvarez at the University of Wisconsin from 2006 to 2011. Since we all know how proud Barry is to say “I played for Nebraska”, it made perfect sense for our two institutions to co-host a reception for National Football Foundation College Hall-of-Fame Inductees Tommie Frazier and Ron Dayne in New York City. The reception was held at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel immediately prior to the induction dinner and dignitaries, coaches, and players were in attendance, including Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, Steve Spurrier, Bob Stoops, Archie Griffin and Barry Switzer. Tom and Nancy Osborne joined us for dinner and Tommie’s quarterback coach, Turner Gill, and former Husker great Rich Glover also joined us at our table to congratulate Tommie on this tremendous honor. Tommie will be enshrined in the new Hall of Fame opening this summer in Atlanta.
Volleyball Team Advances to Regional Final
Congratulations to Head Coach John Cook, Assistant Coaches Dani Busboom-Kelly and Dan Meske, Volunteer Coach Sherisa Livingston, Director of Operations Lindsay Peterson and our Husker volleyball team on a fantastic season. Congratulations as well to senior Kelsey Robinson and freshman Kadie Rolfzen for earning first-team All-Big Ten honors and to junior Mary Pollmiller for receiving honorable-mention honors. Kelsey was named Big Ten Player of the Year and Kadie was named the AVCA North Region Freshman of the Year. Sophomore Meghan Haggerty joined Kelsey, Kadie and Mary as first-team selections for the AVCA’s North Region. Sophomore Cecilia Hall was an honorable-mention North Region selection. We are so proud of their collaborative team efforts which resulted in a berth in the regional championships against defending national champion and No. 1-seed Texas. Thank you Kelsey for one of the best seasons anyone has given. You could have transferred to most any school in the country, including Texas, and you chose to give us your all here in Lincoln. Thanks to our fantastic fans who sold out the Devaney Center all year long. Your support and senior leadership helped our young team finish with an outstanding 26-7 record. We know you will enjoy watching the senior videos prepared by HuskerVision below, honoring Kelsey, Hayley Thramer and Morgan Broekhuis.
Kelsey Robinson Senior Tribute
Hayley Thramer Senior Tribute
Morgan Broekhuis Senior Tribute
Maggi Thorne is many things and now add medal-winning mudder to the list. A former captain of the Nebraska women’s track and field team, wife of former Husker Fred Thorne Jr., mother of three to Charlie, Fiona and Ellie, Maggi also serves as Assistant Director of Capital Planning and Construction for our Athletic Department. In August of 2013, Maggi was named Mrs. Great Plains International for 2014. She will represent 10 states and parts of Canada in that role until August of 2014. The 24-obstacle course challenges athletes to trudge through mud, freezing water, 16-feet walls, electrical shock and more. Maggi pushed through 24 hours to complete 76 miles, 330 obstacles and claim the world’s No. 2 female spot for what some say is the toughest event on earth. She credits the mental toughness to her days as a Husker student-athlete. Follow the link below, and you’ll have a good idea of how and why Maggi is able to help lead our Athletic Department to the completion of so many successful projects. For more information on the remarkable contributions Maggi has made in her community, click here.
It was a pleasure to accompany Spencer Long and his parents, Doug and Ann, to New York City, where Spencer was honored as one of 16 recipients of the National Football Foundation’s National Scholar-Athlete Award, an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship presented by Fidelity Investments. This scholarship honors his athletic, academic and leadership abilities. As the recipient of the scholarship endowed by the NFL, Spencer was privileged to meet NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. Nebraska continues to lead the nation in postgraduate scholarship awards with 22 and we are proud to have Spencer represent this illustrious group. Even after his season-ending injury and knee surgery in mid-October, Spencer has played a vital leadership role on this year’s team and we wish him all the best as he looks to a future career in medicine or pro football…or both.
Dr. Jeffrey Gold Next UNMC Chancellor
University of Nebraska President J.B. Milliken has announced that Dr. Jeffrey Gold has been selected as the next Chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha (UNMC). Dr. Gold comes to Nebraska after serving as Chancellor and Executive Vice President of Biosciences and Health Affairs and Executive Dean of the College of Medicine at the University of Toledo in Ohio. UNMC always has been an inspiring choice for many of our top student-athletes. Twenty doctors are among our 300-plus Academic All-Americans through the years and many attended a reunion in November. We look forward to connecting on campus with Dr. Gold in the near future.
Thank you to the Cornhusker Council of the Boy Scouts of America for providing more than 4,900 hours of service to the University of Nebraska in 2013. We are so fortunate to have more than 170 Boy Scouts assist Butch Hug and his NU Events Staff, by ushering in Memorial Stadium this year. Thank you for being so giving with your time.