Dick Herman, a longtime friend and supporter of University of Nebraska Athletics, passed away on Wednesday, July 8 at the age of 95. Dick and his family were generous contributors to the Huskers' academic and life skills programs, which are at the heart of the Nebraska Athletics Department's mission of educating young men and women.
Nebraska Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst said that Herman left a lasting legacy on the University of Nebraska.
"Dick Herman was an absolute class act," Eichorst said. "You could not find a finer gentleman, and no one was a bigger supporter of Husker Athletics and Nebraska student-athletes than Dick and his family. The impact the Herman family has made on Nebraska Athletics will carry on for generations to come. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Herman family as they celebrate his profound and meaningful life.”
Herman and his family have played a key role in Nebraska's emergence as the national leader in academic and life skills support for student-athletes. Herman's impact and legacy are noticed by every Husker student-athlete on a daily basis, as Nebraska's world-class academic and student life center is named the Dick and Peg Herman Family Student Life Complex. Herman's commitment to academic excellence has helped Nebraska lead the nation with 320 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and 17 NCAA Top 10 Award winners, considered the "Heisman Trophy" of academics.
Dennis Leblanc, Nebraska's Associate Athletics Director for Academics who has worked with 244 of those 320 academic All-Americans, became close friends with Herman as the two worked closely to best serve Nebraska's student-athletes.
"Dick and his brother Dale had a vision in 1989 to have our athletics department become a national leader in academics and because of their generosity, their vision has come true," Leblanc said. "Dick was a dear friend of mine, and he truly understood that college athletics is about more than winning. Because of him and his family, thousands of Nebraska student-athlete have realized their dreams beyond their sport."
When the Dick and Peg Herman Family Student Life Complex was named in his honor in 2012, UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman spoke about the impact Dick Herman and his family have had on providing the resources necessary for Nebraska to emphasize both disciplines of the term "student-athlete."
"Dick’s support for the academic part of athletics has been extraordinary,” Perlman said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Nov. 10, 2012. “His support is a part of our tradition of caring about the academic success of our student-athletes as much as their athletic success. I don’t think we could have been so successful for as long as we have without Dick and Peg Herman and their family.”
At that same ceremony, former Husker football coach and Nebraska athletic director Tom Osborne said it was an easy and unanimous decision to name the facility the Dick and Peg Herman Family Student Life Complex.
"Our student-athletes have benefitted from the generosity of the Herman family for many years, and when Dick informed us that he wanted to make an additional gift, everyone was in full agreement that we should name the Student Life Complex in his and his family's honor," Osborne said.
Herman not only prioritized dedicated academic and life skills support facilities for Husker student-athletes, but he also believed in recognizing Nebraska's outstanding academic achievements. Dick and his family were instrumental in the creation of Nebraska's annual Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015.
In 1989, the Herman family established an endowment to fund Nebraska’s first-ever Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet, which took place in 1991. This annual banquet honors all non-first-year Husker student-athletes who have posted a 3.0 grade-point average or better. The banquet also recognizes Nebraska's Male and Female Student-Athletes of the Year, plus the Herman Team GPA Award winners that honor the Husker men's and women's programs with the highest team GPA.
The 2015 Nebraska Student-Athlete Recognition Banquet - A Night at the Lied - was attended by Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. Commissioner Delany concluded the banquet program by telling the audience that Nebraska’s culture of learning and commitment to academics and life skills programs were key factors in the Big Ten’s decision to invite the University of Nebraska to become a part of the conference.
The legacy of Dick Herman was on full display at A Night at the Lied last April, when the first video tribute of the evening highlighted Dick's many contributions to Husker athletics. The first article in the A Night at the Lied program also featured Herman.
Dick was able to share in the celebration with his family, including: his son Rick Herman and Rick's wife Sherry; his son Michael Herman; his daughter Anne Herman Jensen; his grandchildren, Richard Herman and Susan Herman, with fiancée Jake Palmer, and longtime friend Leonardo Policarpio.
A true friend of the University of Nebraska, Dick Herman will be missed but he will not be forgotten. His spirit is at the heart of everything that makes Husker Athletics special, and Dick's impact and legacy will be felt for generations to come.