Scholarship remembers housemother ‘Mom’ Lang

Robb Crouch
director of public relations, University of Nebraska Foundation; Office 402.458.1142; Mobile, 402.304.3085;

Recent contributions to the University of Nebraska Foundation for the Sena “Mom” Lang Memorial Scholarship have doubled the fund’s size, creating a $10,000 endowment for students at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

As the housemother of Men’s Hall from 1956-71, “Mom” Lang devoted 13 years of her life to Kearney State College students. Her influence and impact on the several hundred men (and women when Men’s Hall was a women’s dormitory in 1965-66) has not been forgotten.

Larry Hardesty, a 1969 and 1971 graduate, chaired the memorial scholarship committee to remember the woman who had such a strong influence on his life and on the lives of others.

“She was a wonderful person, and the young men were impressed by her,” he said. “She led by example and we didn’t want to disappoint her.”

Even after her retirement, many of “her boys” returned to visit. Hardesty, a college librarian at Austin College in Sherman, Texas, visited several times and other former students came back year after year.

Mary Jo Morrow lived next door to Lang, and Morrow’s children considered her a third grandmother. To Morrow and her husband, she was “an inspiration for growing older most graciously.”

Morrow remembers that Lang’s “boys” thought of her as a true house “mother” in every sense of the word. One former student told Morrow that “Mom” knew the name of each resident and something about him within three days of his arrival. She was stern, but saw the humor in typical boy’s pranks.

“Actually, we really behaved just because we did not want to disappoint “Mom” Lang,” the former student told Morrow.

Each young man was important to her, and she always remembered names and had a good story or two to tell about each one, Morrow said.

Mom Lang died on January 7, 1992, and collections for the memorial fund began that year with a $5,000 goal. A bronze memorial plaque for Lang also hangs within Men’s Hall to remember her service.

“People have been very generous in their contributions,” Hardesty said. More than 100 former students, faculty members and friends have given to date.
The first scholarship was first given in 1996, and six students have now received the award. Recipients must be a resident assistant, an upper classmen, hold a 3.0 GPA or greater and be a graduate of a Nebraska high school.

The 2002-03 scholarship recipient is Melissa Bokoskie, a campus resident assistant and senior from North Platte majoring in special education.
The University of Nebraska Foundation is a nonprofit corporation supplementing support for students, faculty, facilities and programs at the University of Nebraska’s four campuses through gifts from alumni, friends, corporations and other foundations.