Director, Media Communications, 308.865.8454
The University of Nebraska at Kearney Alumni Association has announced the recipients of the 2004 Distinguished Alumni Awards and the Distinguished Alumni Service Award.
Distinguished Alumni Awards will go to Judge Richard Kopf of Lincoln; Dr. Larry Peterson of Princeton, N.J.; and Karen Rhoads of Kearney. The Distinguished Alumni Service Award will go to Roger Jones of Minden.
The 25th annual Homecoming awards banquet recognizing this year’s recipients will take place at the UNK Nebraskan Student Union Friday, Oct. 8. The reception will begin at 6 p.m.; the banquet, at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are available by contacting the Alumni Office at 308.865.8474 or e-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org
Judge Richard Kopf of the Class of 1969 has been Chief United States District Judge for the District of Nebraska since 1999. He was nominated by President George Bush in 1992.
Judge Kopf earned his law degree from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 1972. For the next two years he was a law clerk for the honorable Donald R. Ross, U.S. Circuit Judge.
Judge Kopf returned to his hometown of Lexington where he was in general practice from 1974 to 1986.
After merit selection panel recommendation, he was selected by the court and served as U.S. Magistrate Judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska from 1987 to 1992.
As an undergraduate, Judge Kopf, who majored in political science, was president of Student Senate. He was a Regents Scholar and the editor of the Nebraska Law Review while a student studying law.
Dr. Larry Peterson of the Class of 1979 is chair of the Department of Computer Science at Princeton University.
After graduating, Dr. Peterson went on to earn his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1985. He was on the faculty at the University of Arizona for 14 years before moving to Princeton in 1998. While at Arizona, Dr. Peterson developed technology that is part of the Internet. He co-authored the best-selling networking textbook, “Computer Networks: A Systems Approach,” now in its third edition. His research focuses on end-to-end issues in computer network.
Dr. Peterson, a Kearney High School graduate, is director of the PlanetLab Consortium. PlanetLab is an overlay network of computational services and an open, global test bed for developing new Internet technologies.
One hundred fifty of the world’s top universities and industrial research labs are already members of PlanetLab, including Intel, AT&T Labs, Cambridge University, France Telecom, HP, NEC Labs, Princeton University and University of California Berkeley, along with national research education networks in Brazil, Canada and China.
The project has received widespread exposure in publications like the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Princeton Journal.
Karen Wyatt Rhoads of the Class of 1981 is vice president of finance, treasurer, director and chief financial officer at the Buckle, Inc. She joined the company in 1987 as corporate controller and has served as an officer and director since 1991.
The Buckle Inc. is a leading retailer of casual apparel for young men and women. The company operates more than 300 stores in 38 states under the names Buckle and The Buckle.
Originally employed by The Buckle while she was a college student, the Superior High School graduate’s duties have developed and changed as necessitated by the growth of the company.
Rhoads was instrumental in taking the company public in 1992 and moving the company’s stock from the NASDAQ to the NYSE in 1997.
Before her position with The Buckle, she was a certified public accountant at Shonsey and Associates in Grand Island.
Rhoades serves on the Kearney Area Community Foundation and served on the Good Samaritan Hospital board. She is a finance committee member of the Kearney Family YMCA and a member of the UNK College of Business and Technology advisory council.
Roger Jones of the Class of 1965, vice president of development for the University of Nebraska Foundation in Kearney, has been a long-time supporter of the UNK Alumni Association.
He served on the association’s board of directors from 1980 to 1984 and was the association’s president in 1982. As president, Jones was responsible for creating the Distinguished Alumni Service Award, which has been presented annually at Homecoming. Jones also played a key role in assisting the association’s efforts to acquire the Alumni House in 1980.
Jones served on the board of the Kearney State College Foundation from 1985 to 1992. He was president of the foundation in 1991. During that time, Jones helped create the first full-time alumni director’s position in 1989. That position would not have been created without the financial assistance of the Kearney State College Foundation.
In 1992, Jones became director of the foundation. He was named vice president of development for the NU Foundation when the Kearney State College Foundation merged with the NU Foundation.
Since that time, as a result of Jones’ efforts, the foundation’s partnership with the association has continued to strengthen. The foundation has played a major role in many alumni projects, including The Gold Torch Society, Homecoming, the Alumni House, the Student Alumni Foundation campus organization, alumni clubs and the Senior Appreciation Scholarship program.
Jones has been president of the Minden Chamber of Commerce, the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, South Platte United Chambers of Commerce and the Minden Country Club.