Michelle Widger
UNK Alumni Association, 308.865.8474

UNK- Four individuals will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards and three will receive Distinguished Service Awards at the 29th annual University of Nebraska at Kearney Homecoming 2008 Awards banquet on Friday, Oct. 10, at the Nebraskan Student Union.         

Receiving Distinguished Alumni Awards will be: Tom Carman ’71 of Omaha, Bill Dunn ’73 of Grand Island, Dr. Jean Ochsner Lukesh’85, MAE’90, MSE’93 of Palmer, and Brenda VanLengen ’88 of Shawnee, Kan.  Kathy Schnase Horvath ’67 of Girdwood, Alaska, and Dallas ’74 and Sheryl Wymore of Kearney will receive Distinguished Alumni Service Awards.         

Tom Carman
 is a career educator who has been a teacher at Omaha Westside High School since graduating in 1971. Carman was a social studies teacher from 1971 to 1996 and since that time has served as head of the social studies department. During the 1998-99 year he was an exchange teacher in Australia. Carman has been president of the Nebraska State Council for the Social Studies and president of the Westside Education Association. His social studies career has taken him around the world as a teacher and consultant. For the National Council for Economic Education, he participated in K-12 school visitation in Estonia and Russia. For the American Councils for International Education, he participated in K-12 school visitations in the Ukraine. Carman has been an Advanced Placement United States History Faculty Consultant. He has received an Economic Fellows Scholarship and an International Teaching Fellowship.Carman has earned two advanced degrees, a master of science in education from UNO and a master of arts in economics from UNL.        

Bill Dunn
 is editor of the “Grand Island Independent,” a position he has held since returning to his home town Grand Island. Before his return, Dunn was the assistant managing editor of the “Minneapolis Star Tribune” for eight years. He started his professional career in 1973 at the “Lincoln Journal-Star,” where he was the art and copy supervisor. He then moved to the “Cedar Rapids (Iowa) Gazette” as assistant managing editor of design before becoming director of photography and graphics at “Florida Today/USA Today.” Dunn was then named graphics editor in 1986 and eventually visual editor at the “Orange County Register.” He then became graphics editor of the “Los Angeles Times” before moving to Minneapolis and his duties at the “Star Tribune” in 1993.

Dunn has received two lifetime achievement awards from professional journalism groups. He has participated on many newspaper industry task forces and committees, and judged numerous major national and international journalism competitions. In addition, he has been recognized for his illustration work and his editorial cartoons.  He continues to do editorial cartoons on a regular basis for the Independent. He has presented journalism workshops in more than 26 cities in the United States, Canada and Spain. He has received journalism awards in five states and dozens of national awards. He received the Nebraska Press Association Freedom of Information Award for an editorial written in support of freedom of the press.

Dunn has served as board chairman of the American Red Cross Central Plains Chapter in Grand Island. He has also served as president of Central Catholic High School Foundation Board of Trustees. He has been on the Nebraska Associated Press board of directors. He also served on the UNK Alumni Association Board of Directors.         

Dr. Jean Lukesh,
 who retired from the Grand Island Public Schools in 2006, has made a number of significant contributions to education. A Nebraska history book she wrote for fourth grade students, “The Nebraska Adventure,” won the 2005 Textbook Excellence Award for humanities and social studies. It also won the 2006 Nebraska Book Award for nonfiction­children’s book and the 2006 Moonshell Humanities Council’s Award for Literature. The book is used by more than 65 percent of Nebraska’s fourth grade students.

She also edits and reviews books for various national small presses, including adult literacy books. In addition, she has written articles for a number of other publications and is working on an authorized biography of Nebraska-born, Japanese-American World War II hero Ben Kuroki, for children, and researching and writing other Nebraska biographies and histories.

Most of Dr. Lukesh’s classes were taken as a commuter student at night or during the summer while, she said,  “I was also working and taking care of my family. My instructors in my first college classes gave me the confidence and encouragement to go on to earn my degrees and endorsements, and led me to my doctorate.”         

When she graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in middle school education, her endorsements were in social sciences, English/language arts and K-12 educational media. Three years later, she added a science endorsement. Her master’s degrees were in English and history. In 2008, two years after retiring, she earned an doctorate in education degree in teaching, learning and curriculum from UNL. Her career with Grand Island Public Schools included school librarian from 1973-1984, middle school media/integration specialist from 1986 to 2004 and American studies teacher from 2004 to 2006.         

Brenda VanLengen
 is vice president of operations for PE4Life, a leading national implementation program for improving physical education programs for all children in grades K-12. In addition to helping build PE4life into one of the leading physical education advocates in the nation, VanLengen has established herself as one of the country’s top women’s basketball television analysts. She has called the NCAA Division II National Championship games, and served as a color analyst on ESPN and Fox Sports Net.         

The Roseland native was a two-time Academic All-American basketball player for the Lopers. After graduating, she began her career as a teacher and coach from 1988 to 1990 at Kearney High School. She was a graduate assistant, and then assistant women’s basketball coach, at UNL where she earned a master’s degree in 1992. Since moving to Kansas City in 1995, VanLengen has been deeply involved with the local sports and fitness scene. She was executive director of the 1998 NCAA Women’s Final Four in Kansas City. In addition, she served on the executive board for the Women’s Intersport Network for Kansas City, as well as the executive board of Greater Kansas City Sports Commission.        

VanLengen has funded a scholarship for the UNK women’s basketball program, the Ann Stockton Memorial Scholarship. She created the scholarship in memory of a college basketball teammate who died in a motorcycle accident in 1985.         

Kathy Schnase Horvath
 and Dallas ’74 and Sheryl Wymore have been leaders of numerous projects to improve the Association and, particularly, the Alumni House. When Horvath and her husband John ’67 graduated, they took teaching jobs in Palmer, Alaska, and spent their professional careers there. Kathy was an elementary teacher for 23 years. The final 14 years, she served as an advisory teacher for home-schooled students from kindergarten through third grade. She assisted parents with materials, teaching techniques and moral support.

“I visited my families who lived in the Bush by small planes, float planes, dog sled, cross country skiing, the Bush Pipeline Radio Show and many miles in my car,” she said. After retiring, Kathy and John moved back to Kearney where she got involved in a number of groups, including her college sorority Gamma Phi Beta and the Alumni Association.        

“I became interested in the Alumni House when I served a three-year term on the Alumni Board from 2001 to 2004,” she said. “I saw the Alumni House as a peaceful place to return to campus and reminisce for all alumni and visitors.”         

During her time on the board and since then, Kathy has played key roles in renovation and restoration projects of the Alumni House. She coordinated and actively participated in a major renovation of the main floor. She led the House committee in restoring a second floor room into memorabilia room.         

“UNK has been an important part of the life of my family for many years,” she said. “I enjoy attending sporting functions with my 91-year-old father, who rarely misses any game.”         

In 2001, Dallas and Sheryl Wymore were living in San Diego when they decided to move back to Kearney to be closer to family and friends. Both grew up in Cambridge. Dallas said when he was in college he often thought about living in Kearney. 

“It is a great place,” he said. They immediately took an interest in UNK activities and the Alumni Association.           

Like Kathy, Dallas Wymore ’74, a four-year football letterman, and his wife Cheryl Wymore, spent a major part of his career in Alaska. After teaching three years at Kearney High School, Dallas moved to Alaska where he worked security on the Alaska Pipeline for 22 years, from 1977 to 1999. Since 1978, he has also been a co-owner of a Wasilla, Ala., restaurant. While in San Diego, the Wymores got involved in the Southern California Alumni Association and continued that involvement in Kearney. Dallas served on the board of directors from 2001 to 2004.

He and Sheryl have been consummate volunteers for a number of Alumni House projects. They coordinated and spent nearly two weeks spearheading a volunteer effort to paint the outside of the Alumni House. When the association recently remodeled the California Room, Dallas and Sheryl headed the volunteer team that oversaw the project. That work included removing posts between the two areas that form the California Room, new carpet, new counters with granite tops, lighting, painting and window dressings.         

Dallas and Sheryl have also played key roles hosting the association’s most popular event, the Loper Luncheon held each year during  Homecoming.

“Kathy, Dallas and Sheryl are model alumni volunteers,” said Lucas Dart, director of the UNK Alumni Association. “They’ve stepped up and beyond on every occasion.”

The five will be honored at the Homecoming 2008 Awards banquet on Friday, Oct. 10. Tickets are $25 and are available by contacting the UNK Alumni Office at 308-865-8474 or emailing


·        Tom Carman is a native of Fremont, NE. 
·        Bill Dunn is a native of Grand Island, NE. 
·        Dr. Jean Lukesh is a native of Grand Island, NE. 
·        Brenda VanLengen is a native of Roseland, NE. 
·        Kathy Horvath is a native of Gibbon, NE. 
·        Dallas and Sheryl Wymore are natives of Cambridge, NE.