Office of the Chancellor

The Ron and Carol Cope Cornerstone of Excellence Award was presented to Todd Thalken, a prominent Kearney businessman, during University of Nebraska at Kearney commencement ceremonies Friday, May 6.

In presenting the award, UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said: “Both personally and professionally, Todd has been a faithful and loyal supporter of the university and its students.” Thalken, who was described as “…a particularly strong advocate for the College of Fine Arts and Humanities,” is a 1980 UNK graduate with a degree in music performance.

Although he and his wife Lois, also a UNK graduate, own and operate Kearney Floral, he makes time to accompany vocal and instrumental students in student recitals, the Concerts-on-the-Platte series, musical theatre coaching class, and the State and Regional National Association of Teachers of Singing competitions. Also, he has recorded for the Musical Theatre Showcase in Grand Island, Omaha and Chicago. He and his wife also perform in the jazz trio Thalken-Tesdall-Thalken. In 2007, the Thalkens received the Kearney Hub Freedom Award for sharing their musical talents at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.

For many years, Kearney Floral has decorated the historic Frank House for the holidays as their donation to the fundraising activities for the mansion. Kearney Floral is also a member of the UNK Chancellor’s Society.

“In sum, Todd has distinguished himself as a pillar of the Kearney community and as an important, long-time supporter of the University of Nebraska at Kearney,” Chancellor Kristensen said. “He is one of our invaluable assets.”

The Ron and Carol Cope Cornerstone of Excellence Award was established in 2003 and is presented to individuals who have provided significant service, support and promotion of UNK, the greater Kearney area, the State of Nebraska or the objectives of higher education. The award is a university-wide award, and all nominations are reviewed and approved by the University of Nebraska Board of Regents.