We asked Dean of Student Affairs Gilbert Hinga what he’s most thankful for this Thanksgiving. From food, music and his family’s holiday traditions, to his favorite place on the UNK campus, here are some of the things he is most thankful for:
Food – “Turkey and dressing. And white meat, no question. My wife, Beth, is a culinary expert. Turkey is one of the best things she makes. … And I’m an ice tea kind of guy. It has to be sweet tea, too.”
Person – “My father. He has always been a great influence. My mother just passed away, and he has been a rock for so long. “
Gilbert’s father, Benjamin, lives in his native Kenya, and Gilbert has only visited him twice in the past 18 years. Benjamin Hinga worked as a police officer in Kenya and also ran his own insurance business.
“He is passionate about education and learning. He’s always had a thirst for knowledge, believes in persevering and is very resilient,” Gilbert says of his father. “I have some of those traits, and I’m so thankful for that.”
UNK Colleagues – “The Student Affairs staff is second to none. They bend over backwards to help students in ways that just amaze me everyday. I’m also thankful for our students. They have so many challenges. You just never know what challenges a student faces by looking at them. There is a lot of resilience out there among our students.”
Music – “I love country music, but right now I mostly listen to a lot of children’s music.”
Hinga has a 7-year-old daughter, Semira, and 4-year-old son, Ben.
“Any upbeat kids’ song is what you’ll find my listening to usually,” Hinga joked.
Place on Campus – “I’m thankful for the student union. I love the energy there. I go to the dining hall twice a week, just to hang out, and I always come away feeling more connected to the students.
“I’m also a big fan of the Bell Tower. It has a real presence to it. We should have more activities out there.
Piece of Advice – “Follow your heart. Figure out what it is that you are passionate about, and then follow it. I’m definitely thankful for that advice. Again, that goes back to my father and upbringing.”
Thanksgiving Tradition – “We take a moment before we eat to go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because the idea of giving thanks, regardless of what’s going on in the world, is bold.
“It gets me in tune with the parts of life that help make us successful.”
– By Todd Gottula, UNK Communications