Cederberg, Dykstra, Wendell recognized as UNK distinguished alumni

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney Alumni Association has announced three alumni who will be given awards during homecoming festivities Friday through Sunday (Sept. 23-25).

Dr. Brenda Cederberg is the Don Fox Lecturer and will present at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Copeland Hall room 131. Hosted by the Department of Chemistry, the Don Fox Memorial Lecture is hosted in honor of the late Dr. Donald Fox, former UNK chemistry faculty member, department chair and dean of the College of Natural and Social Sciences.

Matt Dykstra will be presented the College of Education’s Distinguished Educator award during the One Room, One Teacher induction ceremony at 3:30 p.m. Friday in the College of Education atrium.

J. Rodney Wendell will be recognized with the Dr. Gary Thomas Distinguished Music Alumnus award during the UNK choir concert at 3 p.m. Sunday in the UNK Recital Hall. A reception will follow the concert.

Wendell will also be recognized at the UNK Music Department alumni luncheon during the Nebraska Music Educators Association convention Nov. 17 in Lincoln.

Brenda Cederberg
Brenda Cederberg

Don Fox Lecturer
Brenda Cederberg received her Bachelor of Science in health science with a minor in chemistry at UNK in 1993 and went on to receive her doctor of veterinary medicine from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
In 2010, she received certification as a canine rehabilitation practitioner from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine.
Cederberg’s focus in practice is improving quality of life for pets with orthopedic surgery, general surgery, physical rehabilitation and pain management. She is continuing her education and training with specialists in the canine rehabilitation, orthopedics and pain management fields.
She currently practices at Countryside Pet Clinic and Resort in Andover, Kan., and is a member of the International Association for Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy and International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management.

Matthew Dykstra
Matthew Dykstra

College of Education Distinguished Educator
Matt Dykstra received his Bachelor of Arts in elementary education in 1996.
He is a physical education teacher at Millard Public Schools and has taught there for 20 years. For the past five years he has also been an adjunct professor at University of Nebraska at Omaha.
During his time at UNK, Dykstra was a catcher for the baseball team, a resident adviser, student ambassador, Rodeo Club member and 1995 homecoming king.
In 2000, Dykstra received his master’s degree in educational administration from UNO. Dykstra has received numerous awards throughout his teaching career, including the excellence in teaching award in 2012 and physical education teacher of the year from the Nebraska State Education Association, as well as the UNO part-time instructor of the year in 2013.
Dykstra was selected by the Alliance of a Healthier Generation as a National Healthy School Ambassador for two years, earning several state and national wellness awards for his school. Dykstra has conducted 20 Jump Rope for Heart events, raising more than $135,000 for the American Heart Association.

J. Rodney Wendell
J. Rodney Wendell

Gary Thomas Distinguished Music Alumnus
J. Rodney Wendell graduated from Nebraska State Teacher’s College in 1950, then received his master’s in music education from Kearney State College in 1972. He was part of the Xi Phi honorary and an American Choral Directors Association National Choir Recommendation.
Wendell began teaching at Axtell High School in 1950 and remained there until retiring in 1994. Through the course of his teaching career, he was a successful Nebraska small school’s repertoire and resources chair, is a member of the Nebraska Music Education Hall of Fame and a Kearney Hub Freedom Award winner.
Wendell is organist and participates in the choir at Keene Evangelical Free Church. In 1958, Wendell directed the first of what became an annual production of George Handel’s “Messiah” in Axtell. The 2017 spring production will be the Axtell Mastersingers’ 59th season. The concert is hosted each year on Palm Sunday in Kearney.