Charlie Bicak, Nate Grimm speaking at UNK spring commencement

WHAT: UNK Spring Commencement
WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, May 13
WHERE: UNK Health and Sports Center
SOCIAL MEDIA: Follow @UNKearney on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to see photos and posts
LIVE BROADCAST: Watch commencement live at

KEARNEY – The University of Nebraska at Kearney will host its spring commencement 10 a.m. Friday at the Health and Sports Center on campus.

Charlie Bicak
Charlie Bicak

Chancellor Doug Kristensen will confer degrees for 682 graduate and undergraduate students during the ceremony, with Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Charlie Bicak delivering the commencement address.

A Kearney Catholic High School graduate, Bicak earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Kearney State College, Master of Science in plant science from the University of British Columbia and doctorate in range science from Colorado State University. His career includes teaching and administrative positions at Westside Community Schools in Omaha, California State University, Bakersfield, St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and UNK.

He’s served as senior vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNK since March 2009, playing an integral role in the university’s growth and success during that period. His service to the city and state includes positions with the CHI Health Good Samaritan Foundation Board and Community Board, Bio Nebraska, EPSCoR, Nebraska INBRE program, Sigma Xi and Central Platte Natural Resources District.

Nate Grimm
Nate Grimm

Bicak and his wife Marylin have two adult children and two grandchildren. He plans to retire in June.

The student speaker is Nate Grimm of Fremont, who graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in coaching. He will pursue a master’s degree in sport, exercise and performance psychology at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

A recipient of the UNK Alumni Association’s Outstanding Senior award, Grimm has been involved in the Honors Program, Chancellor’s Ambassadors, Undergraduate Research Fellows and Mortar Board, Order of Omega and Psi Chi honor societies. He tutored students through the UNK Learning Commons, served as a Loper Leader and Department of Psychology human subjects coordinator and held leadership positions with the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, Interfraternity Council and Greeks Advocating for Healthy Lifestyles.

Off campus, the 2021-22 Greek Man of the Year volunteered with TOPSoccer, Buddy Bowling, Habitat for Humanity and the Residential Assistance to Families in Transition program. He’s also an assistant track and field coach for Kearney High School.

NU System President Ted Carter and Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares will also address the graduates.

Thomas “Tom” Tye II, a third-generation Kearney attorney and University of Nebraska Foundation trustee, will receive the Ron and Carol Cope Cornerstone of Excellence Award during Friday’s ceremony. Tye has been involved in numerous local and state organizations and projects. The Tye family are longtime supporters of UNK and the University of Nebraska System.

The spring commencement also features performances by the UNK Wind Ensemble and senior Hannah Petersen of Omaha, who will sing the national anthem. Petersen graduates magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in musical theater.

Those who are unable to attend in person may watch the ceremony via livestream on UNK’s website. A recording can also be viewed later on the website.


Commencement attendees are encouraged to park in the lots west of the Health and Sports Center. Visitors with handicap permits can park east of the Health and Sports Center. Those transporting a handicapped person will have access to drop off the individual on the east side of the complex but will need to move their vehicle to another lot.

Visitors with wheelchairs can sit in the corner seating sections on the main floor of the Health and Sports Center or use the elevator in the northeast corner of the building to sit in the designated section on the arena floor.

Doors open at 8:30 a.m.