Janet Stoeger Wilke, Taylor Bunde speaking Friday at UNK summer commencement

WHAT: UNK Summer Commencement
WHEN: 10 a.m. Friday, Aug. 5
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 http://unk.edu/eventdashboard


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

Chancellor Doug Kristensen will confer degrees for 217 graduate and undergraduate students during the ceremony, with former UNK Dean of the Library Janet Stoeger Wilke delivering the commencement address.

Janet Stoeger Wilke
Janet Stoeger Wilke

A Centura Public Schools graduate and first-generation college student, Wilke earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Chadron State College, followed by a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She worked at Doane College in Crete and Wichita State University before joining Kearney State College in 1988 as a reference librarian.

Wilke held a variety of positions during her 34-year career at UNK, including curriculum librarian, associate dean and interim dean of Calvin T. Ryan Library from 2003-04 and 2006-07. She was named dean of the library in March 2007 and continued to serve in that role until her retirement on June 30.

Among her many accomplishments, Wilke partnered with the Division of Student Affairs to develop the Learning Commons inside the library, expanded access to online resources for UNK students and faculty, initiated the digital repository, which provides worldwide access to scholarly and creative work produced at UNK, and supported growth of the university archives and special collections. She also played a key part in the development of the Open Educational Resources initiative, which promotes the use of free and reduced-cost learning materials at UNK.

Taylor Bunde
Taylor Bunde

Wilke received the Distinguished Service Award from the Nebraska Library Association in 2013.

The student speaker is Taylor Bunde of Hastings, who graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in business, marketing and information technology education.

A regular on the dean’s list, Bunde was involved in Circle K International, the Secondary Educators’ Club, Future Business Leaders of America-Phi Beta Lambda, Junior Achievement, UNK’s Center for Economic Education and the Phi Eta Sigma honor society. She completed her student teaching at Gibbon Public Schools and served as a paraprofessional for the Kearney Community Learning Center from August 2020 to December 2021.

NU Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares and University of Nebraska Medical Center Chancellor Jeffrey Gold will also address the graduates. The national anthem will be performed by UNK vocal music professor Sharon O’Connell Campbell, chair of the Department of Music, Theatre and Dance.

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.