By TYLER ELLYSON
KEARNEY – When Wynn Cannon first arrived at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, people knew her as “Cy’s little sister.”
Her older brother was pretty popular around campus, participating in organizations and activities such as the UNK Honors Program, Loper Leaders, First Year Program, Mortar Board, Digital Expressions Media Camp and undergraduate research. A recipient of the prestigious Board of Regents Scholarship, he graduated in December 2020 with a perfect 4.0 GPA and degrees in multimedia and psychology.
That set a standard for Cannon, who thought, “If he can do that, I can do it, too.”
After all, the Silver Creek native and Osceola High School graduate chose UNK largely because of her brother’s successes and her past experiences on campus.
“Since I was a little girl, I have been coming to Kearney almost every year,” she said. “My dad had different veterinary conferences here and we would come with him a lot of times, so I got to be really familiar with Kearney at a young age.”
Cannon competed in speech during high school, qualifying for the state competition as a sophomore, junior and senior. UNK hosted that event for 20 years, giving students a chance to get on campus for a day.
Of course, the family also made frequent trips to town after Cy enrolled at UNK.
“Even before I came to college, I got to see everything he was doing,” Cannon said. “And I was like, ‘Yes, this is something I want to be involved in.’ I really liked the small-campus feel and the familiarity I had with the community, too.”
Although she started as Cy’s little sister, Cannon quickly made a name for herself. She was equally involved on campus, serving as the public relations chair for First Leaders, social media chair for Loper Programming and Activities Council and secretary of the Lambda Pi Eta communication studies honor society. Cannon was also part of the UNK Honors Program, Digital Expressions Media Camp, Loper Leaders and Mortar Board, Phi Kappa Phi and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies.
Tiffani Luethke, an assistant professor in the UNK Department of Communication, described her as an incredibly ambitious, caring and highly dependable student.
“In her first class with me, Wynn completed an honor’s project that received the Calvin T. Ryan Award for Undergraduate Research. That’s just the type of student she is. Her work is exceptional but she also has good boundaries – she knows when not to take on new tasks and I think that’s one thing that really set her apart from other students,” Luethke said. “As much as I would have loved to have her involved in even more activities within the Department of Communication, I really respect her ability to know herself and to do exceedingly well at the things she chooses to pursue.”
That’s not to say she didn’t keep busy.
In addition to her extracurricular activities and academics, Cannon worked at the Loper Spirit Shop on campus, giving her experience in retail and customer service. She advanced to a student supervisor position, allowing her to assist with some of the day-to-day store operations.
“Wynn is a very smart individual. She has a bubbly, outgoing personality and a willingness to jump in and assist in any situation, whether it was at the store or with another student during classes,” said Loper Spirit Shop manager Len Fangmeyer. “She’s not afraid to find the answers or to get what she is looking for, rather than hoping someone else will do it for her.”
Last summer, Cannon completed an internship at Dismal River Club, a Sandhills destination featuring two championship-caliber golf courses, lodging, dining and a spa. The club also offers hunting, horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, hiking and other outdoor activities. Since all of her classes were offered online, Cannon continued to work there through the fall semester.
She returned to Kearney for the spring semester and completed a bachelor’s degree in organizational and relational communication with a minor in behavioral and mental health. Like her brother, she graduated summa cum laude with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
“Overall, I’ve had a really great experience here,” said Cannon, who was named an Outstanding Senior in the Department of Communication. “One thing that definitely sticks out is the connections and relationships I’ve made. Within my major, you’re definitely not a number. I think I could walk up to just about any faculty member and they would know me by name.”
Cannon recently accepted a full-time, year-round position at Dismal River Club. Long-term, she’s simply looking for something that’s “fun and interesting.”
No matter the role, she’s likely to succeed.
“She has a strong work ethic, a positive attitude, the ability to include everyone and a willingness to learn,” Fangmeyer said. “That will serve her well in the future.”
“Wynn will go wherever she wishes to go,” she said. “I have no doubt that she will reach whatever goals she sets for herself, whether that’s pursuit of a doctorate or pursuit of becoming a CEO or pursuit of traveling the world or all of the above. She will most definitely achieve her goals and I am certain that she is destined for great things.”