9 outstanding Huskers named 2024 Alumni Masters

· 8 min read

9 outstanding Huskers named 2024 Alumni Masters

"Value of the N" sculpture in the Nebraska Alumni Association's Holling Garden.
Craig Chandler | University Communication and Marketing
The Nebraska Alumni Association is proud to introduce its 2024 class of Alumni Masters and alumni award winners.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will host nine outstanding graduates as part of its annual Alumni Masters celebration.

Organized by the Nebraska Alumni Association, the masters and award winners will be on campus April 3-5. The celebration of Husker excellence culminates in the Nebraska Medallion Dinner on April 5.

Since 1964, more than 400 alumni have participated in Alumni Masters. Its primary goal is to link the university’s outstanding alumni with students who can benefit from their experiences and knowledge, as well as honor alumni for their success and leadership. The masters will connect directly with students through lectures, presentations and events. They will discuss their career successes and how to apply formal education to working situations and career goals.

Students are encouraged to participate in their respective college’s Alumni Masters events.

Read more about each of the Alumni Masters in the Nebraska Alumni Association’s Nebraska Quarterly magazine.

The 2024 Alumni Masters and award winners are:

Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Warren White (’83)


For nearly 35 years, Warren White has been general manager of Mc6 Cattle Feeders, a 65,000-head cattle operation in Hereford, Texas. He has managed the feed yard since it opened in 1990. White also oversees the feed yard’s Prime Pursuits ranch-to-retail program that supplies premium beef to Walmart stores in the southeastern U.S.

After earning his undergraduate degree in agricultural education, White entered the feedlot construction business, constructing facilities in New Mexico, Kansas, Texas and Colorado. He also has ranching interests and ownership of two sale barns in Nebraska.


Matthew Macchietto (’14)


Matthew Macchietto is a principal landscape architect with Hoerr Schaudt, a cutting-edge, national landscape architecture firm. He has led designs for some of the Midwest’s largest civic-focused projects including Omaha and Council Bluffs’ River’s Edge Park. He specializes in public projects celebrating environmental resilience, community inclusivity and stewardship and built craft.

Macchietto earned his undergraduate degrees from Nebraska U and a graduate degree from the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He continues to conduct research and fieldwork related to how newly migrated cultural groups relate to public spaces. This research has fueled conversations among planners and community members about designing open spaces welcoming to all. He and his husband Michael Neisius live in Kansas City.

Arts and Sciences

Joseph U. Elston Jr. (’92, ’98)


Challenge and adventure define Joseph Elston’s career, which traveled unique paths through the U.S. Navy before earning him a place as a leader in American finance. After graduating from Navy Officer Candidate School and making deployments throughout the world, Elston became an Instructor in Naval Warfare at UNL, while earning a Master of Arts and doctoral teaching fellowship.

He left the university in 1995 to begin a career in finance, where he worked with JPMorgan Chase, administering complex-structured transactions like collateral debt obligations. After completing his doctoral dissertation and earning a degree in international relations from Nebraska, Elston was a co-founder of Virtus Partners, a global leader in administering alternative investment strategies. He and his wife Laura live in Houston.


Lance G. Morgan (’90)


Lance Morgan is president, CEO and one of the founders of Ho-Chunk, Inc., a corporation owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska with the mission of advancing socio-economic development of its people. Under his leadership, Ho-Chunk has grown to more than 1,700 employees with revenues exceeding $400 million. The success has sparked reinvestment in the Winnebago, Nebraska, community focusing on employment, housing, education and more.

Morgan also is a partner in the law firm of Big Fire Law and Policy, a Nebraska firm specializing in Indian law. He is a board member for several other corporate entities and has consulted with many tribal governments across the U.S. on economic development.

Education and Human Sciences

Marilyn S. Moore, Ed.D. (’71, ’74, ’80)


Marilyn Moore’s entire career was spent in public education in Lincoln Public Schools. She retired in 2012 after serving 25 years as the associate superintendent for instruction. Prior to that, she was an LPS human resources administrator and teacher at Goodrich Middle School. In 2017, LPS named its newest middle school “Moore Middle School” in her honor.

After retiring from LPS, Moore served as the president of Bryan College of Health Sciences and continues to volunteer on a variety of community boards, including the Lincoln Community Foundation, Community Health Endowment, Lincoln Symphony Orchestra and more. She is the president of the Nebraska Alumni Association Executive Board.


Jeff Lundy (’95)


Jeff Lundy is a senior manager at General Motors Corporation in Milford, Michigan. Leading the Global Energy Center, his team focuses on improving vehicle efficiency and supporting GM’s goal to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, vehicle emissions.

A native of Alliance, Nebraska, Lundy previously led GM’s fuel economy compliance strategy for China while living with his family in Shanghai and later served as lead development engineer during the launch of Cadillac’s flagship sedan, the CT6. He and his wife Rebecca have two daughters, Kayla and McKenna, and live in South Lyon, Michigan.

Fine and Performing Arts

Emma Nishimura (’13)


Emma Nishimura is an assistant professor and the chair of photography, printmaking and publications at the Ontario College of Art and Design University in Toronto. Working with a range of media, her research and art practice has focused on the multigenerational legacy of the Japanese Canadian Internment and forced dispersal during World War II.

Nishimura’s work has been widely exhibited internationally at venues including the Art Gallery of Ontario and the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, the Royal Academy of Arts in London, New York’s Print Center, and the Taimiao Art Gallery in Beijing. Her work is featured in a number of public and private collections, including the Library of Congress.

Journalism and Mass Communications

Charlie Arnot (’86)


A highly regarded writer and speaker, Charlie Arnot has become recognized as a thought leader in food and agriculture during his career in communications, public relations and issues management within the food system. He is the founder and president of Look East, an employee-owned consulting firm, and is the CEO of the Center for Food Integrity, an international non-profit dedicated to building consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system.

His comments on food and agriculture issues have appeared in national media including the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Time and NPR. He and his wife, Susan, live in Kansas City.


Jonathan Hatami (‘02)


Jonathan Hatami is a 17-year veteran prosecutor of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, where he is assigned to the Complex Child Abuse unit as a senior trial attorney. He has handled thousands of child physical and sexual abuse cases and has prosecuted more than 80 felony jury trials. He is featured in the Netflix true crime documentary, “The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez,” released in 2020.

In addition to his cases, Hatami has also fought to protect children by proposing and testifying on behalf of legislation in the California state legislature. He is a proud United States Army veteran, serving seven years in the Light Infantry and Military Police before finishing his career as a staff sergeant. His wife, Roxanne, is a 16-year veteran police officer, and they have two children, Jonathan Jr. and Lindsey.

Distinguished Service Award

Dan Spencer (’87)


Dan Spencer, a third-generation alumnus, is president of the Coloradans for Nebraska, one of the largest UNL alumni chapters in the country. Under Spencer’s leadership, the Coloradans for Nebraska is one of the largest contributors of alumni chapter scholarships, awarding eight $2,000 scholarships each year to Nebraska students from Colorado.

Spencer is a native of Grand Island and earned his bachelor’s degree from UNL in 1987 before graduating from the UNMC College of Dentistry in 1992. He has practiced dentistry in Denver since 1999. A strong family of Huskers with wife Sarah (’89), son Eli (’22) and daughter Elsa currently is a UNL sophomore majoring in pre-medicine.

Public Service Award

John Hilgert (’86)


John Hilgert is the director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs, a position he has held under four different Nebraska governors since 2001. He also has served as the president of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs.

A Class of 1986 UNL graduate, Hilgert served as a U.S. Army captain in the 1st Infantry Division in the Persian Gulf War. He was appointed to the Nebraska Legislature by Gov. Ben Nelson in 1995 and won reelection in 1996 and 2000. In 2001, he was first appointed by Gov. Mike Johanns as director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs and has been since retained by governors of both parties. He and his wife, Cara, have two children who are UNL alumni, Jack (’20) and Caroline (’22).

Family Tree Award

The Emerson Family

The Emerson Family’s roots within the University of Nebraska reach back more than a century and comprise dozens of alumni and community leaders, beginning with Dr. Clarence Emerson (1906) and Dora Dean Emerson (1918). Dr. Emerson was the first trained surgeon in the city of Lincoln, becoming the chief of surgical and chief of staff for St. Elizabeth Hospital.

Now, more than a century later, nearly 50 family members from the extended Brooks, Emerson, Guenzel, Johnson, Pansing, Plummer and Woolf families call the University of Nebraska their alma mater with graduates following paths in law, engineering, education, medicine, business and more.

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