Innocents Society, Mortar Board members inducted for 2019-20

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Innocents Society, Mortar Board members inducted for 2019-20

University Communications file photo

Students, faculty and alumni were honored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln at its annual Ivy Day ceremonies on April 6.

The event, co-sponsored by Mortar Board and the Innocents Society, recognized outstanding contributions of students selected to serve in the two organizations, as well as the achievements of current members and notable underclassmen and seniors.

Ceremonies took place at the Nebraska Champions Club and concluded with the traditional planting of the ivy by the 2019-20 presidents of the societies: Lukas Hall of Omaha for Mortar Board and Kamryn Sannicks of Lincoln for the Innocents Society.

Jim Pillen — vice chairman of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents, president of Pillen Family Farms and a managing partner of DNA Genetics — delivered the keynote address. Pillen is a Nebraska Football Hall of Fame inductee and received the Nebraska Distinguished Entrepreneur Award from the Nebraska Center for Entrepreneurship. He earned a Bachelor of Science in animal science from Nebraska and a doctoral degree in veterinary medicine from Kansas State University.

An honorary membership in the Innocents Society was presented to Kelli King, director of the William H. Thompson Scholars Learning Community at Nebraska.

Honorary Mortar Board memberships were presented to Charlie Foster, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at Nebraska; Stan Garbacz, Nebraska’s agricultural trade representative; and John Hibbing, Foundation Regents University Professor of Political Science at Nebraska.

The Innocents Society inducts 13 new members each spring, with selection based on leadership, scholarship and service to the university and greater community. The Innocents Society was founded in 1903 to promote the spirit of the university and is the chancellor’s senior honorary. It is not affiliated with any national organization.

New members of Mortar Board are tapped into the Black Masque Chapter each spring by Mortar Boarders wearing black masks and robes. The 26 new members were selected on the basis of outstanding scholarship, leadership and service to the university and community.

Following is a list by hometown of the 2019 inductees into the Innocents Society and the Black Masque chapter of Mortar Board. Information includes each student’s academic major(s) and parent names.


  • Bellevue: Miranda Kuzela, Innocents Society, Russian, political science, global studies and Spanish, daughter of Joey and Sharon Kuzela.
  • Blair: Olivia Maras, Mortar Board, psychology, daughter of Chris and JoEllen Maras.
  • Chadron: Jayden Garrett, Mortar Board, nutrition, exercise and health science (pre-physical therapy), daughter of Chris and Julie Garrett.
  • Columbus: Amy Heusinkvelt, Innocents Society, secondary English education, daughter of Mary and Bryan Heusinkvelt; Dana Hoppe, Innocents Society, computer science, son of Fred and Donna Hoppe.
  • De Witt: Cheyenne Gerlach, Mortar Board, integrated science, daughter of Rick and Amy Gerlach.
  • Dodge: Braden Dvorak, Mortar Board, agricultural economics, son of Dean and Tammy Dvorak.
  • Elkhorn: Mary Greufe, Mortar Board, elementary education, daughter of Jim and Nancy Greufe.
  • Kenesaw: Rose Wehrman, Innocents Society, English, daughter of Margaret and Clifton Wehrman.
  • Lincoln: Lauren Lesiak, Innocents Society, chemistry and biochemistry, daughter of Chris and Marty Lesiak; Dylan Mathers, Mortar Board, athletic training, daughter of Jeff and Jill Mathers; Olivia Miller, Mortar Board, biological sciences, history, and classics and religious studies, daughter of Keith and Kathryn Miller; Frances Munro, Mortar Board, finance and economics, daughter of Michael and Susan Munro; Nathan Netz, Mortar Board, finance and marketing, son of Doug and Robin Netz; Hannah O’Neill, Mortar Board, biochemistry (pre-med), daughter of Patrick and Farida O’Neill; Kamryn Sannicks, Innocents Society, political science and sociology, daughter of Kristin Ceballos.
  • Omaha: Lukas Hall, Mortar Board, biochemistry, son of Ryan and Paula Hall; Philip Holubeck, Mortar Board, biochemistry, son of Paul and Diane Holubeck; Spencer Hosch, Mortar Board, management (pre-law), son of Greg and Shelly Hosch; Jessica Humphrey, Innocents Society, food science and technology, daughter of John and Mary Ann Humphrey; Vincent Malene, Mortar Board, actuarial science, son of Don and Dawn Malene; Matthew Meacham, Innocents Society, computer science and mathematics, son of Jeanette and John Meacham; Jared Noetzel, Innocents Society, psychology, son of Sameena and Juergen Noetzel; Spencer Nussrallah, Innocents Society, accounting and finance, son of Tom and Tammie Nussrallah; Alexandrea Otto, Mortar Board, fisheries and wildlife, daughter of Friedhelm and Shelley Otto; Gauri Ramesh, Mortar Board, computer science, daughter of Sangitha and Ramesh Balakrishnan; Gregory Tracey, Mortar Board, economics and global studies, son of Stanley and Joan Tracey; Lauryn Wengert, Mortar Board, political science and global studies, daughter of Daniel and Leigh Wengert.
  • Republican City: Cooper Wright, Mortar Board, political science and global studies, son of Brad and Sara Daubert.
  • Seward: Emily Johnson, Mortar Board, political science, Spanish and global studies, daughter of Todd and Kristi Johnson.


  • Bentonville, Arkansas: Jacob Shiohira, Mortar Board, computer science and mathematics, son of Bill and Deborah Shiohira.
  • Chicago, Illinois: Ibraheem Hamzat, Innocents Society, microbiology, son of Raheem and Saidat Hamzat.
  • Kansas City, Kansas: Jessica Moore, Mortar Board, broadcasting, and advertising and public relations, daughter of Ronnie and Abby Moore.
  • Overland Park, Kansas: Liam Carroll, Mortar Board, music, son of Michael and Robin Carroll; Andrew Eksi, Mortar Board, biochemistry, son of Hakan and Tina Eksi.
  • Wichita, Kansas: Spencer Jones, Mortar Board, biochemistry, son of Dirk and Julie Jones.
  • Waconia, Minnesota: Sarah Weisbecker, Innocents Society, political science and sociology, daughter of David and Julie Weisbecker.
  • Kansas City, Missouri: Breonna Hurt, Mortar Board, criminology and criminal justice, daughter of Michelle Hurt.
  • Nairobi, Kenya: Gitau Wambugu, Mortar Board, chemical engineering (pre-med), son of Mercy Muthoni Wambugu.
  • Kigali, Rwanda: Precious Nyabami Valentine, Innocents Society, integrated science, daughter of Rutikara Augustin and Kaligirwa Rose.

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