Innocents Society, Mortar Board members inducted for 2021-22

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Innocents Society, Mortar Board members inducted for 2021-22

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Students, administrators and staff were honored by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln at its annual Ivy Day ceremonies on April 3.

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

Socially distanced ceremonies took place at the Lied Center for Performing Arts and concluded with the traditional planting of the ivy by the 2020-21 presidents of the societies — Erika Swenson of Blair for Mortar Board and Jared Long of Beloit, Kansas, for the Innocents Society — as well as the 2021-22 presidents — Tanner Skelton of Fort Calhoun for Mortar Board and Caroline Hilgert of Omaha for the Innocents Society.

Walter “Ted” Carter Jr., president of the University of Nebraska system, delivered the keynote address. Carter leads a four-campus university system that enrolls nearly 52,000 students and employs 16,000 faculty and staff on campuses in Lincoln, Omaha and Kearney, plus academic divisions and research and extension centers across the state. Before joining the university system in January 2000, he served as superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy, his alma mater, and president of the U.S. Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. A retired vice admiral with 38 years of service, he has logged more than 6,300 tactical jet flying hours and has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Bronze Star.

An honorary membership in the Innocents Society was presented to Tyre McDowell Jr., assistant vice chancellor for student life and leadership at Nebraska.

Honorary Mortar Board memberships were presented to Pat Lopez, health director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department; Heath Tuttle, assistant vice president for information technology at the University of Nebraska and chief information officer for the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; and Mike Zeleny, chief of staff and associate to the chancellor at Nebraska.

The Innocents Society inducts 13 new members each spring, with selection based on leadership, academic achievement 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 uniquely Nebraskan.

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 advancing scholarship, leadership and service.

Following is a list by hometown of the 2021 inductees into the Innocents Society and the Black Masque chapter of Mortar Board. Information includes each student’s academic major(s) and parent names.


  • Aurora: Jadyn Cattau, Mortar Board, human development and family science, daughter of Jeremy and Sonja Cattau.
  • Columbus: Catherine Veseth, Mortar Board, biological sciences, daughter of Don and Frances Veseth.
  • Fort Calhoun: Tanner Skelton, Mortar Board, software engineering, son of Tom and Cindy Skelton.
  • Hastings: Will Parker, Mortar Board, hospitality, restaurant and tourism management, son of Bob and Julie Parker.
  • Hayes Center: Wesley Wach, Mortar Board, agricultural economics, son of Loran and Nancy Wach.
  • Lincoln: Laura Derowitsch, Mortar Board, software engineering, daughter of Mark and Rachel Derowitsch; Audra Heyne, Mortar Board, computer science, daughter of Todd and Nancy Heyne; Taylor Jarvis, Mortar Board, accounting, daughter of Jay and Trish Jarvis; Dilziba Kizghin, Innocents Society, biological systems engineering, daughter of Ehtibar Eziz and Dilmurat Kizghin; Kyle Krueger, Mortar Board, computer science, son of Jim and Julie Krueger; Susan Qudus, Mortar Board, biological systems engineering, daughter of Omar and Maria Qudus; Keith Tran, Innocents Society, computer science, son of Kiet Tran and Truc Trinh; Grayson Wegener, Innocents Society, international business, son of David and Valerie Wegener; Madison Whitney, Mortar Board, global studies and environmental studies, daughter of Joeth Zucco; Duncan Works, Mortar Board, biochemistry, son of Mike and Kelly Works.
  • Nebraska City: Chloe Higgins, Innocents Society, economics, daughter of Stacie and the late Dion Higgins.
  • Norfolk: Ethan Carlson, Mortar Board, management, son of Joel and Beth Carlson; Braden Fink, Mortar Board, biochemistry, son of Ben and Jill Fink.
  • O’Neill: Aurora Gutshall, Mortar Board, communication sciences and disorders, daughter of Scott and Barbie Gutshall.
  • Oconto: Isaac Stallbaumer, Mortar Board, mechanical engineering, son of Curtis and Marla Stallbaumer.
  • Omaha: Makayla Gill, Mortar Board, chemistry, daughter of Jim and Mary Gill; Caroline Hilgert, Innocents Society, political science and Spanish, daughter of John and Cara Hilgert; Madeleine Jacobitz, Innocents Society, finance and economics, daughter of Andrew and Lilian Jacobitz; Riha Karney, Innocents Society, communication sciences and disorders, daughter of Anand and Sudha Karney.
  • Phillips: Sarah Qualsett, Mortar Board, psychology, daughter of Bart and Lisa Qualsett.
  • Plymouth: Riley Knust, Mortar Board, finance and economics, son of Rolan and Sandy Knust.
  • West Point: Leigh Jahnke, Innocents Society, biological sciences and Spanish, daughter of Terry and Kristy Jahnke.


  • Huntley, Illinois: Lexie Fiedler, Mortar Board, actuarial science, daughter of Ron and Wendy Fiedler.
  • Carbon, Indiana: Kennedy Johnston, Innocents Society, economics, daughter of Jeff and Kristin Johnston.
  • Leawood, Kansas: Tim Roty, Mortar Board, software engineering, son of Tim and Francine Roty.
  • Overland Park, Kansas: Antonio Linhart, Innocents Society, computer science, son of Michael Linhart and Jacqueline Slagle.
  • Shawnee, Kansas: Morgan Gurwell, Mortar Board, child, youth and family studies, daughter of Owen and Nichole Gurwell.
  • Topeka, Kansas: Luke Gomez, Mortar Board, economics, son of Peter and Elizabeth Gomez.
  • Prior Lake, Minnesota: Gunther Grinde, Innocents Society, biochemistry, son of Robert and Susan Grinde.
  • Maryville, Missouri: Patrick Baker, Innocents Society, political science and global studies, son of Matt and Jill Baker.
  • Nashville, Tennessee: Clare Frances Kennedy, Mortar Board, communication studies, and women’s and gender studies, daughter of Rob and Betsy Kennedy.
  • Casper, Wyoming: Abigail Schoup, Mortar Board, fisheries and wildlife and pre-veterinary medicine, daughter of Keith Schoup and Jaci Schmidt.
  • Porto Alegre, Brazil: Guilherme Eymael, Innocents Society, mechanical engineering, son of Leonardo Eymael and Cristina Mainieri.
  • Kigali, Rwanda: Mark Iradukunda, Mortar Board, integrated science, son of Andre Munyeshuri and Louise Mukagasana.

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