Nebraska to award 3,500-plus degrees May 7-8

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Nebraska to award 3,500-plus degrees May 7-8

Tom Osborne, Jennifer Clarke, Riko Bishop will address graduates
Samuel Baue (left) and Anna Bauerie move the tassels on their tams at the conclusion of the College of Law graduation ceremony May 7 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Craig Chandler | University Communication
Samuel Baue (left) and Anna Bauerie move the tassels on their tams at the conclusion of the College of Law graduation ceremony May 7 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln will confer more than 3,500 degrees during commencement exercises May 7 and 8.

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Former Nebraska football coach, Athletic Director and Congressman Tom Osborne will deliver the keynote address, “Begin with the End in Mind,” during the undergraduate ceremonies at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium.

The afternoon ceremony has been moved up from a 4 p.m. start to a 3 p.m. start to help avoid the possibility of thunderstorms in the late afternoon impacting the event. Digital tickets will be automatically changed to reflect the new start time. Graduates and guests can begin to arrive at 1:30 p.m.; graduates must arrive by 2:15 p.m.

Tom Osborne

A native of Hastings, where he earned his bachelor’s degree at Hastings College, Osborne enjoyed a brief playing career in the National Football League before receiving his master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology at Nebraska while serving as an assistant coach under Bob Devaney. Osborne was named Devaney’s successor in 1973 and over the next 25 years established himself as one of the best coaches in college football history. He guided Nebraska to 13 conference titles and three national championships, and helped Nebraska claim the most Academic All-Americans in the nation. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.

After retiring from coaching, Osborne turned his attention to teaching graduate courses at Nebraska. In 2000, he was elected to represent Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District, where he served three terms. In 2007, Osborne returned to the university to serve as athletic director, leading Nebraska Athletics into the Big Ten Conference one year before retiring in 2012. Osborne has devoted countless hours during his career toward a unique mentoring program. The TeamMates program, founded in 1991 by Tom and his wife, Nancy, provides support and encouragement to more than 10,000 school-aged youth in five states with the goal of seeing them graduate from high school and pursue a post-secondary education.

The May exercises will be the first time since December 2019 — before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic — that the university has held full-fledged commencement ceremonies in person.

So that graduates and their guests can maintain proper distancing, undergraduates will be divided into two groups for separate ceremonies at Memorial Stadium.

Students from the following colleges will participate in the morning ceremony:

  • College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

  • College of Architecture

  • College of Business

  • College of Journalism and Mass Communications

  • Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts

  • UNO College of Public Affairs and Community Service

Students from the following colleges will participate in the afternoon ceremony:

  • College of Arts and Sciences

  • College of Education and Human Sciences

  • College of Engineering

The College of Law commencement ceremony was held at 10 a.m. May 7 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Doctoral and master’s degrees will be conferred by the Office of Graduate Studies at 4 p.m. May 7, also at the arena.

Jennifer Clarke, professor of food science and technology, and statistics, and director of the Quantitative Life Sciences Initiative at Nebraska, will give the address at the graduate and professional degrees ceremony. Riko Bishop, a judge of the Nebraska Court of Appeals, spoke to the law graduates.

The university will present Connie Clifton Rath, president of the Clifton Foundation, with an honorary Doctor of Commerce during the morning undergraduate ceremony.

Jennifer Clarke

Clarke received bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and psychology from Skidmore University, a master’s degree in statistics from Carnegie Mellon University and a doctorate in statistics from Pennsylvania State University. She conducted postdoctoral research at the National Institute of Statistical Sciences in Research Triangle Park and the Department of Statistical Sciences at Duke University before joining the faculty at Duke. Prior to coming to Nebraska, she was a faculty member at the University of Miami in the Department of Public Health Sciences and the Center for Computational Sciences. Clark serves as chair of the seed grant steering committee of the National Science Foundation’s Midwest Big Data Hub, and her research has been supported by several federal agencies. She serves as director of the doctoral program in complex biosystems at Nebraska. Her research interests include statistical and artificial intelligence methodology for robust prediction, and training the next generation of data scientists.

Riko Bishop

Bishop has been a judge with the Nebraska Court of Appeals since 2013. She was previously a shareholder with Perry, Guthery, Haase and Gessford, where she was a litigation attorney for 20 years. Before that, she was a schoolteacher and worked in business management. Bishop chairs the Nebraska Supreme Court’s Committee on Practice and Procedure and Nebraska’s Judicial Branch Education Advisory Committee. She also co-chairs the Appellate Practice Section of the Nebraska State Bar Association. Bishop received the 2017 Outstanding Contributor to Women in the Law Award from the NSBA Women and the Law Section and was recognized as a 2017 Outstanding Civic Health Partner by Nebraskans for Civic Reform (now Civic Nebraska). She received the 2018 Warren K. Urbom Mentor Award from the Robert Van Pelt American Inn of Court. Bishop regularly volunteers as judge for the College of Law’s national moot court team and other such competitions. She is a 1992 graduate of the College of Law.

Connie Clifton Rath

As president of the Clifton Foundation, Rath has led the development of programs for young entrepreneurs and leaders at high schools and universities. The foundation’s largest project is the Clifton Strengths Institute at Nebraska. She also serves on the Gallup Board of Directors. Her Gallup career contributions include leading Gallup Education and Gallup University. She also managed the company’s selection and development services and led its human resources efforts for 20 years. Rath has led research on women’s leadership and has served on the boards of the Asian Pacific American Women’s Leadership Institute, Bennett College, the University of Iowa Management Advisory Board, the University of Maryland James McGregor Burns Leadership Academy and the Public Education Network. She has also served on the president’s advisory board for historically black colleges and universities. Rath currently is a director of the VHL Alliance. She has been involved with the Society of Psychologists in Management since 2000, serving on the board of directors and foundation board. She was the 2014 Distinguished Psychologist in Management. Rath earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Nebraska and her doctorate in education and leadership from the University of Southern California.

Chancellor Ronnie Green will preside over the commencement ceremonies.

The university is partnering with the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to ensure proper social distancing between attendees to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission. Graduates and their guests will be required to wear face coverings at all times while inside the commencement venues. All graduate and public seating will be socially distanced.

If inclement weather arises, Sunday, May 9, has been set aside as an alternate date for the undergraduate commencement ceremonies.

Because of the need to maintain distancing, these events will be limited to May 2021 graduates and their guests. Future ceremonies will be offered to 2020 graduates who wish to return to campus for an in-person celebration of their degrees.

Graduates must have signed up to attend commencement. To help protect participants and their guests, COVID-19 saliva testing will be required of all participating students, faculty and staff who will be on the field or arena floor. All graduates must receive a negative COVID-19 test result in the one to three days prior to their ceremony. Vaccination status is not a factor; all participating graduates must be tested. “Building access granted” status on the SaferCommunity app or a building access pass from the online testing portal is required for entrance. For more details, including required testing dates and information on exemptions, click here. Testing questions can be sent to Testing is not required for regular guests.

To maintain a secure environment, Memorial Stadium and Pinnacle Bank Arena enforce a clear-bag policy that limits the size and type of bag that may be brought into the venues. Details are available here. To avoid inconveniences, guests are encouraged to arrive early and travel light.

Tickets are required for all guests at Memorial Stadium. All tickets are free and will be accessible on mobile devices. Each graduate could request up to eight tickets, which can only be accessed by the student through with a unique password. Additional reserved seating can be requested here until 8 a.m. May 8. Guest seating will be limited to West and South stadiums. Students will be seated on the field. Guests will not be allowed on the field at any point during commencement. They may meet up with graduates outside the gates of Memorial Stadium after the ceremonies.

For easiest access to the ceremony, please ensure that guest tickets have been transferred to the appropriate parties and have been added to the digital wallet (Apple Wallet for iPhones and Google Pay for Android) before arrival. All transfers must be accepted within 48 hours and/or before the start of the event. Event updates, including time changes, will be automatically shown on tickets saved in the digital wallet. Bar codes will not be affected.

Handicap seating is available on the apron of the West Stadium bowl with an appropriate ticket. The entrance is Gate 3. Open captioning for people with hearing impairment will be provided on the ribbon boards. First aid will be at the northwest station on the north concourse for guests and the southeast field-level station for those on the field.

Free parking is available with no permit needed (except for handicap visitors) in City Campus parking garages and surface lots, unless otherwise marked. Guests are encouraged to park on the west side of Memorial Stadium for easier access to guest entrances.

Limited handicap parking is available in the surface lots around the stadium. Vehicles must have appropriate, state-issued handicap permits or license plates. A drop-off area for mobility-restricted guests will be available on Stadium Drive, directly west of the stadium.

Undergraduates are to check in no later than 9:15 a.m. for the morning ceremony and 2:15 p.m. for the afternoon ceremony, at the Hawks Championship Center, just north of Memorial Stadium. Students should bring their student ID and cellphone and enter through the west gates. Graduates will check in and go directly to their assigned seats inside the stadium. Graduates are encouraged to wear shoes without high heels since they will be walking on field turf.

Tickets are not required for the ceremonies at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The public may sit in any open seats other than on the main floor, which is set for graduates, faculty and dignitaries. Handicap seating is available on the concourse level in Sections 106, 107, 112, 114, 117 and 118. Open captioning for people with hearing impairment will be provided through the ribbon screens at the corners of the arena concourse level. For Pinnacle Bank Arena seating charts, click here. Guest services and first aid will be on Level 3 at Gate 112.

Paid parking for Pinnacle Bank Arena, including handicap spaces, is available in Haymarket area garages and on the street. Parking in the Red 1 Garage, 555 R St. at $3 per vehicle, can be reserved and paid in advance here. The arena’s north lobby entrance will not be open for commencement.

A drop-off area for mobility-restricted guests will be available on the south side of the U.S. Post Office building, 700 R St., directly east of Pinnacle Bank Arena, although the area is expected to be highly congested. Parking maps are available here.

Graduating students are to check in no later than 9:15 a.m. for the College of Law ceremony. Graduates should enter the arena through the southeast doors, near the Huskers Authentic Store. Students should bring their student ID and cellphone. They will be directed to line up for a processional.

Graduates should check in no later than 3:30 p.m. for the graduate and professional degrees ceremony. Graduates should enter via the south lobby entrance, off R Street. Students should bring their student ID and cellphone. Graduates will check in and go directly to their assigned seating on the arena floor.

Graduates should contact the Office of the University Registrar with accessibility concerns.

Graduates and their guests are asked to stay for the entire ceremony.

The ceremonies will be streamed here and broadcast live on Spectrum channel 1303, Allo channel 23 and Kinetic channel 1080.

For more information on the May commencement ceremonies, click here or email

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