Commencement weekend under way

· 4 min read

Commencement weekend under way

December 2013 grads stand for recognition during the Dec. 21 ceremony.
December 2013 graduates stand for recognition during the Dec. 21 ceremony.

More than 1,200 UNL students who earned bachelor’s degrees this semester were receiving their degrees in a Dec. 21 ceremony at Pinnacle Bank Arena that began at 9 a.m. WATCH LIVE | MOBILE LIVE STREAM

On Dec. 20, students received graduate and professional degrees at Pinnacle Bank Arena and the College of Law conducted a separate commencement ceremony. Overall, more than 1,500 degrees are being awarded this weekend. FULL DECEMBER 2013 GRADUATE LIST

Karen Kunc, Willa Cather Professor and professor of art at UNL, delivered the address at the Dec. 20 graduate and professional degree ceremony. Former U.S. Sen. and Nebraska Gov. Ben Nelson gave the address and received an honorary doctor of letters degree on Dec. 21. Judge William B. Cassel of the Nebraska Supreme Court addressed the law graduates.

The ceremony is free and open to the public, and no tickets are required. Because of security concerns, parcels, handbags and camera bags are subject to search. There is open seating in all areas except the arena floor, which is reserved for graduates, faculty and dignitaries. Handicap seating is on the concourse level. Open captioning for people with hearing impairment is provided through the ribbon screens at the corners of the arena concourse level. For Pinnacle Bank Arena seating charts, go to

A drop-off area for mobility-restricted guests is available on the south side of the post office building, 700 R St., directly east of Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Parking, including handicapped parking, is available in garages south of the arena and in the Festival Space parking area off Sun Valley Boulevard. The Festival Space parking area is accessible to the arena via a pedestrian bridge. Limited handicapped parking is available at Gate 4 on the north side of the arena off Pinnacle Arena Drive. Parking maps are available at

Guest services and first aid is on Level 3 at Gate 112.

Nelson entered Nebraska politics when he ran for governor in 1990. After winning the Democratic primary by 42 votes, he went on to serve two terms as governor (1991-99) and two terms as a U.S. Senator (2001-13).

Nelson carved a bipartisan role in the Senate, where he served terms on the Agriculture, Armed Services and Appropriations committees.

A native of McCook, Nelson used his rural roots as the basis for his policy positions. As governor, he pressed to expand the ethanol industry in Nebraska. He also established the Governors’ Ethanol Coalition as part of the National Governors Association. Under Nelson’s leadership, Nebraska moved to the forefront of ethanol production, increasing production from 15 million gallons to more than 300 million gallons in 1997. He also helped establish the National Drought Mitigation Center at UNL.

Nelson earned bachelor’s (1963), master’s (1965) and law (1970) degrees from the University of Nebraska and enjoyed a successful 20-year career in insurance law before entering politics. After retiring the Senate, he became CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

In her prints and artist books, Kunc explores inventive color abstractions of the natural and human-fashioned world, creating visual impact, tensions and ideas of strange beauty. A member of the UNL faculty since 1983, she has presented solo exhibitions and has works in permanent collections in the United States, Asia and Europe. Her recognitions include: the 2007 Printmaker Emeritus Award from the Southern Graphics Council International; a Fulbright Scholar Award to Finland, and a Fulbright Specialist Award to Bangladesh; two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships; and the Nebraska Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship Master Award.

She has taught workshops around the world, lectured as a visiting artist at more than 200 institutions and has been artist-in-residence at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop in New York, the Venice Printmaking Studio in Italy, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts and Nagasawa Art Park in Awaji, Japan. Kunc received her master of fine arts from Ohio State University in 1977 and a bachelor of fine arts from UNL in 1975.

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