Mark your calendars for these dates!

Next Event:

Saturday, October 19, 2024 at CHI Health Center

Since 1895…

The Aksarben Ball is a night of celebration to honor citizens of Nebraska and western Iowa for going above and beyond to embody the Spirit of Aksarben in all they do.

Aksarben Foundation Announces Women's Ball Committee Chair and Aksarben Ball Committee Chair for 2024

Pictured: Chaley Chandler, 2024 Aksarben Women’s Ball Committee Chair and
Terry Kroeger, 2024 Aksarben Ball Committee Chair

The Aksarben Foundation has announced leadership for the 2024 Aksarben Ball, which will be held Saturday, October 19th, 2024, at CHI Health Center Omaha.

Chaley Chandler has been selected as Chair of the Women’s Ball Committee for 2024. Chandler joined the WBC in 2022 and served as Co-Production Chair at this year’s Aksarben Ball. Prior to joining the WBC, Chandler was President of the Junior League of Omaha in 2016-17, President of the Rose Theater Guild Board in 2017-18, President of the Board of Directors for Memories for Kids in 2020 and President of the Boys and Girls Club Guild Board in 2022-23 and currently serves as Advisor. Chandler also co-chaired the Fusion Fundraising Luncheon for the Nebraska Medicine Guild Board in 2020, Co-Chaired the Children’s Hospital Gala in 2021 and the Boys and Girls Club Gala in 2022.

In her role as WBC Chair, Chandler will be advised by Kathryn Anderson who served as Chair for the 2023 Aksarben Ball. The 2023 event, “Extraordinary Wonder” was held Saturday, October 28th at CHI Health Center Omaha with record attendance and honored Dr. Jeffrey Gold of UNMC as Most Honored Citizen.

Terry Kroeger, President and CEO of Smith Kroeger, is partnering with Chandler as the Chair of the Aksarben Ball Committee for 2024. Kroeger joined the Aksarben Board as a Councillor in 2000 and as a Governor in 2006. He served as Chair of the Aksarben Board of Governors from 2018 through 2020.

The Aksarben Ball is an annual event steeped in nearly 130-years of tradition. The event raises money for Aksarben scholarships, which are now coupled with internship opportunities for each student through the internNE, Powered by Aksarben program. Aksarben scholarships help deserving students of need throughout Nebraska and Western Iowa attend post-secondary education in Nebraska.

2023 Aksarben Most Honored Citizen!

UNMC’s Leader and ’24th and Glory’ Athletes Honored by Aksarben Foundation

Seven of Omaha’s greatest athletes and the leader of one of the city’s most prominent institutions were honored Saturday night at the Aksarben Foundation’s 128th annual ball.

Dr. Jeffrey Gold, chancellor of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was given the foundation’s Most Honored Citizen Award. Gold was presented the award by last year’s Most Honored Citizens, Sid and Dawn Dinsdale.

Gold said in a statement that he was humbled to receive the honor, in part because of the enduring legacy of those who have received the award before him and stood on the stage since 1895.

“I’m excited to represent the thousands of faculty, staff and students at UNMC — past, present and future — who get up every morning, roll up their sleeves and work hard to make this community a better place, just as Aksarben does,” Gold said.

A native of New York City, Gold was named UNMC’s eighth chancellor in 2014 when he came from Ohio. Gold is also the chairman of the board of Nebraska Medicine, UNMC’s primary clinical partner.

In 2021, Gold was named provost and executive vice president of the University of Nebraska system. From 2017-2021, he also served as chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

The Aksarben Foundation said it selected Gold for the honor because he has been “instrumental in growing UNMC in multiple ways, including expanding its physical presence in midtown Omaha, bringing more high-quality jobs to Nebraska and elevating the prestige that UNMC enjoys in the medical community across the nation and around the world.”

During Gold’s tenure, UNMC established and opened the Global Center for Health Security, which facilitated UNMC collaboration with the federal government and put the university at the forefront of nationwide biohazard response efforts.

The Nebraska Biocontainment Unit was activated when the federal government asked UNMC and Nebraska Medicine to respond to the Ebola outbreak in 2014.

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020, UNMC was one of the first in the nation to respond, beginning with the medical center providing care to passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship and later counsel to local and national leaders.

UNMC has also opened numerous buildings during Gold’s tenure that will keep the medical center on the cutting-edge of research, education and patient care, including the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in 2015, the Dr. Edwin G. & Dorothy Balbach Davis Global Center and the opening of the new Munroe-Meyer Institute building in 2021.

UNMC is also currently developing its Saddle Creek Campus, which includes construction of the Catalyst building and CORE building.

A cardiothoracic surgeon during his medical career, Gold earned his undergraduate degree from the Cornell University College of Engineering and his medical degree from the Weill Cornell College of Medicine.

On Saturday evening, the Aksarben Foundation also inducted seven “24th & Glory” athletes into its Court of Honor, which is among the highest honors bestowed by the organization.

“Each of these elite athletes overcame significant obstacles to achieve greatness in their various sports,” the foundation said in a press release. “All are inducted into the Court of Honor for their contributions to Sports and Community Service.”

“24th & Glory” refers to a book and newspaper series by former World-Herald sports reporter Dirk Chatelain about Omaha’s greatest generation of athletes. The book tells the story of a group of Black athletes from North Omaha who rose out of segregation and ascended to national prominence during the civil rights era.

Those athletes are Ron Boone, Bob Boozer, Marlin Briscoe, Bob Gibson, Johnny Rodgers, Gale Sayers and Roger Sayers.

Boone was a professional basketball player playing in 1,041 consecutive games and scoring over 17,000 points in both the American Basketball Association and the NBA.

Boozer, who died in 2012, played in the NCAA Final Four, won an Olympic gold medal and won an NBA Championship.

Briscoe was the first Black quarterback to start a professional football game in 1968. He died in 2022.

Gibson played 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, earning two Cy Young awards and two World Series MVPs. He set a modern benchmark for pitching in the 1968 World Series, posting a 1.12 ERA. He died in 2020.

Rodgers led Nebraska to two national championships in football in 1970 and 1971 and won the Heisman Trophy in 1972.

Gale Sayers, who died in 2020, set the NFL record for touchdowns as a rookie in 1965 for the Chicago Bears. He twice led the NFL in rushing before a knee injury in 1968 shortened his career. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.

Roger Sayers was a two-sport standout at Omaha University before outrunning “Bullet” Bob Hayes in the 100-yard dash at the NAIA National Meet. Sayers then was a member of the USA track team.

Four other people were also inducted into the Aksarben Court of Honor. They are Marc LeBaron, chairman and CEO of Lincoln Industries; Ruth Meints, the artistic director of the Omaha Conservatory of Music; Robert Hoogeveen, the founder of Quality Living Inc.; and Henry “Hod” Kosman, chairman and CEO of Platte Valley Companies in Scottsbluff.

In addition to honoring members of the community, the Aksarben Ball awards over 300 scholarships annually, assisting students at four-year and two-year institutions. The aggregate value of these scholarships is over $1 million.

Aksarben Announces 2023 Royal Court

Girl Pages

Andi Grace Blumkin
Andi is the daughter of Amanda and Ryan Blumkin

Caroline Canning
Caroline is the daughter of Lyndsey and Kyle Canning

Louisa Ramona Clayton
Louisa is the daughter of Justina Georgesen and Daniel Clayton

Audrey Katherine Conway
Audrey is the daughter of Jill and Sean Conway

Stella Evangeline Darling
Stella is the daughter of Dr. Melissa and Kyle Darling

Vivienne James DuBois
Vivienne is the daughter of Ashley and Marc DuBois

Elle Frances Dudzinski
Elle is the daughter of Britt and Dr. Jordan Dudzinski

Adalyn Marie Dugger
Adalyn is the daughter of Jessica and Jacob Dugger

Ellison Jane Edick
Ellison is the daughter of Molly and Parker Edick

Chloe Evans Epstein
Chloe is the daughter of Carrie and Cory Epstein

Claire Elizabeth Gard
Claire is the daughter of Amber and Dr. Andrew Gard

Kelly Marie Gard
Kelly is the daughter of Elizabeth and Daniel Gard

Amelia Quinn Graham
Amelia is the daughter of Katherine Hug and Benjamin Taxman and Nathan Graham

Rosalee Jane Harbison
Rosalee is the daughter of Ashley and Dr. John Harbison

Elizabeth Morrow Horn
Elizabeth is the daughter of Megan and Gavin Horn

Charlotte Rose Hudson
Charlotte is the daughter of Brook and Nicholas Hudson

Eva Frances Johnson
Eva is the daughter of Alison and J.R. Johnson

Clare Elizabeth Langan
Claire is the daughter of Elizabeth and Timothy Langan

Amelia Galaske Lozier
Amelia is the daughter of Collette and Andrew Lozier

Mary Margaret Jean McMannama
Mary is the daughter of Kelly and John McMannama III

Myla Margaret Meysenburg
Myla is the daughter of Rachel Richards and Michael Meysenburg

Anna Sue Pasternak
Anna is the daughter of Dr. Jeana and Anthony Pasternak

Lydia Faith Ritter
Lydia is the daughter of Paige and Brian Ritter

Lucille MaryKay Rush
Lucille is the daughter of Melissa and Terrence Rush

Emily Elizabeth Schellpeper
Emily is the daughter of Amie and F. William Schellpeper III

Sophy Reed Silverstein
Sophy is the daughter of Allyson Freeman and Geoffrey Silverstein

Juliette Noelle Siner
Juliette is the daughter of Colette and Quinn Siner

Stella Rachel Vrbicky
Stella is the daughter of Keeli and Michael Vrbicky

Lyra Rae Wang
Lyra is the daughter of Jen Rae and Major Alan Wang

Merritt LaNelle Wegner
Merritt is the daughter of Jessica and Devon Wegner

Lillie James Wells
Lillie is the daughter of Emilie and Eric Wells

Boy Pages

Ryan Thomas Alloway
Ryan is the son of Jennifer and Mitch Alloway

Abram John Talton Anderson
Abram is the son of Krista and Mickey Anderson

Kade Daniel Arganbright
Kade is the son of Danielle and Kurt Arganbright

Connor Philip Armstrong
Connor is the son of Haley and Michael Armstrong

Grayson Charles Banister
Grayson is the son of Bethany and Adam Banister

Luke Michael Benson
Luke is the son of Jennifer and Timothy Benson

Luke Wells Bogatz
Luke is the son of Lora and Timothy Bogatz

Colton Gooch Bradford
Colton is the son of Kathleen and Jonathan Bradford

Samuel David Friedland
Samuel is the son of Jamie and Ted Friedland

Max Patrick German
Max is the son of Annie and Henry German

Henry Charles Harrington
Henry is the son of Catherine and Alex Harrington

Kenneth Michael Hawkins III
Kenneth is the son of Amy and Kenneth Hawkins Jr.

Henry Walter Hays
Henry is the son of Rachel and Brandon Hays

Corbin James Hempel
Corbin is the son of Angie and Dr. Michael Hempel

George Joseph Hite
George is the son of Shannon and Dr. Joshua Hite

Baron Michael Hoch
Baron is the son of Megan and Michael Hoch

Colin Mackintosh Horgan
Colin is the son of Ashley and Clark Horgan

Nathaniel Robert Jaksha
Nathaniel is the son of Jessica and Dr. Matthew Jaksha

George Arnold Kerschke
George is the son of Taylor and Steve Kerschke

Bowlman Ronnow Lauritzen
Bowlman is the son of Emily and Clark Lauritzen

Benjamin Robert Lopez
Benjamin is the son of Sarah and David Lopez

Theodore Stanton McBride
Theodore is the son of Alexandria and Ian McBride

John Francis Mello
John is the son of Catherine and Heath Mello

Alexander Finn Norton-Cisneros
Alexander is the son of Adriana Cisneros Basulto and Josh Norton

Owen Charles Patterson
Owen is the son of Stacey and Roy Patterson

Garrett James Peterson
Garrett is the son of Jordan and Michael Peterson

Harrison Frederick Pillen
Harrison is the son of Sarah and Brock Pillen

Henry James Pillen
Henry is the son of Sarah and Brock Pillen

Beckett Edward Potter
Beckett is the son of Tyeler and Zachery Potter

Leo Anthony Raimondo
Leo is the son of Sharon and Anthony Raimondo Jr.

Henry Cortland Ruf
Henry is the son of Libby and Darin Ruf

Everett Dean Schrager
Everett is the son of Carissa and Tony Schrager

Porter Finn Schulte
Porter is the son of Christine and Dr. Thomas Schulte

Samuel Becker Stoller
Samuel is the son of Sara and Asher Stoller

Jack James Strawhecker
Jack is the son of Michelle and Nick Strawhecker

Thomas Judson Triplett
Thomas is the son of Kathryn and Adam Triplett

Grayson Thomas Wolf
Grayson is the son of Angela and Alexander Wolf

Standard Bearers

Dillon Birge
Dillon is the son of Drs. Nicole and Justin Birge

Maeve Katherine Blakeman
Maeve is the daughter of Katie and Clete Blakeman

Stevie Milan Harley
Stevie is the daughter of Bianca and Steven Harley

Marlee Lisa Martin
Marlee is the daughter of Marisa and Sami Hattab

Alaina Brett Michaelis
Laini is the daughter of Dr. Maria and Mark Michaelis

Alexis Mackenzie Ochsner
Alexis is the daughter of Deidre and Andrew Ochsner

Ivan Kaneko Pfeffer
Ivan is the son of Troia Schonlau

Cillian Nikolai Rochling
Cillian is the son of Dr. Gale Etherton and Dr. Fedja Rochling

William Oakley Schieber
William is the son of Stacy and Dr. Matthew Schieber

Vienna Loree Shull
Vienna is the daughter of Angela and Damien Shull

Escorts

Judah Alexander Bagley
Judah is the son of Jessica Jaksha of Omaha

Cole Douglas Bisson
Cole is the son of Elizabeth and Douglas Bisson of Omaha

Malaby Miciah Byrd III
Malaby is the son of Damita and Malaby M. Byrd, Jr. of Omaha

Henry Hayden Crocker
Henry is the son of Kay and Joey Crocker

Joshua Temiloluwa Davies
Temi is the son of Arike and Dr. Dele Davies of Omaha

Porter Scott Discoe
Porter is the son of Pamela and Dr. Edward Discoe of Columbus

Alexander Christopher Eischeid (Escort Chair)
Alex is the son of Terri and Christopher Eischeid of Valley

Kyler James Essink
Kyler is the son of the late Carrie Essink and Dr. Brandon Essink and Angela Ringling of Bennington

Joseph Morgan Falk
Joseph is the son of Stacey and Kevin Falk of Omaha

John Richard Farmer III
John is the son of Monique and John Farmer, Jr. of Omaha

Seth Raine Forsberg
Seth is the son of Shawn and the Honorable Grant Forsberg of Omaha

Nolan Lincoln Gleason
Nolan is the son of Drs. Michele and Randell Gleason of Cairo

Alexander Henry Goldstein
Alex is the son of Jill and Joseph Goldstein of Omaha

Jacob James Gramann
Jake is the son of Mary and Karl Gramann of Adams

James Tyson Haney
Tyson is the son of Catherine and J. Stephen Haney of Omaha

Alexander Hunter Helfrich
Alex is the son of Mindy and Rick Helfrich of Bennington

Caleb Scott Hofmann
Caleb is the son of Ann and Dr. Scott Hofmann of Omaha

Benjamin Robert Homan
Ben is the son of Sara and Benjamin Homan of Kearney

Eric Michael Howerter
Eric is the son of Elizabeth and Scott Howerter of Lincoln

Ian Devereux Johnson
Ian is the son of Colleen and Mitchell Johnson of Omaha

Joseph Aaron Kirshenbaum
Joseph is the son of Nikki and Adam Kirshenbaum of Omaha

William Harvey Kizer
Liam is the son of Melinda and William Kizer of Omaha

Cole Irving Klabunde
Cole is the son of Shawn and John Klabunde of Fort Calhoun

Joshua Nicholas Kramer
Joshua is the son of Beth and David Kramer of Omaha

Jacob David Kroeger
Jake is the son of Jackie and Terry Kroeger of Omaha

Parker Allan LeFebvre
Parker is the son of Nancy Falk and Marc LeFebvre of Omaha

Andrew Royce Lindemeier
Andrew is the son of Lisa and Robert Lindemeier of North Platte

Luke Christopher McGowan
Luke is the son of Sarah and Christopher McGowan of Omaha

Hunter Michael McKay
Hunter is the son of Deborah and Michael McKay of Omaha

Jacob Nolan McNamara
Jacob is the son of Michelle and Matt McNamara of Grand Island

William Fox Nixon
Will is the son of Angela and Michael Nixon of Elkhorn

Christopher James Nubel
Christopher is the son of Anna and James Nubel of Omaha

Gunner Michael Ott
Gunner is the son of Michele and Steven Ott of Valley

Charles Richard Otto
Charlie is the son of Aimee and Richard Otto of Alliance

Johnathan Roman Patterson
Johnathan is the son of Angela and David Patterson of Omaha

Parker Scott Philpot
Parker is the son of Dr. Keri and Scott Philpot of Kearney

Nicholas David Pritza
Nick is the son of Sarah and Dr. Ronald Pritza of Omaha

Charles Silvey Pugsley V
Charley is the son of Melody and Charles Pugsley IV of Omaha

Michael Frank Schilken
Michael is the son of Jaymie and Michael Schilken of Omaha

Spencer K. Schneiderman (Escort Chair)
Spencer is the son of Heidi and Scott Schneiderman of Omaha

Gabriel Michael Snow
Gabriel is the son of Jennifer and Jeffrey Snow of Omaha

Lance Corporal Charles Thomas Sullivan
Tommy is the son of Louri Sullivan and Charles Sullivan of Omaha

Evan Ryan Tessendorf
Evan is the son of Jacqueline and Ryan Tessendorf of Columbus

Christian Thomas Wood
Christian is the son of Christi and Gary Wood of Omaha

Princesses

Katherine Marie Albers
Katherine is the daughter of Trisha and Andrew Liakos and Matthew Albers of Omaha

Hannah Grace Berryman
Hannah is the daughter of Dr. Paige Charleston of Omaha

Lauren Elizabeth Brownrigg
Lauren is the daughter of Katherine and Brian Brownrigg of Omaha

Allison Marie Caldwell
Allison is the daughter of Laurie and Daniel Caldwell of Papillion

Mya Lillian Carter
Mya is the daughter of Ayesha and Keith Station of Omaha

Kathryn Paige Christensen
Paige is the daughter of Roberta and Phillip Christensen of Bennington

Caroline Elise Covi
Caroline is the daughter of Jessica and Kristopher Covi of Omaha

Grace Marie Crockett
Grace is the daughter of Mary and Timothy Crockett of Omaha

Sophie Jean Denker
Sophie is the daughter of Julie and Lee Denker of Papillion

Rachel Edith Doll
Rachel is the daughter of Laura and Jay Doll of Omaha

Sarah Elizabeth Doll
Sarah is the daughter of Laura and Jay Doll of Omaha

Addison Rachel Dunbar
Addison is the daughter of Courtney and Bradley Dunbar of Omaha

Mallory Leighe Easland
Mallory is the daughter of Charlotte and Bradley Easland of Norfolk

Isabelle Ann English (Princess Chair)
Izzi is the daughter of Sally and Rick English of Omaha

Johanna Elizabeth Epp
Johanna is the daughter of Dr. Matthew and Amy Epp and Dan Welch and the late Jennifer Welch of Elkhorn

Harper Mattie Gordman
Harper is the daughter of Danielle and Jeff Gordman of Omaha

Rebecca Boyd Bayer Hansen
Rebecca is the daughter of Honorable Stephanie Hansen and Jeffrey Hansen of Omaha

Abigail Frances Hellman
Abby is the daughter of Dr. Courtney and Jason Hellman of Omaha

Noell Skye Hinsley
Noell is the daughter of Sarah and David Hinsley of Omaha

Lillian Claire Holthus
Lillian is the daughter of Amy and Bart Briggs and the late Kendell Holthus of York

TaraLee Marie Hudson
TaraLee is the daughter of Gina and Corey Bill Hudson of Belvidere

Katherine Ann Hunzeker
Katherine is the daughter of Lynn and Andrew Hunzeker of Lincoln

Sidney E Jacobs
Sidney is the daughter of Kristi and Dr. Jeff Jacobs of Omaha

Leah Joletta Jesske
Leah is the daughter of Tammy and Dr. Jay Jesske of Omaha

Elizabeth Lauren Karnopp
Elizabeth is the daughter of Shannon and David Karnopp of Oakland

Bethany Susan Krenzer
Bethany is the daughter of Dr. Kari Krenzer and the late Douglas Krenzer of Omaha

Kelly Elizabeth Kroeger
Kelly is the daughter of Wendi and Scott Kroeger of Omaha

Maggie Grace Lashley (Princess Chair)
Maggie is the daughter of Libby and Ben Lashley of North Platte

Kathryn Elizabeth Lewis
Katie is the daughter of Kimberly and Kevin Lewis of Omaha

Meghan Patricia Maynard
Meghan is the daughter of Trish and Royce Maynard of Omaha

Sha’lise LaShay Oliver
Sha’lise is the daughter of Candice Price and the late Wilbur Oliver of Omaha

Lillian Ann Otto
Lillian is the daughter of Aimee and Richard Otto of Alliance

Daisy Louise Owen
Daisy is the daughter of Lisa and Tyler Owen of Omaha

Elizabeth Marie Pallesen
Elizabeth is the daughter of Kathleen and Michael Pallesen of Omaha

Isabella Louise Pantano
Isabella is the daughter of Stephanie and Anthony Pantano of Omaha

Grace Caroline Philpot
Grace is the daughter of Dr. Keri and Scott Philpot of Kearney

Katherine Elizabeth Philpot
Katherine is the daughter of Dr. Keri and Scott Philpot of Kearney

Kiley Marie Root
Kiley is the daughter of Kimberly and Terence Root of Omaha

Olivia Frances Ryan
Olivia is the daughter of Amy and Mike Ryan of Elkhorn

Emalie Lucille Wightman
Emalie is the daughter of Anna Castner Wightman and John Wightman of Omaha

Lauren Mary-Claire Zadalis
Lauren is the daughter of Michele and Dr. Robert Zadalis of Omaha

Liza Grace Zaruba
Liza is the daughter of Jill and Dr. Dale Zaruba of Columbus

Aksarben Announces 2023 Royal Court

Court of Honor to be Celebrated at the 128th Aksarben Ball on October 28, 2023

Omaha, NE (July 30, 2023) – The Aksarben Foundation™ is honored to announce the Aksarben Ball Royal Court to honor the citizens of Nebraska and western Iowa for volunteerism and philanthropy. The celebration kicked off on July 29, 2023 at Champions Run to introduce Pages and Standard Bearers in the morning during the Royal Court Brunch. Princesses, Escorts and Court of Honor members were formally announced in the evening at the Royal Court Welcome Dinner. All court members will be formally presented at the 2023 Aksarben Ball on Saturday, October 28, 2023 at the CHI Health Center.

“We are thrilled to recognize these exceptional Heartland families for their valuable contributions and significant involvement across Nebraska,” said Kathryn Anderson, Women’s Ball Committee Chair (WBC). “Aksarben consistently celebrates the powerful involvement of families across the state who have ongoing vision, impact, leadership, scale and most importantly, Nebraska, at the forefront of their efforts.”

For 128 years, Aksarben has continued to focus on the sustainability and prosperity of the great state of Nebraska. The efforts focus on workforce development, commitment to the Scholarship program, community grants and support of those who embody the Spirit of Aksarben in the daily lives through ongoing volunteerism and civic projects.

“It’s an absolute honor to announce these families and individuals today,” said Anderson. “Their dedication to make a powerful impact to the state of Nebraska is what inspires us all to do more and continue to be a bright light throughout the Heartland.”

In addition, Aksarben announced and celebrated The Court of Honor, which was established in 1998 as one of Aksarben’s most prestigious awards. This year, Aksarben announced 11 individuals in 5 categories for their service to the Heartland.

For his contributions to Professions – Robert Hoogeveen

For his contributions to Business and Industry – Henry “Hod” Kosman

For his contributions to Business and Industry – Marc LeBaron

For her contributions to Arts – Ruth Meints

For their contributions to Sports & Community Service

  • Ron Boone
  • Bob Boozer
  • Marlin Briscoe
  • Bob Gibson
  • Johnny Rodgers
  • Gale Sayers
  • Roger Sayers

 The Women’s Ball Committee (WBC) is led by committee chairs including the following:

  • Kathryn Anderson – Chair
  • Sharlon Rodgers – Women’s Ball Committee Advisor
  • Chaley Chandler – Royal Court Brunch Chair
  • Stephanie Pantano – Royal Court Supper Chair
  • Carol Wang – Royal Court Welcome Chair
  • Tiffany White-Welchen – Royal Court Brunch & Welcome Assistant
  • Fatima Basith – Networking Chair
  • Wendi Kroeger – Networking Assistant.
  • Nate Dodge – Aksarben Ball Committee Chair

Jeffery Taxman, who has announced the Court each year since 1989 reprised his role in announcing the Royal Courts for both events on July 29, 2023

Aksarben Announces the 2023 Court of Honor Inductees

Court of Honor to be Celebrated at the 128th Aksarben Ball on October 28, 2023

 

The Aksarben Foundation™ is proud to announce the 2023 Aksarben Court of Honor to celebrate individuals who have excelled in one of 10 categories in the state of Nebraska that include: agriculture, arts, business and industry, community service, education, philanthropy, professions, public service, sports or service to youth. The Court of Honor award, established in 1988, is one of oldest and most prestigious awards awarded by The Aksarben Foundation.

“For 128 years, Aksarben has been honoring incredible individuals who have directly impacted the state of Nebraska through volunteerism, philanthropy and community service, ” said Kathryn Anderson, 2023 Women’s Ball Committee Chairman. “We are thrilled to announce the 2023 Court of Honor this year as their impact reaches far and wide across the state and country.”

The Aksarben Ball Committee 2023 Aksarben Court of Honor inductees includes:

Robert “Bob” Hoogeveen: Bob Hoogeveen has made his mark on generations of students as a teacher, coach and school administrator in Sheldon, Iowa. In 1974, Bob founded Village Northwest Unlimited when he saw the need for programs and living options for those with intellectual disabilities in the Sheldon community. He would also eventually lend his expertise to the founding of QLI in Omaha, which is now the largest, most specialized center for providing care and rehabilitation for individuals with traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries. Bob also helped found Opportunities Unlimited, a residential treatment center for individuals with disabilities in Sioux City. Bob is being honored for his contributions to professions.

Henry “Hod” Kosman: Hod Kosman is a third-generation banker from Scottsbluff and is the Chairman, President and CEO of Platte Valley Companies. Hod has made many contributions to the banking industry, including service with the Omaha branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City for six years. He’s led the Platte River Basin Environments, Inc. for more than three decades and the organization’s work overseeing and protecting 30,000 acres of public access lands in western Nebraska, ensuring the preservation of Nebraska’s wild landscapes. Hod is being honored for his contributions to business and industry.

Marc LeBaron: Marc LeBaron is the Chairman and CEO of Lincoln Industries, a company that has grown to be the largest and most diverse privately held metal finishing company in North America. In nurturing the company’s workforce, Marc is also invested in wellness and employee fitness programs, winning national recognition. He is also passionate about the arts and has made art available to the public through a private art exhibition space. Marc is being honored for his work in business and industry.

Ruth Meints: Ruth Meints’ love of music and violin led her to a career in music education. You can hear the fruits of her labor every year as 1,000 kids ages 3-6 take up violins, violas, cellos, and basses in classes provided by the Omaha Conservatory’s String Sprouts Program. The success of this curriculum, created in 2013, has made her an author and national speaker on music education, equitable access to the arts, and motivation. Since 2005, Ruth has served as the Executive Director of the Omaha Conservatory of Music. Ruth is being honored for her achievements in the arts.

24th and Glory: 24th and Glory describes the greatest generation of athletes that came out of North Omaha during the civil rights era. These seven men grew up together and made their mark in the history books.

Ron Boone played for the American Basketball Association and National Basketball Association, holding the record for the most consecutive games played in professional basketball at 1,041. He’s currently a commentator for the Utah Jazz.

Bob Boozer’s NBA career culminated in an Olympic gold medal and an NBA championship. After his basketball career, he returned to Omaha and served the community. He was appointed to the Nebraska Parole Board and volunteered at Boys Town. He passed away in 2012.

Marlin Briscoe was a quarterback and wide receiver in the American Football League and National Football League. He was the first black quarterback to start a professional football game and played for nine years, winning two Super Bowls. He passed away in 2022.

Bob Gibson won the biggest awards in baseball during his 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals, including two Cy Young awards, two times named the World Series MVP, nine Gold Glove awards, named a National League MVP, and two world Series championships. He passed away in 2020.

Johnny Rodgers won the Heisman Trophy as a Husker 50 years ago and went on to a professional football career in Canada and the U.S. He was named Rookie of the Year for the Canadian Football League and was a three-time all-star player for the CFL. He is currently a local businessman in Omaha.

Gale Sayers was a football player who played with the Chicago Bears, becoming the youngest person to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame for his career achievements. He passed away in 2020.

Roger Sayers was a member of the U.S. Track Team and a noted college football player. Roger then went on to serve the community on numerous boards in Omaha and had a nearly three-decade career with Union Pacific. Following, he served as the City of Omaha’s Director of Human Relations.

2023 Aksarben Ball Leadership Announced

 

New leadership for the 2023 Aksarben Ball will be helmed by two people with longtime Aksarben ties.

Kathryn Anderson has been named Chair of the Women’s Ball Committee.  She is a former Queen of Aksarben and wants to focus on recognizing families across the state for their contributions and continuing to find opportunities for our young talent to stay in Nebraska.  She will be joined in the work by Aksarben Ball Committee Chair, Nate Dodge.  Dodge has been actively involved in the Aksarben Foundation since 1999 and is looking forward to raising awareness and strengthening ties with families across the heartland.

They will be joined by Jamie Walker, who will serve as Vice Chair of the Aksarben Ball Committee and Sharlon Rodgers who becomes Advisor to the WBC.

Next year’s ball will be held on October 28, 2023 at the CHI Health Center.  The Aksarben Ball raises dollars to fund scholarships for students who are attending post-secondary school in Nebraska, as well as supports workforce development and community grants.

Congratulations to Dawn and Sid Dinsdale, Aksarben’s Most Honored Citizens!

Nearly 1,750 people of all ages gathered together at the CHI Health Center in downtown Omaha Saturday night for the annual Aksarben Ball celebration. This year, Aksarben cast it’s Spotlight on the Heartland honoring Nebraska families and individuals for their volunteerism, community service, and philanthropy; a tradition 127-years strong.

The spotlight also shone brightly on the importance of education and training the next generation of Nebraska talent for jobs of the future. A staple initiative of the Foundation, Aksarben has proudly awarded scholarships to Nebraska and western Iowa students for over seventy years.

Each of the 200 scholarships Aksarben awards annually helps a determined student attend the Nebraska college or university of his or her choice; a strategy tailored to help retain these students’ post-graduation and expand the state’s workforce.

The Aksarben Ball is the headlining event of the Aksarben Foundation and raises funds necessary for the Aksarben Scholarship Program. It is also a night to celebrate all that Aksarben does around the state.

“Aksarben is all of us,” said Aksarben President, Sandra Reding, at Saturday’s event. “This celebration – the Princesses, Escorts, Standard Bearers, and Pages – each person to cross the stage tonight represents an individual or family who frequently works to better the communities, the businesses, and the Heartland. It is because of your vision and action that living in Nebraska truly is ‘The Good Life’.

The night concluded with the reveal of the night’s highest honor, Aksarben’s Most Honored Citizens for 2022, Dawn and Sid Dinsdale.

Born in South Dakota, Dawn’s family relocated to Ralston, Nebraska when she was very young and that is where she spent her formative years before heading off to the University of Nebraska.

Sid was born in Grand Island and raised in Palmer, Nebraska where he worked in the family feedlots, hay and corn fields. After attending Hastings College for two years, he too made his way to the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

The couple met on a blind date while at the University, but neither was the other’s date. They were seated next to each other and have been together since.

Dawn graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology and Audiology, and immediately earned a Master’s in Audiology from UNL. Sid graduated from the University with a Bachelor’s in Finance. They married in 1976.

Dawn is known as a Champion of Giving, an inveterate volunteer. She was named Woman of the Year by the Arthritis Foundation in 2015 and has served in various ways for Assure Women, Completely Kids, Children’s Respite Care Center, Habitat for Humanity, Lauritzen Gardens, Quality Living, Grace University, Special Olympics, Youth for Christ, and Nebraska Children’s Home.

Sid is a member of the Omaha Business Hall of Fame. He has served on the boards of the University of Nebraska Foundation, Bellevue University, Methodist Health System, Ameritas Life Insurance Corporation, Omaha Children’s Hospital, the Platte Institute, and Midland’s Community Hospital.

The couple are good will ambassadors for the Midwest. They are justly proud of their ancestral heritage as well as the steady progress and development the region has enjoyed. As an employer, he honors a community banking model with locations in eight states. In Nebraska, Pinnacle Bank is in 34 communities and has 79 locations. Pinnacle Bank associates proudly do what is best for their customers and communities, supporting local efforts in education, charities, hospitals, sporting arenas, Universities, Colleges, and the Military.

Both Dawn and Sid have a distinguished history with Aksarben. Sid became an Aksarben Councillor in 2005, and a Governor of the Board in 2014. Dawn served on the Women’s Ball Committee as Chair in 2006 and Advisor in 2007 and was a proud member of Aksarben Friends.

Their daughter Alison was a Countess in 2002, daughter Paige was a Countess in 2004 and crowned Queen that same year, son Matt was an Escort in 2007. Most recently, the spotlight has shone on several of their grandchildren as Aksarben Pages.

Their family includes sons-in-law, J. R. Johnson and Brian Ritter, daughter-in-law, Sheena, and nine grandchildren—Georgie, Charlotte, Eva, Violet, Lydia, Will, Graham, Roy and Vivienne.