Court of Honor

The Court of Honor, established in 1988, is one of the Foundation’s most prestigious awards. The recognition is given annually to individuals who have excelled in one of the following categories: Agriculture, Arts, Business and Industry, Community Service, Education, Philanthropy, Professions, Public Service, Sports or Youth.

Father and daughter, David and Rachel Jacobson will be inducted into the 2021 Aksarben Court of Honor in the category of Arts. David was the former Chairman of Kutak Rock LLP, and the founding Chair of the Board for Film Streams. Rachel is the President for the nonprofit Heritage Services. She is Founder and served as Executive Director of Film Streams from 2005-2020.

David was an attorney at Kutak Rock for 41 years. Over half of those years he served the firm as its Chairman. During his tenure as Chair, Kutak Rock grew from 230 lawyers in nine cities to more than 500 lawyers in 18 cities. He was also known to be a champion for diversity and inclusion. Under his leadership the firm earned a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index. The firm was consistently recognized as a “Ceiling Smasher” for women, with the second highest percentage of women equity partners in the country for law firms with over 300 lawyers. David graduated from the University of Nebraska College of Law and was an attorney for Legal Aid prior to joining Kutak Rock. David passed away on July 4, 2018.

David was passionate about community service. He served on the board of directors of Partnership 4 Kids for 20 years and was also a member of numerous other boards and committees. He served on the Nebraska Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, the African American Achievement Council, and the UNO College of Community Service. Along with his wife Nancy, David was the Co-Founder and a Member of the Omaha Black/Jewish dialogue. David was also integral in creating the Omaha Central High School Foundation. He was inducted into the Omaha Central Hall of Fame in 2014.

David and his wife Nancy have four children: Rachel (spouse Stephen), Sara, Ben (spouse Natalie) and Justin. Rachel was an Omaha Symphony Ball Debutante in 1996 and an Aksarben Princess in 1999. Ben was an Omaha Symphony Ball Escort in 2000 and an Aksarben Escort in 2003. Nancy, a lifelong child advocate, was elected to the Learning Community Council and served 10 years on the Council. She has also served on the Boys and Girls Club Board of Directors as well as Completely Kids Board of Directors. Currently, she serves on the Learning Community Foundation Board and the Anti-Defamation League Board.

David’s legacy of community service lives through his daughter Rachel, who founded and was the first Executive Director of Film Streams. Founded in 2005, Film Streams is a nonprofit arts organization dedicated to enhancing the cultural environment of the Metro Omaha area through the presentation and discussion of film as an art form. Under Rachel’s guidance, Film Streams opened the Ruth Sokolof Theater in 2007, and more recently the renovated Dundee Theater. Since its beginning Film Streams has presented hundreds of first-run American independent, international and documentary films along with more than 1,000 classics through its repertory program. Film Streams has staged over 200 collaborative screenings with fellow nonprofits and community groups and provides a Daytime Education Program of film education-based field trip that before the pandemic served thousands of local students annually.

In addition to her work with Film Streams, and now Heritage Services, Rachel serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands and is a Trustee for the Creighton University Business Ethics Alliance. She also remains involved with Film Streams and continues to serve on the Film Streams Board. Rachel formerly served on the boards of the Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Nebraskans for the Arts, the Opera Omaha Advisory Board, the Omaha Chamber’s Young Professional Council, City of Omaha’s Urban Design Review Board and the Omaha Central Alumni Association. She was also a founding board member for Omaha Girls Rock. Rachel is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign.

Rachel is married to Stephen Osberg. Rachel and Stephen have daughters Cleo (6) and Ri (2). Nancy and David are also grandparents to Zoii (18) and Zane (7), who are the children of Ben and Natalie.

Ivan Gilreath, former President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of the Midlands, being inducted into the Court of Honor for Service to Youth.

For more than 58 years, the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands has provided a fun, safe and constructive environment for almost 9,000 kids and teens in metro Omaha and Southwest Iowa during out-of-school hours. With 14 Clubs and a summer camp, the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands provides programming tailored to the local community and customized activities for each age group focusing on areas that have the greatest numbers of at-risk youth, many of whom are minorities, economically disadvantaged and live in single-parent households. Programming focuses on academic success, character and leadership, and living a healthy lifestyle. One program, CareerLaunch, prepares teens for the world of careers and work by exploring possible vocations, making sound educational decisions and finding success in the world of work.

Ivan joined the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands as President and CEO in 2011. Under Ivan’s leadership, the Clubs have served almost 2,300 youth daily and provided approximately 360,000 hot meals, free to its members last year. In 2019, 56 scholarships worth $285,000 were awarded to Club members to pursue their college dreams. The pandemic of 2020 provided a unique challenge to Ivan and the Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands. COVID-19 forced the doors of all the Clubs to close. However, Ivan and his team ensured that all programming was still made available to Club members virtually. Ivan and his team started the Virtual Programming or VOICE (Virtual Online Interactive Club Experience) which allows members to participate in art, STEM, fitness, nutrition and more through Zoom videos. He and his team also guaranteed that all Club members, including their parents, received free evening meals. With schools turning to e-learning, Ivan did not want any Club member to fall behind in school so the team worked to  make sure a laptop was available to any Club member who needed it.

Ivan has previously been a member of a number of non-profit and education boards, including the University of Nebraska Foundation, the College of St. Mary’s, the Jesuit Academy and the Omaha Sport’s Authority. He is also a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters. Ivan formerly served on the boards of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and the Urban League of Nebraska. In 1990, Ivan cofounded the Midwest Trailblazers Youth Program, a non-profit youth program providing academic support, healthy relationships, mentoring, healthy competition, counseling, cultural enrichment and physical activity to its participants. Midwest Trailblazer continues to serve youth in the Omaha area today.

Ivan is a 1982 graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and obtained an MBA from the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 1989. In 2002, Ivan was inducted into UNO’s College of Business of Distinguished Alumni. Ivan is the past recipient of the  Gallup “Can Do” Award, the Wilbert Ellis Award by the Great Plains Black Museum, the Whitney M. Young Leadership Award from the Urban League of Nebraska and the City of Omaha Living the Dream Award.

Ivan and his wife Rita have two children, Jerome and Mia, and three grandsons.

Henry Davis, CEO of Greater Omaha Packing Co., being inducted into the Court of Honor for Business and Industry.

The Greater Omaha Packing Co., founded in 1920 by Herman Cohen, Henry Davis’ grandfather, after returning from World War I. Henry joined the family business after graduating from the University of Denver in 1973 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, taking over as president and CEO in 1987.

Under Henry’s leadership, Greater Omaha Packing Co. has grown tremendously, tripling their processing capacity, expanding product lines and shipping worldwide while remaining true to its dedication of providing the highest quality product to customers and consumers.

Exporting to over 75 countries, Greater Omaha Packing Co. is the sole provider of US beef to many across the world. The company shares its success by providing college and trade scholarships to  dependents of employees. The company has also been named one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Omaha Chamber of Commerce.

Henry also has a passion for helping underserved youth in the greater Omaha community, having served on the boards of Partnership for Kids, Avenue Scholars, and Project Harmony, to name a few.

With Henry’s support and leadership, in 2010 Project Harmony opened the Henry Davis Campus allowing over 200 professionals and eight supporting agencies to work collaboratively under one roof.  More recently, the Henry Davis Bryan Middle School Boys & Girls Club was opened to provide students a STEAM Innovation Center and quality athletic programming.

Other organizations Henry supports include the Joslyn Art Museum and Kaneko. He has also served on the boards of Bellevue University, the Omaha Community Foundation, the Jewish Federation of Omaha, Catholic Charities and the North American Meat Institute. Davis is also a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO).

Henry is the former recipient of a number of Humanitarian of the Year awards; from the City of Omaha, the Jewish Federation of Omaha and the Conference for Inclusive Communities. Henry has two children, Lauren and Cameron.

Year Name Category
2019 Christopher Abbott Agriculture
2019 Dr. Ken Cowan Healthcare
2019 Randy Schmailzl Education
2019 Roberta Wilhelm Service to Youth
2018 James D. Pillen Agriculture
2018 Thomas H. Warren Sr. & Mrs. Aileen Warren Community Service
2017 John E. Christensen Ph.D. Education
2017 Betsy and Robert “Bob” Reed Business & Industry
2017 Dr. Jack Stark Sports
2017 Dave Van Metre and the late Carol Van Metre Service to Youth
2016 Ty & Terri Schenzel, Posthumously Service to Youth
2016 Judy Varner Professions
2015 Carl G. Mammel Philanthropy & Community Service
2015 Susan Morris Professions
2015 Jeffrey S. Raikes Business & Industry
2015 Thomas Wilkins Arts
2014 Spencer E. Crews Arts
2014 Rev. Timothy R. Lannon S.J. Education
2014 Evonne and Bill Williams Philanthropy & Community Service
2014 James R. Young, Posthumously
Business & Industry
2013 Fr. Thomas M. Fangman Jr. Education
2013 Pennelope S. Parker Service to Youth
2013 Bruce Rasmussen Sports
2013 Michael H. Simmonds
Business & Industry
2012 Dr. Ken Bird Education
2012 Dr. Linda B. Ford Professions
2012 Paul Jessen, Posthumously
Business and Industry
2012 Joan Squires Arts
2011 Clayton C. Anderson Professions
2011 Keith Olsen Agriculture
2011 Gene Haynes Education
2011 Tal Anderson, Posthumously Business
2010 Ward A. Chambers M.D. Professions
2010 Jack D. Mills Public Service
2010 Alexander Payne Arts
2010 Dr. Maryanne Stevens RSM Education
2009 Alice M. Dittman
Business & Industry
2009 Dr. Kim Hoogeveen Professions
2009 Phyllis J. & Delmer L. Toebben
Community Service
2009 Anne Thorne Weaver Arts
2008 Dr. John Beasley Arts
2008 Sidney C. Dillon
Business & Industry
2008 Kimball Bowles Lauritzen, Posthumously
Philanthropy & Community Service
2008 Connie H. Spellman Professions
2007 Lawrence J. Arth
Business & Industry
2007 Mrs. Adele A. Hazer
Philanthropy & Community Service
2007 Dr. F. William Karrer & Mrs. Beverley A. Karrer
Professions & Service to Youth
2007 Donald E. Overman Public Service
2006 Shirley & Leonard Goldstein
Philanthropy & Community Service
2006 Carmen Gottschalk Service to Youth
2006 Ree & Jun Kaneko Arts
2006 John G. “Jack” McBride
Education & Public Service
2005 Richard W. “Dick” Boyd Arts
2005 Deryl F. Hamann
Business & Industry
2005 Lee G. Simmons Professions
2005 Thomas W. Tye II Public Service
2004 Dr. Winnie C. Callahan Education
2004 Dr. Donald O. Clifton Posthumously
Business & Industry
2004 Mr. & Mrs. Richard D. Holland Arts
2004 Dr. Jack K. Lewis Professions
2003 Paul A. Johnsgard PhD Education
2003 Georgianne D. Colladay & the late Martin G. Colladay
Philanthropy & Community Service
2003 The Honorable Tom Osborne & Nancy Osborne Service to Youth
2003 Anthony F. “Tony” Raimondo
Business & Industry
2002 Gerald E. Anderson Agriculture
2002 Mary McDermott Maxwell
Philanthropy & Community Service
2002 Michael F. Sorrell M.D. Professions
2002 J. Robert Duncan
Business & Industry
2001 Hugh W. Hunt
Business & Industry
2001 Dee Owen
Community Service
2001 Edward T. Robinson Jr. Agriculture
2001 Dr. Jerald Schenken Professions
2000 Chip Davis Arts
2000 Jerry Huse
Business & Industry
2000 Dr. & Mrs. Arnold W. Lempka
Professions & Community Service
2000 Sharon G. Marvin
Community Service
1999 Margre H. Durham, Posthumously Philanthropy
1999 Lewis E. Harris Sc.D. Business
1999 Don Leahy Sports
1999 W. Gerald O’Kief Public Service
1998 Duane Acker Agriculture
1998 Thomas Burke Professions
1998 Don Forney Public Service
1998 Suzanne Scott Public Service
1997 Gerald E. Hazelrigg, Posthumously Public Service
1997 Phil Sokolof Public Service
1997 Willis Strauss
Business & Industry
1997 Don Welch Education & Arts
1996 Duane W. Acklie
Business & Industry
1996 Robert Campos
Business & Industry
1996 Mary Shirley Landen Public Service
1996 Willard H. “Bill” Waldo Agriculture
1995 George P. Abel
Business & Industry
1995 Herman Cain
Business & Industry
1995 Helen Wessel Cherniack, Posthumously Public Service
1995 Robert C. Rosenlof M.D. Medicine
1994 Marian Andersen Public Service
1994 Ralph Holzfaster AgriBusiness
1994 Sister Phyllis Hunhoff Medicine
1994 Senator Jerome Warner Government
1993 John R. Lauritzen Business
1993 Jack H. Lowe Professions
1993 Robert L. Raun Agriculture Professions
1993 Father Val Peter Education Professions
1992 Thomas Creigh Jr.
1992 Martha Fricke
1992 Dr. Frank Menolascino, Posthumously
1992 Jim Wolfe
1991 Robert L. Armstrong Public Service
1991 Liz Campbell Professions
1991 Jack Maddux Agriculture
1991 D.B. Varner Education
1990 James Dickenson Agriculture
1990 C.G. Kelly Holthus
Business & Industry
1990 Roman L. Hruska Public Service
1990 Eugene W. Skinner Education
1989 Robert S. Devaney Athletics
1989 Charles Jones Performing Arts
1989 Kenneth L. Morrison AgriBusiness
1989 Virginia Smith Public Service
1988 Margaret Anne Campbell Education
1988 Dr. Randolph Ferlic Professions
1988 Richard W. Mercer Agriculture Professions
1988 Clayton K. Yeutter Public Service Professions