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 N 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.