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Hastings College to induct individuals, foundation into Pro Rege Society | KTIC Radio

Hastings College to induct individuals, foundation into Pro Rege Society

Hastings College to induct individuals, foundation into Pro Rege Society
Courtesy/ Hastings College. MarySue (Hormel) Harris , Gretchen (Koefoot) Vondrak.

(Hastings, Nebraska) – Hastings College will induct Gretchen Vondrak, the Noel Cover Foundation and 1963 alumna MarySue (Hormel) Harris into its Pro Rege Society, the highest non-academic recognition Hastings College bestows, on Thursday, April 25.

Hastings College will recognize the individuals and foundation for their longstanding dedication to the College during the ceremony, which will be held at Lochland Country Club in Hastings and feature a musical tribute by Hastings College Music. A reception begins at 6:00 p.m., with the dinner with ceremony beginning at 7:00 p.m. Those interested in attending can RSVP at hastings.edu/prorege or 402.461.7363. Tickets are $75 per person or $550 for a table of 8

Criteria for selection to the Pro Rege Society may include, but is not limited to, extraordinary service to Hastings College, significant philanthropic contributions and/or unusual commitment to the College over an extended period of time.

The Noel Cover Foundation of Cozad, Nebraska, has been a generous supporter of Hastings College and its students for the past 43 years. In that time, the Foundation has provided nearly $1 million in scholarship aid to 167 Hastings College students. Noel Cover was a prominent farmer and rancher in Cozad who believed in education but had no children of his own. He established the Foundation in his will to provide scholarships for deserving and promising students with financial need.

Gretchen (Koefoot) Vondrak of Omaha, Nebraska, was a member of the Hastings College Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2012. She also served as a director of the Hastings College Foundation. Throughout her tenure as a trustee, Vondrak was a passionate advocate for faculty and students. Vondrak and her husband, Dr. Nicholas Vondrak, endowed the Outstanding Advisor Award at Hastings College to recognize excellence in academic advising.

MarySue (Hormel) Harris graduated from Hastings College with a music degree in 1963. A McCook, Nebraska, native, Harris was an independent piano teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska, for more than 40 years. An accomplished pianist while at Hastings College, Harris has helped ensure that excellence in piano teaching and performance continues. Through the MarySue Harris Charitable Trust, she provides annual gifts for the maintenance and replacement of the more than 40 pianos on campus.

The Noel Cover Foundation

The Noel Cover Foundation of Cozad, Nebraska, has been a generous supporter of Hastings College and its students for the past 43 years. In that time, the Foundation has provided nearly $1 million in scholarship aid to 167 Hastings College students.

Noel Cover was a prominent farmer and rancher in Cozad who believed in education but had no children of his own. He established the Foundation in his will to provide scholarships for deserving and promising students with financial need who are residents of Nebraska, Iowa, Colorado, or Wyoming, the states in which he conducted business. Scholarships are awarded to students who plan to major in the sciences, medicine, engineering, or social service.

Hastings College is among four institutions benefiting from the Foundation’s generosity. The others are Central College in Pella, Iowa; St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota; and the University of Denver in Colorado.

Recipients of Noel Cover Foundation Scholarships at Hastings College have gone on to successful careers as physicians, attorneys, engineers and teachers, among other professions. Noel Cover Scholarship winner Clayton Anderson, a 1981 Hastings College graduate in physics, was a NASA Astronaut and spent tours of duty aboard the International Space Station.

In recognition of The Noel Cover Foundation’s generosity and commitment to students, Hastings College honored the Foundation with the President’s Award in 2003.

 

Gretchen Vondrak

Gretchen (Koefoot) Vondrak of Omaha, Nebraska, formerly of Hastings, was a member of the Hastings College Board of Trustees from 1997 to 2012. She also served as a director of the Hastings College Foundation.

Throughout her 15-year tenure as a trustee, Vondrak was a passionate advocate for faculty and students, especially in her role as chair of the Instruction and Faculty Relations Committee. She recognized exceptional teaching and learning as the hallmark of a liberal arts education, and she was a strong voice on the Board for faculty needs and the academic life of the College. She also served on the Board’s Executive, Building and Grounds, and Planning Committees.

Vondrak and her husband, Dr. Nicholas Vondrak, endowed the Outstanding Advisor Award at Hastings College to recognize excellence in academic advising. They also provided generous support for the annual fund, scholarships, and numerous capital campaigns.

For her distinguished service to Hastings College, Vondrak received the Hastings College President’s Award in 2005.

A Broken Bow, Nebraska, native, Vondrak was awarded her bachelor of science in nursing degree from the University of Nebraska College of Nursing. An active community volunteer, she co-founded the Hastings Community Foundation and was a board member of several other organizations, including the YWCA, Mary Lanning Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, and Adams County Medical Alliance.

She and her husband have two daughters, Suzanne Hansen and Sarah Gernhart; a son, Nicholas Vondrak Jr.; and eight grandchildren.

 

MarySue Harris

MarySue (Hormel) Harris graduated from Hastings College with a music degree in 1963 and has been a dedicated alumna and benefactor ever since.

A McCook, Nebraska, native, Harris was an independent piano teacher in Lincoln, Nebraska, for more than 40 years. Many of her students won top honors in state competitions. For her decades-long commitment to the teaching of piano, she was honored by the Music Teachers National Association in 2016 with its Distinguished Service Award.

An accomplished pianist while at Hastings College, Harris has helped to ensure that excellence in piano teaching and performance continues for future generations. Through the MarySue Harris Charitable Trust, she provides annual gifts for the maintenance and replacement of the more than 40 pianos on campus. She has also given generously to the annual fund, scholarships, and special needs.

Hastings College Music has recognized Harris as an outstanding alumna and significant contributor to the music program.

Though she retired from her piano studio in 1999, Harris continues to perform as a soloist for clubs and gatherings in the Lincoln community. She is a member of Sigma Alpha Iota international music fraternity and is listed in Outstanding Women of America.

Her late husband, Bill, was a Nebraska State Senator from 1983 to 1987 and Mayor of Lincoln from 1987 to 1991. They have a son, Ben Harris; a daughter, Elizabeth “Buff” Harris-Colarossi; and four grandchildren.

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