Honors Day awards announced

The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts has announced the recipients of its 2021 Honors Day awards.
The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts has announced the recipients of its 2021 Honors Day awards.

Honors Day awards announced

calendar icon23 Apr 2021    

Lincoln, Neb.--The Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts announces the 2021 recipients of our Honors Day awards. While we are unable to gather in person for our annual Honors Day Awards dinner, we recognize all of these outstanding students, faculty, staff and alumni.

Congratulations to all of this year’s recipients!

• Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence
Claudia Holm, Glenn Korff School of Music

This award is given to the student who has achieved the highest cumulative grade point average of all graduating seniors in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts.

Holm graduated in May 2020 with a cumulative GPA of 4.0. A native of Omaha, she is currently pursuing a Master of Music degree from Florida State University, studying with Shannon Thomas. Holm began violin at the age of three and has been involved with studio and community arts events and organizations since the age of four. She has been heavily involved in chamber music as a member of the Amore String Quartet and as violinist of the Soleil Piano Trio, regularly performing in the Lincoln community. In November of 2020, she was named one of the winners of the FSU Violin Solo Competition. Claudia has taught violin lessons for many years to students of all ages and has coached chamber music at FSU since September 2020.

• College Alumni Board’s Student Leadership Award
Rebecca Nederhiser, Glenn Korff School of Music

This award is given to students who have proven to be leaders through their scholarship, talents, service and dedication.

Nederhiser is a candidate for the DMA degree in orchestral conducting in the Glenn Korff School of Music. She has served as instructor of record for Campus Orchestra and music theory. Under her leadership, the Campus String Orchestra has experienced a 100% membership growth within the last two years. She also co-founded the Trace Chamber Society in 2019, which performed a chamber arrangement of Leos Janacek’s “The Cunning Little Vixen” in collaboration with the UNL Opera Program last fall.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Glenn Nierman wrote: “When I think about a single word that perhaps defines Rebecca’s approach to her leadership through teaching, it would be collaboration. On the podium she seeks to harness the full potential of her ensemble members by creating a collaborative student community and culture of artistic excellence. . . . Because of Rebecca Nederhiser’s collaborative spirit; dedication to knowing the students as people; perseverance and enthusiasm; and an ability to instill qualities in students beyond the musical, I believe she is most deserving of the Student Leadership Award.”

• Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award
Catherine Sharp Martinez, Glenn Korff School of Music

This award honors the work of a graduate teaching assistant who has demonstrated true excellence in teaching.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Glenn Nierman wrote: “Catherine’s work as an instructor of our GKSOM undergraduate students is noteworthy in two respects: 1. The breadth of the courses that she has been assigned to teach and 2. The quality of that teaching as reflected in her student evaluation ratings and comments. . . . I honestly believe I could put Catherine in almost any GA assignment, and she would be successful. Her energy is contagious; her enthusiasm is boundless.”

• Anne and William (Laurie) Porter Awards for Creativity

These awards are given to students who have demonstrated the highest level of achievement and excellence in theatre, film and dance.

Liam Romano, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film undergraduate

From Associate Professor of Theatre Jamie Bullins: “I have been a College Professor for quite some time, over 25 years now, and there are students who stick with you. It’s a pretty special list, and Liam is one of those students. He approaches each opportunity with a multitude of solutions, shuffling through each of them with an inquisitive mind, until landing one the most applicable one for that moment and project. Liam has a keen eye and sharp wit, and is always fully present, along with a positive attitude. Each project and class offers a challenge that is welcomed, and Liam does not settle. His growth as a student, and an artist has been, I believe, one for his peers to model and aspire to.”

Emma Hoffbauer, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film graduate

Assistant Professor of Theatre Michelle Harvey wrote: “Emma Hoffbauer has shown excellence in creativity with her work as the scenic designer of Pippen and Dracula for Nebraska Repertory Theatre. She has a strong sense of angle, texture and composition. Her design work is thoughtful, engaging and appropriate for each show. We are looking forward to seeing Dracula onstage this April when this world will explode on and around Emma’s beautiful design. She has created a world of intricate pieces that will transform the audience from Lucy’s bedroom to Dracula’s castle to Renfield’s cell. The motion and flow of her work in the framing curtains, flying scenery, and tracking glowing moon will propel the story forward in a graceful way.”

Thao Duong, Glenn Korff School of Music’s Dance Division undergraduate

Associate Professor of Dance Susan Ourada wrote: “Thao came into the dance program with incredible technical skills. She has extended her virtuosity into choreography—a recent solo she choreographed will be presented at the Evening of Dance concert on the main stage of the Lied Center in April. Thao has consistently been selected to perform for guest artists including Bill T Jones and Rennie Harris; she appeared in their Lied Center concerts. Thao is an excellent student, who is dedicated to beliefs that center around diversity, inclusion and access for all people. She sets a luminous example of positivity, inclusion and action in the fights against bigotry, racism and intolerance, through dance and other platforms as well.”

• Francis William Vreeland Awards

These awards are given to recognize the creative achievements of the recipients in art.

Samantha Bendix, School of Art, Art History & Design undergraduate

Associate Professor of Art Stacy Asher wrote: “Samantha Bendix is intellectually curious and is eager for opportunities. It is students like Sam that make facilitating design courses fun. Sam’s diligence, persistence, and desire to innovatively tell complex stories that address environmental concerns is exceptional. Moving through life with eyes and ears wide open to soak up knowledge and experience things with intellectual rigor and wonder are qualities that will carry Samantha Bendix far.”

Tyler Hornby, School of Art, Art History & Design undergraduate

Professor of Art Santiago Cal wrote: “Tyler Hornby exemplifies the criteria for the Vreeland Award and is truly a remarkable senior. His significant artistic accomplishments can be attributed to his hard work and commitment to creating, reflecting and learning. He demonstrates maturity with these attributes and has always sought critical feedback in order to further his work and ideas. One distinguishing characteristic of Tyler’s art is its chameleon-like aesthetic qualities. When moving from sculpture to sculpture, Tyler adheres to his conceptual undercurrents but always seeks new ways of portraying the struggle, harmony, or co-existence of opposing forces. Tyler has also been a generous colleague to his peers, offering thoughtful insights, proactively assisting when needed, and sharing his immense technical knowledge. He is and has been an outstanding student and artist.”

Chance Allen, School of Art, Art History & Design graduate

Professor of Art Aaron Holz wrote: “Chance Allen comes from a 100-year line of gravestone makers. For eight years, he worked in cemeteries setting gravestones. Using the experience of growing up in Maryville, Missouri, Chance uses an approach of short storytelling in his paintings and drawings that many gravestones also implement. ‘You can’t fit a life story on the face of a headstone. The challenge one faces is to focus only on a few elements: quotes and anecdotes, pictures and symbols, all of which exist in shallow space.’ The drawings and paintings in Chance’s thesis exhibition combine elements of personal history, historical art references, popular culture and music. Some of the images are short stories. Others are tall tales.”

Terry Ratzlaff, School of Art, Art History & Design graduate

Hixson-Lied Professor of Art Dana Fritz wrote: “Terry brought years of professional experience as an editorial photographer to his studies at UNL. Having spent this time working professionally outside of academia, he approached his time in graduate school with zeal. Terry is a leader and an example in his studio production and presentation of work.”

• Ida M. Vreeland Awards

These awards are given to recognize the creative achievements of the recipients in music.

Sam Stanley, Glenn Korff School of Music undergraduate

Assistant Professor of Composition/Jazz Studies Gregory Simon wrote: “Since enrolling at Nebraska four years ago, Sam has shown himself to be a voracious learner, with unshakeable dedication to learning as much as he can about every facet of the music world. In addition to his gifts as a performer, Sam is an intensely creative composer. His music is emotional and complex, tackling big thematic ideas and always showing a daring willingness to experiment. Equally remarkable to his artistry is Sam’s generosity of spirit: he has worked tirelessly to promote and perform the music of his colleagues, and participated in scores of collaborations with other performers. He is poised not only for an illustrious music career, but to be one of the best citizens of whatever music community is fortunate enough to claim him.”

John Cope, Glenn Korff School of Music graduate

Assistant Professor of Composition, Emerging Media and Digital Arts Tom Larson wrote: “In the first year of his Master of Music degree, John Cope has demonstrated a remarkable track record of accomplishments. He was granted two commissions for new works and finished a third. He has completed six new pieces that range in scope from solo piano to full orchestra and is currently completing a new work for Pierrot Ensemble. He is capping off the year with a piece for jazz big band. In addition to being prolific, John’s music is smart, engaging, and while very accessible has a ton of academic authenticity. He loves playing with textures and tempos, and experimenting with concepts from serialism to minimalism. He has been a role model and inspiration to the composition studio and faculty not only with his music but with his leadership in the Flyover New Music Volunteer Committee and teaching freshman composition students. We are all excited to see what lies ahead for John as he finishes his degree next year and what lies beyond.”

• Myers B. and Martha H. Cather Graduate Excellence Award
This award recognizes a dedicated graduate student’s excellence and accomplishments in the visual arts discipline.

Isaiah Jones, School of Art, Art History & Design

School of Art, Art History & Design Director Francisco Souto wrote: “Isaiah has the perseverance and conviction that I find necessary for someone to succeed in the arts. Her strong work ethics and passion enables her to respond and address the unique challenges she faces in finding her distinctive artistic voice. She is an artist who is well informed, self-directed, honest and mature. She is dogmatic in pursuing her artistic goals and her passion is unparalleled—traits I find necessary in order to achieve higher goals. It was certainly a great pleasure to witness her growth as an artist over the last three years here at UNL.”

• Hixson-Lied Faculty and Staff Awards

This ongoing awards program for faculty and staff, created with support from the Hixson-Lied Endowment, recognizes outstanding performance and accomplishments in the areas of teaching; research and creative activity; faculty service, outreach and engagement; outstanding lecturer; and staff service.

Senior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award:
Wendy Katz, School of Art, Art History & Design

This award recognizes a senior faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in research or creative activity.

Her nominator, Professor of Art History Michael Hoff wrote: “I have been a member of this Department for 31 years, and I have never encountered such a strong outpouring of research over the course of one year as we see in Wendy Katz’ record for 2020. During the course of the calendar year, Prof. Katz completed not one, but two book projects! To be clear, these are not edited books, which are collected and collated essays by many scholars over a common theme, but these are monographic projects. To be placed into context: some scholars have never produced monographs, other have produced only edited volumes. The better scholars do publish monographs but those they produce are usually few and with an interval of many years in between efforts. Wendy Katz has done two in one year. Extraordinary.”

Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Award:
Ash Eliza Smith, School of Art, Art History & Design and Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts

This award recognizes a junior faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in research or creative activity.

Her nominator, Associate Professor of Art Sandra Williams, wrote: “Professor Smith’s research draws and connects areas from across the University, engaging and uniting collaborative partners from diverse fields with her expertise in storytelling and worldbuilding. With her finger on the pulse of multiple disciplines, Professor Ash Smith’s research has a long reach and impact into areas far beyond the arts. Her research in prestigious institutions, but also demonstrates the necessity and application of the humanities to all disciplines, and all professional fields.”

Outreach, Engagement or Service Award:
Stacy Asher, School of Art, Art History & Design

This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in outreach, engagement or service.

Her nominator, Professor of Art History Michael Hoff, wrote: “The task of writing the nomination letter fell upon me but in no means is this an onerous job because of the strength of Asher’s service record. For a faculty member who is not fully promoted, Professor Asher carries a heavy service load.” Among the many activities he outlined, he highlighted her appointment to the Chancellor’s Commission on Environment, Sustainability and Resilience (SESRC): “Serving on this commission represents a sizeable commitment of time, but also offers the potential of great rewards for the stakeholders in the University.”

Academic Advising Award:
Ann Marie Pollard, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

This award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in academic advising.

Her nominator, Associate Professor of Theatre David Long, wrote: “Both students and faculty have praised Ann Marie’s efforts to support advising, an often underrated activity in the Carson School. Prof. Pollard’s contribution to school responsibility in this area resulted in her advocacy of ‘early intervention practices’ within student probation policies. By creating a multi-tiered path to academic recovery, she has improved our approaches to assist the struggling student. Her service as faculty advisor to Theatrix, the student run theatre organization, has provided guidance to budding theatre artists as they engage in the process of theatre production and performance.”

Curriculum Development Award:
Dana Fritz and Walker Pickering, School of Art, Art History & Design

This award recognizes faculty members who have demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in curricular or programmatic development.

Their nominator, Associate Professor of Art Margaret Bohls, wrote: “Professors Fritz and Pickering are an extraordinarily strong team. They continually confer with one another about all aspects of the photo program and, since Professor Pickering was hired in 2014, have worked collaboratively to build the photo program at the undergraduate and graduate levels in both depth and breadth.”

Junior Faculty Teaching Awards:
Katie Anania, School of Art, Art History & Design
Marques L.A. Garrett, Glenn Korff School of Music

These awards recognize junior faculty members who have demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in teaching.

Anania’s nominator, Associate Professor of Art Margaret Bohls, wrote: “The Executive Committee of the School of Art, Art History & Design agreed unanimously that Professor Anania has gone far above and beyond what is expected of new faculty in developing new courses, new course materials, and new approaches to teaching Art History. With a focus on student access, diversity, and the relationship of art history to contemporary social issues, Professor Anania has succeeded in winning widespread admiration and engagement from her students, despite the rigor of her coursework and assignments.”

Garrett’s nominator, Assistant Professor of Composition/Jazz Studies Greg Simon, wrote: “In his time at Nebraska, Prof. Garrett has been an invaluable member of not only the School of Music’s faculty, but of our campus community; and shown himself to be a leader among students and colleagues alike. In the space of three years (including one marked by the limitations of COVID), Prof. Garrett has turned Nebraska’s choral department into a national leader for diverse, intentional programming of traditionally underrepresented composers.”

Outstanding Lecturer Award:
Perry Obee, School of Art, Art History & Design

This award recognizes a lecturer who has demonstrated exemplary accomplishment in teaching.

Obee’s nominator, Professor of Art Santiago Cal, wrote: “Perry joined our program in August of 2020, to teach and lead the Printmaking area within the School. He had very large shoes to fill, with the Francisco Souto becoming Director of the School and the retirement of Professor Karen Kunc. Perry made the transition effortless and has demonstrated a tremendous amount of initiative in building upon the strengths of the program. He has taken on a leadership role and implemented series of new initiatives, all during the COVID -19 pandemic.”

Outstanding Staff Award:
Jeff O’Brien, Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts

The Outstanding Staff Award is awarded to a staff member whose overall performance has regularly and consistently exceeded expectations and has reflected a high level of service throughout their years of service.

In her nomination letter, Assistant Professor of Practice of Emerging Media Arts Anna Henson wrote: “I am a new faculty in the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, and I have been fortunate enough to have Jeff as a colleague who not only excels in his role but consistently goes above and beyond to support the faculty and students of the Carson Center. Jeff is a creative and practical problem solver with an unwavering ‘can-do’ spirit in the face of challenges. He is consistently quick to respond to any requests, making himself available at a moment’s notice when any issues arise. During the past year, Jeff has been faced with not only the challenges of operating during COVID, but supporting a new program (the BFA in Emerging Media Arts) with facilities and equipment he has organized from the ground up, and attending to the technology needs of multiple new faculty and cohorts of students, many of whom are remote. New policies have been enacted, equipment must be sourced and sanitized, WiFi supported, and the rigorous, creative work of the Hixson-Lied College must continue. Jeff’s role as Director of Technology is mission critical.”

Staff Award for Exemplary Service:
Dayana Corredor, Glenn Korff School of Music

This award is given to a staff member who has demonstrated exemplary service to the College or Academic Unit over the preceding 12-month calendar year.

In his nomination letter, Assistant Professor of Composition/Jazz Studies Greg Simon wrote: “Dayana has faced the myriad adversities of this year with not only grace and good humor, but an abundance of creativity, open-mindedness, and a willingness to work with faculty and students alike to find the best solution to each problem. She has introduced changes and innovations in the oft-overlooked, day-to-day workings of the School of Music, and these introductions were vital in making it possible for ensembles to perform and students to make meaningful degree progress. . . . Without someone of Dayana’s creativity, adaptability, and dedication to teamwork, we would simply not be thriving during the pandemic the way that we are.”

M.V.P. Award:
David Bagby, Hixson-Lied College Dean’s Office

This award is given to a staff member who has provided support to the College behind-the-scenes.

In his nominating letter, Associate Professor of Theatre Jamie Bullins wrote: “Since my first day here on campus, back in August of 2017, David was one of the first people I met in the College. . . What I remember clearly was thinking how helpful David was. He was patient, easy to get along with, even in the face of the often-confusing world of Technology. And, in the 4 years now that I’ve been here, that helpful nature is a constant. In my experience, if David cannot be of assistance right away, he will certainly point you in the right direction, or search himself for a solution. Now, throw in an unexpected world-wide pandemic, that pushes everyone home to teach and work at first and then turns the needs and expectations for offices and classrooms completely upside down. . . David, and the extended IT staff, have managed it all while remaining pleasant and, again, patient. IT often goes unnoticed as a whole. Especially when things are working as expected.”

• Special Staff Service Awards

The College recognizes the following staff members who went above and beyond this year preparing the College to teach, work and operate under the challenging circumstances of the pandemic with Special Staff Service Awards. These staff members helped to prepare College facilities and systems for remote instruction, managed performances or exhibitions for online presentation, or developed and communicated other operational policies for the success of the College.

Brad Buffum, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film
Todd Cuddy, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film
Drew Davis, School of Art, Art History & Design
Andrea Gruber, School of Art, Art History & Design
Leslie Harms, Glenn Korff School of Music
Joseph Holmes, School of Art, Art History & Design
Megan McMasters, Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts
Joe Morris, Dean’s Office
Cameron Shoemaker, Glenn Korff School of Music

• Retirement Recognition:
Julie Hagemeier, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Hagemeier served as General Manager of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film and Nebraska Rep since 1995. She received her BFA and MA from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.

Her responsibilities reached far beyond general management. She was also a management instructor; a mentor for all students with theatre management interests; a warm, welcoming first point of contact for new student enrollment; a major supporter of Carson School alumni; and coordinator of countless community-building activities. 

Laurel Shoemaker, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

Shoemaker, who is currenty Associate Professor of Lighting Design, has served as member of the Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film faculty since 2010. She has been working in the performing arts as a lighting designer and theatre artist for 30 years. She received her BFA from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and her MFA from Florida State University.

Her leadership helped to create a professional training ground for designers of all venues. She has upgraded the area with state-of-the-art equipment and technology. She also spearheaded the re-working of the Howell and Studio theatres to allow better use of the space for lighting, as well as scenery installation.

She created a lighting lab in Temple Rm. 301, which allows students to use actual-sized lighting equipment and real control to learn the basics of lighting. She initiated and managed the installation of new dimmers, new control boards, and additional circuitry in all of the Temple Building performance spaces. 

She has recently branched out into corporate lighting work with Yeager Design, lighting conference areas at Microsoft Inspire/Ready in Las Vegas.

• Recognition of our graduating Hixson-Lied Fellows:
Matt Carlson, School of Art, Art History & Design
Patrick McNally, Glenn Korff School of Music
Jordan Redd, Glenn Korff School of Music
Taylor Sijan, School of Art, Art History & Design
Amythest Hultman Warrington, School of Art, Art History & Design
Marty Wolff, Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film

• Award of Merit:
Johnny Carson Foundation

The Johnny Carson Foundation’s Board, which includes Allan Alexander, Larry Witzer, Jeff Sotzing, Lawrence Heller and Steve Sotzing, have transformed not only the Hixson-Lied College of Fine and Performing Arts, but the entire University of Nebraska–Lincoln with their philanthropy.

In November 2015, the Johnny Carson Foundation made their largest and most transformative gift yet to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln—a $20 million gift to create an academic program and facility focused on interdisciplinary learning, creativity and research in emerging media that would be called the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts.

Their investment in us is not just about money. They have also generously given their time, energy and support, meeting with students and faculty regularly. The Johnny Carson Foundation genuinely cares about our students, faculty and staff and are our biggest fans, wanting us to be successful while carrying on the legacy of the great Johnny Carson.

• Alumni Achievement Awards:

Maurice M. Dixon, Jr.
School of Art, Art History & Design
B.F.A. 1970; M.F.A. 1973

Maurice Dixon received his B.F.A. and M.F.A. from Nebraska, where he studied painting, ceramics and art history. Since his graduation, he has accumulated an extraordinary and diverse record of achievement. Simply put, he is a renaissance man.

Since his graduation, he has concurrently been a rancher, businessman, entrepreneur, developer, curator, designer, painter, master tinsmith and scholar.

He has resided in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for more than 40 years and is immersed in the historical and contemporary culture of the region. In 1990, he co-authored with Lane Coulter the book New Mexican Tinwork 1840-1940 that has since become an influential reference source for artists and scholars. As a result of additional research, he authored in 2015 the book The Artistic Legacy of Higinio V. Gonzales: A Tinsmith and Poet in Territorial New Mexico. The book received extensive critical acclaim, numerous awards and resulted in the exhibition “The Artistic Odyssey of Higinio V. Gonzales” at the Albuquerque Museum, which he curated. He is currently working on a new book about the work and life of Southwestern ceramicist Rick Dillingham.

Robert Krueger
Glenn Korff School of Music
B.M.E. 1984; M.M. 1994

Krueger began his teaching career in 1984 at Omaha North High School. In 1985 he accepted a position as Director of Instrumental Music at Lincoln Southeast High School, retiring in the summer of 2020 after 35 years with the Lincoln Public Schools.

Krueger has been the recipient of several teaching awards, including the Nebraska State Bandmasters Association Jack Snider Outstanding Young Band Director Award and the American School Band Directors Association Stanbury Award as the nation’s outstanding young band director. He was instrumental in starting the All-State Jazz Band in Nebraska and was one of the co-founders of the NSBA State Concert Band Festival, which he organized for the first several years of its existence.

Kara Thomson
Johnny Carson School of Theatre and Film
M.F.A. 1998

Kara Thomson is Faculty and Head of the Theatrical Design, Technical and Management program at Mesa Community College’s Department of Theatre and Film Arts. In 2011 she received the Kennedy Center Excellence in Theatre Education Award.

She has designed for Arizona Broadway Theatre, Actor’s Theatre, The Bridge Initiative, The Nebraska Repertory Theatre, The Illinois Shakespeare Festival, University of Nebraska, 24th Street Theatre of Los Angeles, Dolly Parton, and Arizona State University.

Her television work includes more than 4,000 aired hours for the television networks ABC, NBC and CBS. She has received Emmy honors for her work on Days of Our Lives and an Emmy nomination for her work on General Hospital.