Homecoming 2009. Abel Stadium. NWU vs. Midland Lutheran.
Joy Carol stood on Weary Field with her classmates at halftime. Together, they presented their class gift: $66,217 raised in a tough economy.
The Prairie Wolves were down 7-3 at that point. But we already know how that game would play out. We know about the teamwork that would move Mike Millard into the right position at the right moment.
In a sense, we already know how this recession will play out for NWU, too. “There’s a treasure here in University Place,” said President Ohles. “It’s 122-and-a-half years young, still growing, still thriving.” A recession won’t erase that truth.
“This isn’t going to stop us,” Carol said. “We’re Nebraskans, for crying out loud.” We work hard. We come together. And we certainly don’t quit at halftime. Since that halftime ceremony at homecoming, the class of ’59 has continued to come through. The total class gift now stands at more than $70,000 and counting.
“You spoke of a football metaphor tying together this whole idea of people working together to advance the university,” said President Ohles. “One advantage the university has over the game is that there’s no limit on the number of players we can put on the field. There’s no penalty for having too many stakeholders.”
He continued, “One thing we can do that Coach Keller can’t: we can empty the sidelines. We can empty the stands. We can call in the entire community of alumni, staff, faculty and friends. We can put them all on the field together and at once.” Ohles smiled. “We can call everyone’s number. We can all throw our support behind today’s students. And when we reach a goal line, we can celebrate it together.”
He said, “We know the play doesn’t ever really end. We’re not about to stop this university’s forward progress.”