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Omaha sneak peek offers glimpse of past, present, future

OMAHA—Dr. Phil Heckman likened it to mountain climbing.

Doane’s latest move – opening a School of Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) in Omaha – is another step up the academic ladder, and the president emeritus knows a thing or two about that.

After all, he was in office when the college of blazing trails made a cutting-edge decision for a liberal arts and sciences school, choosing to incorporate a campus for non-traditional and graduate learners into its strategic mission.

That was 1981 in Lincoln.

Under his successor, Dr. Fred D. Brown, Doane added its second GPS campus in Grand Island in 2003.

Ten years later, Heckman saw the college open its third. 

Joined by Doane alumni, faculty and staff Tuesday night, he and about 115 others got a sneak peek of the new campus at 147th and F streets. Heckman_480.jpg

“Others, several in the room and others not here today, started Doane Lincoln in Lincoln. It was base camp No. 1,” Dr. Heckman said in a short speech. “We’re at base camp way beyond that. I like that metaphor of climbing to the top. Congratulations, climbers.”

And climbing is just what the college of ranked way up there intends to continue under its current president, Dr. Jacque Carter.

Part of the college’s strategic plan was to expand not just its offerings for traditional students at the residential School of Arts and Sciences in Crete, but to improve what it offered for adult and graduate students in Grand Island and Lincoln – and now Omaha.

“Doane has never been about being history,” said Dr. Carter, who spoke before Dr. Heckman. “Doane has always been about making history, and we’re making it again tonight.”

Now, the college of right down the street is bringing its same world-class education to the state’s largest city. Students can work toward undergraduate degrees in Human Relations, Information Systems Management, Liberal Arts Studies, Organizational Communication, Professional Studies in Accounting, Professional Studies in Business, Public Administration and the newly accredited Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Doane will also offer two graduate programs in Omaha: Master of Arts in Counseling and Master of Arts in Management.

Carter said Doane will meet “metro-area needs” plus give the college a needed presence in Omaha to reach more traditional learners interested in a four-year education at the School of Arts and Sciences in Crete. 

“All of these things are going to happen here,” Carter said. “I predict that what we see tonight is just the beginning of what is going to be a rising tide here in Omaha for Doane College.”

Dr. Carter also introduced the leadership for the Omaha GPS in Campus Director Colleen Haack and Coordinator of Operations April Paschall.

Haack was the final speaker of the evening and asked Doane alumni to spread the word about the new campus.

With that help, Omaha's GPS can be just what Dr. Heckman thought Lincoln and Grand Island could be—another part of Doane’s climb.

“Lincoln’s been going for over 30 years, Grand Island over 10,” Haack said. “They’re excellent examples for us.”