Honors Discussion Event

Honoring the Future

Dinner and Discussion

2022 Event Give to Operation Brain Gain

Watch this space for info on the 2023 event!

2022 Honoring the Future

An evening of conversation and community co-sponsored by University Honors Program.

Save The Date

October 28, 2022

5 PM

5:30 PM

Purchase Tickets By
October 17, 2022



Nebraska Union Platte River Room - 1400 R St, Lincoln, NE 68588
Accessible Ramp Entrance Located on the West Side of the Union


Paid parking is available at 17th and R or 14th and P

At its core, Nebraska Honors is about the exploration of ideas through discussion. Central to all Honors classes is time for thoughtful discussion and debate. This year, the University Honors Program is inviting community members to come together to Honor the Future with a dinner and discussion fundraiser. This fundraiser, co-sponsored by Beyond School Bells, a Program of Nebraska Children and Families Foundation; Lincoln Community FoundationNebraska Community Foundation; and Union Bank & Trust will feature fantastic food from Nebraska prepared by a local chef. Like our Honors classes, the dinner & discussion will encourage thoughtful discussions around important topics, facilitated by some of the University’s best faculty. The event format encourages all guests to be active participants, to learn, to share, and to build community.

The fundraiser is for Nebraska internships and the research on internships is clear – for both students and the community. The more professional development opportunities students have, the more successful they will be. Moreover, the more opportunities they have in a community, the more likely they are to stay in the community. Internships help Nebraska address its brain drain. Inspired by Aim 1 of the N2025 Strategic Plan, which emphasizes the need for experiential learning for all UNL students, Honors and its partners created a new campaign, Operation Brain Gain, identifying communities throughout the state that need Honors talent. All donations from this event will go toward providing internships for students throughout the state. We want the best and brightest to see Nebraska as a place where they can intern, innovate, and develop professionally, both now and in the future.

Invest in Nebraska, invest in Operation Brain Gain, and enjoy a great evening of Nebraska food with the best and brightest talent in the state.

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Support Tiers

Seat - $100
Single guest seat. Tables seat 7; to purchase a table, please select 7 individual seats.

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Table Topics

Topics will be introduced at the reception, and attendees will choose their conversation and table at the event. 

portrait of Tim Borstelmann

What Are the Humanities Good For?

Tim Borstelmann
College of Arts and Sciences

For at least a generation, parents and others have been encouraging university students to study in the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), where student enrollments have been rising rapidly. The other part of the university where enrollments thrive is Business. Yet the original idea of colleges and universities, from the earliest days of American colonial history, focused instead on different subjects, particularly those associated with the humanities, such as theology or religion, philosophy, history, literature, art, and languages. Prof. Tim Borstelmann, professor of history, regularly teaches popular Honors seminars on the history of Western thought and “The Making of Modern America.” He will guide a discussion that seeks to answer this question: How important is it for students in the 2020's to continue to take courses in the humanities—and what do such courses offer us?

portrait of Tamy Burnett

Reel Talk: The Power of the Popular

Tamy Burnett
College of Arts and Sciences

One thing the last few years made clear is that we are equally dependent on both science and the arts to survive and thrive in difficult times. Indeed, popular entertainment media reflects and even creates change in our culture, shaping our world. Drawing on her Honors seminars like "Sitcoms and Social Change" and "Female Action Heroes," Prof. Tamy Burnett, associate director of Honors and affiliated faculty with English and women’s and gender studies, will lead a conversation about the roles and responsibility of popular media in our society. We will explore the power of these narratives, considering examples of positive change reflected in or created by popular media, as well as dangerous or disastrous influences.

portrait of Amy Goodburn

The Power of Book Clubs

Amy Goodburn
College of Arts and Sciences

Are you one of the five million Americans who participate in a book club? Did you know that women make up 70-80% of all book club members?  Prof. Amy Goodburn, Professor of English and Senior Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Undergraduate Education, will start the conversation by providing a brief history of how book clubs have served as activist spaces for women. Book clubs can be powerful tools for connecting with and learning from others. Prof. Goodburn will describe her personal book club history and provide questions to consider for those who are already active in book clubs as well as those interested in joining or starting one.

portrait of Valerie Jones

We Are Lonely. Here’s How Technology Can Help

Valerie Jones
College of Journalism and Mass Communications

Loneliness and social isolation are major public health issues, associated with anxiety, depression, dementia, and premature death. The pandemic brought this into sharp and painful focus. And the number of Americans 65+ is projected to double in less than 40 years. Is this an opportunity for new communication technologies like Amazon’s Alexa to help facilitate independence and companionship? Can artificial intelligence (AI)-powered voice assistants also help us feel less lonely? Valerie Jones, Associate Professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications, will lead a discussion based on her 2023 Fulbright Scholar Award to Australia that studies the use of emergent technology in facilitating social connectedness in aging adults.

portrait of Daniel Linzell

You Don’t Know What You’ve Got until Its Gone: Engineering Our Supply Chain

Daniel Linzell
College of Engineering

Aside from health-related concerns, one of the most challenging and significant impacts of COVID was and still is supply chain issues. As we come out of the pandemic and businesses attempt to return to pre-COVID production and staffing levels, challenges of availabilities, ranging from parts to human labor, are present across various industries. Although these challenges are likely to be temporary, they are no less challenging. Prof. Dan Linzell, Associate Dean for Graduate and International Programs for the College of Engineering and professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will lead this discussion on supply chains and what role engineers can play is returning life to a pre-pandemic state. He will share models of how supply chains have adjusted to disruptions in the past, look at contemporary practices for addressing current supply chain issues, and explain how engineering can facilitate resolution of both short and long-term supply chain issues.

portrait of Patrice McMahon

The World is Crazy, but there are Reasons for Optimism

Patrice McMahon
College of Arts and Sciences

Anyone who is paying attention to the news is likely to conclude that everything is terrible, and the world is falling apart. Prof. Patrice McMahon, director of the University Honors Program and political science professor teaches several classes in the Honors program, including classes on American foreign policy and complex global problems. The conversation will start off talking about the reasons for concern that many of us have, incorporating research on wars, violence, and wealth, but will also discuss why there are many good reasons for optimism. Incorporating her most recent research as a 2022-23 Fulbright scholar on the Polish-Ukrainian border, it will end with proven ways for reframing our thinking to be more optimistic.

portrait of Wes Peterson

Will We Be Able to Feed 10 Billion People in 2050?

Wes Peterson
Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Although population growth is slowing in most parts of the world, it is all but certain that world population will grow from about 8 billion today to 10 billion by the middle of this century. What’s more, these people will have higher average incomes and that means they will want more, higher quality food. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that global food production will need to double to satisfy this increased demand. Prof. Wes Peterson, from the department of Agricultural Economics, teaches courses in the Honors Program on capitalism and democracy, world food economics, development economics, and public policy analysis. This conversation will address reasons for optimism about the ability of the global food system to realize the goal of sustainable global food security in 2050 and beyond.

portrait of Jordan Soliz

Prioritizing Others

Jordin Soliz
College of Arts and Sciences

We often look back at mass atrocities and suffering in human history and ask, “How could that have happened?” Yet, we also live our lives often not paying attention to, recognizing, or actively helping to stop or assist those suffering in the world from atrocities, poverty, and other mass suffering. Most of us are caring and concerned individuals and, at the same time, this “minimization of the other” is common in most lives. Is it bias? Is it lack of knowledge? Or is it what Paul Solvi labels “psychic numbing”—the tendency for caring and empathy to decrease with larger numbers affected by tragedies? Prof. Jordan Soliz will draw on his popular Honors seminar, “Dialogue Across Difference,” to lead this conversation focusing on understanding the individual and social barriers to recognizing, valuing, and acting on behalf of others.

portrait of Hana Waisserova

Why Do We Travel?

Hana Waisserova
College of Arts and Sciences

We travel for different reasons. Some of us travel because we are curious and want to learn about new places and cultures. Or we travel because we need to relax, to help, or to connect. Research also tells us that travel can make us happier or even make us better people. Prof. Hana Waisserova, professor of modern languages, teaches an interdisciplinary class in Honors called “Freedom, Hope and Belonging” about the experience and impact of European immigrants coming to the US, as well as teaching a study abroad class to the Czech Republic, where she is originally from. The conversation will start off with the benefits of travel and will provide ideas on places to explore in Central Europe, as well as touch upon her extensive travel and working experience in Europe, Asia and East African, to cheer our travel dreams.

portrait of Tyler White

The World’s Coral Reefs

Tyler White
College of Arts and Sciences

Climate change is undeniable and undeniably destructive. We are witnessing widespread upheaval and habitat destruction. Perhaps one of the most visible areas has been the bleaching of corals in the world’s reefs. Prof. Tyler White, a political science professor and avid SCUBA diver, who teaches several Honors classes including “You M.A.D. Bro? A Class on Mutually Assured Destruction,” is not ready to give up on our coral reefs. The conversation will start off with key reasons for concern but will end by identifying some exciting progress being made in coral restoration and preservation. There is still time and still hope, and empowering conversations like this are a wonderful starting point in the journey of difference making.

map of Nebraska with different cities highlighted

Invest in the communities highlighted within this map


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Deadline October 17th

Register online and indicate which level of support you'll be purchasing, and how many tickets (if applicable).

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Beef and Vegetarian Options Available

Wahadi Allen portrait

Executive Chef Wahadi A. Allen will be preparing a completely Nebraska menu for our event.