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'Central to our city:' UNO to celebrate centennial

Published: Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Updated: Thursday, March 10, 2011 16:03

Boostrappers look forward to centennial

One group of alumni is especially looking forward to the centennial: the UNO bootstrappers. For more than 50 years, the military has been paying for education and encouraging its members to "pull themselves up by their bootstraps." UNO was one of the first institutions to participate in the bootstrappers program.

"They were active duty military who were able to go back to school full-time and do something good for themselves and their future," said Hayley Patton, who works in the UNO division of continuing studies and is coordinating the bootstrappers reunion for the centennial. "They were the foundation for our general studies program."

UNO has one of the biggest bootstrapper programs in the country, Patton said. Almost 6,000 bootstrappers have been invited to attend the centennial festivities. Special reunion events have been planned just for them.

On Oct. 9, the bootstrappers will have a reunion tour of the Strategic Air and Space Museum. There they can see aircraft hangars and a restoration gallery. A fee of $10 buys museum admission and bus transportation from the Thompson Alumni Center. Bootstrappers will meet at the alumni center at 1 p.m. for a 1:30 tour.

After the tour, bootstrappers will return to the alumni center for a reunion reception and banquet at 5:30 p.m. Dinner costs $30 and includes entertainment from World War II era show band, The Avi8ors.

The following morning, Friday, Oct. 10, a free bootstrapper reunion breakfast will be served in the alumni center. Representatives from the University of Nebraska Foundation will discuss what is going on around UNO and how alumni can get more involved.

After breakfast, bootstrappers will head to a reunion tour of Offutt Air Force Base. The event costs $20 and includes lunch and bus transportation from the alumni center.

In the midst of all the bootstrapper events, Patton said the UNO Division of Continuing Studies is going to try to organize oral history interviews to document the program.

"It's going to be where the bootstrappers sit down and tell us about their experiences at UNO, about what they've done since then and what the bootstrapper program meant to them," she said. "There's a lot of history there.

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