Donde Plowman, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration, is this year’s recipient of the Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service. The award is the University of Nebraska Foundation’s top development service award and was presented to Plowman at its annual meeting of trustees on Oct. 21, 2016, at the Lincoln Cornhusker Marriott.
Plowman was appointed the college’s leader in 2010, just as UNL joined the Big Ten Conference and its Big Ten Academic Alliance.
Mark Chronister, chair of the NU Foundation board, said that since her assumed leadership of the college, alumni, friends and organizations have given nearly $150 million in private support to benefit students, faculty members, academic programs and facilities.
“Her goal has been to raise the stature of the college to that of our Big Ten peers,” he said.
UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green uses “rock star” in describing her achievements.
“No one exudes the energy, the enthusiasm and the excellence that Donde Plowman does,” Green said. “That reaching for the stars quality — we were already good — but there is a completely new level of excellence and prestige with the Big Ten, and Dean Plowman recognizes that in the faculty she’s hiring, in the programs that are being built in the college and in the size of the college, as we’ve expanded enrollment dramatically in the last six years.”
Plowman’s development efforts have included initiatives to fund the growth and improvement of the college. She’s been instrumental in encouraging gifts for the new $84 million college facility under construction and set to open in 2017. She was also vital in forming the Dr. Donald O. Clifton Strengths Institute made possible by a $30 million commitment from the Clifton family and Gallup organization.
Students also recognize Plowman’s passion for the university and for their education.
“She’s always asking, ‘How can this be better?’” said student Tanner McKerlie. “The College of Business Administration is on its way up, and it’s gaining attention, it’s rising among the ranks, and I think a lot of that can be attributed to Dean Plowman. She’s putting so much effort into not only soliciting funds but also to asking how we can make the college better in general.”
This year the college was named a Top 50 business school in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings, advancing 13 spots to number 48.
“She emanates good humor and good taste, and she’s having fun in her job,” said University of Nebraska Regent Howard Hawks.
The NU Foundation also awarded a 2016 Noddle Award posthumously to Dan Morin, a 30-year foundation employee and senior vice president who died in 2011 following a battle with cancer. Gail Yanney, M.D. and Michael Yanney of Omaha, who have provided many years of volunteer leadership and financial support to the university, received the foundation’s 2016 Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service.