LINCOLN — The Regents Medal, the University of Nebraska's highest award, will be presented today to Michael B. and Gail Walling Yanney of Omaha for their support of NU and other civic causes.
The Yanneys have been co-chairs of an effort to raise $500 million on behalf of the University of Nebraska Medical Center, including funds to establish the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, a comprehensive cancer research and treatment center now under construction.
The Yanneys also were among the principal donors for the new Harold M. and Beverly Maurer Center for Public Health at the Medical Center.
“The University of Nebraska — and in fact the State of Nebraska — would not be where they are today without the support, vision and leadership of Mike Yanney and Dr. Gail Walling Yanney,” said Tim Clare, chairman of the NU Board of Regents.
“Their commitment to young people has had an impact across Omaha and Nebraska that is hard to measure,” NU President J.B. Milliken said.
For more than 20 years, the Yanneys have been involved in efforts to assist disadvantaged youths.
In 1989, they founded what is known today as Partnership 4 Kids, a mentoring and scholarship program to help at-risk youths in the Omaha area prepare for college and careers.
More than 5,000 students from Omaha Public Schools participate in Partnership 4 Kids programs.
Mike Yanney serves as president and board member for Building Bright Futures, a nonprofit group established in 2006 by a coalition of Omaha-area business, civic and political leaders.
The organization works to improve educational outcomes for children in poverty in Douglas and Sarpy Counties.
He also is a board member for the Avenue Scholars Foundation, which helps needy Omaha students to meet their college and career aspirations.
Yanney is a successful investment banker and founder of the Burlington Capital Group, where he serves as board chairman emeritus.
He is a Kearney native who graduated from Kearney State Teachers College, now the University of Nebraska at Kearney.
Gail Walling Yanney is a retired anesthesiologist who was born in Chicago and grew up in Nebraska.
She graduated from the Medical Center's College of Medicine, where she later served as a clinical instructor.
She serves on the board of the Nebraska Medical Center, the Eppley Cancer Institute and the Yanney Heritage Park Foundation in Kearney.
She is former executive director of the Bishop Clarkson Memorial Foundation.
The two will be presented with the medal during a private dinner tonight in Omaha.
The Regents Medal was established in 2006 to recognize those who have provided exceptional service to NU.
The late Charles W. Durham was its first recipient. Others were Omaha philanthropists Ruth and Bill Scott (2009) and the late Robert B. Daugherty (2011).
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