On New Year’s Eve in 1955, Dale and Dorothy Pillen drove from their farm in Platte Center, Nebraska, to the hospital in Columbus. After having two boys, Tom and Clete, they were beyondhoping for a baby girl. However, James Douglas Pillen completed their family as their third son.

Aksarben | Horatio Alger State Scholarships can be life changers for recipients. Like the rags-to-riches characters in Horatio Alger novels, these young people have overcome great personal adversity. They also need financial assistance to earn a college degree.

The Aksarben Foundation’s generosity has been evident throughout Nebraska and western Iowa for more than a century. Meet some of the college students who have benefited from scholarships the foundation funds. We'll also introduce the Court of Honor and others who exemplify the Aksarben mission.

The 20-year-old University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior from Omaha was crowned the 121st queen of Aksarben Saturday evening at Baxter Arena as the civic and scholarship group honored her parents, banker Kirk and fitness instructor Teresa Kellner.

The annual Aksarben Coronation and Scholarship Ball, which celebrates volunteer contributions by members of the Royal Court and raises money for two- and four-year college scholarships awarded by the Aksarben Foundation, will be held Oct. 28 at Baxter Arena.

The annual Aksarben Coronation & Scholarship Ball recognizes young women and men in honor of their parents’ dedication to volunteerism in the Omaha metro area.

Each year, the Aksarben Coronation & Scholarship Ball recognizes pages, children who are in second or third grade, in honor of their parents’ dedication to volunteerism in the Omaha metro area.

These young women will represent their parents' volunteerism in Nebraska and western Iowa during the 2016 Aksarben Coronation & Scholarship Ball on Oct. 15 at Baxter Arena.