Annual scholarship brunch brings donors and students together

Monday, November 6, 2023 - 5:15pm

Nebraska’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications scholarship donors and the students they support were recognized at a scholarship recognition brunch in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s East Campus Union on Nov. 4, 2023.

“Scholarships make a direct and lasting impact on students,” Shari Veil, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications said. “We’re dedicated to providing an accessible education for all of our students and our donors are vital to fulfilling that mission.” 

During the brunch, scholarship recipients were recognized and received a certificate noting their achievements. Donors were also honored and had the opportunity to meet the recipients of their scholarships.

Six donors established new funds for the upcoming year and received additional recognition at the brunch. A special thank you to the following donors:

  • David Fowler for establishing the Carolyn R. Johnsen-Fowler Excellence Fund for Investigative Journalism and Research to support students interested in journalism projects related to scientific research.   
  • The Dvorak Family for establishing the Dvorak Family Scholarship to support CoJMC students from Lancaster County who demonstrate academic achievement.  
  • Dara Troutman for establishing the Dara L. Troutman Scholarship for Emerging Talent in Broadcasting to support upper-level broadcasting students interested in radio, television or multi-media news.  
  • Scott and Ryan Stara for establishing the Revolution Wraps Start Something Big Scholarship to support upperclassman advertising and public relations majors interested in a future career in advertising, marketing, public relations or graphic design.  
  • Charlie Arnot for establishing the Look East Fund for Student Opportunity. This fund will support upperclassman advertising and public relations majors who demonstrate participation in activities or organizations that promote and celebrate diversity.  
  • Mark and Chris Matousek for establishing the Matousek Award for Student Leadership. This scholarship will support students selected for leadership roles within the college’s Experience Lab.

Mark Matousek was also this year’s donor speaker at the brunch. In addition to the newest establishment of the Matousek Award for Student Leadership, the Matouseks generously fund two other scholarships that support student learning in the college.  

The Matousek Family Scholarship Fund recognizes advertising and public relations majors who demonstrate excellence in writing for print, broadcast, or marketing communications and the Matousek Family Student Experience Fund benefits and supports professional development opportunities for students in the college.

Mark is a native of Albion, Nebraska and a 1977 CoJMC graduate. At the brunch, he spoke about the importance of giving to ensure students have access to a quality education that includes top-notch facilities, equipment and even furniture.

“The bell goes off, the lights come on for giving at different times for everyone,” Matousek said. “It took me several years before I really got after it, but if you love this place like I do, you, in time, will be approached to answer the call to give. It doesn’t matter how much or how often; it’s really a matter of giving from the heart, doing what you know is right and giving back to the University.”

As an Experience Lab lead for 90.3 KRNU, senior Alex Neill of Nashville, Tennessee, is a recipient of the Matousek Award for Student Leadership. Following Matousek, the broadcasting and sports media and communication double major spoke at the brunch about the opportunities he’s encountered in the two years he’s been part of the Experience Lab.

“I consider myself truly lucky to be able to grow my leadership skills every day at UNL within the Experience Lab,” Neill said. “Programs like this give students a chance to learn what it means to be a leader and a mentor.”

Dean Veil closed the brunch, thanking students and donors for attending and reaffirming the importance of giving to ensure every student who wants a college education has the opportunity to attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

“To our students, we look forward to seeing you continue to grow and become future journalism and mass communications leaders,” Veil said. “To our donors, thank you for supporting our students and our college. Your support is vital, and we thank you for your generosity.”

Watch a livestream of the 2023 Scholarship Recognition Brunch below:

For information on giving to the college, contact Director of Development Jeremy Lohrman at or 402-458-1177.