Don and Lorena Meier Studio ribbon-cutting celebrates 'Wild Kingdom' legacy and the future of media

Monday, November 21, 2022 - 1:00pm

The University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration for the Don and Lorena Meier Studio on Nov. 17 in Andersen Hall.

College of Journalism and Mass Communications Dean, Dr. Shari Veil shared opening remarks with ribbon-cutting attendees. Dean Veil was introduced by Nebraska Nightly's first student leads, senior broadcasting, advertising and public relations and journalism triple major, Hannah-Kate Kinney (middle) and senior broadcasting major Kloee Sander (far left).

Dean Veil talked about Don and Lorena Meier's dedication to students, their tenacity when it came to turning dreams into reality and how the college embodies the Meier's hard work mentality.

"I can vividly remember first pitching the idea of a new studio to Jim Timm and the Nebraska Broadcaster’s Association Board in May of 2021," Veil said. "And, with the help of the NBA and the Meier Foundation, look where we are today."

Professor Barney McCoy got to know Don Meier while producing "Exploring Wild Kingdom" a documentary about Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom in 2008. During filming McCoy developed a friendship with Don that lasted until his death in 2019.

"I quickly learned that Don wasn’t afraid to work hard and have fun doing it— that may be the biggest lesson our students can learn from Don," McCoy said. "Don believed that if you’re willing to pour everything into what you love doing, you’ll have a much better chance of seeing your dreams become a reality."

CoJMC students, alumni, faculty, staff and community partners watch the ribbon-cutting presentation. 

David Shoub, president of the Meier Foundation Board of Directors, shared some of the many experiences he had with Don and Lorena. Shoub was the Meier's lawyer and worked with Don to comb through various scholarship agreements for the Nebraska Foundation. He remembers Don being meticulous because he was so focused on making sure students would get the help they need to pursue an education.

Ribbon-cutting attendees listen to the Executive Director of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Jim Timm. The Nebraska Broadcasters Association was a key supporter of the project. Their support is constant, not only when it comes to the success of the studio, but also when it comes to our students' success and the future of broadcasting.

The Nebraska Broadcasters Association continues to support students by offering numerous trainings, workshops and scholarships. The college is grateful for their willingness to prepare future broadcasting professionals in a field that’s constantly adapting to new media.

Nebraska Nightly lead Jillian Lamkins holds one end of the ribbon, followed by Dean Veil; CoJMC's business and operations manager, Haley Hamel; assistant professor of practice and Nebraska Nightly faculty liaison, Ken Fischer; executive director of the Nebraska Broadcasters Association, Jim Timm and Meier Foundation Board of Directors President, David Shoub.

Nebraska Nightly crew member Jackson Atwell (left) and student lead Lance Vie (right) record a segment for their Friday broadcast on the ribbon-cutting event.

Dean Veil and Jim Timm in the Don and Lorena Meier Studio’s control room.

Members of the Meier Foundation Board of Directors Anthony Madonia, David Shoub and Gene Koepke gather in front of the display case that showcases Don Meier's Emmy Awards and artifacts from his worldly travels.

It was during the development of the display that McCoy shared the college’s plans for a new television studio with the Foundation Board. They then invited Dean Veil to make a pitch to the board and they agreed that the construction of the studio was something Don would have wanted to be a part of.

After the ribbon cutting ceremony, guests were invited to stop at the various tables–along the way to appetizers and beverages– showcasing each of the Experience Lab programs. Here, Heartland student lead Odelia Amenyah is sharing some of her experiences with the program and the work she’s done this semester.

Watch the ribbon cutting on the college's YouTube channel below.