2016 Vikings of Distinction
Steven R. Dunbar – Class of 1970 (Lincoln, NE)
Professor of mathematics at UNL for 30 years (retired). Steve served as founding director of the JD Edwards honors program in computer sciences (currently Jeffrey S. Raikes School of Computer Science). Having earned a Ph.D. from Minnesota, he taught at the University of Utah and was a research associate in Heidelberg, Germany. He served as director of the MAA American Mathematics Competition and is the recipient of many teaching awards.
Gordon H. Miles – Class of 1958 (Cardiff by the Sea, CA)
Gordon practiced law in Omaha from 1964-1979 after receiving his JD with honors from Creighton University. He has served as chairman and CEO of several restaurant groups, purchasing a conglomerate from Ralston Purina and partnering with Paramount Pictures in founding the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company restaurants. He currently owns a grill in downtown San Diego, a brewery in La Jolla, and is a partner in the venture capital firm Gemini Investors.
Niles Paul – Friend of North High School – Class of 2007 (Ashburn, VA)
Niles Paul continues to give back to North High and the Viking football team. Niles was a standout player for the Nebraska Cornhuskers; and in 2011, he went on to play tight end in the NFL for Washington. He brings recognition to Omaha North not only through his generosity toward Viking football but by mentoring North’s football team. His family was also a primary fund raiser for a North High Foundation Scholarship recognizing a North staff volunteer.
Monty Ross – Class of 1975 (Atlanta, GA)
A maker of films—producer, director, and actor—Monty served as vice president in charge of production with 40 Acres and a Mule, a production company of Spike Lee. He has offered a new black movie experience by producing/co-producing such hits as School Days, Malcolm X, and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. He also produced the advertising campaigns for Nike and Levi 501 jeans. A graduate of Morehouse College and Clark College in Atlanta, he is currently involved in working with underserved students interested in media technology and filmmaking.
Penny D. Sackett – Class of 1974 (Canberra, NSW, Australia)
Internationally acclaimed as a physicist, astronomer, and former chief scientist for Australia, Penny was part of a global network that discovered the first Earth-sized planet orbiting a star other than Earth’s sun. She was named Australia’s Chief Scientist, has worked in the Netherlands, and is on the Nobel Laureate Symposium. Possessing a worldwide reputation, she is a consultant and was honored recently as an outstanding alumna by UNO.
Quiana M. Smith – Class of 1995 (New York, NY)
Quiana is both an actress and singer and theatre educator who took her talents to Broadway after earning a BFA degree from Ithaca College Musical Theater. She has appeared in all major venues, sang at a Presidential inauguration, spent three years with the Disney production of Mary Poppins, and has been a guest soloist with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra.