Vikings of Distinction

Name of the Article


Description of the Article

2018 Vikings of Distinction Honorees

2018 Vikings of Distinction and North Star Honorees 


Jan Christensen, Former Faculty 1992-2013, Omaha, NE

Jan was a math teacher and North High Curriculum Specialist who was the driving force behind the STEM curriculum at North High. She was also instrumental in the development and creation of the Haddix Center. Currently working for OPS at TAC, she was the liaison for North’s recently built, state-of-the-art Robotics Lab. Jan serves on UNO and community boards and is still involved with North’s success in her retirement. 

Bob Churchich   Class of 1963, Boulder, CO 

Bob distinguished himself at North by lettering in four sports and quarterbacked the University of Nebraska’s 1964, 1965 and 1966 football teams. He went on to play Pro baseball for the Atlanta Braves before going into business. He built a successful recreation equipment company in a four-state area and is a community leader in Boulder, Colorado.

Ronald L. Hamilton, M.D.   Class of 1977, Pittsburgh, PA

Ron is an Associate Professor of Neuropathology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He discovered, along with his former student, Bennet Omalu, M.D., Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease caused by sub-concussive brain trauma. He has authored and co-authored over 300 papers for scientific journals and teaches medical students and specialty residents.

Arno Lucas   Class of 1969, Pine Mountain, CA

Arno is a renowned professional musician and an extraordinary percussionist. Beginning at North with the Les Smith Soul Band, LA Carnival and Crackin’, he continues to perform at the highest level after 40 years in the music business. He has toured with premier artists from LA to Japan, from New York City to London and many venues in between, always the most positive vibe in the room.

Joy and Guy Oberg & Family   Friends of North High, Omaha, NE

Joy and Guy have been part of North athletics and extra-curricular activities for over 70 years. Their involvement began at North as students in the late 40’s. They continued to be avid supporters of their children at North High in the 60’s and 70’s and with their grandchildren who were active at North through 2006. Oberg Family children and grandchildren are also teachers and coaches at North, and a great-grandchild is currently a Viking. Their family’s dedication includes hosting football game day dinners throughout the season for years and so much more. Although Guy passed away in 2011 and is greatly missed, the Oberg family continues to support their beloved Vikings!

David L. Underwood Class of 1962, Omaha, NE

Dave was a high school educator and coach, and an Assistant Baseball Coach at UNL who went on to become the Head Baseball Coach at Creighton University from 1980-1986. After leaving coaching, he created a successful commercial real estate company and in 2005 co-founded Heritage Communities, assisted living facilities.

Miguel Keith, LCpl USMC   Class of 1970    NORTH STAR 1951-1970

Lance Corporal Miguel Keith is a war hero who valiantly fought to protect his platoon in Vietnam and lost his life doing so one year after he enlisted in the Marine Corp. He was awarded the Nation’s highest military honor, the MEDAL OF HONOR, for his courage, acts of bravery and self-sacrifice. A park in South Omaha, Miguel Keith Park, is named for him and the Navy is naming a ship for him, the USNS Miguel Keith, which will be delivered in March 2019.

2016 Vikings of Distinction

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.

2017 Vikings of Distinction Honorees

2015 Vikings of Distinction

2014 Vikings of Distinction

2013 Vikings of Distinction

2012 Vikings of Distinction

2011 Vikings of Distinction

2010 Vikings of Distinction

2009 Vikings of Distinction



  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015