Eight graduates of Lincoln Southeast High School were inducted into the Distinguished Alumni Program during a recent dinner at The Nebraska Club. The following day, they were recognized during activities at Lincoln Southeast, 37th & Van Dorn.
This year’s honorees and the fields of achievement for which they were recognized:
• Joann Brown, Class of 1960, visual arts and art education.
• Steven Shelley, Class of 1971, theatrical lighting design, lighting design and stage manager on Broadway and off-Broadway.
• Susan Varner Wilkins, Class of 1972, medicine, registered nurse and co-founder of Barth-Syndrome Foundation.
• Topher Hansen, Class of 1973, addiction and mental illness, President/Chief Executive Officer, CenterPointe, Inc.
• Catherine Lang, Class of 1974, political science, Commissioner of Labor, State of Nebraska.
• Michael Hendrickson, Class of 1982, law, Judge/Law – 30th Circuit Court in Missouri.
• Kristin Swanson Wilder, Class of 1985, journalism, Vice President and Managing Editor of Variety.
• Derek Chollet, Class of 1989, political science, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs.
The Southeast Distinguished Alumni Program was started in 1995 as a way to recognize the outstanding accomplishments of Southeast alumni who:
• are recognized on a local, state, and national level in their field;
• have a positive impact on society;
• have been recognized for contributions in their profession; and
• are recognized as a leader by their colleagues.
Former LSE Principal Nancy Becker started the program. Scott Young and Cathy Blythe, then from KFOR Radio, were in the first class inducted. Recognition included a breakfast reception, class visitations, and talks in the auditorium. In 2002 former Principal Pat Hunter-Pirtle added a dinner and performances from LSE performing arts groups, Shirettes and Step Chain. Since 1995 there have been 70 LSE graduates who have been honored as distinguished alumni.
Service Hall of Fame
This year's Distinguished Alumni program included an announcement of a new project - the Southeast High School Service Hall of Fame, to be located near the front entrance to LSE. It will feature school/community service projects.
“We hope to have our fist Service Hall of Fame induction next year,” said LSE Principal Brent Toalson. “We are currently raising funds for the project. Individuals who want to make a donation to the Service Hall of Fame can contact me,” said Toalson. “We will begin accepting nominations for the Service Hall of Fame soon.”