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Between 1991 and 1995, there were four women serving on the University of Nebraska Board of Regents simultaneously.

Margaret Robinson of Norfolk and Nancy Hoch of Nebraska City both served on the eight-person NU board from 1983 to 1995.

They were joined by Rosemary Skrupa of Grand Island, who served from 1989 to 2001, and Nancy O'Brien of Omaha, who was on the board from 1991 to 2003.

But before 1983 and since O'Brien was unseated by Regent Howard Hawks in the 2002 election, no women had been elected to the Board of Regents, even though:

* 54 percent of the NU system's students are women.

* 51 percent of NU's faculty, staff and administrators are women.

* 50 percent of Nebraska's total population are women, based upon a 2017 estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Beginning in January, two women will return to the Board of Regents, the fifth and sixth women elected to the body in NU's nearly 150-year history.

Barbara Weitz ousted incumbent Regent Hal Daub for the District 8 seat representing a horseshoe-shaped piece of Omaha, winning 52.7 percent of the vote.

Weitz thanked Daub for his service to the university, Omaha and the state.

But she said the election of two women to the board may signal a broader shift in Nebraska.

"What's really wonderful about this, I think, is that it reflects an awareness that the world is changing and our campuses reflect those changes," said Weitz, 70, a retired faculty member at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

"You can't shift all at once, but it's a beginning," she added.

Elizabeth O'Connor easily outdistanced Larry Bradley for the District 4 seat representing south Omaha and parts of Sarpy County that will be vacated by Regent Bob Whitehouse.

O'Connor, 27, is the first millennial elected to the Board of Regents after earning 72.5 percent of the vote. She graduated from UNO in 2012 after serving as a student regent.

"As a young female professional, I bring a fresh perspective to the board," said O'Connor, a trial attorney from Omaha. "I'm looking forward to representing all Nebraskans and to working hard to improve our state."

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When she takes office in January, O'Connor said she will focus on ensuring NU stays accessible and affordable to Nebraska students: "This will help Nebraska attract and retain its young professionals."

The board's current chairman, Regent Rob Schafer of Beatrice, gathered more than 60 percent of the vote to win re-election to the board over challenger Robert Prokop of Wilber, who served on the board with Robinson and Hoch in the early 1980s.

Regent Jim Pillen of Columbus will also serve a second term after running unopposed in District 3.

SCC Board of Governors

Several incumbents won their races for the Southeast Community College Board of Governors. Dale Kruse, Nancy Seim and James Garver all won re-election to the 11-person board.

Running unopposed, Keith Hammons won his first election to the board overseeing the community college system that represents a 15-county area.

And Ellen Weissinger, the former chief academic administrator at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, edged Arlyn Uhrmacher by a 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent margin to win her first term to the SCC board.

Election results

Reach the writer at 402-473-7120 or

On Twitter @ChrisDunkerLJS.


Higher education reporter

Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.

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