2023 Nebraskan of the Year
Rhonda Seacrest grew up in North Platte. The work ethic and the culture of a rural, pioneer town helped to set her character and her focus. Hard work is part of being in Nebraska. There were pioneers that traveled on and there were those who stayed. You do a thing, because it needs doing. You see a problem, and you solve it. These are among Rhonda’s guiding tenets.  
Many years ago, Rhonda found a passion for supporting children and youth in our communities investing in backpack and shelter programs acknowledging that hungry children find it difficult to grow and learn. In that same vein, she is committed to the arts, “because they build ideas and vision for the future, “while inspiring children and helping them fuel their minds. Her goal is to make sure that all young people in Nebraska have the opportunity to be encouraged, successful, and make their communities better. Included in her support is Sheldon Statewide, which since 1987 has shared artworks from the Sheldon Museum of Art’s collection with thousands throughout the state. She and her late husband, James, have supported opera events and education throughout Nebraska via the James C. and Rhonda Seacrest Tour Nebraska Opera Fund. Likewise, the University of Nebraska—Lincoln College of Business benefits from the Seacrest Teaching Fellows program, as well as the funding of a popular course on philanthropy management.  
Seacrest serves on boards for the Lincoln City Libraries, Mid-American Arts Alliance, and Public Art Lincoln. Since the pandemic, Seacrest has added food scarcity as a priority through the Food Bank of Lincoln. She has served on the Lied Center Performing Arts Statewide Advisory Board and supports several programs, especially symphony and classical music. Additionally, the Seacrest family are benefactors of the Lincoln, Scottsbluff, Sidney, North Platte and Lexington community foundations. Whether providing arts opportunities throughout western Nebraska or filling backpacks with food for students that need it, or teaching UNL students about how best to give back to their communities, Rhonda Seacrest lives the Rotary ideal of “Service of Above Self” in quiet ways that are fundamental in making sure that all of our youth have the opportunity to be successful.  
We are so very proud to recognize Rhonda Seacrest as the 2023 Nebraskan of the Year.
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