2018 Alumni and Service Awardees

Alan (Al) Svajgr PortraitAlan (Al) Svajgr

Alan (Al) Svajgr, B.S. 1964, M.S. 1968, of Cozad, Neb., was honored with the Distinguished Service Award recognizing his outstanding contributions to the department. Svajgr’s record of service to the department and the university is quite impressive and shows his commitment to the institution and its land-grant mission. He has been called upon to give guest lectures, provide tours, sit on advisory committees and more. He has served as president of Agriculture Builders of Nebraska, sat on the chancellor's advisory board, and for the last several years, has provided tremendous financial support for graduate student travel to scientific meetings. Svajgr has been selected as a Block & Bridle Club Honoree and has been inducted into the Nebraska Cattlemen's Hall of Fame. Nominators say he is always looking for ways to support the university’s mission and has been very effective in those endeavors.

Jerry Connealy PortraitJerry Connealy

Jerry Connealy, B.S. 1981, of Whitman, Neb., was honored with the Undergraduate of Distinction Award. Over the past 30-plus years, Connealy has developed the leading Angus seedstock herd in Nebraska. Through his visionary leadership and tremendously focused hard work, Connealy Angus has grown from 250 cows to 2500 registered cows, selling over 750 bulls per year. Connealy bulls frequently populate the pages of bull stud catalogs across the country. Nominator Merlyn Nielsen says, Connealy is the epitome of humbleness, not seeking the limelight.

Mike Lewis PortraitMike Lewis

Michael Lewis, Ph.D. 1988, of Blair, Neb., was honored with the Graduate of Distinction Award. While working as a student under Dr. Terry Klopfenstein, Lewis developed the NEBRIS data collection system for the university feedlot that is still in use 30 years later. Today, Lewis is vice president and feed segment leader for value-added feed and meal products for Cargill's wet milling facilities. His support of the department has been in the form of feed donations, facility tours and undergraduate training resources. Nominators Drs. Galen Erickson and Terry Klopfenstein said the university’s beef and dairy programs are indebted to Cargill and especially Lewis for the generous financial support.

Read more about the awards criteria at https://animalscience.unl.edu/alumni-and-service-awards .